| One of New York’s brightest new musicals written by members of the Millennial Generation will finally be seen in Chicago when the newly formed Refuge Theatre Project, a company dedicated to presenting ensemble pieces of new American musical writers, opens Next Thing You Know at The Den Theater in February. While musicals by millennials have received commercial productions in New York City, they’ve been largely unseen in Chicago. Though the area’s vibrant theatre community is adventurous in producing new plays, when it comes to musicals local commercial producers and non-profit companies alike have mostly steered toward classics and shows written before the year 2000.Refuge Theatre Project, a new company founded just this year by Ross Egan, Morgan Glynn Briggs, Michael Evans and Casey Shipman, plans to change that. Their first production will be Next Thing You Know, a full-length musical developed in New York City’s Collaborative Arts Project (called CAP 21), where it received a full production in June 2011. The New York Times said of it, “the show still achieves a nearly effortless resonance — especially with any 20-something who has recently moved to the Big Pond that is the Big Apple….Next Thing You Know is Rent for this generation.”
Next Thing You Know is the story of four twenty-something New Yorkers as they laugh, love and drink their way through the big questions that face all young dreamers who wake up in the city that never sleeps. Does marrying a really nice guy mean you’re settling down or just settling? Does taking a nine-to-five equal giving up or growing up? Does a decade in the city break you down or break you in?
Next Thing You Know was written by Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham, who met and became writing partners when they were enrolled in the musical theater writing program at New York University. Before Next Thing, the two had a hit musical with I Love You Because, which had a three month run off-Broadway in 2006, earned a Drama Desk nomination for Cunningham’s lyrics and has been produced all over the world, in five languages. Salzman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts and a graduate of Notre Dame University, has been living in Chicago since October 2013.
Refuge’s production of Next Thing You Know will be directed by Ross Egan and its four-member cast will consist of Morgan Glynn Briggs, Taylor Okey, Jameson Wentworth and Aimee Peterson. Tickets are now on sale on www.refugetheatre.co