About COONTOWN

A new documentary musical, 45 Minutes from Coontown is a celebration of black musical theatre, tracing its history from the late-1800s through 1999, and featuring more than 30 songs almost exclusively by black writers.

45 Minutes from Coontown documents the story of an art form that grew amidst a nation’s racial prejudice, and the many African American authors who not only furthered the form itself, but were also instrumental in the development of the American popular song.

Developed over more than four years, with more than 20 archives in more than 10 states, 45 Minutes from Coontown is the second installment in The Show Time! Trilogy, a trio of documentary musicals charting the evolution and cultural impact of the American musical.

45 Minutes from Coontown is created, written, and performed by Ben West, with musical continuity and arrangements by Fran Minarik, and direction and musical staging by Parker Esse.

The new documentary musical will premiere at The York Theatre Company’s Theatre at Saint Peter’s (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street) on September 12-15, 2019.

Tickets, starting at $45, are now on sale.

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

Warning: This documentary musical contains mature, historically accurate themes.

Ben West
Ben West

Ben West (Creator, Writer, Performer) is a writer, director, producer, performer, and musical theatre historian. His current projects include The Show Time! Trilogy; Direct from Proctor’s 23rd Street Theatre for One Night Only: January 16, 1920; 514 Broadway; and February ’43. West’s directing credits include Unsung Carolyn Leigh, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook; Gatsby: The Songs in Concert; Make Mine Manhattan; and The Fig Leaves Are Falling. Broadway: Old Acquaintance, assistant director and dramaturg; August: Osage County and The Homecoming, assistant producer; and Talk Radio, production assistant. West has lectured and spoken at the Library of Congress and Yale University, where he will also be curating an exhibition for the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library in fall 2019. He is the founder of UnsungMusicalsCo. and a 2017 recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award.

Ben West

About Show Time!

A new documentary musical, Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical tells the remarkable story of this uniquely American art form, charting its evolution from the mid-1800s thru 1999. Incorporating more than fifty songs that shaped the musical canon, Show Time! is an electrifying live-action documentary that weaves live music and live performance through a narrative of world, cultural, and, primarily, theatre history.

Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical includes seven eras of the American musical: Cosmic Collisions (1866-1899), Birth of an Art Form (1900-1924), Rise of the Golden Age (1925-1930), Golden Age, Part One (1931-1950), Golden Age, Part Two (1951-1970), Fall of the Golden Age (1971-1980), and Growing Pains, or Identity Crisis (1981-1999).

Developed over more than four years, with more than 20 archives in more than 10 states, Show Time! is the first installment in The Show Time! Trilogy, a trio of documentary musicals charting the evolution and cultural impact of the American musical.

Show Time! is created, written, and performed by Ben West, with musical continuity and arrangements by Fran Minarik, and direction and musical staging by Shannon Lewis.

The new musical premiered Sept. 13-16, 2018 at The York Theatre Company’s Theatre at Saint Peter’s (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street) with music direction by Evan Zavada, lighting design by Joe Hodge, projection design by Nathan W. Scheuer, and costume design by Travis Chinick.

Running Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes, inclusive of an intermission.

About Show Time!

A new documentary musical, Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical tells the remarkable story of this uniquely American art form, charting its evolution from the mid-1800s thru 1999. Incorporating more than fifty songs that shaped the musical canon, Show Time! is an electrifying live-action documentary that weaves live music and live performance through a narrative of world, cultural, and, primarily, theatre history.

Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical includes seven eras of the American musical: Cosmic Collisions (1866-1899), Birth of an Art Form (1900-1924), Rise of the Golden Age (1925-1930), Golden Age, Part One (1931-1950), Golden Age, Part Two (1951-1970), Fall of the Golden Age (1971-1980), and Growing Pains, or Identity Crisis (1981-1999).

Developed over more than four years, with more than 20 archives in more than 10 states, Show Time! is the first installment in The Show Time! Trilogy, a trio of documentary musicals charting the evolution and cultural impact of the American musical.

Show Time! is created, written, and performed by Ben West, with musical continuity and arrangements by Fran Minarik, and direction and musical staging by Shannon Lewis.

The new musical premiered Sept. 13-16, 2018 at The York Theatre Company’s Theatre at Saint Peter’s (619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street) with music direction by Evan Zavada, lighting design by Joe Hodge, projection design by Nathan W. Scheuer, and costume design by Travis Chinick.

Running Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes, inclusive of an intermission.

About 68 WAYS

A new documentary musical, 68 Ways to Go is a celebration and history of female musical theatre writers, from Clare Kummer and Anne Caldwell in the early-1900s to the emergence of Jeanine Tesori in the 1990s. 68 Ways will feature more than 30 songs with lyrics and/or music written by a woman.

Developed over more than four years, with more than 20 archives in more than 10 states, 68 Ways to Go is the third and final installment in The Show Time! Trilogy, a trio of documentary musicals charting the evolution and cultural impact of the American musical.

68 Ways to Go is created, written, and performed by Ben West, with musical continuity and arrangements by Fran Minarik. The full creative team will be announced at a later date.

The new documentary musical will premiere in fall 2020.

About 68 WAYS

A new documentary musical, 68 Ways to Go is a celebration and history of female musical theatre writers, from Clare Kummer and Anne Caldwell in the early-1900s to the emergence of Jeanine Tesori in the 1990s. 68 Ways will feature more than 30 songs with lyrics and/or music written by a woman.

Developed over more than four years, with more than 20 archives in more than 10 states, 68 Ways to Go is the third and final installment in The Show Time! Trilogy, a trio of documentary musicals charting the evolution and cultural impact of the American musical.

68 Ways to Go is created, written, and performed by Ben West, with musical continuity and arrangements by Fran Minarik. The full creative team will be announced at a later date.

The new documentary musical will premiere in fall 2020.