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NEWS

last updated January 2023

FIRST PUBLIC STAGED READING OF "ROLF(E)" HELD MAY 21
A staged reading of RJF's new musical "Rolf(e)" was held on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at the Iowa State Historical Museum's auditorium in Des Moines.  Two performances - 2:00pm and 7:00pm - were presented, and the event was also be live-streamed.  More than 300 people were in attendance for this first public presentation of the show.  (Posted November 24, 2021; Updated January 18, 2022 and February 15, 2022)
 
HOUSE PARTY TOUR RETURNS WITH RAGBRAI-THEMED MUSICAL "CYCLEPATHS" 
Following the tremendous success of the 2021 Summer House Party Tour production of "Utopia - The Iowa Musical Revue!," the Summer House Party Tour returns in 2022 with a production of "CYCLEPATHS," a new RAGBRAI-themed musical by Robert John Ford.  This one-hour musical comedy tells the saga of an out-of-state couple who falsely believes a bike ride across Iowa will be a relaxing, challenge-free vacation.   Support for this project provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, through the federal CARES Act.  (Updated June 2022: this production postponed until Summer 2023 due to COVID-related issues. An update will be provided in February 2023.)
RJF RECEIVES TWO MAJOR GRANTS FROM THE IOWA ARTS COUNCIL
The Iowa Arts Council has awarded RJF two major project grants in its 2021-22 funding cycle - the first in support of a staged reading of his newest musical "Rolf(e)," and the second in support of a new RAGBRAI-themed musical to be presented throughout Iowa in the summer of 2022.   (Posted November 24, 2021)
 
"UTOPIA" SUMMER HOUSE PARTY TOUR A BIG SUCCESS 
With the objective of bringing back theatre in a safe, casual, and convenient way for both performers and audiences, the 2021 summer house party tour of RJF's "Utopia" exceeded all expectations.  A total of 14 performances were presented to nearly 500 audience members in backyards throughout central Iowa.  Plans are currently in the works to hold another summer house party tour in 2022, with a new RAGBRAI-themed musical by RJF to be presented. Performance information will be posted on this website in early 2022.  (Posted November 24, 2021)
 
"UTOPIA" TO BE PRESENTED IN 2021 SUMMER HOUSE PARTY TOUR 

This summer, to safely re-introduce the live theatre experience to audiences, the "Utopia" cast will bring the show to you and your private outdoor house party!  Dates are currently available in July and August, and there's no cost to the host.  (Posted April 1, 2021)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" WINS FOUR BROADWAYWORLD AWARDS

Iowa Stage Theatre Company's production of RJF's "Adore Us! Line" has won four regional BroadwayWorld "Best Of The Decade" Awards including Best Original Script, Best Production Of A Musical, Best Ensemble, and Best Direction Of A Musical (Maxwell Schaeffer).   (Updated January 10, 2021)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" BREAKS TICKET SALES RECORD

Iowa Stage Theatre Company has announced that its production of "Adore Us! Line" has shattered previous ticket sales records for the organization.  Seven of the nine performances were sold out, and total occupancy was 99% of capacity for the entire run.  Additionally, the show was featured in many national media stories, including this lengthy video story produced by The New Yorker.  (Posted February 3, 2020)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" OPENING WEEKEND SOLD OUT

Iowa Stage Theatre Company has announced that the first three performances of RJF's "Adore Us! Line" are completely sold out and that ticket availability is limited for all remaining performances.  (Posted January 21, 2020)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" SPECIAL EVENT SCHEDULED

RJF and Noce nightclub are partnering to present a special benefit event - Late Night Cabaret, A Benefit for the Jepson Family - on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 10:30pm.  The original cast of "Adore Us! Line" will present song selections of this political parody of "A Chorus Line" just days before the 2020 Iowa Caucuses.  All ticket proceeds from this very special evening of songs and stories will be donated to the show's sound designer Josh Jepson, his wife Laila, and son Lee, who is courageously on a journey to conquer leukemia.  (Posted January 1, 2020)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" MEDIA PROMOTIONS SCHEDULED

The following media promotions and stories for "Adore Us! Line" are currently scheduled (this will be updated regularly):  feature story in dsm Magazine, January/February issue; Iowa Public Radio's "Talk Of Iowa," January 13, 10:00am; The Culture Buzz, January 22, noon: WHO-AM, January 18, 9:30am; WHO-TV, January 24, 6:30am; KCWI-TV, January 24, 7:30am hour; KCCI-TV, January 25, 8:00am hour. 

(Posted January 1, 2020; updated January 24, 2020)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" TICKETS NOW ON SALE

Tickets for all nine performances of Iowa Stage Theatre Company's premiere production of RJF's musical parody "Adore Us! Line" are now on sale and may be purchased here.   Tickets for all performances are expected to sell out, and many performances already have limited availability, so advanced purchase is strongly recommended.  Good tickets still available for the first three performances.  (Posted January 1, 2020)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" CAST ANNOUNCED

Iowa Stage Theatre Company has announced the cast for the January 2020 premiere production of RJF's musical parody "Adore Us! Line."  Cast members include Charlie Reese, Madison Ray, Ryan Henzi, Davida Williams, Heidi Mason, Jonathan deLima, Joe Smith, Mary Bricker, Sydney Allen, Michael Clinkscales, and Eric Olson.  The production will be directed by Maxwell Schaeffer with choreography by Megan Helmers and music direction by Eric Layden.  (Posted October 3, 2019)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" AUDITIONS SCHEDULED

Auditions for Iowa Stage Theatre Company's premiere production of RJF's musical parody "Adore Us! Line" will be held on Sunday, September 29 in Des Moines.  (Posted September 2, 2019)

 

"SIX-ON-SIX" NOMINATED FOR FOUR CLORIS LEACHMAN  AWARDS

The 2018 Epic Stage Productions/Urbandale Community Theatre co-production of RJF's "Six-On-Six: The Musical" received four Cloris Award nominations for the 2018-19 theatre season.  Nominated were: Alison Shafer (Best Choreography), Taylor Millar (Best Actress In A Leading Role), and Craig Irvin and John Butz (Best Actor In A Supporting Role).  (Posted August 15, 2019)

 

"ADORE US! LINE" AWARDED IAC MAJOR GRANT

Iowa Stage Theatre Company's premiere production of RJF's "Adore Us! Line" was awarded a Project Grant in the amount of $10,000 from the Iowa Arts Council.  Grant funds will be used primarily to pay more than 20 Iowa theatre artists who will be collaborating to create and present this new musical theatre work.  (Posted July 15, 2019)

 

LAURA BENANTI PREMIERES NEW RJF SONG

A new song by RJF, commissioned by Sheas Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY, was premiered at the organization's annual gala in April 2019.  Broadway legend and Tony Award-winning actor Laura Benanti performed the song and dedicated it to the event's guest of honor, four-time Tony Award-winning producer Albert Nocciolino.  (Posted March 15, 2019; Updated June 15, 2019)

PREMIERE OF RJF'S "ADORE US! LINE" ANNOUNCED

At its annual "Cocktails & Cabaret" fundraising event on March 30, 2019, Iowa Stage Theatre Company announced that it will be presenting the world-premiere production of RJF's "Adore Us! Line" - The 2020 Political Parody of "A Chorus Line" as part of its 2019-20 season.  A minimum of nine performances will be presented from January 24 through February 2nd, 2020 at the Stoner Theater in Des Moines.   (Posted April 1, 2019)

 

RJF AND "UTOPIA" HONORED WITH CLORIS AWARDS 

At the annual Cloris Awards presentation in August which honored the best of Central Iowa theatre for the 2017-18 season, RJF was presented with a special Cloris Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement and the cast of "Utopia" - Mary Bricker, Brandon Lee, Katelyn McBurney, Craig Petersen, and Megan Schettler Schug - was recognized for Outstanding Ensemble.  (Posted August 30, 2018)

 

EPIC STAGE PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCES DISSOLVEMENT

Citing his desire to devote more attention to writing rather than producing in the next few years, RJF has announced that he will be dissolving his theatre production company Epic Stage Productions at the end of 2018 after 11 years of operation in Des Moines.  In that time, ESP presented 14 productions that were seen by more than 17,000 people, contracted more than 100 Iowa theatre artists, and paid out more than $100,000 in artists fees.  ESP will also vacate its permanent performance space at Mainframe Studios on August 31.  (Posted August 5, 2018)

 

"SIX-ON-SIX" RECEIVES IAC MAJOR PROJECT GRANT 

The Iowa Arts Council has awarded RJF a major project grant in support of the Urbandale Community Theatre's production of "Six-On-Six: The Musical."  The grant will be used to pay artists fees for the Epic Stage Productions and Urbandale Community Theatre co-production of the show in the summer of 2018.  (Posted July 1, 2018) 

 

GUTHRIE CENTER THEATRE TO PRESENT "SIX-ON-SIX" 
As part of its all-school reunion, the Guthrie Center High School & Theatre will present three performances of "Six-On-Six: The Musical" on July 5, 6, and 8, 2018 in the Guthrie Center High School auditorium.  (Posted April 30, 2018)

 

URBANDALE COMMUNITY THEATRE TO PRESENT "SIX-ON-SIX"
Urbandale Community Theatre, in partnership with Epic Stage Productions, will present a new production of "Six-On-Six: The Musical."  Directed and choreographed by Alison Shafer, seven performances will be presented at the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School in West Des Moines in August 2018  Tickets available through Midwestix.  (Posted April 15, 2018)

 

IOWA TOUR OF "UTOPIA" SCHEDULED 
A touring production of "Utopia - The Iowa Musical Revue, The Greatest Hits Edition" will begin in March 2018 with stops currently scheduled for Webster City, Fort Dodge, Pocahontas, and Newton.  The cast features Mary Bricker, Shane Donegan, Katelyn McBurney, Craig Petersen, and Megan Schettler Schug.  (Posted March 1, 2018)

 

 "UTOPIA - VERSION 5.0" TO PREMIERE IN JANUARY
An open-ended run of "Utopia - The Iowa Musical Revue, Version 5.0" will begin performances on January 12, 2018, with performances at Mainframe Studios through the end of February currently on sale at Midwestix.  Directed by Alison Shafer, the cast features Mary Bricker, Brandon Lee, Katelyn McBurney, Craig Petersen, and Megan Schettler Schug.  (Posted January 1, 2018) 

EPIC STAGE PRODUCTIONS MOVES INTO ITS NEW DOWNTOWN HOME

Epic Stage Productions has developed a permanent performance and rehearsal venue in the new Mainframe Studios, the largest not-for-profit artist studio building in the country. The first production will be UTOPIA - THE IOWA MUSICAL REVUE, VERSION 5.0 to be performed in January and February 2018.  (Posted December 1, 2017)

 

AUDITIONS TO BE HELD FOR NEW PRODUCTIONS OF UTOPIA

Epic Stage Productions is seeking actors/singers for both the 2018 Des Moines and touring productions of UTOPIA - THE IOWA MUSICAL REVIEW.  Auditions will be held on Monday, October 23rd and Tuesday, October 24th.  (Posted October 1, 2017)

 

UTOPIA TOUR RECEIVES MAJOR PROJECT GRANT

The Iowa Arts Council has awarded RJF and Epic Stage Productions a major project grant in support of a statewide tour of UTOPIA - THE IOWA MUSICAL REVUE in 2018.  (Posted August 1, 2017)   

CABARET PERFORMANCE OF NEW RJF SONGS SCHEDULED FOR 2017

Special guest musicians and vocalists will present an intimate cabaret performance of 14 new and never publicly-performed songs by RJF on Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10:30pm at Noce Nightclub in Des Moines.  Open to the public, no cover charge.  (Posted December 4, 2016) 

"WHAT I WANT" NOW AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING AND PURCHASE

Originally featured in the 2008 production of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL, the song "What I Want" has been repurposed as an anthem for the 2016 election.  A new recording is available for streaming and download and purchase.  (Posted September 23, 2016)

CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL NOMINATED FOR TWO CLORIS AWARDS

The 2016 Des Moines production of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL has been nominated for two Cloris Awards - Best Play and Best Scenic Design (Tim Wisgerhof) - honoring excellence in theatre in Greater Des Moines for the 2015-16 season.  (Posted August 16, 2016)

RJF ACCEPTED INTO THE PRESTIGIOUS BMI LIBRETTISTS WORKSHOP

RJF is one of four playwrights to be accepted into the 2016 class of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Librettists Workshop.  The Workshop brings together playwrights to discuss the challenges of writing the book for a musical.  (Posted August 11, 2016)

 

IN MEMORIAM - SUSAN GROZIER

Susan Grozier, who appeared in all three Des Moines productions of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL as well as numerous other productions in Des Moines, passed away peacefully on July 15 after a brave battle with cancer.  (Posted July 16, 2016)

CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL TO BE PRESENTED BY NEWTON COMMUNITY THEATRE

Newton Community Theatre in Newton, Iowa will present a new production of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL as part of its 2016 season.  Six performances - five evenings and one matinee - will be performed October 14-22, 2016.  (Posted July 1, 2016)

DVD OF UTOPIA 2015 PRODUCTION NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

A DVD of the 2015 production of UTOPIA - THE IOWA MUSICAL REVUE is now available for purchase.  Featuring cast members Mary Bricker, Douglas Cochrane, Craig Petersen, Maxwell Schaeffer, and Megan Schettler Schug.  (Posted March 1, 2016)

DVD of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL 2016 PRODUCTION NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

A DVD of the 2016 highly-acclaimed production of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL is now available for purchase.  Makes the perfect gift for political junkies and Iowans near and far!  (Posted March 1, 2016)

CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL 2016 RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION

More than three dozen international media outlets - including ABC News, BBC Newshour, Reuters, Australian Broadcasting Company, National Public Radio, and The Washington Post - have featured CAUCUS! 2016 in their election coverage.  (Posted February 1, 2016)

CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL 2016 RECEIVES RAVE REVIEWS

Two rave review from The Des Moines Register and CityView.  Click HERE to read.  (Posted January 26, 2016)

AUDITION DATE ANNOUNCED FOR CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL

Auditions for the 2016 Des Moines production of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL have been set for Sunday, October 25, 2015, 6:30pm at The Des Moines Playhouse.  (Posted August 9, 2015) 

 

CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL RETURNS IN 2016

A new production of CAUCUS! THE MUSICAL - featuring new characters, new songs, new laughs, and special guest appearances - will be presented January 23 through February 6, 2016 at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines' Stoner Theatre. Nine performances only!  Tickets on sale October 1, 2015.  (Posted August 1, 2015) 

 

UTOPIA PERFORMANCES BEGIN DECEMBER 2015

UTOPIA - THE IOWA MUSICAL REVUE - featuring all-new comedy sketches and songs - returns to Des Moines December 11, 2015 through January 2, 2016 at Grand View University's Viking Theatre in Des Moines.  (Posted August 1, 2015) 

 

EPIC STAGE PRODUCTIONS

Right Brain Productions has changed its name to Epic Stage Productions, committed to presenting theatre productions with larger casts, with more production elements, in bigger and non-traditional venues, in a broader geographic region, and, well...shows that are truly "epic." (Posted August 1, 2015) 

CUSTOM SONGS & SCRIPTS

RJF has established a new company - Custom Songs & Scripts - that creates customized songs and plays for individuals, organizations, businesses, and special events.  Whether you want to give a birthday gift of a personalized song or you need a musical presentation to roll out your newest marketing campaign, CS&S has the talent and experience to get the job done.  (Posted August 1, 2015) 

 

RJF SELECTED FOR BMI ADVANCED WORKSHOP

RJF has been selected as one of 23 composers and lyricists to join the Advanced Class of the prestigious BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City, beginning September 2014.  (Posted July 5, 2014) 

 

RJF NAMED 2014-15 IOWA ARTS COUNCIL ARTIST FELLOW

RJF has been selected as one of five Iowa artists to receive a 2014-15 Artist Fellowship, an inaugural program of the Iowa Arts Council / Iowa Dept. of Cultural Affairs.  (Posted July 5, 2014) 

 

RJF FEATURED IN "SUBMISSIONS ONLY" WEB SERIES

RJF appears in Season 3, Episode 7 of the hilarious theatre-themed web series "Submissions Only" now available on line.  Look for RJF beginning at the 5:55 mark.  (Posted July 5, 2014) 

 

SELECTIONS FROM "WAKING NED DEVINE" TO BE PRESENTED

A 20-minute excerpt of WAKING NED DEVINE, a new full-length musical developed with composer Adam Sakiyama in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, will be presented to the BMI Steering Committee and representatives of the theatre industry on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.  This event is not open to the public.  (Posted May 23, 2014) 

 

RJF SONG TO PREMIERE AT CARNEGIE HALL

"Look Into Your Heart," a new song with music by David Shenton and lyrics by Robert John Ford, premiered as part of O Sole Trio's debut concert at Carnegie Hall on Friday, June 6, 2014 at 8:00pm.  The concert featured a 16-piece orchestra and O Sole Trio's vocalists Erin Shields, Giuseppe Spolentini, and David Shenton. The performance was sold out and the song received a standing ovation.  (Updated May 23, 2014)  

 

"SLEEPING DOGS" WINS VITTUM AWARD

Robert John Ford's drama SLEEPING DOGS has been selected as the winner of the 5th Annual Vittum Award - Full-Length Play Category for playwriting.  SLEEPING DOGS has now won two national and two regional new play competitions.  (Updated April 1, 2014) 

READING OF "MY DINNER WITH ANDREW" AT DRAMATISTS GUILD

A reading of Robert John Ford's drama MY DINNER WITH ANDREW will be presented as part of the Dramatists Guild's "Friday Night Footlights" playreading series at 8:00pm on Friday, February 21, 2014 in the DG's Frederick Loewe Room, 1501 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York.  The reading is free and open to the public but space is very limited.  RSVPs are recommended.  (Posted January 26, 2014) 

 

"SLEEPING DOGS" WINS ASHLAND NEW PLAY FESTIVAL

Robert John Ford's drama SLEEPING DOGS has been selected as one of four winning plays (out of almost 300 submitted from playwrights throughout the country) in the 2013 Ashland New Play Festival.  Two public readings of the play will be presented in Ashland, Oregon on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 1:30pm and Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 1:30pm.  Numerous other events with the winning playwrights will be presented throughout the week of October 21-27, 2013.  More information may be found at ANPF or view the most recent newsletter.  (Updated September 4, 2013) 

 

"SLEEPING DOGS" SELECTED FOR CYGNET THEATRE FESTIVAL

Robert John Ford's drama SLEEPING DOGS has been selected for further development in Cygnet Theatre's Playwrights In Process New Play Festival.   A public staged reading and discussion of the play will be presented in San Diego, California on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:00pm.  More information may be found at Cygnet Theatre.​  (Updated September 4, 2013)  

RJF SELECTED FOR OFF-BROADWAY ALLIANCE MENTORSHIP

The Off-Broadway Alliance announced this week that RJF has been selected to participate in its inaugural mentorship program beginning in September 2013.  RJF has been paired with Hugh Hysell – producer of the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Play VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE – with a project goal of an Off-Broadway production of SLEEPING DOGS.  Please visit the Off-Broadway Alliance for more information.  (Posted September 4, 2013) 

 

READING OF MDWA TO BE PRESENTED AT DG CONFERENCE

A reading of Robert John Ford's drama MY DINNER WITH ANDREW will be presented in conjunction with the Dramatists Guild 2013 National Conference at 8:00pm on Saturday, August 24, 2013 in room PDR3 at the Chicago Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.  The reading is free and open to the public but space is very limited.  RSVPs are recommended.  (Posted August 1, 2013) 

 

RJF & SAKIYAMA SONG TO BE PRESENTED IN CHICAGO CABARET

"When Everything Was Big," a song composed by Adam Sakiyama with lyrics by Robert John Ford, will be presented at the Having Our Song Cabaret in conjunction with the Dramatists Guild 2013 National Conference at 10:30pm on Saturday, August 24, 2013 in the Joliet Room of the Chicago Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.  The cabaret is open to the public; cover charge is $15 plus a two-drink minimum.  Event is expected to sell out, so ticket purchases in advance are strongly encouraged.  (Posted August 1, 2013) 

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