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Andy Kirshner: “Liberty’s Secret” Premiere

Liberty Secret Poster

Andy Kirshner — Associate Professor at the Stamps School and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance — has spent the last eight years working on Liberty’s Secret: The 100% All-American Musical. A girl-meets-girl movie musical about the song and dance of politics, the film première is on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 8 pm in the Michigan Theater. Advance tickets on sale now at: myumi​.ch/​6QDAG

Liberty’s Secret is a political satire that examines what happens when a squeaky-clean preacher’s daughter becomes the symbolic centerpiece of a socially conservative political campaign, falls in love with her female publicist, and makes a choice between comfortable social expectations or true love. 

Though Liberty’s Secret takes great pleasure in poking fun at political hypocrisy, and at cable news celebrities, it is essentially a love story between two women,” says Kirshner. I love old musicals — like those by George Gershwin, Meredith Wilson, Leonard Bernstein, and Frank Loesser — but frankly, the gender politics of the musical-theater classics are terrible. So I wanted to write a musical that would capture some of the some of same tap-dancing, jazz-inspired joy of an earlier era, but where the women weren’t tamed by men, or where they didn’t always have to fall in love with a boy — as if that were the only real-life possibility for a happy ending. I wanted to write a traditional musical that was non-traditional.”

Shot entirely in Southeast Michigan, and including many locations on the U‑M Ann Arbor campus, Liberty’s Secret was created with the participation of many from the U‑M community. Stamps School of Art and Design grad Laura Pazuchowski (BFA 10) led an art department staffed by many current Stamps students and alums, and several of Kirshner’s musical colleagues from SMTD are featured as both performers and instrumentalists. Students from Stamps’ Interarts Performance BFA program and from SMTD’s MFA Dance program appear with theatre professor Malcolm Tulip in one of the films more outrageous scenes, while SMTD professor Cynthia Kortman-Westphal led a singing chorus of current SMTD musical-theatre, voice students, and faculty members. 

Filmed in the grand tradition of Technicolor MGM movie-musicals, the film will be shown at film festivals, be available for digital download, and available for individuals and non-profit groups to sponsor community screenings. Details at lib​er​ty​se​cret​.com.

The September 22 world première of Liberty’s Secret is supported by the Stamps School of Art and Design, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, The Institute for Research on Women and Gender, The Spectrum Center, The Institute for the Humanities, The School of Information, and Comerica Bank.