One of the wonderful things about the new Center for the Performing Arts is that there is now a new venue for original works by local arts organizations. Right now, the Carmel Repertory Theatre is working on its first original musical, Andersen - A Fairy Tale Life, a production based on the life of Hans Christian Andersen, which will be presented in the Center's Studio Theater, June 16-19 and 23-26.

June McCarty Clair, a teacher at Clay Middle School Carmel, wrote the play and its original score after receiving a $25,000 Teacher Creativity Grant in 2008 from the Lilly Endowment. After spending two years researching Andersen's life, including six weeks in Europe, Clair finished the musical with her husband, John Clair, and Derek Hayes, another Hamilton County educator. Originally, the Clairs thought they would write a musical that incorporated some of Andersen's fairy tales. But after researching Andersen's life, June Clair realized that his personal story was an even more compelling narrative. A Fairy Tale Life details Andersen's childhood in Odense, Denmark, and his attempts to overcome tremendous adversity in Copenhagen on the way to becoming one of the literary giants of his time. Not only are the creators of the musical local, so are the performers. The production includes Rick Sharp and Eric Seidensticker, two members of the Carmel City Council, and Doug Haney, an attorney for the city of Carmel. Carmel students of all ages are a part of the musical as well. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 pm., June 16-26. Buy your tickets now for the world premiere of this locally inspired production.