Stephen Bray

Stephen Bray

Courtesy photo

The Lied Center for Performing Arts joins the ranks from New York City and Los Angeles next week to host the third ASCAP/Grow A Show New Musical Theatre Workshop, which includes a free concert hosted by "The Color Purple's" Stephen Bray and two ticketed staged readings of new musicals.

Bray, co-composer and co-lyricist of the Tony-winning musical "The Color Purple," will present "Broadway at the Lied" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lied, 301 N. 12th St. The program will feature Nebraska talent performing songs from "The Color Purple" and Bray's many collaborations with pop singer Madonna.

The concert is free, but attendees must acquire tickets from the Lied's box office, calling 402-472-4747 or online at liedcenter.org

Bray also is a panelist for the workshop. Other panelists are Kevin Bannerman, the co-creator of "Ice Age" and regular panelist for the Los Angeles ASCAP New Musicals Workshop; and Jason Michael Webb, writer, arranger, and Broadway musical director.

The panelists will offer feedback on the musicals "Gumbo" and "Dust and Shadow," which were selected from among nearly 100 submissions by playwrights, lyricists and composers from around the world.

The following is a rundown of the two musicals and dates of their staged readings:

"Gumbo," 7:30 p.m. Tuesday: The musical, by Christina Quintana (book and lyrics) and Brett Macias (music), is a fantastical retelling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Set in New Orleans and inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the plot unfolds through musical storytelling in the styles of soul, jazz, funk and bluegrass. The reading will feature a cast of Lincoln and Omaha actors directed by Beth Thompson, artistic director of the Shelterbelt Theatre, with musical direction by Liz Stinman.

"Dust and Shadow" 7:30 p.m. Thursday: By Kasey Marino (book), Dustin Sullivan (lyrics) and Jonathan Reid Gealt (music), the musical is based on the novel of the same name by Lyndsay Faye, featuring the detective duo of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as they follow the trail of Jack the Ripper. A 50-minute reading will feature local actors and musical theater students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the direction of Alisa Belflower, coordinator of musical theater studies in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, with musical direction by Louis Claussen.

Tickets are $10 for each reading and available at liedcenter.org, by phone at 402-472-4747 or at the Lied box office.

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