If you missed the end of the world in January, 2018, you can get another shot at it in May and June. Best of all, the individuals bringing you the end of the world, specifically in New Jersey, are based in Highland Park and New Brunswick.
The Eleventh Hour!, an original and irreverent rock musical comedy about the end of the world in our Garden State, was hatched in a New Brunswick, New Jersey basement. It made its critically acclaimed New York debut with three performances in New York this past January and won seven awards in the 2018 Winterfest for best production, score, creativity, direction, choreography, lighting design, and singer.
The apocalypse comedy/musical has come back to life this spring with performances from May 11 through June 27 at Town Stages, 221 West Broadway. For a night of wonderful and funky entertainment and celebration of hometown talent, get tickets at eleventhhourmusical.com
The action takes place in New Jersey as the end of the world is imminent. A burned-out basement rocker and his ex-girlfriend, a rising-star astrophysicist, may have the key to surviving the black hole bearing down on earth. If they can reconcile their feelings and manage a dangerous journey on the NJ Turnpike, they just may save their music, each other, and the mole people who live beneath them. The Eleventh Hour! features music, book, and lyrics by David Seamon, direction by Annie Rutherford Lutz, and is produced by Smugbug Productions.
Mr. Seamon, Ms. Lutz, and Shimmy Schwartz originally created the story for the musical through a commission by coLAB Art, a –not-for-profit arts initiative that engages artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work. coLAB Arts facilitates creative conversation through innovative programs and artist infrastructure, connects artists with community partners and mentors, and executes productions that challenge perceptions and inspire action.
David Seamon (Composer/Book/Lyrics) is a playwright, composer, and actor. He works as a teaching artist for the George Street Playhouse and McCarter Theatre and is the co-director of the company ensemble at the Wharton Institute of Performing Arts. In 2013, David won the Silver Tripod Award at Campus Movie Fest for best score to a short film, Melody. David has an extensive background as a musical director and touring children’s theater performer, and has a degree in journalism and media studies from Rutgers University. His 2007 album “The Brotherhood of Teenage Haze” is available on iTunes and Spotify and his 2017 release “Minimum Rage” is available on Soundcloud. David is a frequent collaborator with coLAB Arts, having worked as an actor, composer, and playwright. The Eleventh Hour is David’s first full-length musical. Thedaveseamon.com
Annie Rutherford Lutz (Director), a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University, is a director, performer, and teaching artist. Throughout the school year, she leads Theater Arts Integration programs across the state of New Jersey, specializing in the creation of new works and ensemble-based theatre. Most recently, she became the Resident Teaching Artist / Project Coordinator for George Street Playhouse, where she has the privilege of managing in-school theatrical residencies and fostering new Teaching Artists. Annie has been the director of The Eleventh Hour since its inception and is honored to have followed this piece throughout its development.
Other members of the original creative team include:
Mary Gragen Roberts (Properties and Puppetry Design) is a theater educator, designer and technician with a particular interest in creating visual elements in unexpected ways. Mary joined McCarter Theater in 2014 after seven years working in the production department of George Street Playhouse as the Assistant Props Master. At George Street, Mary also worked as a teaching artist and production manager for their educational summer academy. Mary completed her MFA in Puppetry at the University of Connecticut. She has worked as a professional puppet designer and puppeteer for both Dragon Tales Live! and Bear In The Big Blue House Live!, Wes Craven’s My Soul To Take as well as various commercials and other touring productions around the country.
Joey Braccino (Lighting Design) teaches English and Journalism at Mendham High School in Mendham, NJ, where he is co-advisor of the Mendham Players Drama Club. As an educator, Joey tries to provide students with the tools to lead, create, and self-actualize. A firm believer in social equity and progress, he feels that theatre allows for the sharing of stories and the opportunity for connection across time, space, and social bounds. He received a Best Lighting Design award from New York Winterfest for his previous work on The Eleventh Hour! Recent directing credits include productions of Joe Iconis’ Things to Ruin(NJ Premiere) and The Wedding Singer with the North Brunswick Young Adult Drama Group.
Dustin Ballard (Sound Design) is so excited to be back with this bodacious crew. He’s excited to be working as sound designer for the second run of The Eleventh Hour. He’s also a playwright and a Teaching Artist for George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, and Premiere Stages.
Dan Swern (Producer) is the co-founder and producing director for coLAB Arts in New Brunswick, NJ, engaging artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work. For coLAB Arts, Swern commissions new work in theater, dance, and visual art, directly in collaboration with the community, and produces the art-sport events 48-Hour Musicals and Comic in a Day. Swern facilitates and commissions public art projects from mural and sculptural installation work to creative placemaking efforts with local government and advocacy organizations. He is the owner of Smugbug Productions, providing services in creative development and stage direction, production consulting, and producing. Swern is the creative director for the culinary-theater project Shake & Bake, and is the producer for the new NYC musical, The Eleventh Hour! Swern also serves as general manager and directs for Obie Award-winning The Secret City. Swern is a freelance director and teaching artist, and teaches Creative Engagement for undergraduates and graduate students at Rutgers University’s School of Communications and Information.
Christopher Pasi (Producer) is an award-winning producer having screened work in festivals around the US and internationally. He produces the YouTube variety show, We Have A Show!. He co-wrote and produced the short films Don’t Make Me Sing and Melody and, which were screened, respectively, in the Short Film Corner at the 66th and 67th Cannes Film Festivals. Christopher has helped produce hundreds of commercials, event coverage videos, interviews and music videos, and has held staff positions on Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl for HBO, and Freeheld starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore produced by Michael Shamberg. For Red Leaf Film, Chris has created dozens of commercials and short films that have reached national attention. He’s assisted on major productions from Fast and Furious 8 to Keeping up with the Kardashians, Project Runway, The Real Housewives of New York and Orange is The New Black. Chris has also worked for major fashion companies at Fashion Week in both the fall and spring showcases. Christopher is a proud graduate of Rutgers University and he can’t be more excited for the trajectory of this musical!
SMUGBUG PRODUCTIONS is the general management company and as such chooses projects that are challenging, stimulating, and reinvent audience engagement. We engage with work on all levels of creation and presentation including stage direction, production management, producing, general management, and consulting. Our work includes projects in theater, dance, public art, video, and community engagement. Our experience spans from shoe-string to multi-million dollar budgets. www.smugbugproductions.com