Two students reading their lines during Dramatic Arts workshop

Workshops at USC will culminate in a reading for industry insiders and the USC School of Dramatic Arts community. (Photo/Craig Schwartz)


Theater pros to develop new stage musicals with USC School of Dramatic Arts

LiveRead@SDA aims to show students how an idea can be turned into a commercial production

October 21, 2016 Delphine Vasko

LiveRead@SDA, a new program that could lead to the creation of contemporary musicals, has been launched by the USC School of Dramatic Arts and its dean, David Bridel.

The program invites professional artists to be part of weeklong workshop residencies on the University Park Campus. The workshops, which will culminate in a reading for industry insiders and the School of Dramatic Arts community, will give students a chance to work with industry leaders — producers, directors, playwrights, lyricists, composers and choreographers. Along the way, students can gain practical experience on how to intensively workshop new musicals headed toward commercial production.

“LiveRead@SDA epitomizes the school’s commitment to new theater, new opportunities for our students and new networks for the benefit of all,” Bridel said. “I’m very excited to launch this groundbreaking program and attract the brightest and the best theatrical creators to work with us on their commercial projects.”

VP Boyle will serve as creative director of the program, which was made possible in part by an anonymous donor. In addition to fostering show development, casting and general management of selected shows, Boyle will create show-specific strategic plans to integrate educational opportunities with each creative team for the entire School of Dramatic Arts, including master classes and panel discussions.

For the program’s first year, Bridel and Boyle reviewed a portfolio of industry recommendations, referrals and curated proposals; they chose two forward-thinking projects that highlight the contemporary voices and diversity of Los Angeles. The descriptions follow:

Fall 2016


Book, music and lyrics by Keith Harrison and Laura Harrison

A 16-year-old girl, the target of cyberbullies at school, runs away from home, only to wind up being zapped into her smartphone by a freak lightning storm.

Spring 2017

Hipster Sweatshop

Book, music and lyrics by Kyle Puccia, Kurtis Simmons and Darryl Stephens

Inheriting a commercial property in downtown Los Angeles, a stylish heiress plans to evict the current tenants. But she reconsiders after visiting the space, where she’s charmed by millennial tastemakers who are creating high-end jewelry. A reality show, some vegan donuts and a few syncopated handclaps all come into play in this pop-rock musical.