UT Alumni Workshop New Musical at Pegasus PlayLab


June 9, 2022

actress holding a black binder looks at a group of actors huddled together and looking ominously back at her

UT Austin alumni Guinevere "Gwenny" Govea (B.A. in Theatre and Dance and Bachelor of Journalism, 2021) and Anna Pickett (B.S. in Youth and Community Studies, 2021) workshopped their new musical Spells of the Sea at Pegasus PlayLab at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, culminating in staged readings on June 4 and 5, 2022.

Spells of the Sea follows a 15-year-old fisherwoman named Finley Frankfurter and an old lighthouse keeper named H.S. Crank as they journey through the ocean to find the Elixir of Life to cure Finley’s terminally ill father. Along the way, the pair discovers the meaning of family, friendship and believing in yourself in this theatrical adventure.

Govea first wrote the book, music and lyrics for Spells of the Sea in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the pandemic, I felt the need to travel extremely far away, so I channeled that energy by writing a story on the high seas. At the same time, I was grieving for the many people who died of COVID.” While Spells of the Sea was originally written to be staged in person, Govea adapted the musical into a five-episode musical podcast, which was presented in The Cohen New Works Festival (2021) at The University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Anna Pickett.


Over a year later, Pegasus PlayLab provided Govea and Pickett with an eight-day rehearsal process before the theatre for young audiences musical was presented to the public through staged readings. This workshop was conducted in collaboration with Metro Theater Company and the Drama and Theatre for Youth Communities (DTYC) program at the UT Department of Theatre and Dance. Multiple DTYC collaborators traveled to Florida for the reading and workshop, serving in a number of roles during the developmental process. 

group photo of eight collaborators posing in front of a banner for SPELLS OF THE SEA

UT Theatre and Dance collaborators included:

  • Megan Alrutz (associate chair and graduate advisor for the Department of Theatre and Dance) - Dramaturg
  • Michelle Habeck (associate professor) - lighting designer
  • Adriana Serrano (assistant professor) - production designer
  • Giana Blazquez Bultman (M.F.A. 2022) - choreographer
  • Claire Derriennic (graduate student) - community engagement 
  • Xinyue Zhang (graduate student) - community engagement
  • Renita James (graduate student) - performer

Following their development at Pegasus PlayLab, Spells of the Sea is set to have its world premiere production at Metro Theater Company in Spring 2023. More information is available about the production at www.spellsofthesea.com and @spellsofthesea on Instagram.

Photo 1 taken by McKenzie Lakey.
Photo 2 taken by Megan Ann Rasmussen.