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ABOUT

What is Seven Lively Arts?

Seven Lively Arts is a creative events company. An experience company. An instigator of live, interactive, in-the-moment, out-of-the-ordinary happenings that you never forget and can’t wait to tell everyone about. We live at the intersection of unexpected things: mystery game + street fair; silent movie + night club; Shakespearean satire + karaoke.

Whether you’re a community helping people to reconnect with their history, a non-profit raising funds and public awareness, a business building a brand that sticks, or just someone who wants to throw the year’s best party—we are the creative geniuses who can make it happen.

What are the “seven lively arts”?

In a world of vicarious living through internet and film, think of them as the opposite of the Seven Deadly Sins. They are creative, joyful and authentic experiences, both traditional and new-fangled. Which seven arts it refers to might change from day to day, from person to person.

The phrase was coined in 1924 by cultural critic Gilbert Seldes. His book by that name was the first time that thoughtful, critical analysis was offered to popular art forms, such as comic strips, jazz music and slapstick silent comedies.

We continue on in that spirit, mixing high-brow with low-brow, engaging in any form of art that spreads joy and brings people together.

Who is Nathan Christensen?

Nathan Christensen received his BA in theatre studies from Brigham Young University in 2002, where he produced one of his own musicals (Here in the Heartland) and two of his plays (Small Courage and The Battle Creek Cure). He participated in a theater study abroad program in London in 2000, experiencing 48 plays and musicals in only seven weeks.

Christensen earned an MFA in musical theater writing from New York University 2004, and has studied writing with such Broadway legends as Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical), Michael John LaChiusa (Wild Party, Marie Christine) and William Finn (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Falsettos). Christensen was an assistant to Finn on the Broadway-bound production of Spelling Bee, even contributing jokes that went on to be included in the official script.  He has received a Richard Rodgers Award (2005) and a Jonathan Larson Award (2005), and was named to the Dramatists Guild’s “50 to Watch” list.

In 2012, after eight years in New York, Christensen married and moved not far from his hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. While continuing to write musicals and regularly commuting back to New York, Nathan also developed a creative events company called Seven Lively Arts, collaborating with arts organizations, communities and businesses in developing out-of-the-ordinary theatrical and cultural experiences. The company debuted in 2011 with a vaudeville-style variety production in Tuscon called The Matinee Show.  then shifted to Oklahoma in 2012 with a “pervasive game” built taking place along the Main Street of Collinsville, OK, with hundreds of participants trying to solve three time-traveling mysteries built around local history. That event, written for the city’s annual Taste of Collinsville, was a finalist for Oklahoma’s 2013 Main Street Awards.  Local projects now in development include a second large-scale interactive game being planned for Collinsville Downtown Inc., a radio play-style comedy show to be produced at Herron’s Crown Opry Theater this fall, a silent movie event for the Deaf community of Oklahoma, as well as a series of interactive theater pieces designed to be performed for private gatherings and company socials.

Announced in New York’s Variety magazine and Broadway’s Playbill in 2013, Owasso-based writer Nathan Christensen has earned one of just three spots in the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. His musical Broadcast—about the Golden Age of radio—was chosen from over 175 applicants to receive two weeks of intensive development, as well as exposure to the nearby New York theater community.

Together with his co-writer, composer Scott Murphy, the O’Neill conference gives Christensen the opportunity of working with Broadway-caliber professional actors, director and musicians. The conference is structured around a cycle of intensive rehearsals and public performances, followed by revisions and fine-tuning to the script and score. This rigorous process is meant to result in a polished work ready for production in New York or regional theaters.  Broadcast was also presented as a reading at Playwrights Horizons, and was staged at the University of Nebraska.

Christensen’s previous work with Scott Murphy was a musical adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. In 2010, The Giver was featured in the National Alliance for Musical Theater’s Festival of New Musicals in New York City, with Broadway legend Terrence Mann (original casts of Les Miserables, Cats, Beauty and the Beast) in the title role. The Giver has also appeared in other new works festivals at theaters across the country, including at Village Theatre (Issaquah, WA), TheatreWorks (Palo Alto, CA), and Penn State.

In 2013, Christensen began collaborating with composer David von Kampen on a new musical, The Bunker.  In this chamber musical, a female President of the United States and a low-level aid find themselves locked in an unmarked bunker beneath the White House. With no information about the events leading to their internment, and no communication with the outside world, the President begins to suspect that her fellow captive may be part of a sinister plot.

Other works by Christensen include Here In The Heartland (a Brechtian musical about the realities of small town life in America), Small Courage (an impressionistic portrait of Sir James Barrie, author of Peter Pan), The Battle Of Creek Cure (a dark comedy dealing with the bizarre health fads at the turn of the last century), and Cambices, King Of Persia (a verse adaptation of an Elizabethan play, integrating puppetry and live actors).

A person of eclectic interests, Nathan Christensen has also been a concert violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, produced an original comedy review show, served as a missionary in South Korea where he also played drums for hula dancers on the Korean Home Shopping Network, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, written greeting cards, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world. As a concert violinist, Nathan Christensen won the Young Artist Competition with the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra in 1995, performing The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughn Williams.

OTHER LINKS:

2011:  The Giver at Silicon Valley Theatre Works

2009: Free Reading of The Giver in Manhattan

Discuss!