ĭmáGen Production Kicks Off Department of Theatre’s 2022-2023 Season

Broadway talent will share the same stage with students from the Michigan State University Department of Theatre and local high schools for the ninth annual ĭmáGen production, a collaboration between Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity, supported by MSU Federal Credit Union, and the MSU Department of Theatre.

This year’s ĭmáGen production, In Emily’s Wordsis a new musical written by New York City-based composer, lyricist, and author Jessy Tomsko. Showtimes are Friday, September 23, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, September 25, at 2 p.m. in the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre.

Promotional photo with the text "In Emily's Words: Book, Lyrics, and Music but Jessy Tomsko" on the left.
Graphic for In Emily’s Words.

Professional writers, directors, and actors currently are working with MSU Musical Theatre students and local high school actors to create this new, staged concert in a short three weeks. 

In Emily’s Words tells the story of English novelist Emily Brontë as she writes her magnum opus Wuthering Heights. The musical explores Brontë’s journey as a female writer in the 1840s, battling illness and adversity while crafting the sweeping melodrama that has left a legacy nearly 200 years after her death.

Utilizing a show-within-a-show construct, In Emily’s Words follows both Brontë’s personal journey with her sisters as aspiring female writers in the 1840s, as well as the journey of Brontë’s fictional characters, particularly Cathy and Heathcliff.

Two side-by-side headshots of a blonde woman in a blue dress on the left and a brunette man with facial hair on the right.
Susanna Wolk (left) and Keiji Ishijuri (right)

The creative team for the production includes Tomsko, who is also a singer/songwriter and has shared the stage with such notable artists as Joan Osborne and Dar Williams, to name a few. She has independently released several albums, EPs, and singles. She currently is a vocal director on the Apple TV show Helpstersas well as a sub-vocal coach on Sesame Street

Music Director Keiji Ishiguri most recently completed a run of The Last Five Years at Amherst College. Projects of note include REEMERGENCE: A Queer Visual AlbumRENT at Cas di Cultura (Aruba) and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Stop/Over at The Dublin Chocolate Factory. 

Director Susanna Wolk is a New York-based director who is currently the Tour Director for the North American Tour of the hit Broadway musical Waitress. Recent directing work also includes the ongoing development of Justine Gelfman’s In Sisters We Trust, or My Fucked Up American Girl Doll Play (DVRF Playwrights Program winner), Jenny Waxman and Ben Page’s Leaving Eden (NYMF, winner Best Musical), and the short film A New Chapter (Chelsea Film Festival, International Black Film Festival, etc.). 

Two side-by-side headshots of a brunette man with facial hair on the left and a woman with a hat on the right.

blonde woman in a blue dress on the left and a brunette man with facial hair on the right.
Jonathan Christopher (left) and Jessy Tomsko (right)

Joining the production is professional actor Jonathan Christopher, who is currently in the ensemble of the Philip Company of Hamilton and the understudy for Aaron Burr and George Washington.

Tickets for In Emily’s Words are on sale now at Wharton Center’s official ticketing outlets: online at whartoncenter.com, at the Auto-Owners Insurance Ticket Office at Wharton Center, or by calling 1.800.WHARTON.

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