UW GRAD JOSH FLANDERS PRODUCES 2 NEW STAGE SHOWS IN CHICAGO

Choice – The Musical will premiere at the “3rd Annual Premier Premieres! A Weekend of New Musical Comedies Festival”, June 23rd at the MCL theater in Chicago, IL. Choice is a lighthearted take on a subject that many consider no laughing matter – abortion! This musical sends up both sides of the debate – whether you’re Left or Right, you’ll laugh all night!

Choice was co-written by three women and one man, UW-Madison graduate Josh Flanders, the husband of Head Writer, Sheri Flanders. “Sheri had been outlining the musical on our belated honeymoon in Paris last December, and when we returned she had asked me to help add some male perspective,” Josh recalls. “I wrote several songs for the musical, including several for the male lead. One in particular called “How Can I Lead” by the character of Joseph, the husband to the main character, Ellie, addresses societal pressure put on men to fulfill certain expectations of family, religion, or society at large.”

Choice follows the adventures of Ellie, a young pro-life protestor, who confronts pro-choice advocates face to face for the first time. Instead of saving souls, Ellie is shocked to discover that she is in need of salvation from the wild ride of life. Along the way, we meet a curious collection of characters including a trio of women’s health clinic employees, the local church congregation, and a grizzled, cowboy, hat-wearing fetus who help tell this tall tale through silly song and dance!

“Once Sheri insisted that I play the cowboy fetus, who appears as a puppet and acts as a narrator (think Sam Elliot in “Big Lebowski”), I knew this was going to be enormous, stupid fun,” says Flanders, “It is not what you’d expect from a musical about abortion.”

Choice is pleased to announce a stunning diverse and nontraditional cast of comedic actors and vocalists. Amber Linde will star in the role of our protagonist Ellie, alongside Miles Kopcke as her fiancé Joseph. Gary Fields will present the hilarious character of Gary the Pastor who finds his congregation disrupted by a trio of women’s health clinic workers, Dana Carla and Bridget, played by Mo Phillips-Spotts, Kimber Russell and Kerry Santoro, repsectively. Sheri Flanders plays the role of Joan, the pastor’s wife, Jenna Steege plays the role of our lothario Greg and Josh Flanders plays the unforgettable part of our narrator, The Cowboy Fetus in the form of a cuddly puppet!

Jeff Bouthiette, head of the Music Program at The Second City, is the Director of Choice, and Brad Kemp, who composed the music for Tapped, which won the Premier Premieres festival it’s first year, is the Composer. Comedians Sheri Flanders, Josh Flanders, Kimber Russell and Kerry Santoro wrote the script and lyrics. Molly Todd is the Assistant Director and Jacob Fjare, recent Jeff Award Winner, is the Musical Director.