Bean to Compose New Musical

Professor Matt Bean, WIU School of Music

Professor Matt Bean, WIU School of Music

Matt Bean, Professor, WIU School of Music, just received a $10,000 commission to compose a new musical for the Cherokee Historical Association in western North Carolina.

The musical will have its trial in Summer 2013 and begin to play in repertory with their current long-running musical “Unto These Hills” in their 2,000 seat outdoor amphitheater starting in Summer 2014.

Matt will be working with playwright and lyricist Rob Lauer. He last worked with Lauer when he completed Act I of a new full-length musical version of “A Christmas Carol” in 1999.

Prior to that, Rob and Matt had collaborated on two children’s musicals, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” (1997) and “The 101 Dalmatians” (1998), both of which toured the United States for 3-4 years each and played to literally millions of schoolchildren.

Rob was brought in as playwright for this new project and was able nominate Matt as composer. Matt then submitted to the Cherokee Historical Association Board demos of scores and recordings of a dozen of their songs from their previous shows, which led to contract negotiations and successfully nabbing the gig!

Dr. Matt Bean is a Professor of Musical Theatre and Voice, and Co-Director of the BFA Program in Musical Theatre at Western. In addition to teaching, Matt conducts shows, stages opera, sings, writes articles, composes, arranges, and presents workshops on singing/acting. A bass-baritone with an extensive range, Dr. Bean is an expert on pop and belt vocal technique as well as classical, and his students are currently performing on Broadway, in national touring companies, at Disney World, and at stock and regional companies across the nation.

Matt has directed the music at WIU for Kiss Me Kate, Lucky Stiff, Fiddler on the Roof, Titanic, Grease, The Taffetas, Forever Plaid, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Jekyll & Hyde, Oklahoma!, and Working. In 2002, he performed the title role in Sweeney Todd as part of the WIU mainstage season. Matt is also a leading scholar on the works of Stephen Sondheim.

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