Portland, Janyary 16, 2014. Back for a third season of all new works, 4×4=Musicals has realized that producing musicals on a tiny four foot platform had become too easy. So this year, they all need to DANCE! Seven brand new musicals will twirl and leap as well as sing. Pirates, Sheep, Mad Cattle, Claustrophobics and more come together to prove once again that less is more.
Megan Misslin, Lane Hunter, Joshua Stenseth and Kevin Poe in New York Minute from the 2013 production of 4x4=Musicals. Photo by Jim Lykins.

Megan Misslin, Lane Hunter, Joshua Stenseth and Kevin Poe in New York Minute from the 2013 production of 4×4=Musicals. Photo by Jim Lykins.

Inspired by Mike Barber’s long-running movement series, Ten Tiny Dances, 4×4=Musicals are short musical theatre performances created to fit on a 4 ́x4 ́ platform. “This is the chance to watch writers, actors and directors create a brand-new musical and also be challenged by the confinement of the space,” said 4×4 Producer Mark LaPierre. He said 4×4 inspires a new community of writers to do things they never would have thought of while building an audience that hungers for new musicals.
“If you are a lover of musical theatre, there is no greater thrill than being taken someplace magical in a brand-new musical” said LaPierre. “4×4 offers that journey seven times in less than two hours.” He said each of the seven musicals are around 10 minutes long and very different from each other. “If an audience member isn’t connecting with the piece they are seeing it’ll be over in 10 minutes and something completely different will start that they WILL connect with.”
4×4=8 Musicals adds up to a case of less being more …” – Marty Hughley, The Oregonian, February 2013
As it has for the past three years, 4×4 is sure to be one of the most popular and critically acclaimed offerings of the Fertile Ground Festival of New Works. To shake things up and raise the bar even higher, this year all the musicals need to feature dance. LaPierre said integrating dance is a perfect way to challenge actors and directors in a way that also features the sheer talent of Portland choreographers.
“We’re kind of like a community garden inside the city of Fertile Ground,” he said. “We bring together a variety of different talents in our city’s musical theatre community to introduce new, and deepen existing, relationships with artists.”
Mark’s musical Heart Failure (later Heart Beatings) received a reading at the York (Off Broadway). His Off-Off Broadway productions include Grimm Late Night, Pinokenstein, Bitterella and Zombie Strippers with NY Artists Unlimited. Heart Beatings received Best Score and Best New Musical from the Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards when produced by CoHo Theatre. Mark created and curated 4×4=Musicals, a project where new musicals are written to be performed on a four foot by four foot platform. Mark contributed three pieces to 4×4=Musicals including New York Minute, Tech Booth, the Musical (viewable on YouTube here) and co-wrote The Adventure of the Case. Commissioned by puppet theatre Tears of Joy, we wrote the book and lyrics for Cinderella, which has toured the country for 14 years. Other commissions include scores for Aristophanes’ The Birds and Peace, both produced at Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon, songs for a TV pilot The Other Sock, and a score for Kaiser Permanente’s touring health show The Amazing Food Detective. Pinokenstein was workshopped at the Eugene O’Neill Puppetry Conference and won a Best of the O’Neill Award. Other productions include music for As You Like It, book and lyrics for The Tinderbox, and lyrics for Out of Hand. He attended the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. www.marklapierre.com
By Bryce Earhart, Diane Englert, William S. Gregory, Wayne Harrel, Mark LaPierre, Valory Lawrence, Paul Lewis, Kurt Misar, Eric Nordin, Jen Raynak, Wendy Wallace
Directed by Diane Englert & Jamie M. Rae
Music Directed by Eric Nordin
Choreography by Virginia Belt & Curt Frye, Jamey Hampton, Lane Hunter, Sara Martins, Megan Misslin, Cherie Price
Performance Dates: January 17-18 & 23-25 at 7:30pm
January 23-25 performances are part of Fertile Ground Festival.
Venue: The Sanctuary at triangle productions! – 1785 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland 97232
Tickets: $18-$20; $15 on Thursday available online and at the door
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