MOLINE – Two local men have written a new musical, supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and will hold auditions Sept. 14 for its first staged reading.

Michael Callahan and Daniel Haughey’s collaboration, “Aaron Power!, The Musical,” received a $1,875 grant from the Illinois Arts Council, for a one-week workshop of the new Irish-American musical, which will culminate in a public staged reading at the Black Box Theatre in Moline, on Oct. 6.

Local performing artists will be hired and paid. “This is a great opportunity for area performers to participate in the development of an exciting new musical,” Haughey, of East Moline, said recently.

“Aaron Power” is a modern musical about love, relationships, ancestry, trust, and an American man’s quest to find his identity and estranged family in Ireland. The musical reflects Irish, Native American, and Celtic punk rock styles.

Aaron is Native American, and "there's a dark secret in his family," Haughey said Thursday, noting his father is Irish and mother Native American. "He must go on a journey; he's also in trouble with the law."

"He's a very disturbed young man searching for answers about himself," he said, adding his father was killed in a car accident in the story.

The grant will not only support local performers but also cover fees for space and equipment rentals, revised manuscripts, publicity, and supplies. A key component is the funding of a professional, original-cast recording of the live music, and they will also hire two sign-language interpreters for hearing-impaired audience members.

Haughey (danact3.com) is a theater professor emeritus from Black Hawk College, and holds a master's degree in playwriting and play production from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. His one-act plays include “The Private Room,” “The Deliverance of Betsey Reed,” “Labor Day,” and "Run with Me."

He co-authored a one-act musical, “The Best Man of Flagport!” (with Tracy Davis and Coleman Harris), done about 15 years ago in a staged reading at BHC, music arranged by "Nervous" Neal Smith.

Haughey's full-length play on Ulysses S. Grant, “Yankee Gentleman,” reflects his fascination with biographical drama. He's written and performed several one-man shows which he tours on subjects of history, culture, music or nature, including U.S. Grant, Gaelic Songs, Civil War Melodies, RangerManDan and “EA Poe: Edgar Allan Poe’s Imagination!”

His modern one-act drama, “The Private Room” was produced in 2011 at New Ground Theatre in Davenport, and in 2017 in the Strawberry One-Act Festival in New York City.

Callahan, of Moline, has been composing music since the third grade and has written classical, folk, bell music and Christian pop pieces in his work for 21 years as a music director at Bethel Wesley United Methodist Church in Moline. Callahan composed music for Genesius Guild’s production of “Twelfth Night” in 2016; is a four-time award winner at the Quad City Playwriting Competition and his work has been performed at Augustana College and New Ground Theatre.

Auditions for “Aaron Power” will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at Bethel Wesley, 1201 13th St., Moline. Men and women (ages 18-77) who act, sing and/or play a musical instrument are invited. Musicians and singers should bring memorized music, 16 bars long, to play and/or sing. Culturally diverse roles are possible, a few for Native Americans (eight roles will be paid).

The workshop will be Sept. 29-Oct. 6, mostly evenings, and the staged reading at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6.

Those auditioning should be prepared to read a short monologue from the script, and will also be asked to try a few lines in a simple Irish dialect. If you play drums, bodhran (Irish hand-held drum), guitar, electric bass guitar, keyboard, flute and/or autoharp, bring them and be ready to perform with your instrument.

Ideally, five of the actors will play instruments, but it's not required for the role, Haughey said. For more information, see the “Audition FAQs Sheet” at danact3.com.


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