'Puberty: The Musical' Recognized at National Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

“Puberty: The Musical”

The Augustana Collaborative Theatre Society,  a student-led theatre organization devoted to the social and artistic aspects of theatre, presented “Puberty: The Musical” November 2 – 4, 2018.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), a national theater program involving 20,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide serving as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the US, recognized “Puberty: The Musical,” written by Augustana University junior Coleman Peterson '20.

“Puberty: The Musical” is a two-hour, full-length musical, written by Peterson specifically for high school and university-age performers. It comically portrays the challenges faced by four middle school students when they’re confronted by the unforeseen “curses” of growing up. With the added pressure of the middle school dance right around the corner, these tweens musically dodge each pubescent bullet and ensure that peak awkwardness is avoided before this most special of nights.

After three sold-out shows at Augustana, “Puberty” was submitted in January and ultimately selected to conduct a staged concert reading at the KCACTF’s regional festival, which evaluated work from students throughout Region 5, comprised of seven states — Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota. The script was then selected to represent Region 5 in the Full-Length Play category at the National Festival in Washington, D.C.

“Puberty: The Musical” earned several Distinguished Achievement Awards:

  • The Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards for Festival Year 2018

  • The Harold And Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award

  • The KCACTF National Undergraduate Playwriting Award

  • The Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting

  • The KCACTF Musical Theatre Award

Dan Workman, chair of the Augustana Department of Theatre, had this to say about this impressive achievement, “It has been an amazing experience for Coleman to get his work produced here at Augustana, and gain national exposure as a playwright, lyricist, and composer. Coleman has undeniable talent, but it is his hard work and determination that make this success possible. We are very proud of him, and all of the students that worked on the production, for making ‘Puberty: The Musical’ happen,” said Workman.

Peterson operates Creative Kids Theatre in his hometown of Tea, South Dakota, which offers week-long summer theatre camps for children in kindergarten through sixth grade that end in fun, free performances. He also works part-time at the Washington Pavilion’s Community Learning Center, where he teaches theatre camps and classes, and does technical work for the Dakota Academy of Performing Arts.

Katie LeBrun
Public Relations and Communications Strategist