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Ella Minnow Pea

Book and lyrics by Scott Burkell

Music by Paul Loesel

Orchestrations by Paul Loesel and Andy Jones

A new musical based on the best-selling book by Mark Dunn

Department of Musical Theatre

November 20-23, 2008

Arthur Miller Theatre


The Story: On the tiny fictional island nation of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina, its citizens gather for the annual celebration of its claim to fame – Nevin Nollop – the inventor of the world’s most famous pangram (a sentence that uses all the letters in the alphabet): “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Horror strikes the crowd when the tile for the letter “z” falls from Nollop’s memorial statue in the middle of the ceremony. While teenager Ella Minnow Pea muses that the glue simply gave way, the town council decrees that it was a sign from Nollop himself and declares that the use of “z” will no longer be allowed, with swift punishment for all utterances of the banned letter. As more letters fall and become banned, Ella races to create a new pangram that will restore Nollop to its former glory.

Artistic Significance: Based on the critically acclaimed, best-selling novel by Mark Dunn, Ella Minnow Pea is the second full-length musical by the team of Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel. Michigan natives, their award-winning collaboration has produced songs for some of the most celebrated performers in musical theatre including Michael Feinstein, Rebecca Luker, and Kristin Chenoweth. Ella Minnow Pea previously received a reading in New York City. The Department of Musical Theatre is honored to assist and collaborate with the writers in their development process through a workshop production of the show. For new works, readings and workshops are valuable tools in the overall process in readying a show for commercial production. Both political allegory and a linguistic tour-de-force, Ella Minnow Pea reminds us how the loss of freedom of expression can affect an entire society.



Etai Benshlomo (Street Coral Springs, FL), Will Burton (Marietta, GA),
Derek Carley (Woodinville, WA), Britney Coleman (Ann Arbor, MI),
Emily Glick (Chapel Hill, NC), Kelcy Griffin (Chicago, IL),
Holly Grossman (Weston, FL), Haley Hannah (Leawood, KS),
Mike Kelton (Westchester, NY), Lizzie Klemperer (Syracuse, NY),
Beth Kuhn (Deerfield, IL), Andrew Laudel (St. Louis, MO),

Eric Maier (Okemos, MI), Stephanie Maloney (Pittsburgh, PA),

Anne Markt (Mayfield Heights, OH), Ian Mazurek (Nashua, NH),

Alle-Faye Monka (Morristown, NJ), Leonard Navarro (San Antonio, TX),

Jonathan Parkey (Jonesboro, AR), John Rapson (Washington, MI),

Sabra Satz-Kojis (Ann Arbor, MI), Max Spitulnik (Rockville, MD),

Christopher Jon Torrella (Pittsfield Twp, MI), Madeline Trumble (Berkeley, CA)

ella minnow pea


Director Scott Burkell
Music Director Catherine Walker Adams
Scenic Designer Rob Murphy
Costume Designer Christianne Myers
Lighting Designer Craig Kidwell
Stage Manager

A.J. Dobbs

Production Photos

Click here to view the Ella Minnow Pea


Click here to view the Ella Minnow Pea program


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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower