The Mysteries of Harris Burdick


Music by Chris Miller, Lyrics by Nathan Tysen, Book & Direction by Joe Calarco

Inspired by the book by Chris Van Allsburg

2009 Berkshire Eagle Best of the Decade

2008 Boston Globe Top 10 Theatre Pick of 2008


Years ago a writer left a series of astonishing sketches at a publisher’s office promising to return the next day with their accompanying stories. He never returned. Inspired by Chris Van Allsburg’s famous book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick offers up one explanation for the man’s disappearance taking the audience on a wild ride through wonder, fear, and the imagination.

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Production History:

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick premiered at Barrington Stage Company July 18th, 2008. The cast featured Romain Fruge, Mitchell Jarvis, Catherine Porter, Ben Roseberry, Lucia Spina, and Nicole VanGiesen.  Music Direction by Vadim Feichtner, set by Brian Prather, costumes by Elizabeth Flauto, lighting by Chris Lee.

Developmental History:

Barrington Stage Company

Playwrights Horizons

Theater Masters, Aspen

Mercury Musical Developments, London

Lincoln Center Theatre

Frederick Loewe Foundation


“The musical captures the sense of loss, thrills and mystery that echo through Van Allsburg’s multiple-meaning drawings. Miller’s music and Tysen’s lyrics capture the flights of fancy while underscoring the emotional depths and darkness beneath the surface of the sometimes comforting/sometimes disturbing tales. Accomplished in giving musical urgency and lift, Miller’s score is also lovely in its more lilting and lonely moments…the overall show weaves a magical spell…like the illustrations, the musical mysteriously lingers in the heart and mind.” -VARIETY

“Like the best of Van Allsburg’s work, the show is muted, delicate, poised on a finely penciled line between innocence and experience. It leaves room for both heartbreak and wonder.  Tysen’s lyrics are especially strong…he finds felicitous but unforced rhymes, and his songs advance the story and enrich our sense of character with rare economy and verve. Miller’s tunes are lovely.” -BOSTON GLOBE