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Farewell Chris Yee
Book, Music, Lyrics – Sierra Blanco
Director – Beth F. Milles+
Musical Director – Matthew Russell
Dramaturg – Morgan Jenness
Assistant Director – Bryan Hagelin
Cast: Daniel Puig, Erich Schuett*, Alex Dreier*, R. Michael Blanco*, Ellis Gage*, David Kaid, Daniel Neiden*, Victoria Csatay, Cait Cortelyou*, Elisabeth S Rodgers*, Samantha Schiffman*, Hillary Ekwall*, Meghan Wilmott, Sierra Blanco*,
Joanna Russell, Sabrina Rudden
Sparked by the broadly reported epidemic of Silicon Valley Suicides (episodes of clustered suicides among highly-pressured, high-achieving California public school students) this work of pure fiction uses the concepts of the quest for unattainable goals and the normalization of cut-throat competition as a springboard for exploration of an environment where any rule is free to be broken.
Farewell Chris Yee opens with the best and the brightest of California’s tech progeny reeling from spates of school suicides as a result of their frantic race to the top. At the start of the show the discovery that another student has gone missing leads to the search for the body, the search for reason, and the revelation of the true cause and ultimate downfall of the school’s up-and-coming students. The contemplation of what it means to be present and what it means to be missing bring the show to its conclusion, as we witness the unexpected winners and losers in the race to nowhere, and the pursuit of perfection.
Voiced by a young author/composer, this work speaks to a current culture of young adults who have become unfortunate test subjects in the pressure cooker of academic high-stakes achievement.
Created in a traditional musical format, the evening-length work is comprised of two acts with twenty songs. Written and composed by Sierra Blanco over the course of two years, the piano/vocal scores (created in Finale), are expressed primarily in solo voices, as the collaborative element is intentionally undermined thematically and vocally. Featuring a cast of fifteen, the production is helmed by Director Beth F. Milles and Musical Director Matthew Russell, under the guidance of Dramaturg Morgan Jenness. Simple scenic elements and projected backdrops will ultimately complete the juxtaposition of reality and otherworldly influences in the set.
The work had a first reading at Shetler Studios in NYC in July of 2018, with a second draft reading in January of 2019. Recordings of demo tracks were completed in February of 2019. A Developmental Workshop week in January 2020 led to a staged reading at Shetler Studios in NYC in Jan of 2020. The work was developed with a year-long Michael Perelstein Discover Your Passion Scholarship for Musical Theater Composition and Playwriting, which was awarded to Sierra in September of 2017. Prior to that time, Sierra was hand-picked by Stephen Sondheim as the winner of the prestigious Stephen Sondheim National Young Playwrights Competition with her work The Drill. She also won the David Letterman Worldwide Plays Competition with an earlier musical, After I Caped Myself in Red. She has been the recipient of numerous playwriting awards including The NYC Write a Play competition, The Scholastic Gold Key awards, and has twice been invited as a Guest Playwright to the O’Neill National Young Playwrights Festival. Her work has three times been professionally presented Off-Broadway. Her play Bang! was published in the book “A Decade of Shared Stories” and a poem published in the NY Times. She was a 2019 Finalist for the Andrew Lloyd Webber Training Initiative Scholarship. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, AEA, and well as MENSA. Sierra is honored to have her work considered for presentation.
Further information on the project can be found at the website:
*Indicates members of Actors Equity Association
+Indicates member of SDC