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The Drama League and Vaso Abashidze State New Theatre Begin Historic Collaboration
September 15, 2023

The Drama League and Vaso Abashidze State New Theatre Begin Historic Collaboration

Broadway directors West Hyler and Shelley Butler lead all-Georgian company in musical theatre revue 

Selections from Chicago, Into The Woods, Kiss Me Kate, Damn Yankees, The Greatest Showman, and more to be staged 

Free Public Performance at Tbilisi’s Vaso Abashidze State New Theatre on Saturday, September 16, 2023 

(August 15, 2023) – The Drama League (Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Executive Director Bevin Ross), based in New York City, US, and the Vaso Abashidze State New Theatre (Artistic Director David Doiashvili) in Tbilisi, Georgia, announced the first-ever collaboration between the two companies, a historic moment in the cultural relationship between Georgia and the United States. 

Broadway veteran directors West Hyler (Cirque du Soleil: Paramour) and Shelley Butler (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) will travel to Tbilisi for a week of exploration of American musical theatre techniques, leading a company of almost two dozen actors, dancers, and musicians from the company of the New Theatre, in a revue of songs that cross the entire history of the musical form. 

Joined by choreographer Andrew Coopman (Cinderella) and The Drama League’s Associate Artistic Director Nilan (Assassins), Mr. Hyler and Ms. Butler will share American techniques in musical staging, and rehearse iconic numbers from the history of the American musical. The revue begins in the earliest days of the 1940’s, with “Another Openin’, Another Show” from Kiss Me, Kate by Cole Porter. The audience will then be taken on a tour of songs throughout the century, including selections from the acclaimed musicals Damn Yankees, Hair, Chicago, Into The Woods, Jersey Boys, ending with “This Is Me” from the movie musical The Greatest Showman, which itself is in development now for a future Broadway production. 

“Although we have been creating international cultural exchanges with Eastern European countries since 2008, this is our very first visit to Georgia, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. “The artists of the New Theatre have been welcoming, hungry for knowledge, and their talent has impressed all of us in America. We can’t wait to begin sharing musicals with the people of Georgia, and to learn from them at the same time techniques and elements that will help the United States.”