Tuesday, November 19, 2019

"Rough Cuts" at Nautilus Music-Theater: "The Parts I Admire" and "Norman!"

Nautilus Music-Theater's primary focus is developing new works of music-theater. They'll have a full production of a new or reinvented piece every year or two, but their regular work is monthly showcases of new works of music-theater, some developed in their Composer-Librettist Studio. This is their 26th season of "Rough Cuts," during which they'll be presenting their 200th showcase of new work. That's a lot of new music-theater, and a lot of support provided to creators of new music-theater. Read on for what they're presenting this month, with one show last night at their Lowertown St. Paul studio space, and another show tonight at Augsburg University (730pm at Sateren Hall). There's a $5 suggested donation, that comes with free cookies and milk!

Nautilus is presenting excerpts from two works in progress, performed by outstanding musicians, with post-show discussions to help the creators in continuing to develop the work.

The Parts I Admire is a song cycle by Aaron Gabriel in which he explores the relationship between an extrovert and introvert. It's performed by vocalist Kymani Queen, accompanied by music director Jill Dawe on piano, Julie Johnson on flute, and Miguel Gonzales on guitar. The latter two also do some looping of their instruments, as Aaron is experimenting with using electronic music in his pieces. Really interesting instrumentation, and some lovely songs.

The title Norman! says it all: a dark comedy about Norman Bates and his mother. With lyrics by David Smith and music by Kelly Krebs, the piece is a prequel to the movie Psycho that explores how Norman became the serial killer of the movie (see also the excellent A&E series Bates Motel). Performed by the dream team of Jen Burleigh-Bentz and Evan Tyler Wilson, accompanied by music director George Maurer, it's great fun and more than a little creepy.

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