All over IU’s campus, students are moving in and the signs are coming down for the Summer Festival of the Arts. At the IU Theatre, however, we’re still in summer mode, for we are actually presenting our last Indiana Festival Theatre production on the Days 110, 111, 112, and 113 of the summer’s “113 Days of Art.”
Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid’s Solana is in its second year of workshop development in our series of Premiere Musicals, which semi-officially ends the summer and begins the fall in the IU arts scene. Michael and Ilene, both IU alumni, are the Grammy-nominated songwriters of “Throw That Girl Around” from the Broadway musical Swing!. Last fall they brought their latest musical, then titled Happily Ever Chloe, to campus, and director George Pinney and musical director Terry LaBolt and a cast of students and professionals helped them put together a good first act and an early scene of the second.. The audience post-show discussions and response cards gave the two author/composer/lyricists a good deal of material for further work.
This fall, Michael and Ilene have brought us a new version of Chloe, now titled Solana, and director George Pinney and musical director Ray Fellman and a new cast have been at work with them for the past two weeks. It can be grueling work (although joyous and rewarding): last week the authors rewrote Act Two two times, giving the piece a distinctively better shape.
“The music is great,” Ray Fellman tells me. Solana—in its complete two-act glory—will play in the Wells-Metz Theatre at 7:30 Thursday through Saturday (August 16-17) and at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, August 19.
And on August 20 we’ll take down our Summer Festival of the Arts banners outside the IU Theatre.