EXCLUSIVE: As the true-crime podcast market continues to heat up, could a musical interlude be the next hot area? That’s the hope of musical theatre writers Brett Ryback, Jeff Luppino-Esposito and Matt Sav, who have teamed with podcast studio Atypical Artists on a Serial-meets-Broadway-style scripted series.
Ryback, who wrote the music and lyrics to stage show Passing Through and Nickelodeon writers Luppino-Esposito and Sav have created In Strange Woods with the help of Atypical Artists, which is run by Lauren Shippen, the creator of audio drama The Bright Sessions.
In Strange Woods tells the coming-of-age story of Peregrine Wells, an 18-year-old girl in Minnesota’s north woods, reeling from the death of her older brother. Ryback, who also acts as narrator, spins a fictional mystery that weaves together investigation and taped interview with a folk-pop score.
A pilot last year featured Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Donna Lynne Champlin, Tony nominee Patrick Page, who was nominated for a Tony for his role in Hadestown, Wicked’s Jonah Platt and The Glee Project’s Lily Mae Harrington.
The trio will exec produce the podcast, along with Shippen, who has just written a forthcoming podcast for Marvel, and Atypical Artists co-founders Briggon Snow and Jordan Adika. They are aiming for a 2020 release.
Shippen said, “The pilot and concept of In Strange Woods stopped me in my tracks – it’s inventive and beautifully crafted and unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Myself and Atypical are so honored to get to work with Brett, Matt, and Jeff to create a show we just know will knock people out of their socks.”
Ryback added, “Matt, Jeff and I were taken with the idea of combining the true-crime format with musical drama. It’s an unlikely hybrid that has yielded something truly fresh and unexpected. To then partner with Lauren and Atypical Artists, who share our nerdom for podcasts and Broadway, has been incredible fortune. We’re so excited to work together to bring musical storytelling to an even larger audience.”