A collaborative effort among IndyFringe, The District Theatre, Indiana Historical Society, Main Street Artists, Timeless Music Project and Indiana Entertainment Foundation, THE STARR-GENNETT STORY is in development to become a live-action stage play with music telling the story of the early years of the Starr Piano Company and Gennett Records. The play is being conceived and written by Indiana author Dr. Julie Lyn Barber and will incorporate information and inspiration from archives and anecdotes collected by members of the Starr-Gennett Foundation, Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Entertainment Foundation.
The development process of the play includes this evening where participants will see and hear readings and songs of the work-in-progress, and be encouraged to share critiques on the content as well as personal stories and anecdotes that might contribute to the further development of the piece. Two additional development workshops will be held in the coming months at the Indiana Historical Society and in Richmond, Indiana.
The first fully-staged and produced public performances of the play will be as an entry in the Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival in August, 2020. Once staged for the Festival, the play will be arranged into presentations as brief as 20-minutes or as long as 90-minutes. These flexible performances will also include study guides and post-performance conversations about the history of the material being presented. These flexible performances will be scheduled for presentation in rural communities and festivals as part of the Fringe On Wheels mobile theatre series as well as an educational outreach presentation to schools and classrooms across the state. The show would also be performed as part of the Indiana Historical Society’s 2020 exhibit honoring the Starr-Gennett legacy.
The play itself would use humor and history to tell the story of the founding and influence of the Starr Piano Company and Gennett Records on both the history and culture of Indiana as well as America in the early 20th Century. It will feature a cast of 5 actor/singers and 3 musicians. The author has a long and successful track record of writing and producing historical plays and musicals with humorous points of view, including biographies of Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, the Gershwin Brothers and more, as well as the stories of the Indiana Squirrel Stampede and Brown County’s famous Liar’s Bench.
Run time: Approximately 1 hour, no intermission