Bronx theatre company gears up for production at NYC Fringe Festival

The square is alive, with the sound of music.

A new Bronx theatre company based in Westchester Square is gearing up for its second full production this month, with a take off on the famous play and movie.

The Melodion Theatre company mounted its first full production in May during Westchester Square Arts Festival.

It’s latest production, The Hills Are Alive!, will be presented as part of the 16th annual New York International Fringe Festival – FringeNYC.

The festival, celebrating its 16th anniversary, is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, with more than 200 companies from across the globe performing for 16 days in more than 20 venues August 10 through 26.

The Hills Are Alive is a dark comedy that follows a prominent Austrian family crossing the Alps into Switzerland, by foot, with seven children and no supplies, said show composer and music director Eric Johnson.

He said he and wife Frankie “are a composer/lyricist team, and we’ve been developing a few ideas for new musicals over the past couple years.”

“Sometime in early 2011, we were joking about how absurd the endings to many Hollywood films and Broadway musicals are. Then we thought, what if we take one of these famous endings and write a sequel to it, asking the question, ‘What would really happen if a retired Austrian military captain, a former nun, and seven affluent singing children tried to cross the Alps by foot to escape the Nazis?’

“We quickly realized we had a hit idea that would keep folks laughing and singing our Rodgers and Hammerstein-style songs long after they left their seats.”

Johnson, 30, and a recent arrival in the Bronx said the Melodion Theatre was started to produce The Hills Are Alive! in the Westchester Square Arts Festival, held at the new Cephas Center for the Arts in May.

“Between having our show premiere in the Bronx, seeing potential of producing future shows at Cephas Center, and now living in the Bronx, it made sense to form our company here. The Bronx has a ton of potential with growth in the arts, and we wanted to be a part of this renaissance. We were also fortunate enough to receive a Community Arts Grant from the Bronx Council on the Arts to produce the show in May, so we feel that the Bronx has welcomed us with open arms.”

The show will run at Theatre 80 in the East Village, at 80 St. Marks Place between 1st and 2nd avenues on Friday, August 10; Sunday, August 12; Monday, August 13; Sunday, August 19, and Friday, August 24.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

More from Around NYC