Punk rock musical creators to share insight at student workshop

Friday September 14, 2018Roger Coda
Jessica Kahkoska and Preston Max Allen
Marion Fellows Jessica Kahkoska and Preston Max Allen

The artistic team behind “Agent 355: A New Punk-Rock Musical,” Marion International Fellowship recipients Jessica Kahkoska and Preston Max Allen, will conduct a lecture that explores the creative process they followed on Wednesday, Sept. 26, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall.

In their presentation – geared to students enrolled in Music Composition and Theatre Arts programs – Kahkoska (dramaturgy and book) and Allen (music, lyrics and book) will offer insight upon the conclusion of their year-long journey to create the musical. A question/answer session is included.

“Agent 355” is framed by George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring and its role in revealing the treachery of Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War. What’s not widely known is that one of its members was female, known only as Agent 355. Her intelligence was game-changing and the contributions she made to the American Revolution were invaluable.

The musical dives into this secret agent’s mysterious identity by reimagining seven colonial women who might have been “355” – and the men in their lives – as members of an all-girl rock band. “Agent 355” celebrates the loyalty, strength and courage of these real Revolutionary women as they share their stories, sacrifices and secrets.

Both artists were awarded the 2017 Marion International Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts to develop an innovative musical theatre piece that reimagines prominent colonial women of the Revolutionary War period as a punk-rock band. It is a fast-paced, rock theatre exploration of espionage, early American heritage and what it means for women to be heard and remembered.

Kahkoska and Allen are rising theatre artists in New York City and have completed residencies at the American Music Theatre Project and Musical Theatre Factory and participated in numerous productions and workshops off-Broadway.

The Marion Fellowship, created by Cathy (’79) and Jesse Marion through the Fredonia College Foundation, supports artistic journeys to Marion Fellowship Circle member institutions that include Chautauqua Institution, Ucross Foundation, Alley Theatre, Alberta College of Art and Design and Springboard Schools and concludes with a presentation at Fredonia.

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