Rocky Mountain High Workshop

Rachelle shows us not only what goes into a workshop but also shows us the magic that goes into creating a new musical!
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -An exciting synergy of creative forces is set to captivate audiences as the annual New Musical Laboratory—formerly known as ĭmáGen—unites accomplished Broadway professionals, local MSU students, and talented high school students in the development of an exhilarating new musical production. This transformative initiative, a collaborative endeavor between Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity and the MSU Department of Theatre, enters its milestone tenth year, promising an electrifying showcase of innovation by bringing together professional writers, directors, and actors with young talent to develop a new musical production.

Each year there is a call for a new theatre work. From a pool of exceptional entries, one outstanding production is carefully selected and meticulously refined over a span of three intense weeks, culminating in a dazzling staged concert. This year, MSU Department of Theatre chose the new musical Rocky Mountain High from a creative team that includes Tony Award® winning composer Mark Hollmann, who wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway hit Urinetown The Musical.

Rocky Mountain High is a football-focused high school that finds itself without future funding, teetering on the brink of financial uncertainty. Faced with an uncertain future, the community rallies together to transform their climate-controlled stadium into a thriving marijuana cultivation center. Their audacious endeavor is aimed at thwarting the takeover of their beloved institution by a conservative televangelist with intentions to reshape the school’s curriculum in his own image.

Rachelle peeks behind the curtain at a new musical hitting the stage at Wharton Center: Rocky Mountain High!

The visionary duo behind the concept of Rocky Mountain High comprises the imaginative Kia Beth Kofron and her son, the exceptionally talented Cooper Kofron, currently a third-year student at Princeton University. Joining forces with them is the multifaceted Drew Gasparini, a decorated musical theatre composer and lyricist known for his masterful storytelling through music, and Mark Acito, an acclaimed director with an impressive track record including the off-Broadway sensation “Bastard Jones.” Acito’s creative prowess extends to collaborations with the esteemed Junk Yard Dog Productions, the minds behind the Tony Award® winning Broadway sensation Come From Away.

Tickets are on sale now through the official Wharton Center Ticket Office, online at, or by calling 517.432.2000 or 1.800.WHARTON. Suited for ages 12 and up due to some strong language and simulated legal drug use.

COVID-19 health and safety protocols continue to evolve. Please visit the Wharton Center website at to review the most up-to-date information and requirements.

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