2020 Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award-winner

WESTON, Vt. – The writing team of Tidtaya Sinutoke and Isabella Dawis have won the 14th annual Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award for “Half the Sky,” an inaugural 2019 First Draft Commission by the 5th Avenue Theatre.

The Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award brings the creators of a promising new project together with a small ensemble of actors to rehearse, perform, and record selections from the winning score in Weston, in New York, and in the studio with Grammy-winner Kurt Deutsch of Ghostlight Records.

Press 2020 NMA winners. Photo provided

“Half the Sky,” says executive artistic director Susanna Gellert, “is a beautiful and original musical that traverses the vast terrain of an expedition up Mount Everest and how it changes one family forever…I am so proud that Weston will be contributing to its development and future.”

Nominated by Mei Ann Teo, producing artistic director of Musical Theatre Factory, “Half the Sky” follows Aurelie, who sets out to fulfill her childhood dream of summiting Mount Everest, together with a group of hopeful mountaineers from around the world and a precocious teenage Sherpa. As she grapples with the grueling demands of the mountain, Aurelie finds she must also confront her Thai American family’s past and the rift that separates her from her younger sister. Borders between countries and cultures, past and present, and waking and dreaming begin to blur. “[This musical] pulls together the most intimate and epic human impulses into story and song,” says Teo.

Tidtaya Sinutoke is a Thai born, NYC-based composer and a Jonathan Larson Grant recipient. Tidtaya is a proud member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and Thai Theatre Foundation.

As a playwright and librettist, Isabella Dawis’ work has been supported by Musical Theatre Factory, the O’Neill Center, Town Stages, and Central Square Theater. She is a 2019-2020 Rockwell Scholar at the Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts in NYC.

Two free public concerts of “Half the Sky” will be held at Walker Farm Saturday, March 7 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Reserve your free tickets to the performances March 7 by visiting www.westonplayhouse.org/nma.

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