BROADWAY RECORDS AND THEATRE BARN RECORDS ANNOUNCE RELEASE OF BITTERSUMMER – THE NEXT ALBUM IN THE “AVERNO UNIVERSE” SERIES
“A Marvel Universe for Musicals? Meet Averno! Refreshing!” – The New York Times
(New York, NY – May 12, 2021) Broadway Records and Theatre Barn Records announced today the release of the new concept recording of BITTERSUMMER. With a score by Annalise Emerick (Field Notes) and The Brother Brothers (Some People I Know), and book by Morgan Smith (Averno’s Willow and Over & Out), this album is the third release in Broadway Records’ long-term partnership with the creators of Averno, a fictional universe that lives across multiple media platforms. Profiled as “Refreshing!” and “A ‘Marvel Universe’ for Musicals” in The New York Times, Averno is a worldwide internet phenomenon where teens have found a safe haven in the times of quarantine. The album will be available on Friday, June 4th wherever digital music is sold and on BroadwayRecords.com.
In a world where being young and queer is too often staged only as struggle, BITTERSUMMER is a musical about joy. It is the story of four LGBTQIA friends, Quinn and Cam and Violet and Dahlia, and the home they make together in a clubhouse at the edge of the woods. It shows us their fashion shows and first kisses and secrets under wishing lanterns. It offers us those quiet truths of growing up that can only be found in precious unguarded moments surrounded by people who can see us and love as we are. When queer love is both exceptional and beautifully ordinary.
BITTERSUMMER is an unflinching look at the beauty, anguish, rage, and redemption in the lives of teenage girls who collide with the new American Gods. Spanning their last summer in Averno, BITTERSUMMER follows three best friends as they walk the boundary between our world and the Forest, between childhood and adulthood, between the homes they were born into and the ones they chose. They are set on an irrevocable path in which they collide with the ruling forces of Averno, past and present. Gods created in a blinding moment of rage, this American pantheon plays by new rules.
Produced by Smith and Michael J Moritz Jr, BITTERSUMMER features a cast of LGBTQIA+ artists including Janeen Garcia (Averno’s Over and Out), Jasmine Aurora Thomas (SheNYC Festival), Rachael Chau (Averno’s Willow), Richard Eyler (A Homosexual Hazard at Manhattan Rep) and Emma Freeman (Averno’s Willow).
In the fall of 2019, theatre artist and writer Morgan Smith created Averno – an immersive, interactive universe of interlocking musicals, comics, novels, and virtual reality centered around a single town in the south. When COVID-19 hit, the team expanded to include 60 other artists from 14 countries, including composers August Greenwood and Sushi Soucy. They shared one goal: create a form of theatre-oriented media that is not only producible in the COVID era, but that thrives in it. Since then, Averno has exploded into an online phenomenon, with over 100k followers across platforms, tens of thousands of participants in online events, and an international planning and development team formed to plan 13 musicals, as well as TV shows, films, comics, graphic novels, and fantasy series all set in Averno. With an innovative transmedia design approach that focuses on cross-platform expansion and truly immersive content, Averno has gripped the online-based arts industry and mainstream press (read NY Times feature here), creating a universe that fans have flocked to in a matter of months – and this is only the beginning.
“BITTERSUMMER has, in some ways, been in development for six months. In others, for six years,” says Morgan Smith. “It is, at its core, a story about growing up queer in the South, a story that I had to live to be able to write. The first draft of this show was born in November as a VERY messy play. I thought it should be a play, because there was truly only one artist I could imagine as the composer – Annalise Emerick. Known for Field Notes, a singer-songwriter album that became the soundtrack of the summer for indie kids, her music’s floaty ephemerality and gorgeous groundedness in its emotional depth was the only thing I could imagine scoring the script. So I wrote her an email. Shockingly enough, she said yes.”
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The first album in the Averno Series, Willow, was released by Broadway Records in September 2020 and leapt to #7 on the Billboard Cast Album charts and has been streamed over 1.5 million times on Spotify. Over and Out (the second album in the Averno series) was released in January 2021 by Broadway Records and and shot to #11 on the Billboard Cast Album charts and debuted at #11 on the iTunes Soundtrack charts. Many more Averno cast recordings are in the works.
Connect with Averno: www.avernotownship.com / social media accounts (all platforms) @avernotownship