SPARK 2018


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.

In 2018, 10 new works were seen in various stages of development via “readings” (actors at music stands with piano accompaniment), “staged readings” (script-in-hand readings with piano accompaniment and some movement/choreography) and “workshop productions” (fully staged presentations with minimal set and costume pieces). UP AND AWAY, by Kevin Hammonds and Kristin Bair, received its world premiere at the CLO Cabaret and was the feature presentation of SPARK 2018.

In addition to showcasing these new works for peers, producers, and the general public, SPARK welcomed audiences to engage in interactive discussions and educational initiatives with artists whose shows are under development. These opportunities include moderated Post-Show Discussions, a New Musicals Boot Camp, Master Classes led by invited guests 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 or email












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.