2011-2015 Signature began developingAn Extra Penny in 2011 and knew immediately it was going to be a longterm and very ambitious project... but sites were set and developing a full length musical became the soul focus of the company's efforts.
Four years later, in 2015, a first draft, written and conceived by Cindy Lu Mancini was completed and she chose existing music of composer Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian to score the show. Kinosian, then adapted her music into songs using lyrics written by Mancini. It was a collaboration meant to be and yielded an intimate story with a powerful score.
2016 Producer, Conwell Worthington, II took notice of An Extra Penny, and has been driving the show forward ever since. Worthington is one of America’s major independent theatrical producers and is responsible for producing many of the Walt Disney stage productions that toured around the world and back again to New York’s Broadway.
Says Worthington, ”Musicals with passion, compelling story and moving music are a rarity today. I've done hundreds of projects in my career and I truly believe An Extra Penny has the legs to move forward. It's an impassioned adventure of sacrifice, love and loss that will touch the heart of all generations.”
2017 Louisburg College became the first major benefactor to sponsor An Extra Penny by providing a solid year of in-house residency at the Norris Theatre to develop and rehearse, then offering The Seby B. Jones Performing Arts Center for nine public performances. Mounting a full production on stage for the first time was an extraordinary accomplishment, and it took a village of over 110 people, mostly volunteers, to make it happen, along with a sizable grant from the Franklin County NC Board of Tourism. “It’s quite rare for an original script to make it to the stage, even once." says Worthington. "Most will never be produced because it takes monumental tenacity to bring a script to life. Giving birth to an original show needs extensive financial support… and the first money is always the most difficult to find because it takes brave souls to invest in new ideas.”
2018 The Turnage Theatre in Washington, NC becomes the second venue to believe in the future of An Extra Penny, and in conjunction with Pamlico Arts, graciously sponsored a weeklong workshop to move the show forward.
Says Mancini, “The first production allowed me to see where we needed to make changes… but a series of productions is the only way to insure true progress. The workshop at The Turnage Theatre gifted a necessary opportunity to explore new ideas and create the next script for presentation and review to the public.”
2019 The Edna Boykin Cultural Center was the third supporting venue to champion An Extra Penny and married the event with their "The 100th Anniversary Celebration" sponsored by Wilson Arts. The performances given at this theatre provided the long sought after information that would eventually propel the storyline to new heights because the critical opportunity to put forth brand new ideas, bravely knowing in advance by all, that some ideas would work and some ideas would not... was the catalyst needed to forge ahead with surprising clarity.
"It's a risk and it takes courage for an arts organization to present an original show," says Mancini, "especially when the show is not fully developed. Wilson Arts, along with those before, gambled on An Extra Penny and I will be forever grateful to all of them for supporting the efforts of emerging artists that need the time and non judgmental interim support to nurture the seed of an idea into a mature and exciting full bodied work."
2020 Covid -19 proved itself to be the next major sponsor in An Extra Penny's journey, and although the difficult months brought challenges, Signature mustered every ounce of creativity it possessed to keep the momentum going. Thanks to the countless number of ZOOM meetings with dedicated actors reading scenes and singing new lyrics... over and over again... An Extra Penny survives stronger than it's ever been. The dread of seclusion became a welcomed opportunity to gather for substantive character development that changed the course of the show.
2022 The Kennedy Family Theatre at Barton College The upcoming performances in the Spring of 2022 at The Kennedy Family Theatre will present a surprising reinvention of An Extra Penny. The favorite characters survive, but new faces spark undeniable chemistry peppered with humor and bring with them a more focused story. Three new songs have been added to the score along with two string instruments. Stay tuned!
2021 It's an exciting time for An Extra Penny.
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