The Academy



Pomfret School Theater is pleased to announce the world premiere of an original musical.

The Academy is co-written by Pomfret Theater Director Chip Lamb and New York Times bestselling author Ridley Pearson ’71. Set at a private boarding school that bears a striking resemblance to Pomfret, the story follows two young freshmen who are faced with a mystery to solve. It is based on the second book of the same name in Pearson’s Steel Trapp series. 

“I had no idea when I asked Ridley if we could adapt his book into a play that we were embarking on a multi-year odyssey,” says Lamb. “I had no idea our version of the story would be a musical. I had no idea Ridley would fully embrace this project, put his own professional projects on hold, and spend literally hundreds of hours writing music, lyrics, and the script with me. I had no idea about his total dedication to our school, a place that changed his life.”

The Academy has been in development since January 2020, but like so much of life, it was disrupted by the pandemic. Pearson and Lamb completed the first draft of the two-act musical at Pearson’s home in the Northern Rockies in August. The first table read took place at Pomfret on November 14, 2021. Since then, Lamb and Pearson have been working day in and day out with the cast and crew to refine the musical comedy’s script, music, and dance numbers.

More than thirty Pomfret students have dedicated an untold number of hours to bring this project to life. “We get to play with different harmonies,” says Lexi Beck ’22. “I love that if the words in the song or in the dialogue don’t work, we’re able to change them.”

Ridley Pearson is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty award-winning suspense and young adult adventure novels, including the Peter and the Starcatchers series, which he co-wrote with Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry. Peter and the Starcatchers, the first book in the series, was adapted for the stage by Rick Elice, and has been awarded five Tony Awards. 

Chip Lamb is the Scripps Endowed Chair for the Arts at Pomfret School. He is also a respected playwright and theater director. This is the third original work he has written for the School. The other two plays include 70 lbs of Books (2013), which tells the story of Pomfret alumnus Loring “Ring” Bailey ’63, who died in the Vietnam War; and I’m a Master, I Believe (1994), about Pomfret’s founder William Peck. 

The debut of The Academy coincides with the reopening of Hard Auditorium, which has been under construction for the last nine months. The auditorium was reimagined by Centerbrook Architects and Planners. The $6.8 million renovation includes a state-of-the-art theater; revamped HVAC, electrical, water, and drainage systems; and a new three-story breezeway connecting the auditorium to the School Building. 

The public premiere of the musical comedy will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. in Hard Auditorium on the Pomfret campus. The performance is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. Alumni and friends of the school are invited and encouraged to attend. Registration is not required.

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