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Ten Days In A Madhouse: The Workshop Podcast

Ten Days In A Madhouse: The Workshop Podcast

By Music Theatre of Madison
This podcast from Music Theatre of Madison is a virtual workshop of a new musical by Jennifer Hedstrom and Karen Saari, telling the story of 1880s journalist Nelie Bly and her infiltration of an asylum. Experience the musical, professionally recorded and performed in its current draft, hear about its creation, and learn how to share your thoughts with the writers in preparation for a full production in 2021. Part history lesson, part artistic discussion, part audio drama, and part creative exchange, this five-episode podcast is certain to spark your mind and heart.
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What We Learned
After working diligently on an audio musical, studying the text, spending lots of time in discussions, and hearing feedback from audiences, Karen, Jennifer, and Meghan talk about the experience and reflect on what worked and what they'd like to work on as TEN DAYS IN A MADHOUSE moves to full production.  Thank you to all who helped us along this journey! We so appreciate you! If you think of things you want to share with us, feel free to send them to or send them via the form on our website!
October 19, 2020
Episode 5: Diving in with distinguished guests!
We've brought together three pros to give us their input on TEN DAYS IN A MADHOUSE: Nathan Fosbinder (MFA graduate of the NYU Musical Theatre Writing Program, composer of MTM's Hephaestus), Tamara Brognano (phenomenal local performer and musician, Four Seasons Theatre's Outreach Director), and Rachel Lynett (Founder and Artistic Director of the new Rachel Lynett Theatre Company, nationally-produced and award-winning playwright.) We pick their brains on what they thought of the show and discuss their thoughts on moving forward to the next stage...with lots of laughs and support along the way! 
October 3, 2020
Episode 4: TEN DAYS IN A MADHOUSE, Act Two
A professionally recorded audio presentation of the show in its current draft.  In this episode, Act Two!  Nellie soothes the women with music,  A seemingly silent Mrs. Freeman lets us gives a glimpse into her mind. Sarah Fishbaum shares her sexy and hilarious philosophy on life, Tillie gets sicker, Nurse Grupe loses her cool, and a surprise guest arrives at the asylum. Later, Nellie tells the stories of what she saw, and change begins.  Water splash and gavel sound effects from
August 21, 2020
A professionally recorded audio presentation of the show in its current draft.  In this episode, Act One!  Nellie Bly gets her assignment, arrives at Blackwell's Island, and meets fascinating women, including many who are not insane. The terrifying Nurse Grupe is threatened by Nellie, Sarah Fishbaum has some tips for getting through the wretchedness, the women try to save the increasingly ailing Tillie Mayard, and the patients are subjected to horrifying baths. Water splash and gavel sound effects from 
August 21, 2020
Song Teaser: "The Story of Me," performed by Anna Pfefferkorn
Driven closer to madness with each passing day, Nellie's will is tested after the patients are subjected to freezing and unsanitary baths. Watching her friend Tillie suffer more and more from illness, Nellie is afraid the asylum will make Tillie completely mad-and take Nellie along for the ride. In this Act I closer, Nellie talks herself out of giving up, and reminds herself she still has an important task at hand. 
August 14, 2020
Song Teaser: "If It's A Sin," performed by Erica Halverson
In the midst of Act II, as the ladies are growing very weary of the asylum, Sarah Fishbaum receives a romantic letter. In this up-tempo, comedic number, she regales the ladies with tails of her exploits with men and how her "fondness for men" got her sent to the asylum. 
August 14, 2020
Episode 2: Making a Nellie Bly musical
In 1887, the ambitious and brave Nellie Bly, 23 years old, marched into Joseph Pulitzer's office and offered to get herself committed to the insane asylum at Blackwell's Island so she could report on the atrocities inside.  Less than two days after she feigned insanity at women's boarding house, a judge sent her to the dreaded reclusive institution, where she met women who were victims of a system that stigmatized struggling and cast them aside.
August 13, 2020
Episode 1: Why Nellie Bly?
Dig into the fascinating story behind the show! In 1887, reporter Nellie Bly received the assignment of a lifetime:  Get herself committed to Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum and report on what she saw.  Composer and lyricist Jennifer Hedstrom, book-writer and lyricist Karen Saari, Director Meghan Randolph, and Directing Intern Trinity Gardner talk about Nellie Bly's story: How she ended up at Blackwell's Island, what it was like there, the era in which she did this, and what it all meant.
August 13, 2020