Come out of your shell and bug out!

By Mithra Ballesteros, First Stage Children's Theater

There are advantages and disadvantages to being one of the oldest and most successful theaters for young audiences in the United States. Thanks to First Stage's well-respected name, we get pitched a lot of ideas. And we do have a long-standing commitment to the development of new plays. But how do we sift through all the material and ideas that come our way to present the best of the best?

Four years ago, First Stage Artistic Director Jeff Frank met U: BUG: ME playwright Jeremiah Clay Neal at a playwright slam sponsored by the Kennedy Center. Explains Frank, "I think I responded to Jeremiah’s incredible positive energy and how much he believes in young people and how that is reflected in the journey of the play and the sophistication of the music." Frank also loved that although the characters were bugs, they have very human struggles.

The “Ant-Hill Band” – comprised of cast members – provides live music on stage to accompany the musical’s alternately hilarious and touching, folk rock songs.

“While this is a great show for our younger audience members, teens have really responded to the music – and the issues of friendship and first relationships,” said Frank, who compares the musical sound to that of folk artist Jack Johnson. "This is genuinely a show that the entire family can, and should, share."

Listen to the track "Infestation" performed by Jeremiah Clay Neal. Watch a short behind-the-scenes video from rehearsals.

U: BUG: ME runs from February 18 - March 13 at the Todd Wehr Theater. Tickets to U: BUG: ME begin at $11.50. Click here to begin your purchase.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to listen to other songs from the play other than Infestation? The kids have watched the edited film on the internet with clips from the U Bug Me performance, but we'd love to have the entire soundtrack to keep in our car. The play was fantastic!

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