New Year, New Approach To Industry Readings

Full Out Creative started off 2024 providing space, videography, and photography for a first-of-its-kind reading of a new musical comedy, Salem. A departure from the traditional structure of a 29-hour reading, Blair Russell Productions (BRP) produced a presentation that combined excerpts from the show with an in-person immersive and digital experience. The event offered an innovative and technology-driven approach to industry presentations of new works. FOC aims to lead change in the industry, and working with producer Blair Russell, with whom FOC has collaborated before, was a perfect match.

Seating and music stand setup for Salem reading
Staging the main room at Full Out Creative for the Salem reading.
Left: Salem VR and music listening stations Right: Appetizers for cast, crew, and guests
Left: Salem “listening station” and virtual reality demonstration. Right: Everyone loves some free (and delicious) appetizers!



The presentation began with a 30 minute showcase of material from the musical featuring performances from Tony Award nominee John-Andrew Morrison and Broadway stalwarts Angie Schworer, Tally Sessions, Natalie Charle Ellis and more. A significant departure from the standard two-and-a-half hour (or longer) performance, Blair saved the audience from a prolonged presentation, while providing time for the second part of the event: a digital exhibition and an interactive augmented reality (AR) installation.



Part of FOC’s mission is to radically innovate traditional production; we don’t accept the saying “this is the way it’s always been done.” Keeping the performance time to only 30 minutes allows for more efficient use of everyone’s time – those in the audience, on stage, and off.


BRP also offered multiple hour-long time slots to provide multiple options for busy industry professionals. The variety of performances allowed for a wider range of attendees – keeping with FOC’s mission to make art more accessible and inclusive. In acknowledging the reality of last-minute changes, attendees were able to easily change their scheduled performance time.


Following the performance, attendees were led in groups upstairs to a separate space procured by FOC specifically for the AR experience. Brandon Powers of Constellation Theatrical had completely transformed the studio space into an immersive world of Salem, Massachusetts. Guests were provided headphones and guided through on their smartphones, where they traveled from room to room – each a different location in Salem. Each room contained different objects (artwork, books, various documents); guests could physically explore the world of the musical, and then, using the camera feature on the phone on the various objects, piece together puzzles that would unlock a new song from the show, played through their headphones.


photo of Jennifer Lucy Cook
Jennifer Lucy Cook, music and lyrics
photo of T.J. Pieffer
T.J. Pieffer, co-book writer
photo of Shelby Solla
Shelby Solla, co-book writer

Back downstairs, a digital showcase offered a video interview, filmed and edited by FOC, with the creators of the show. Custom headshots in a style that matches Salem’s logo, taken by FOC, were on display as well, allowing the audience to become further entrenched in the world of the show.



Because BRP rented the entirety of FOC’s space for both rehearsal and performance, FOC was able to provide videography and photography services at a discount. We also adapted easily to changing circumstances (which is to be expected for any experience that is the first of its kind), from more complex technical issues to simpler items like printing programs or sourcing additional music stands, all at no additional cost.



This project was particularly of interest to FOC as it aligns with our “Why.” Specifically, we believe that technology can be thoughtfully and intentionally incorporated into productions in order to expand storytelling and accessibility. Salem’s unique approach to not just storytelling, but immersing the audience in the world of “Salem,” provided a memorable perspective of the show.


Featuring a contemporary pop score with music and lyrics by Jennifer Lucy Cook and a smart, wisecracking book by Shelby Solla and T.J. Pieffer, Salem takes the real life accusers from the Salem witch trials, whose names gained familiarity thanks to Arthur Miller’s 1953 play “The Crucible,” and offers a unique perspective. Here, Abby Williams teams up with her cousin Betty Parris and pals Mary and Mercy to leverage witch accusations as a means to escape the oppressive world of 1690s Massachusetts. The devil himself even makes an appearance.

These are just a few of the many roles that work together to create a film. Our collective success would not have been possible without our incredible team. If you’d like a behind-the-scenes look, be sure to check out our Instagram and be on the lookout for further announcements about release dates and more!