At the Barre
Book & Lyrics - SMJ / Music - Sarah Flaim
Catherine is heartbroken over the death of a loved one.
Shawn is scared into silence by the thoughts in their mind.
Catherine, the talented and bisexual principal dancer at a high-level NYC ballet company, and Shawn, a talented and non-binary mime in Times Square, are thrust into each other's lives after an insane audition. In the wake of personal tragedies and lingering doubts, Catherine and Shawn search for their inner beauty and how to make a connection in a cluttered and overly talkative world.
At the Barre is based on a series of vignettes collectively entitled Very Strong Liking that began in 2013 at Otterbein University Dance Workshops as well as presentations in the Otterbein University Department of Theatre and Dance's Festival and The Launch.
Very Strong Liking was developed into a 40-minute mime play that was presented on August 5, 2017 in the Jewel Box Theater as a part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. The production featured Olivia Crawford, SMJ, Isabel Billinghurst, Daniel Kunkel, with Madalyn Baker, Douglas Reitsma, and Jessica Toltzis rounding out the ensemble.
During the February 2018 residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT, SMJ with collaborators Alli Acuff, Anne-Marie Pietersma, and Alex Becker, held the first table-read of the script, recorded beginning demos for the songs “Blown,” “Pause #3,” & “Radio Silence,” as well as block the end of Act One and the beginning of Act Two for a potential staged reading. Colby Rison, Chandler Smith, Zahan Mehta, & Leya Van Doren served as additional readers.
As a resident artist at the Access Theater in New York City, NY from March 1 - August 31, 2018, At the Barre was read through monthly table readings with collaborators from the New York City area. Readers included Emmy Albritton, Madalyn Baker, Kaylee Barrett, Alex Becker, Megan Bowen, Sarah DiFiore, Madison Eberhardt, Ben Folts, Olivia Kasten, Emi Lirman, Marth Brown, Gianna Meaglia, Ana Mirabal, Jasen Miyamoto, Evan Moore-Coll, EmJ Nelson, Carrigan O'Brian, Jennifer Pernia, Violeta Picayo, Anne-Marie Pietersma, Douglas Reitsma, Payton Smith, David Socolar, Aliza Sotsky, Joyah Love Spangler, Monique St. Cyr, Natalie Szczerba, Emily Michelle Walton, Harley Winzenried, and J.T. Wood.
The first public reading of At the Barre took place during the Scratch Night Series at Theater for the New City on May 21, 2018 in the Cino Theater. The reading was directed by Allison Acuff. The reading featured Emi Lirman, Joyah Love Spangler, EmJ Nelson, Caylie Rose Newcom, Madison Eberhardt, Amina Theis, Sally Clark, Morgana Mauney, Kaelyn Brandt, Olivia Kasten, Natalie Szczerba, Jasen Miyamoto, Marth Brown, Jennifer Pernia, Ben Folts, & Evan Moore-Coll.
At the Barre was also in residence at the Dragon’s Egg Studio in Ledyard, CT in August 2018, developing brand-new demos and a new draft of the show. It also featured a reading. Readers included Ludmila Brito, Jenna Doherty, Lydia Faith, Talia Frank-Stempel, Olivia Kasten, Jasen Miyamoto, Colby Rison, Dani Schlenker, & Lilly Sheridan.