In 2003, as a small production for a local children’s festival in Brooklyn, NY, Timothy Edward Young wrote a 30-page script about a young girl who wanders through a magic door into a world of monsters, insects and royal queens titled In A Round About Way. The following year, the play grew into a fully orchestrated musical incorporating more creatures including the carnival owner Venton, a spider, and his loyal servant, a cricket. Through the years of showcasing various versions of In A Round About Way, Young worked as a cater waiter in the city, constantly jotting down ideas on cocktail napkins and writing updated scripts in the early morning hours with the desire to create a more meaningful musical. Young wanted to write a script that would not just entertain, but would intimately engage an audience and support different ways of storytelling incorporating his passion: puppetry.
Over time, Young noticed a growing number of gay men in the city taking their lives because of bullying. He saw a struggle for equality and fairness being pushed down by loud and strong voices of hate and anger, getting louder and stronger and using religion as justification. Young was always taken aback by people who demonized other religions or points of view other than their own. This destructive social undertow was beginning to feed into Young’s scripts. Through social, political and personal challenges, Young found the incredibly intimate subject that he could use to engage an audience: Faith. He started to fuse his world together with his vision of anthropomorphed insects, spiders, dragons and humans.
Starting in 2009, Young collaborated with several composers to help him put his musical ideas to paper. Standing on the foundation of the nonprofit Puppetry Arts New York through grants, Young workshopped songs from this constantly evolving project. In 2012, the complete script was publicly workshopped in collaboration with Puppetry Arts and Temple University of Philadelphia and continued over the next three years being workshopped multiple times in Charleston, Philadelphia and New York City evolving into the epic musical: Anthropomorphic. In 2012, professor and professional set designer Matthew Miller joined Young as production manager and set and lighting design. Arranger Jonathan Kuehling collaborated with Young in 2015 to complete the songs from the score, the full score is being brought to life with a performance of the complete project slated for June 2018.
Using elements from the original 30-page script, his personal experiences, and molding past and current political and religious history into puppetry and mask, Young created a unique world of anthropomorphed scorpions, horseshoe crabs, spiders, and dragons in an epic tale of faith. Puppetry Arts continues to showcase the musical as it strengthens the musical’s artistic merit and builds its investments to help the production move forward. Anthropomorphic is on the verge of making musical theater history through a story that promises to everyone that they are someone to be loved.