Discovering Broadway founder and artistic director Joel Kirk knew the first show selection for his nonprofit arts organization would be crucial.
The 2012 Carmel High School graduate’s first selection is sure to draw attention, as Discovering Broadway will start with the musical “Mandela” about the life of South African anti-apartheid revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela, Kirk announced Nov. 14 at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.
After two weeks of workshops, actors will present the show with scripts in hand at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. Those two weeks will coincide with Black History Month.
“‘Mandela’ dives into the personal struggle of Nelson Mandela to lead South Africa out of apartheid into democracy and freedom, as well as the intimate story of what he and his and loved ones endured,” said Kirk, a director in New York.
The music and lyrics are by South African composers Shaun and Greg Dean Borowsky. The book writer is Laiona Michelle.
There will be a Broadway masterclass Feb. 9. A public forum with producers, Mandela family representatives and the musical’s creators will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 15. Both sites have yet to be determined.
“Discovering Broadway makes Indiana the first stop on Broadway’s journey,” Kirk said. “The single most important decision as an organization we make is what show we select. We’ll base our decision on what artists we are eager to support, the story we seek to champion and how the show itself will benefit our Indiana community.”
One of Kirk’s executive board members is David Owens, another 2012 CHS grad who was in show choir with Kirk. Owens was on “The Voice” earlier this year.
“Joel and I both know firsthand how much incredible talent is here in Indianapolis, and we’re excited to foster that and build on the existing music and theater communities,” he said. “We believe strengthening the arts means equipping and empowering the artists who already live in the Hoosier state.”
Indianapolis-area artists will have the opportunity to audition to be in the pre-Broadway workshop development process alongside the New York-based principals.
“In addition, all the musicians will be local as well as the professional stage managers, lighting and sound designers for the presentation in February,” Kirk said.