Summer Shorts Presents Regional Premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda Musical

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Cassandra Zepeda and Phillip Andrew Santiago star in City Theatre’s Summer Shorts production of “21 Chump Street” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Credit: George Schiavone.

City Theatre’s Summer Shorts theater festival in Miami regularly attracts new works from both established playwrights and rising stars, but the 22nd annual festival, opening June 1, will feature a regional premiere by the hottest name in theater, Tony-winner and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Miranda’s 10-minute musical, “21 Chump Street,” a 2016 finalist in City Theatre’s national short playwriting competition, is set in Boca Raton and based on a true story. 

The company’s new artistic director, Margaret M. Ledford, directs the story of a young student “who will do anything for the new girl at school who can only bring him heartache with secrets of her own.”

According to Ledford, Miranda originally penned the story—before the “Hamilton” phenomenon—for NPR’s “This American Life,” inspired by a news story in Palm Beach County about an undercover sting operation in the local high schools.

“Not only is it ‘Lin-Manuel Miranda,’ it’s local and topical,” she said.

But, Miranda’s musical is not the only highlight of Ledford’s first season at the helm of the popular festival at Miami’s Arsht Center.

“I’m so excited about this year’s festival. We have some really, really funny plays and three musicals—two of which literally make me pee in my pants and the other leaves the front of my shirt stained with tears,” she said.

The cast of eight seasoned actors who will tackle dozens of different roles includes Irene Adjan, Thiana Berrick, Lindsay Lavin, Brian Reiff, Phillip Andrew Santiago, Karen Stephens, Robert Strain and Cassandra Zepeda. In addition to “21 Chump Street,” they will be performing seven 8 – 12 minute plays. The festival line-up also includes:

“Adorable Kitten Image Collapse” by Steve Yockey, a world premiere directed by Paul Tei Fur flies and roles are reversed when an Internet troll’s victim-turned-stalker comes seeking her own revenge.

“Choosing Love” by Chisa Hutchinson, southeastern premiere directed by Jessica Farr. A young man literally blows into a psychic's salon, where she seems to have been waiting for him and the opportunity to change both of their futures. 

“Just Desserts” by David MacGregor, southeastern premiere directed by David Nail. To catch a co-worker who's been stealing food from the communal kitchen, Joyce plants a nasty surprise. Will the culprit take the bait?

“The Best Seller” by Susan J. Westfall, southeastern premiere directed by Jessica Farr. Lily, a writer down on her luck, escapes from a bookstore and into a bar. She’s followed by her least favorite author, in need of a drink. 

“Missing Karma” by Timothy Huang, southeastern premiere directed by Margaret M. Ledford. At the wake for their beloved dog, a couple realizes more change is about to come. 

“Baked Goods” by Charlie Cohen, Helen Park and Christyn Budzyna, a world premiere directed by Paul Tei. A girl scout who cannot sell cookies is befriended by a boy with a talent for sales. Teaming up to earn her badge, they hit the road with tasty treats but find hilarious failure and delicious success.

“Real Art” by Louise Wigglesworth, southeastern premiere directed by Margaret M. Ledford. At a prestigious art competition, a painter about to finally achieve recognition and reward for her art is blindsided by a woman who will not take no for an answer when she refuses to sell her the prize painting.

City Theatre presents Summer Shorts XXII June 1 – July 2 in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center in Miami. Tickets are $39 – $54 at ArshtCenter.org.


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