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July 27, 2010

Signature Theatre commissions new work from 'Shrek' composer Jeanine Tesori

Jeanine Tesori, who wrote the scores for "Shrek the Musical" and "Caroline, or Change," has received a commissioned from the Signature Theatre through the company's extraordinary "American Music Voices Project."

That project, the largest program of its kind in the country ($780,000 has been awarded so far), has commissioned full-length musicals from Adam Guettel, Michael John LaChiusa, Ricky Ian Gordon and Joseph Thalken. The latter's musical version of "Giant" was staged by the Signature Theatre last year. Gordon's "Sycamore Trees" premiered a couple months ago (I found it an uneven, but affecting, piece).

Thalken’s "Wheatley’s Folly" is due next March 2011; the new musicals by Guettel and Tesori will be unveiled in subsequent years.

Also announced as part of the

American Music Voices Project are commissions for composers in the early stages of their music-theater careers to create works for the Signature Theatre.

The latest "Next Generation" recipients of commissions are Chris Miller and Scott Davenport Richards; "special honoree grants" have been awarded to Josh Schmidt and Josh Rosenblum.

The American Music Voices Project, launched in 2006, is funded by the Shen Family Foundation.

Posted by Tim Smith at 10:45 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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