MIDDLE SCHOOL MYSTERIES
Book, music, and lyrics by Daniel Maté
Originally created in collaboration with the Education Department at Two River Theater Company (Red Bank, NJ) and their Young Voices 732 Program (Kate Cordaro, Education Director); subsequently developed in partnership with 2RTC’s Literary Department (Jeremy Stoller, Literary Manager; John Dias, Artistic Director). Inspired by, and conceived and developed with the participation of the original cast: Cassidy Boylan, Jake Cameron, Jeffrey Carrano, Destyni Cooper, Imani DeAngelo-Cobbs, Owen Doherty, Jack Fink, Maggie Franzreb, Hannah Friedman, Sophie Halpern, Adrian Hernandez, Sophia Jackman, Jackie Nagle, Jon Erik Nielsen, Francesca Reznik, Vici Saunders, Chloe Triolo, and Isabel Wallace.
(***All photos of original cast of Middle School Mysteries at Two River Theater Company, by Scott L. Friedman. Click here to view the entire slideshow!)
THE STORY OF THE SHOW…
On the first day of middle school, two 6th-grade super-sleuths — Special Agent Rick Taylor and Melissa Lewis, Girl Detective — form an unlikely alliance and set about solving the biggest case of their careers: namely, their fellow students. Peeling back their classmates’ surface layers of artifice and stereotype, these young investigators are doggedly determined to get to the truth of who these people are. But can they handle the truth? Or will their sleuthing unleash a torrent of pent-up tween angst that could tear the school apart? In the words of the show’s opening song:
Everyone’s a mystery!
A whole new case to crack.
Tell me, how can you refuse?
Don’t you want to follow the clues,
To solve the mystery
Of who they really are, and why?
THE STORY BEHIND THE SHOW…
“In Spring 2011, I was invited by Two River to be a guest artist for an after-school youth theatre program called Young Voices 732, whose aim was to create an original piece of musical theatre with and for an ensemble of 18 middle school-aged actors in the North Jersey Shore area. Along with my amazing teammates — director Kate Cordaro and assistant director/choreographer Luisa Inés Garcia — I conducted conversations and exercises with these remarkable young artists, inquiring into what middle school was like for them: their observations, experiences, questions, reflections and insights. Based on those conversations, and some theatrical/musical improv games, the cast of characters and musical palette of MIDDLE SCHOOL MYSTERIES were born…
We staged a very simple reading of the musical’s first draft in June ’11, followed by a remount with the original cast nearly a full year later. The fact that all 18 of the original cast members made time amid their busy after-school schedules to team up and re-dive into the world of the show was inspiring, and spoke volumes about how much this piece means to them, and to all of us.
Currently (Fall 2012) I’m working on a rewrite of the show with the dramaturgical support of Jeremy Stoller, 2RTC’s Literary Manager and Kate Cordaro, Education Director, as well as John Dias, Artistic Director. Our aim is to refine and develop the piece so that it hits home and is irresistibly produceable by and for middle schools everywhere! Stay tuned for more as the mysteries unfold…” -DM