Famous Broadway artist Al Hirschfeld’s ‘RENT’ artwork will be on display and for sale at Redhouse Arts Center through a partnership with the Al Hirschfeld Foundation.
The Broadway veteran will direct “The Girl in the Red Dress”, an original musical currently in development. The musical’s creative team includes composers Art Garfunkel, Maia Sharp and Buddy Mondlock along with playwright Frederick Stoppel.
“The Girl in the Red Dress” is about a girl named Jane Hughes who lives in a future world where all is bland and colorless, and every act and emotion is controlled by the state. The girl has a magical red dress that can bring color back to the world. Foster said it is a world where fantastical and whimsical things can happen.
Starting on July 15, the musical will be workshopped for two weeks with Foster leading the creative team and bringing the show to life with local actors and friends of the Redhouse. Bringing new works like this to Syracuse is one of the first things Foster had wanted to accomplish after coming to the Redhouse team.
“Learning that music legend Art Garfunkel was one of the composers piqued my interest. I started listening to some of the music and fell in love with it,” Foster said. “After reading the script I thought it would be something we could do at Redhouse. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to develop an emerging work with a really great score.”
During the development process at Redhouse, actors will learn both the script and songs. For the first time, the composers will hear their music sung by actors. Foster said it is rare to get to work on a new show in this way.
“Hearing the music and script out loud sort of changes your perspective on how the story is being told. It’s one thing to have it on the page, but it’s different when you hear actors interpreting it live,” Foster said. “We’ll make changes and adjustments from that and at the end of the two weeks we’ll get an audience response to it. It’s a great opportunity for us, the writers, and producers, to see it being performed and figure out where we go from there. It’s a nice showcase for the show.”
After the team spends their time creating in Syracuse, they will take the show to New York City to do a one night workshop in a theater festival.
Foster’s projects will continue through the year as he will be directing four shows during his first season at Redhouse, starting with the Tony Award winning musical “RENT.” He is also launching an inaugural New Works Festival in 2020 where one play and one musical will be selected through a national competition for presentation at Redhouse.
“Hopefully we will be involved in developing new shows that can be produced and have a long life,” Foster said.
Redhouse Executive Director Samara Hannah said Foster’s experience and reputation as not only a director, but also as a writer have driven these new opportunities for the theater and Syracuse.
“One of the things I really love about working with Hunter is that he is so thoughtful about today, but he’s thoughtful about tomorrow. He’s always looking to develop the next generation to keep theater alive,” said Hannah.
Foster’s connections have also brought a partnership between the Syracuse theater company and the Al Hirschfeld Foundation to bring Hirschfeld’s famous Broadway prints to Syracuse. The works of legendary artist Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003) will be seen by both Redhouse patrons and local students through a new arts curriculum.
Syracuse is the first region outside of New York City to utilize the curriculum serving as a pilot to bring the Arts Education Initiative to underserved communities around the country. Funded by the Slutzker Family Foundation, the curriculum will be taught at by Redhouse teachers at Redhouse’s Summer Camps. Opportunities are also being worked on to bring this curriculum to schools across Central New York this fall.
“We are excited that it will not only be a lovely show, but also an educational tool for Redhouse summer campers, and a way to support Redhouse, as all the prints will be available for sale with proceeds split between the two non-profits,” said David Leopold, the Creative Director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. The special Hirschfeld exhibit will be at Redhouse from July 13th through mid-October.
An exhibit opening event will take place Saturday, July 13 from noon to 5pm with an open house. The event will be free and open to the public. This is part of a full weekend of Redhouse events including the 15th Anniversary Celebration of Redhouse brunch as well as summer camp showcases.