BACKSTAGE: Composer Tom Kitt Works On 'Superhero' At The O'Neill

Composer Tom Kitt

Composer Tom Kitt

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, including musical ones.

Tom Kitt, composer of the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical Next to Normal — which just had a terrific production at Hartford’s TheaterWorks — is in Connecticut working on a new musical that taps into fantasies of empowerment.

Kitt is collaborating with John Logan (Sting’s The Last Ship, the Tony Award-winning Red) on Superhero, which will have a staged reading on July 8, 9, 12 and 14 at the National Music Theater Conference at Waterford’s Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Jason Moore (Avenue QShrek) directs.

Kitt, who is writing words and music, says he wanted to tell a superhero story focusing on the human aspects of the very special character and not just make it about big action duels with the villain. “It’s more about the Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne idea and less about the action-packed things.”

The show is centered on a mother and son who are dealing with a tragedy and loss and their neighbor who has some strange characteristics. “So it’s really a question of: Are they living next door to a superhero?”

Kitt, who grew up on Long Island and in Westchester, says he is playing it straight rather than satirizing or commenting on the show’s fantastical elements. “I’m trying to tell an emotional story that I feel very passionate about and creating music that feels both melodic and dramatic.”

Like Next to Normal, “It’s a project I feel deeply personal about and cathartic. I really feel like my heart’s on the page.”