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York Drama to present new musical reading, collaboration with Broadway  writers

Press Contact: Contact: Matt Bourke, York Drama | | 630-825-8753

October 24, 2023

York Drama to present new musical reading, collaboration with Broadway writers

– “The House on Watch Hill,” a new musical by the writers of Broadway’s
“Bandstand,” is sure to be a blast of 80s nostalgia for the audience, and a unique learning experience for students. –

Elmhurst, IL – On Friday, Oct. 27, York Drama will present a staged reading of
The House on Watch Hill, a new musical from Richard Oberacker and Robert
Taylor, featuring a cast of senior students, most of whom are pursuing music or
theatre in higher education.

Oberacker and Taylor describe the musical as “The Goonies meets The
Breakfast Club,” referencing the quirky coming-of-age movies of the 80s. Set in
1984, the story involves a misfit bunch of horror-loving kids who decide to build
the greatest neighborhood haunted house attraction in the history of forever.
It would alter the course of their lives.

“With little adult supervision and even fewer safety codes, what could possibly
go wrong?” Oberacker asked.

With an exciting original plot centered around teenagers, the writers wanted
to work with York students to develop the piece before they moved to the next
phases of creation. A staged reading is slightly different than the average
musical one might expect from York Drama, as the entire show–rather like a
radio play–will be performed with the cast reading and singing from the script
at music stands so audience members can focus on storytelling and vocal

“While it is challenging to not have a reference of anyone else performing the
show, it is exciting to be the first people interpreting these characters,” Will
Fischer, senior, said. “It feels like you can make your character completely your
own. I've learned about what it's like in the professional world, where actors are
constantly originating shows and roles.”

An event like this is a crucial step in the development of a musical, and it’s a
step that is rarely seen outside the theater industry in New York, and almost
never presented to the general public.

“I think a lot of people underestimate all of the work that goes into creating a
musical,” Charlie Matias, senior, said. “Throughout this process, I have loved
finding my own, authentic connection to my character and discovering that all
teenagers experience this transition to adulthood with some universal

“The House on Watch Hill” will hold two performances on Oct. 27, one at 7 p.m.
and the other at 9:30 p.m., at the Nineteenth Century Club in Oak Park, Ill.
Tickets are limited and can be purchased at All proceeds
from the event go to support the work of the York Drama program.

“Truthful storytelling is the best storytelling,” Giovanni Santoro, senior, said.
“Any adolescent, or any person who has gone through adolescence, will be
able to connect to the story of these ‘weird little kids.’”

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