A team of local theater-makers and artists have been working to develop Vanishing Girl, a new coming-of-age musical inspired by comic books and centered on a queer heroine. This month, they’ll get additional assistance in developing the work as the public gets an early sneak peek at the show.
Billing itself as “the D.C. area’s premier nerd and pop culture performing arts organization,” Flying V gravitates toward staged shows that are more offbeat and different than the standard theatrical fare.
A Flying V show is also typically more varied and experimental in presentation, generally by incorporating elements of puppetry, stage combat/professional wrestling, and digital media and projections into a baseline mix of acting, singing, and dancing.
Many of those elements factor into Vanishing Girl, a musical in development from composer and lyricist William Yanesh — a Helen Hayes Award-winning music director (Ford’s Theatre’s Into The Woods) — and writer Hope Villanueva, with Broadway veteran and Helen Hayes Award-winning local actor Eric Jordan Young (Signature Theatre’s Side Show) serving as director.
An impressive cast of 10 local performers will help the trio further develop and hone the musical through a week-long developmental workshop next week, culminating in two public performances this weekend, all presented as the kickoff production of Flying V’s 2023 season.
“We are thrilled that Vanishing Girl is our first offering of 2023 and our second theatrical performance since we’ve returned from the COVID shutdown,” says Flying V’s Artistic Lead for Theatre Kelly Colburn. “This new work explores the intersectionality of the nerd experience, which is something Flying V is focused on celebrating in our upcoming seasons.”
Styled as a musical that “will resonate with anyone who has felt invisible,” Vanishing Girl is about Luciana, a college student with one best friend and a secret crush on the girl at the comic shop. After acquiring short-lived electricity-related superpowers, Luciana is challenged with figuring out how to be seen before it’s too late — before her superpowers slowly fade out.
The Flying V workshop production features Helen Hayes Award Winner Rayanne Gonzales (Olney Theatre’s In The Heights), Helen Hayes Award Nominees Justine Icy Moral (Constellation Theatre’s Avenue Q) and Harrison Smith (Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s Disney’s Newsies), Bianca Lipford, Meredith Richard, and Carl L. Williams, plus three additional cast members to be announced.
“While we’ve been able to hear the musical out loud in a staged reading format and on Zoom, this unique workshop experience will give us the opportunity to really dig into the music and fine-tune the story,” says book writer Hope Villanueva. “There are discoveries you can only make in person with your fellow artists.”
Public performances are Saturday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Rd., Maryland. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $10. Visit www.flyingvtheatre.com.
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