Science

Atlanta Welcomes Inaugural Musical Theatre Festival

Lois Reitzes poses with Chase Peacock and Jessica De Maria, whose play ''What's Past'' is a selection in the inaugural Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival.
Lois Reitzes poses with Chase Peacock and Jessica De Maria, whose play ''What's Past'' is a selection in the inaugural Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival.
Credit Gabbie Watts / WABE

Local musical theater artists have united for the inaugural Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival. From their mission statement, the festival seeks to “cultivate the next generation of theatre artists by mentoring talent, propelling new musicals forward, and celebrating the community in a supportive, nurturing, and creative environment.”

Beyond just presenting completed pieces, founder Benjamin Davis wanted the festival to act a workshop for artists.

“We want to make sure people feel safe presenting new work,” said Jessica De Maria, the festival’s development director.  “It is like putting your little baby child in front of a room full of strangers.”

The festival received 20 submissions, four of which were chosen for the two-day event. De Maria co-wrote one of the pieces selected, called “What’s Past,”with Chase Peacock. 

“When you’re writing, you start to hit little roadblocks and you want to get feedback,” said Peacock, who was motivated to finish the piece because of the festival. “It’s good to have a deadline for you to force art and create work.”

The Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival has three more performances. “The Yellow Wallpaper” premieres Monday at 8 p.m. at Actor’s Express. “The Fine Art of Forgetting” premieres Tuesday at 12 p.m. at Synchronicity Theatre. De Maria and Peacock’s “What’s Past” premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Actor’s Express.