A lot can happen in a year. In January 2008, composer/lyricist Beth Falcone was enjoying the off-Broadway premiere of Wanda's World
, a musical for tweens that she created with librettist Eric H. Weinberger about a girl with a birthmark on her face who faces rejection at a new middle school and so imagines herself a talk-show host solving the problems of other kids. Twelve months later, Falcone is enjoying another premiere of the show, this time in the heart of Texas, where she has helped develop a production that actually has teens and tweens playing the teens and tweens in the show. Last January, the Showstoppers, the preprofessional youth troupe at Zach Theatre that's staging this new version of Wanda's World
, was doing a musical called Golly Gee Whiz
with a gifted young performer named David Bologna in the cast. This January, he's on Broadway, regularly stopping the show in a major supporting role in Billy Elliot: The Musical
All of which is to say that the Showstoppers contain some exceptional young talent (ages 7-15), and if this troupe is worth the attention of a New York composer, it's worth your attention, too. Payne Award winner Jaclyn Loewenstein directs the company and the Showstoppers production, which the cast has been working on since last summer when Falcone led a workshop here. By the way, Falcone returns to Austin – with collaborator Weinberger in tow – for the Wanda's World opening. Maybe next January, she'll be enjoying it with the Showstoppers on Broadway?
Wanda's World runs Jan. 31-Feb. 22, Saturday, 1 & 4pm; Sunday, 6:30pm, on the Kleberg Stage at Zach Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside. For more information, call 476-0541 or visit www.zachtheatre.org.