Hermitage Artist Retreat Presents

Fridays @ 5

Prelude to a Kiss: The Musical in the Making

With award-winning playwrights and composers Craig Lucas, Daniel Messé and Sean Hartley

Friday, January 4, at the Hermitage

In this presentation, Lucas, Messé and Hartley will discuss the work they’re collaborating on at the Hermitage—a musical based on Lucas’ acclaimed play.


(Sarasota County) The Hermitage’s Fridays @ 5 series continues with playwright Craig Lucas, composer and playwright Sean Hartley, and composer and songwriter Daniel Messé in “Prelude to a Kiss: The Musical in the Making,” Friday, January 4, 5 p.m., in the Palm House at the Hermitage in Englewood. The three award-winning artists will discuss the work they’re collaborating on at the Hermitage—a musical based on Lucas’ acclaimed play, Prelude to a Kiss.Reservations for this free series are required and can be requested at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org. For more information about the Hermitage, visit www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

“Craig Lucas was at the Hermitage when he and composer Nico Muhly worked on Two Boys, an opera they wrote for the Metropolitan Opera,” says Bruce Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage. “Prior to that, he was the first playwright to receive the Hermitage’s Greenfield Prize for his play, Ode To Joy, which was produced at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre. Craig returns with his creative team of composers and lyricists to transform his popular play, Prelude to a Kiss, into a musical. During this presentation, the team will try out some scenes and even some newly born songs for us. The audience will witness a Broadway play in its first moments.”

Craig Lucas is a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, whose works are critically acclaimed. He is a Pulitzer finalist, won three Obie awards, and received three Tony nominations, among many other awards and recognitions. His plays include Blue WindowLongtime CompanionRecklessThree Postcards, and Prelude to a Kiss, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  Lucas’s other awards include the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the PEN/Laura Pels Mid-Career Achievement Award; and Outer Critics Circle, L.A. Drama Critics Circle, Drama-Logue and Lambda Literary Awards. Fellowships include those from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Sean Hartley is an award-winning lyricist, composer, playwright and producer. His musicals include Cupid and PsycheSnow, Little WomenLove and Real Estate and the upcoming Prelude to a Kiss, commissioned by South Coast Repertory Co. He is director of theater at Kaufman Music Center, where he curates the concert series Broadway Close Up and Broadway Playhouse. He has lectured on musical theater at various locations throughout the country through the auspices of One Day University.

Daniel Messé is the founder/principal songwriter of the band Hem, which began as a DIY project in 2001 (“Rabbit Songs”), and has gone on to worldwide acclaim over the course of six studio albums. In 2009, The Public Theater tapped Hem to score Twelfth Night for Shakespeare in the Park, for which they were nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Messé has written four shows for Theatreworks USA, received a Jonathan Larson Grant from the American Theatre Wing and has been commissioned by Playwrights Horizons to write a new full-length musical (Trip). He is the composer and co-lyricist of Amélie.

Award-winning creators of all artistic disciplines are invited to live and work at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood. During their residencies, they share their talents with the community. Fridays @ 5 is the latest iteration of this outreach. This free series encompasses artist talks and readings, glimpses of the creation of works-in-progress, and live performances of music, theater, poetry and more. All presentations take place at 5 p.m. Some are on the beach; others are in the Palm House. Whether a program is indoors or outdoors, attendees are invited to stay and enjoy the beach afterwards. The Hermitage Artist Retreat Palm House is located at 6630 Manasota Key Road in Englewood.

Co-founder and program director Patricia Caswell explains that these cultural gatherings exist to give the community the rare opportunity to interact with celebrated authors, poets, artists, composers and performers from around the world. “Artists who are invited to be at the Hermitage are asked to give free programs for the community during their stay with us.” She adds that, in addition to programs at the Hermitage, many artists also participate in free outreach programs at area schools, colleges, and in collaboration with regional cultural organizations

All programs are subject to change. Please check the Hermitage website or Facebook page to check program status. The Hermitage Artist Retreat is located at 6630 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. For more information about Fridays @ 5 or the Hermitage, visit www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.


About the Hermitage Artist Retreat:

The Hermitage is a nonprofit artist retreat located in Englewood, Sarasota County, Florida. It invites accomplished artists in all disciplines for residencies on its beachfront campus which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its artists, who are asked to interact with the community, touch thousands of Gulf Coast residents and visitors with unique and inspiring programs. Hermitage fellows have included Pulitzer, Tony, Emmy, Grammy and MacArthur Fellowship award winners. The Hermitage awards the $30,000 Greenfield Prize for a new work of art, and the Aspen Music Festival awards the annual Hermitage Prize in Composition. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, visit www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.


The Hermitage is supported by:

Hermitage programs are supported, in part, by philanthropist Gerri Aaron; by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues; and by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida (Section 286.25 Florida Statutes).