Giving new voice to the past, present, and future of the American musical.
UnsungMusicalsCo. (UMC) is a nonprofit company focused on researching and developing prescient new works which illuminate the intersection of past, present, and future, and realize the American musical as a reflection of American consciousness. Founded in 2009 by Ben West, UMC relaunched in 2018 after a three-year hiatus for research and development with its renewed focus on past, present, and future, and projects which entertain, enlighten, and inspire. UMC is developing several current projects, including The Show Time! Trilogy, three new documentary musicals about the evolution of the American musical and its reflection of American consciousness. During the initial incarnation of the company between 2009 and 2014, UMC’s projects included Unsung Carolyn Leigh for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook; Gatsby: The Songs in Concert at the New York Musical Festival; Make Mine Manhattan and The Fig Leaves Are Falling at the Connelly Theatre; and How Now, Dow Jones at the New York International Fringe Festival. UMC also held several readings of new adaptations of existing works, including Barefoot Boy With Cheek, Sounds Like Love, and Peggy-Ann. Dedicated also to the preservation of rare musical material for future generations, the company will be receiving its own archival collection in the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
Ben West (Founder) is a writer, director, producer, performer, and musical theatre historian. His current stage projects include The Show Time! Trilogy, three new documentary musicals about the evolution of the American musical and its reflection of American consciousness, with direction by Shannon Lewis and Parker Esse and musical continuity by Fran Minarik; Direct from Proctor’s 23rd Street Theatre for One Night Only: January 16, 1920, a new vaudeville documentary; February ’43, a new documentary musical examining the origins and aftermath of the Minstrel Show; and Melodyland, a new documentary about Chicago in the early-1900s. His directing credits include Unsung Carolyn Leigh for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook. West has lectured and spoken at the Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, and Yale University, where he recently curated an exhibit for the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library. He has worked in various capacities on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally. He is the founder of UnsungMusicalsCo. and a 2017 recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award.