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Drexel's Co-op Theatre Company Partners With Ignition Arts to Present World Premier of the Musical 'ALiEN8'


October 29, 2019

Drexel University’s Co-Op Theatre Company, as part of the it’s Mandell Professionals in Residence Project (MPiRP) and in partnership with Ignition Arts, presents the world premiere of the musical ALiEN8, written by David Lee White with music and lyrics by Kate Brennan. ALiEN8 runs November 14-24, 2019 in the Mandell Theater. Tickets are on sale now at

This world premiere musical tells the story of a fictional small Missouri town that is radically redefined by a natural disaster, a dark secret from its past, and the arrival of a mysterious stranger known only as “Eight.” Through music, dance and drama the audience experiences a story of change, forgiveness and inclusion as a wounded town and its residents attempt to heal their fractured soul.

ALiEN8 explores the concepts of healing and human connection through different forms of communication. The character Eight communicates in a series of intricate movements, choreographed by Dr. Miriam Giguere, head of the Drexel Department of Performing Arts. According to the production’s Director, Nick Anselmo: “One of the unspoken aspects of the show is the importance of simple human connection. The young people learn to communicate again after tragedy strikes through a non-verbal, gestural language.” This musical celebrates young people’s inclination to accept and understand what is different and unexpected.

Young people are at the heart and the creation of this piece. This musical emerged as a project with the McCarter Theater Center’s Education program. In a three-week high school summer intensive, Brennan and White worked with twenty-two New Jersey high school students to create a 75-minute version of ALiEN8. Armed initially with a handful of songs and rough sketches of scenes, the musical was fully fleshed out through improvisation and student input. After the McCarter workshop, Brennan and White continued to expand the script and write new music, resulting in a two-act version for eight adult and eight student actors. Ignition Arts gave a week-long workshop of this version through their Winter Residency at the Oklahoma City Contemporary Museum of Arts. They are thrilled to now bring a full production to life at Drexel. This production at Drexel is made possible through the Mandell Professionals in Residence Project (MPiRP) with funding from the Samuel P. Mandell Foundation.

For more information about ALiEN8, please visit the production’s page here. Tickets can be purchased here.

About Mandell Professionals in Residence Project
The Mandell Professionals in Residence Project (MPiRP) is an Antoinette Westphal College Department of Performing Art’s collaborative program bringing theatre and dance professionals on to the Drexel campus for performances, production and instruction. Drexel students are given opportunities to work hands on with professional artists to produce high quality productions. Members of the Drexel University community are enriched by the high quality of dance and theatrical productions being offered through MPiRP in the Mandell Theater. Philadelphia is fast becoming one of the most important places in the country for innovative and exciting theater and dance, and MPiRP provides valuable space for some of these up and coming performing arts organizations and artists. For more information, visit

About Ignition Arts
Ignition Arts is in its 18th year as a nonprofit arts organization. We INCUBATE new works in the form of plays and musicals, we INVESTIGATE the world through podcasting and we IGNITE personal and ensemble growth through our methodology Brennan Check-In. We actively engage with our communities, cultivate necessary new work and foster collaboration across all genres of art and change-making. Whether it’s a play-reading, a podcast or personal transformation, Ignition Arts is the place to start something.

About Drexel University’s Department of Performing Arts
The Drexel University Department of Performing Arts is a dedicated community of artists, faculty and staff committed to providing a quality education in dance, music, and theater. The Department looks to expand students' knowledge and skills through academic course work, rigorous technical training, experiences with professional artists, innovative community outreach, and outstanding performance opportunities. The Department of Performing Arts is home to the dance, music and theatre programs at Drexel, including a dance major and eight minors. It is also home to over 20 performing ensembles including the Drexel Co-Op Theatre Company. For more information, visit


Kate Brennan

David Lee White

Nick Anselmo

Miriam Giguere

Michael Kiley

Max Gallagher, 8
Maddy Larkin, Anna
Caroline Juelke, Hayley
Caitlin Flores, Alex
Emma Contreras, Emily
William Kraft, Ethan
Charlie Gormley, Zach
Gary Bowman Jr., Mr. Brasfield
Wren Francis, Ms. Tanner
Alexa Fontecha, Ms. Foster
Scott Langdon*, Pastor Warren
Annette Kaplafka, Janet
Eric Mills, Ray
Partick Henderson, Coach Webber
Greg Drapkin, Chief
Abby Dupes, Sanders
Diana Lambert, Suzanne
Alex Bowe, Walter
Mary Kate Melnyk, Clara
Joey Teti, Ben

*Denotes that the actor is a member of Actors’ Equity Association

Josh Goldhaber, Conductor/Keyboard
Ian Gaskin, Bass
Mitchell Rothstein, Drums

Sydny Hansen, Stage Manager
Shawn McGovern, Lighting Designer
Chris Sannino, Sound Designer
Katherine Fritz, Costume Designer
Colin McIlvaine, Scenic Designer

Thursday, November 14 @ 8 pm (preview)
Friday, November 15 @ 8 pm (opening)
Saturday, November 16 @ 8 pm
Sunday, November 17 @ 2 pm
Thursday, November 21 @ 8 pm
Friday, November 22 @ 8 pm
Saturday, November 23 @ 8 pm
Sunday, November 24 @ 2 pm (Closing)

Drexel University's Mandell Theater
3220 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Drexel ID $10
Non-Drexel Student $15
General Admission $25
Tickets can be purchased at or in person at the box office one hour prior to performance time.

Jessica Doheny, Co-Op Theatre Company Managing Director