Working in the Theatre: Under Construction – Polyphone

Exploring and performing emerging musicals is crucial to the process of creating new work.  Such is the case with the students, alumni, and participants of The Polyphone Festival at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia who are blurring the line between workshop and production. Watch as Jonathan Larson Grant recipient, educator, and composer/lyricist César Alvarez and his colleagues work with their students in preparing songs and story ultimately arriving at the presentation of this amazing festival.

This past year’s festival included the work of these incredible artists:

  • Folk Wandering (Conceived by Jaclyn Backhaus and Andrew Neisler, Book and Lyrics by Jaclyn Backhaus, Music and Additional Lyrics by Blake Allen, Mike Brun, Andrew R. Butler, Joel Esher, Alex Fast, Jo Lampert, and Annie Tippe, Arrangements by Mike Brun and Joel Esher, Orchestrations by Mike Brun, Additional Orchestrations by Blake Allen, Directed by Andrew Neisler)
  • Normativity (Book, Music and Lyrics by Jaime Jarrett, Director: Rebecca Wright Music Directors: Jaime Jarrett and Ellen Winter Choreographer: Eppchez)
  • The Real Whisper (Music and Lyrics by Greta Gertler Gold, Book and Lyrics by Akin Salawu Director: Nell Bang-Jensen, Music Director: Amanda Morton, Choreographer: Amy Smith)
  • The Best Songs in the World Show, A New Musical by Red 40 & The Last Groovement (Music, Book and Lyrics: Martha Stuckey in collaboration with The Last Groovement, Director: Anisa George, Music Director: Martha Stuckey, Choreographer: Melanie Cotton)

For more information on Polyphone visit

American Theatre Wing’s Working in the Theatre documentary series features the most fascinating people on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. From Tony Awards® and Obie Awards® winning artists to the next generation of theatre makers, we capture theatre’s inner-workings, industry luminaries, and unique stories that surround important work.