First Look at Highly Anticipated Pre-Broadway SHIMMER Workshop at Yale Schwarzman Center on June 1

Press Release

Guggenheim fellow, playwright Sarah Schulman began adapting her 1998 novel SHIMMER into a musical when she connected with four-time Broadway librettist Michael Korie and Pulitzer-prize winning composer Anthony Davis.  

Nearly 20-years later, the trio’s work is coming to fruition with the highly-anticipated workshop presentation of SHIMMER where an intimate audience in The Dome at Yale Schwarzman Center will be the first to experience this pre-Broadway musical through a reading and performances of 23 original songs. The workshop is June 1 at 7:00 and is free for the public. Space is limited, and early registration is required here.

“New Haven has been a testing ground for many Broadway hits, including Golden-age productions of Oklahoma, Sound of Music, The King & I and Man of La Mancha,” said Rachel Fine, executive director, YSC. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to experience the nascent stages of a musical headed to Broadway and re-establish New Haven as an incubator of talent and a pipeline of creativity.”

SHIMMER is hosted by Midnight Oil Collective as part of the 2023 Yale Innovation Summit’s first-ever arts track in partnership with Yale Schwarzman Center and Long Wharf Theater, critical strategists and collaborators in bringing this workshop to fruition.

“The big tent of local organizations collaborating on this project reflects the depth and breadth of our shared commitment to the economic power of the arts,” said Frances Pollock, CEO, Midnight Oil Collective. “New Haven has a wealth of creative people, and this type of collaboration adds to the vibrant arts community across the city.”

The 21-person cast, and seven-person production team are under the direction of powerhouse Jess McLeod who was the resident director of Chicago’s production of Hamilton and is currently the Wooly Mammoth Resident Director. More than one-third of the cast are New Haven residents including Dr. Albert Lee, associate professor and director of equity, belonging, and student life at Yale School of Music in a leading role.

Set in McCarthy-era New York, SHIMMER interrogates America's history of discrimination and draws parallels between this era and contemporary American life upending the tropes of film noir, pulp fiction, and set pieces of midcentury America by positioning a Black man and a queer Jewish woman as emblematic Americans. In a story set before the advent of the collective revolutionary movements of the 1960s, aspiring Black playwright, Calvin Byfield and tenacious reporter Sylvia Golubowsky both learn the hard way that, though promised,  the American Dream was not available to them. Throughout the story, Schulman reframes our understanding of the “blacklist” to show how racial and sexual discrimination create their own ongoing exclusions and how the politics of treachery affect the most intimate relationships.

For tickets and more information on YSC’s fall programming visit