I recently wrote and produced LIVING WITH HENRY - an inspiring new musical drama that premiered to critical acclaim in July 2011 at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Consequently, the production was selected to continue at the Best of Fringe Uptown and the Next Stage Festival.
For me, this is a deeply personal and autobiographical work in which I explore the complexities of living with HIV/AIDS today. Framing HIV as a chronic illness rather than as a death sentence, this poignant musical lays bare today's realities, promotes education and strives to examine and challenge the misunderstandings still associated with HIV. www.livingwithhenry.com
Remarkably, LIVING WITH HENRY was recently invited to participate in the prestigious New York Musical Theatre Festival (www.nymf.org) in July 2012, as one of ten productions chosen from several hundred for this privilege. This is a tantalizing opportunity to showcase a new Canadian musical work at an internationally regarded festival in the United States.
New York is a huge step both for me as an artist and for the production! I am asking for your assistance to help me take my production team to New York in order to achieve the greater purpose that has motivated us through each trial along the way.
We need to generate a minimum of $40,000 (in funds or in-kind support) to make this dream a reality !!! We are seeking support from corporations, arts council grants, foundations, fund raising events and private donors.
Michael is HIV positive, but it’s not a death sentence -- not anymore. Michael just has to learn to live with it... but that’s not as simple as it sounds. A musical drama that explores the fears, complications and realities of coping with a complex, chronic condition that affects every day, every relationship, every breath, Living With Henry is sometimes comic, sometimes heartbreaking, but always passionate, bold and stunningly honest.Now in its eighth year, The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America's greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience.
The Next Link Project empowers emerging musical theatre writers as both artists and entrepreneurs by providing the training and relationships needed to help them move their musicals from readings to fully-realized productions; and to advance their careers by maximizing the exposure they receive in the Festival. Ten of the Festival's full production slots are reserved for participants in The Next Link Project.
CHRISTOPHER WILSON - Writer/Composer/Lyricist
DONNA MARIE BARATTA - Director/Choreographer
ALEXA CARROLL - Stage Manager
JESSICA PARR - Assistant Stage Manager
MICHAEL KRUSE - Lighting Designer
MARK DUNDAS WOOD - Dramaturge
RYAN KELLY - Michael
DALE MILLER - Henry
LIZZIE KURTZ - Jenni, Sustiva
JOHN EDWARDS - Mathew, Nurse, Truvada, Boy 1
MARY KELLY - Mom, Dr. Kenny
JADE ELLIOTT - Peter
WHAT THE PRESS HAVE SAID...
This fully staged chamber musical, imaginatively directed by Donna Marie Baratta, seems already primed for a professional run. Told through songs - sometimes comic, sometimes heartbreaking - the show has the ring of authenticity and the six-person cast gives passionate, committed performances. 5 NNNNN’s
Christopher Hoile - NOW Magazine, July 2011
Ryan Kelly returns to the stage in a play about living with HIV/AIDS, heading a hugely committed cast and bringing life and passion to an unflinching and promising new musical by Christopher Wilson.
John Coulbourne - Toronto Sun, January 2012
Christopher Wilson's Living With Henry is a sensitive exploration of the complex realities of living and loving while HIV positive today… Wilson effectively probes the emotions and tough questions that Michael (lead character) grapples with. Living with Henry certainly ends provocatively (and) there's a powerful story here.
J. Kelly Nestruck - Globe and Mail, January 2012
The Next Stage Theatre Festival remounts successful shows from the Fringe Festival, and Living With Henry was a huge hit. Christopher Wilson’s lyrics do try to come to grips with the hero, Michael’s story. Director/choreographer Donna Marie Baratta highlights the emotional and dramatic heart. The book packs a wallop. Ryan Kelly as Michael leads a strong cast in this very compelling musical.
Paula Citron - Classical-FM, January 2012
Featuring introspective songs and dedicated performances by talented cast members, Living With Henry creates an instant emotional bond with the audience. The musical deals with heavy subject matter, but Wilson’s sense of humour makes more than a few appearances throughout. His script is bursting with lighthearted moments.
Lauren Gillet - Theatromania, January 2012
Living With Henry is a drama but is never heavy handed. There are a lot of funny moments but the script never goes for the cheap laugh. The songs blend seamlessly with the dialogue and are there to move the story forward. It all works together perfectly. Really well written, well directed, and perfectly performed by a strong cast. Definitely worth seeing.
Sam Mooney - Mooney on Theatre, January 2012