Columbus Is Happening cast members at La Guardia Community College (Photo ©Howard Sherman)
Columbus Is Happening cast members at La Guardia Community College (Photo ©Howard Sherman)

Tony-Winner Stew Goes to College

Howard Sherman - Text and Photos

Stew Brings Queens to Musical Life at La Guardia Community College

It’s a daunting scenario. A community college commits to producing a brand-new musical, the first the theater program has undertaken. The show is cast a year in advance, with 19 students, before any script exists. When the 10-week rehearsal period begins, there are only a handful of songs written. Material only begins to start coming in earnest two weeks into the process, and keeps coming through tech rehearsals.

That’s what Stefanie Sertich, associate professor and program director for theatre at La Guardia Community College, committed herself to when she programmed Columbus is Happening. But with all the uncertainty, she also had a remarkable asset: the show was being written by Stew, the multifaceted composer, lyricist, and star of the Tony Award-winning Passing Strange, as well as the creator of The Total Bent, at The Public Theater.

Add a comment
Read more