June 2021 Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison This month, Carmel Monthly is pleased to feature some of Broadway\u2019s brightest stars\u2014Christy Altomare, Corey Cott, Marcy Heisler, Zina Goldrich, Kate Wetherhead and Marlo Hunter\u2014on our cover! As many Broadway enthusiasts know, this team of extraordinary talent came to Carmel, Indiana, last May for a writers retreat program hosted by Discovering Broadway. We had the incredible opportunity to sit in on the rehearsal and speak with the creative team and stars about working at the Hotel Carmichael while creating five new songs from the new musical \u201cEver After.\u201d Altomare and Cott performed selections from the new musical at Feinstein\u2019s at Hotel Carmichael on May 23 for an intimate audience that included locals and fans who traveled from out of state just to get a first glimpse of this exciting new musical. From Carmel to New York City Founded by Carmel native and CEO Joel Kirk, Discovering Broadway Inc. hosts Broadway creative teams in Indiana so they can develop their Broadway-bound new musicals and offer the public educational opportunities to learn about the process of making a musical. The organization programs seminars to the public and master classes for aspiring performers. Joel Kirk Kirk is a New York City theater director and producer who specializes in the development of new plays and musicals. He has worked with New World Stages, Playwrights Horizons, NYMF, The Lark, New Dramatists, Sheen Center, Hudson Guild Theatre, Wide Eyed Productions and WorkShop Theatre, to name a few. Recently he worked with Tony Award winner Reed Birney and Tony Award nominee Sydney Lucas on the play \u201cChangeover.\u201d He has guest directed for NYU\u2019S Grad Playwriting Program, Ball State University, Juilliard and Fordham University\u2019s Playwriting Program. He is the chairman\/CEO of Joel Kirk Productions LLC, a production company that produces commercial theater. Carmel Welcomes Broadway Royalty Kirk reflected on the process and credited the retreat\u2019s success to the hospitality and support that was provided to the creative team by the staff at the Hotel Carmichael, the city and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. Kirk shared, \u201cOne of the greatest things I can hear a creative team say is that they need to cancel a Trader Joe\u2019s run because they\u2019re in the middle of a creative discovery. We created a firm itinerary so that everyone who visited Carmel with this process had absolutely everything they needed. The more that itinerary changes based on their creativity, the better because it means a new song is emerging or a whole new thought on how to open the show , or maybe a scene\u2019s not working and it needs more conflict, so they make tiny adjustments.\u201d Kirk shared a story told to him by the creative team that best highlights Carmel hospitality at its finest. \u201cWhere else should you be writing a musical about a fairy tale in a place that is so awe-inspiring than in Carmel, Indiana,\u201d Kirk expressed. \u201cWe\u2019d be talking about the city while taking a walk on the Monon , and all of a sudden one of the writers would have figured out what needed to happen , and then they\u2019re writing notes in their phone. It was just magic, and it\u2019s like this really beautiful life continuously being interrupted by beautiful inspiration.\u201d The creative team shared with Kirk that Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard walked over to the team as they were traversing the Monon Trail in search of their evening meal, and Brainard personally guided them up to the Arts & Design District where the team enjoyed themselves at Monterey Coastal Cuisine on Main Street. Kirk added, \u201cOnly in Indiana can something as wonderful and beautiful as that happen. He was literally supporting people getting to where they need to go, which is sort of the tagline for what we want Discovering Broadway to do. We want to help shows get to where they want to go.\u201d A Few Words With the \u201cEver After\u201d Team \u201cEver After\u201d is the second show to participate in Discovering Broadway\u2019s program, following the February workshop of \u201cThe Devil Wears Prada\u201d musical. Based on the Twentieth Century Studios film starring Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston, \u201cEver After\u201d has music by award-winning songwriting team Zina Goldrich (\u201cBreathe,\u201d \u201cYay People Yay!,\u201d Drama Desk nomination for \u201cDear Edwina\u201d) and Marcy Heisler who provided lyrics (\u201cWilliamsburg,\u201d Drama Desk nomination for \u201cDear Edwina\u201d). The book is by Marcy Heisler and Kate Wetherhead (book co-writer for \u201cThe Devil Wears Prada,\u201d co-creator\/writer\/director\/star of the online comedy \u201cSubmissions Only\u201d). Directing the new musical is Marlo Hunter (\u201cAmerican Reject,\u201d Callaway Award winner for directing\/choreographing \u201cUnlock\u2019d\u201d). Corey Cott and Christy Altomare \u201cEver After\u201d showcases two of Broadway\u2019s most charismatic stars, Christy Altomare\u2014who starred in \u201cAnastasia\u201d\u2014and Corey Cott, who is best known for playing Jack Kelly in the Broadway musical \u201cNewsies\u201d and originating the role of Donny Novitski in the Broadway musical \u201cBandstand.\u201d Altomare shared her thoughts on working in Carmel and on developing her character, Danielle De Barbarac. \u201cI love \u2018Ever After,\u2019 it\u2019s one of my favorite shows,\u201d Altomare expressed. \u201cI can\u2019t believe that is getting to realize it in this special, magical way where they get to\u2014in a safe, beautiful and opulent environment\u2014completely let their guard down and find the show in a way they want to realize it. I\u2019m so excited for the way that my character, Danielle, has developed and grown. Her arc is so powerful, real and honest. I can\u2019t wait for to eventually have a life and for young girls to follow this new character that is going to mean so much to so many people.\u201d What would a musical about Cinderella be without the handsome prince? Cott shared what has attracted him most to the role of Prince Henry. \u201cIt\u2019s a process to make your own,\u201d Cott shared. \u201cIt can take weeks and months to figure out all of the intricacies and unique qualities of a character. The thing that attracts me to the character of Henry is his vulnerability. A person in a position of power can be vulnerable, but they\u2019re not allowed to show their vulnerability. Henry says the word \u2018questions\u2019 a lot in the show. He has a lot of questions about what he wants and how he is going to facilitate what is expected of him. He\u2019s trying to live up to these expectations, and there\u2019s this internal struggle about who he is. As , I can connect with his questioning of everything. Especially since this past year. I think we\u2019ve all been asking big life questions this past year.\u201d Members of the \u201cEver After\u201d team shared their impressions of working in Carmel during this retreat and were highly complimentary of the city\u2019s hospitality and accommodations as well. Goldrich shared, \u201cI think what being in Carmel has afforded us is absolute focus. Everybody here has been very welcoming and lovely and helpful. So, we were able to unwind in the evening, go out for dinner, and sometimes we would come back and dream some more and do some more, and we do this whole thing over and over again, and it\u2019s been amazing.\u201d Heisler added, \u201cEverything about this experience has been welcoming, and I think that is so necessary when you're creating something\u2014it's a vulnerable place. And the best way that you create your best work is to know that you've got supportive people who understand not only what you're trying to do but understand you have to write the wrong song to write the right song and to have room to grow and think about what you're doing. Carmel is just a lovely supportive environment.\u201d Echoing the sentiments of her fellow creative team members, Hunter said, \u201cIt's really a blessing, and in terms of being able to do it here in Carmel, and what's really unique about this situation is the vibrancy of the city. The supporters and the people are so excited about not just witnessing artistic creation but supporting it. It is truly unique, and so we're in this space where we feel creatively safe amidst this community that really wants to be a part of it, and that's really tremendous. It has brought a unique energy to our process.\u201d Appreciative of the community\u2019s support of this phase of a musical\u2019s creative journey, Wetherhead concluded, \u201cI was thinking about how this stage of the process doesn\u2019t get the kind of attention that other parts of a process gets, like getting the costumes made, etc. And the fact that this delicate and tender part of the development is being treated with such respect and enthusiasm, and I dare say celebration, feels particularly special. It\u2019s fun to be able to share this part of with a broader group of people.\u201d For more information on Discovering Broadway, visit discoveringbroadway.org.