Theater Latté Da today announces Bethany Brinton, Crystal Manich and Celeste Moreno as recipients of the NEXT Generation Commission in 2022, reinforcing Theater Latté Da’s commitment to providing opportunities for women artists and BIPOC artists. The NEXT Generation Commission supports the creation and development of new musical theater projects whose creative teams are made up of at least 50% female artists or BIPOC artists. The creative team will split the $20,000 commission.
During his tenure, the team will work on a project currently titled The Legend of La Llorona – A Zarzuela of La Frontera: A Border Story in Music. Imagined as a Gothic musical theater ghost story, it is based on the Mexican myth of La Llorona, The Weeping Woman, reimagined through the lens of personal family history. The project will receive creative and development support over a period of 18 months, including two development workshops and future inclusion in Latté Da’s annual NEXT festival. They join a dynamic list of artists currently on commission to create new musicals at Theater Latté Da, including Jessie Austrian, Noah Brody, Steven Epp, Bradley Greenwald, Maria Isa, JuCoby Johnson, The Kilbanes, Meghan Kreidler and Michael Anderson of Kiss the Tiger, Harrison David Rivers, Kelley Rourke, Ted Shen, Andrew Wilkowske and Sally Wingert.
Throughout its history, Théâtre Latté Da has found ways to bring artists together to create new works, resulting in some of its most memorable and beloved productions of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce. of 1914 and A Christmas Carole Petersen to Five Points and Twelve Angry Men.
“As we embrace the return to live theater, this investment in new works ensures that we have new stories to tell. to put money directly into the hands of artists.. We are grateful to the NEA, Ruth Easton Fund and NaraFund as well as Latté Da donors who have given generously to our list of new work initiatives. They help make opportunities like these commissions possible,” says founding artistic director Pierre Rothstein.
“I am thrilled to begin our relationship with this amazing group of women and support a new play steeped in Latinx myth and music. We look forward to nurturing their unique theatrical talents at the Latté Da Theater and providing them with opportunities for engage with our extraordinary community of artists in the Twin Cities,” says Associate Artistic Director Elissa Adams, who oversees new work initiatives at the Latté Da Theater. “All artists who have chosen to include us in their lives creatively explore new ways to connect story and music for our audience. This is a mission for the Latté Da Theater and for what the field of musical theater also needs.”
NEXT Generation commissioned artists
Composer/librettist Celeste Moreno is the main character designer for Central Park, Apple TV’s animated musical. A songwriter for television, including Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, she was Emmy nominated for the song “Taking A Stroll” about Milo Murphy’s Law. She has written and directed animated shorts for Anonymous Productions, HBO and Cartoon Network. His short film “Inconvenient Ruth”, premiered at the environmental benefit concert, Live Earth organized by Al Gore, and was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Puerto Rican director Crystal Manich has directed over seventy opera, play, musical theater and film productions in the United States, Argentina and Australia. She recently directed the world premiere of the opera The Copper Queen as a western thriller feature for Arizona Opera as well as her first production of West Side Story for San Jose Opera. Passionate about the Spanish language and stories about the Latino experience, she has directed two Spanish operas by Daniel Catán, one of which she received a 2021 Chicago Emmy nomination for. She also directed the first play by children’s theater Return to Sender by Marisela Orta at the Nashville Children’s Theater and the musical Bernarda Alba by Michael John LaChiusa for the Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis, to critical acclaim. Crystal was the co-founder of the artistic direction of Opera Omnia and toured with Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam in Brazil as assistant artistic director. She was also artistic director of the Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis. Crystal holds a bachelor’s degree in directing and a master’s degree in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Composer/arranger Bethany Brinton is a Los Angeles-based songwriter whose music can be heard in award-winning projects across all mediums, including songs for Amazon’s Pete The Cat, Disney’s Milo Murphy’s Law and major hits from James May: Our Man in Japan. . She composes for highly awarded films included in the San Diego International Film Festival, the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, the Independent Shorts Awards and won an audience award at the Dances With Films Festival. In her imaginary free time, she watches movies.
Theater Latté Da is an award-winning musical theater company from the Twin Cities that combines music and story to illuminate the breadth and depth of human experience. The company seeks to create new and impactful connections between story, music, artist and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theatre. www.latteda.org