USHER: A New Musical
by Molly Fox & Sarah Hirsch
1469 Harvard Street Rear, NW
Washington, DC 20009
USHER is a haunting musical adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which asks us to question our own definitions of love, family, and loyalty. The story concerns a struggling painter, James Cleary, who receives a summons to the Usher mansion to paint a portrait of his childhood friend, Roderick, before he succumbs to the inherited illness that overtakes each member of the Usher line. Amidst the decay of the house, James is haunted by the songs of Roderick’s twin sister, Madeline, who is also falling victim to the mysterious Usher illness. James determines to rescue Madeline and rekindle their childhood romance, but he discovers a sinister vein running through the Ushers that rocks the house to its foundation. Ultimately, USHER asks us to grapple with a single question: just how far would you go to keep those you loved from leaving?
USHER was first work-shopped in a staged reading at Yale University in the fall of 2007 and then received a full production at Yale in the spring of 2008. That summer, it traveled to the New York International Fringe Festival, where it received the “Outstanding Musical Award.” Pallas is thrilled to have the opportunity to workshop USHER and further develop and foster its growth, preparing it for a full production next season. TableRead 2013 will feature information on our preparations for USHER’s full production from the talented team of creators, dramaturgs, musicians and designers, as well as a seasoned cast led by emotive baritone, Brendan Kennedy, and brilliant soprano, Ashley Foughty.
About the Artists
Molly Fox – Book and LyricsMolly Fox received her BA from Yale University in Theatre Studies and Anthropology, and was awarded the Stanley Wheeler Prize as top arts student in Morse College. She received her PhD in Biological Anthropology from University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar, and has authored several scientific publications. Playwriting credits include Usher, co-written with Sarah Hirsch, described by The Village Voice as “far and away the best show” at the 2008 NY International Fringe Festival and winner of the Fringe’s “Outstanding Musical” award, and The Danaides, which had a 2007 production at the Playwrights Theatre (NYC).
Sarah Hirsch – MusicSarah Hirsch, a librettist/composer, holds a B.A. in music from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Her musical Usher, co-written with Molly Fox, was named “Outstanding Musical” at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. Several of her other musicals received staged readings at Yale, and two children’s musicals were published by Heuer Publishing Company in Iowa. Sarah is a 2012-13 Dramatists Guild Fellow. She works as the piano accompanist at the Nightingale-Bamford School in Manhattan.