A major initiative of Pittsburgh CLO’s Next Generation Capital Campaign, SPARK was created as an effort to cultivate new and innovative work from emerging and established musical theater artists.

For over 70 years, Pittsburgh CLO has been delighting audiences with Broadway-scale musicals for its main stage subscription season. In 2004, it introduced smaller productions for its newly minted 250-seat CLO Cabaret Theater, where dozens of premieres have since debuted. SPARK was especially designed to cultivate more small-cast shows suited to this venue, bringing their creative teams in residence at Pittsburgh CLO to work in a focused and supportive environment. A commitment to artists is a chief tenet of SPARK.

The 2018 SPARK festival featured 12 new works in various stages of development, including the world premiere production of UP AND AWAY, by Kevin Hammonds and Kristin Bair. 

In addition to showcasing new musicals for peers, producers, and the general public, SPARK welcomed audiences to engage in interactive discussions, educational initiatives, and special events. These opportunities included moderated Post-Show Discussions, a New Musicals Boot Camp and the SPARK Late Night series. SPARK’s presentations, special events and education programs were held at rehearsal rooms and local theaters across the Pittsburgh Cultural District.

To learn more about the shows featured in SPARK 2018, click on the links below.












In 2018, writing teams joined SPARK for festival residencies. These unique residencies offered valuable rehearsal time and dramaturgical support to shows early in the development process and were a first step towards future development at Pittsburgh CLO. Residencies culminated in private readings hosted by Pittsburgh CLO leaders. Two of the musicals developed through SPARK Writing Residencies – Matt Schatz’s WHERE EVER IT MAY BE and David Rossmer & Dan Lipton’s THE PERFECT MATE – were showcased during SPARK's Works-in-Progress Night at the CLO Cabaret.



Spark Schedule

2018 Photo Gallery