Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS — Broadway is one of the many staples of New York City, but before all the glitz and glamour you see on stage, have you ever wondered where those shows start?

Some of those scenes and songs were written right here in Central Indiana.

New musicals and plays take years to develop, says Joel Kirk, founder of Discovering Broadway, a non-profit working with Broadway creators to create a bridge between the Central Indiana community and the Broadway community. So, why not make Indiana a place where those musicals and plays can incubate?

“While in town I realized most of the gorgeous venues over the summer are empty,” he said. “As a director of new work, and as a producer by necessity, I always look for opportunities.”

So, in the fall of 2019, Kirk created a “sort of Broadway camp” for his friends in the Broadway community where they could develop their Broadway bound musicals and offer the Indiana community a chance to learn about the process of making a musical.

“If you come out here we’re not pitching anything to investors. The investors are in New York, for the majority, or Los Angeles,” he said here they can actually focus on telling a great story. “Bring your new musicals, write the music, birth the script and dialogue, kind of workshop it in a writer’s retreat, and present it to an audience that is so used to seeing things last. Let’s make Indiana first.”

That means Hoosiers get to be the test audience for new Broadway musicals. One of those musicals is “Ever After” based on the 1998 film staring Drew Barrymore.

“I just thought this idea of programming a show based on a fairytale, as we’re coming out of a horrendous year that we all had to endure one way or another just felt right to the organization.”

Songs from the musical will be played at Feinstein’s Cabaret in the Hotel Carmichael on the 23rd, and more writers retreats and classes will likely follow in its wake.

“Let’s make Indiana more than a tour town for Broadway, let’s make it where Broadway starts.”

Click to listen to Joel Kirk’s full interview and how Discovering Broadway is helping artists during the pandemic: