Musical theatre workshops and productions

Miley Chase – a TV Series

I had the word “science” written on my white board in front of my desk for months.  I knew I wanted to do a show about science and I knew I wanted the hero to be a 10 year old brown skinned girl.   But I did not know where to go from there.  So, I interviewed a bunch of 10 year old children with vivid imaginations and slowly a plot developed in my mind.  Then – MILEY CHASE THE SCIENCE ACE was born.  You can read more about it in my blog HERE.

Now, the musical has had a showcase production – click HERE to see the amazing photos – thanks to Tina Reynolds and Ovation Academy in Oak Park, Illinois.  The show has also been accepted to a New Works Festival at an Equity theatre in New Hampshire, to be held in September.  And, finally, there are two more full productions booked this fall.

But, that is not all. A few weeks ago, I received a call from an executive at a major television conglomerate.  She had read the script, and she encouraged me to develop MILEY CHASE THE SCIENCE ACE into an animated television series for family viewing.  What???

What do I do now?  I started calling/emailing/messaging folks that might be able to offer some advice.  I talked with agents, animators, television writers and, of course, a television entertainment attorney.  The bottom line?   CPA Theatricals has commissioned two seasoned writers in Los Angeles to write a TV Series pilot for an animated children’s show.  I am thrilled to be working with such successful writers and even more happy to learn that they are also television and film producers.  But, what about MILEY CHASE?

Well, in one of our first meetings the writers encouraged me not to duplicate the plot of the stage musical.  Instead, they urged me to come up with a new plot idea for the first episode.  While the dinosaurs are great for the musical – which would really make a wonderful short feature film – it is not really the story for a pilot, nor does it set up a “series” of episodes.  Then……more consulting…more asking of advice from children, my consultants, producers and BAM.  We had a brilliant idea.  Here it is:

First, a new story introduction: Miley Chase has a brilliant, eccentric grandma – called Gma – who is going into a retirement home.  Gma is a respected scientist, but she is also known for her crazy stories and imaginative mind.  As Miley and her mother are cleaning up Gma’s home, Miley discovers some of Gma’s notes and a journal about time travel.  Miley sneaks the journal back to her own room and creates a time machine.  BOOM – she and her pal, Tyler, go back in time.

And then, a new destination: they visit Cleopatra – not as an adult, but as a child like them! A great adventure ensues and Miley and Tyler return home changed and motivated.  As Miley reflects on the journey she ends the pilot saying to Tyler – “I wonder what Albert Einstein was like as a kid.”  Hence, the premise of the series.  Miley and Tyler will visit famous people in history when they are children.

Should be fun!

More soon.
Larry Little

THE MOMENT as a stage show.

The retreat started at 6pm on a Monday night.  Not the typical time retreats start, but this was no typical retreat.  The goal: develop our  virtual musical THE MOMENT into a stage show.  The participants: James Zager (dramaturg), Nicholas Reinhart (Assistant Producer) and myself.  We had 1 ½ days to find a way to make this work.

You see, THE MOMENT was designed as a “virtual” show – to be rehearsed over zoom, then have the actors record their sections (all monologues) on their phones in their own homes and then combine the recordings into a YouTube video.  Our pilot production of the virtual version was directed by the great NYC director, Kenny Ingram, and you can watch it HERE. But now that COVID restrictions are letting up, it is time to take this great show, add characters, create scenes – yes dialogue – and imagine how it could be staged.

Why are we having this retreat now?  Because we have scheduled THE MOMENT for a full staged reading in August!   Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin will host a reading of the show using a cast from Milwaukee and the suburbs.  I am thrilled that it will be directed by James Zager.

So, let me tell you about some of the new characters and stories.  You may recall that each scene/character experiences “the moment” when their life changes.

Radika is a Black woman, of a certain age, who is on her way to the final day of a yoga teacher training course.  She will finally get her spiritual name.  Along the way she encounters Tyshawn (who was already a character in the show) and they connect about their special days.  My favorite part about this scene is the first line that Radika says “The Black Fat Pussy Cat.”  Imagine where it will go from there.

Magda is a cleaning woman.  Her client invites her to have coffee before the day starts and Magda lets it all out.  Her daughter is spewing garbage on social media, her husband wants to quit his steady job to be a tattoo artist and she is dealing with a lot of anger and change in her home.  But, she has one vice.  One thing that gives her hope. One thing that makes her think life can be beautiful.  And that is….. well, I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Find out soon.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Larry Little

More about Miley

MILEY CHASE THE SCIENCE ACE is ready for action!  The songs are written (by the amazing Dylan MarcAurele) and recorded in a professional production studio.    We had a blast recording them, all while following safety precautions! You can check them out HERE. The script is done – Mike Ross outdid himself. It is hysterical, poignant and moves like the wind. The initial illustration artwork is done (after many revisions). Finally, our reading using 10 year old actors revealed some spots for adjustments – and they gave us some great ideas about Miley’s next adventure as well.

Let me tell you a little more about the show.  The leading character is Miley Chase.  She is a 6th grade science wiz, but no one knows it yet.  She has a natural ability to understand and analyze complex science issues.  She is a very hard worker and can concentrate under adverse environments.  But she has no friends.  She is lonely and does not relate well to others.  Over against Miley is Tyler.  Very popular, he is arrogant and jealous of Miley.

But most of all, in this blog I especially want to share how I came up with these names.

I created the name Miley based on two child actors I worked with on the Chicago production of THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS in December 2019.  Our evil elves were played by Maya and Lilly.  Even though they were evil on stage, they were very mature and sweet to work with. So, I combined their names to create Miley.   In the same way, I named Tyler because of a young actor named Kyler.  Kyler is a superstar.  He went on for two different roles in THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS and understudied another.  Imagine that!    And while I was thinking of these wonderful young actors, I remembered Joe as well —  a talented, cool and very funny young man.  So I named JoJo the T-Rex in MILEY CHASE after him.   I hope this new show honors these wonderful young people.

Last, I want to share with you something that an adult actress said to me as we were recording the show.  “I love Miley!” she said.  “I want to play her.  You know, this show could be TYA.” Hmmmmmmm.  What is TYA?  Theatre for Young Audiences.  TYA shows are adult actors performing a show for an audience full of children.  This is not something that I have experience in as a producer.  But as an actor, I made a lot of money performing in TYA shows.   Although MILEY was originally envisioned as a show performed by child actors, maybe a TYA version would work as well.  Our shows that CPA Theatricals develops are “family entertainment,” After all, where the audience is filled with adults AND children. So, this may just be an exciting alternative.

MILEY CHASE THE SCIENCE ACE is ready for the world to see.  Are you ready?

Larry Little

THE MOMENT – Video from First Scene

Kamala’s at the Podium Now

This is the first scene from THE MOMENT – a new musical for actors ages 15-22. The character is Camiya, a mixed race young woman, whose life is changed as she witnesses the reality that Kamala Harris will be the next Vice President of the United States.

The Moment – it happens and everything changes!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from CPA Theatricals!

We have been very busy here, and I am excited to announce that we have created a new zoom musical.  This musical is intended for performance by actors ages 15-20.  The title is  –  THE MOMENT – each scene focuses on a moment in each character’s life when everything changes.    We all have these moments.  As I look back over my life, I can name about 5 times when something happened and BAM – my life was never the same.  So that is the concept for this show.

I am so proud to say that we collaborated with 11 writers from all of the US to create this new show.  Here they are!

Right now, we are in rehearsal of our pilot production of THE MOMENT, using actors from all over the country.  (After all, they are rehearsing in their homes, and will videotape their polished performances.)  The show is helmed by my longtime friend, Kenny Ingram.  Kenny is known throughout the world as a director/choreographer and as a performer.   It is an honor to be able to work with him during these unprecedented times.  And the performers in the show – WOW.  Some with Broadway credits, many with dozens of shows under their belts (a huge accomplishment for young performers!) and all excited and very talented.

Now, here is something else.  If 2020 made us pivot – it also took us out of our comfort zone and THE MOMENT did just that for me.  You have heard me say many times that I produce “Family Entertainment!” Well, THE MOMENT is different.  It is edgy, gritty.  It deals with issues that young people today are struggling with.  All this – but with an element of joy and hope.  Here are some of the characters in the show and the issues their “moment.”

Camiya – 15, a mixed race female, watches Kamala Harris acknowledge her win as VP- elect.  As she watches Kamala she sees herself and so many possibilities ahead.

Fatima – 17, a Muslim-American, receives a letter from a college she has applied to.  It is her last chance to attend university.  Otherwise she will have to stay at home and work in her family’s restaurant.

Kyle, 15, male, is home alone for the first time.  He uses the opportunity to do the one thing he’s been dreaming about for years: trying on his mother’s heels. This moment sets off something in him: he feels liberated and alive.

Tyshawn, 15, black male, faces the challenge of going to an all-white prep school.  Everything is new – including the stuffy uniform which he is about to try on.

These are just a taste of the show.   Right now, I am feeling so blessed and grateful to be able to tell these stories.

Wishing you and your families prosperity, peace, joy and happiness in 2021!

Larry Little

What are the GIRLHOOD composers up to now?


We’ve always known that we’re blessed by the talented composers and writers who work on our shows.  But lately there’s been a flurry of confirmation about that.  Last week I learned that Dylan MarcAurele, a composer and musical supervisor for GIRLHOOD has been named a 2020-21 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow.  Thinking about that, I decided to check in with other composing team members from GIRLHOOD and see what was happening in their lives.  Here is a recap of a few:

Andy Roninson won the very prestigious 2019 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient.  He was also a 2019-2020 Dramatists Guild Fund Fellow.

Jan Roper received the L.A. Scenie Award for Musical Director of the Year for 2019-2020. She also won the 2020 “Raise Your Voice” Playwright Competition for a new work called “América Tropical”.

Aaron Latina signed a 6-picture deal to score all their films for a production company in Atlanta.

Lara Filip started a new production company to house her touring kid’s shows and the “Walking Plays” that she produces at Morton Arboretum and beyond.

Alex Petti has been accepted into the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre workshop as a composer and has continued to develop his upcoming projects, “The Trouble With Dead Boyfriends” and “Alex Petti And The Nervous Wrecks Present: The Hometown Tour.”

Joe Stevens and Keaton Wooden had a reading with Tony-Winner Michael Mayer in February, and Keaton is co-writing a digital musical with Grayson Selby and Jack Newell, head of the Harold Ramis Second City Film School.

MARILYN CAMPBELL-LOWE, is co-authoring w/Maya Friedler, a book entitled “Opening Doors: Early Chicago Women Activists (1950-1970);” and co-adapting with Paul Oakley Stovall, a new musical based on, Segu, by Maryse Conde.

Joan Bauer’s Newberry-awarded best-selling novel HOPE WAS HERE film adaptation is currently in early stages of development with exciting news to be officially announced soon.  Also, her new novel for young people “Raising Lumie” was published in June and has received great reviews.

Oh, and one more item about Dylan MarcAurele. He was also on TV. His musical theater parody Instagram page @RhonyMusical got some major attention. As a result, he was recently featured on national television for Bravo’s 200th episode of The Real Housewives of New York City.

Amazing, ha?   I am thrilled to be able to say I worked with all of them.

Larry Little