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The Paul Dresher Ensemble, in collaboration with Fort Mason Center Presents and Behavioral Intervention for Autism, proudly announces the World Premiere of Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury’s new musical MAX UNDERSTOOD for a two-week limited engagement, April 16 – 26, 2015 in the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. The production will have a press opening on Thursday, April 16, 8 pm and previews on Wednesday April 15, 8 pm.

MAX UNDERSTOOD invites audiences into the life of a young boy with autism as he escapes the safety of his parents’ apartment and begins to explore the beauty and mysteries of the world around him. Directed by David Schweizer the complete cast for MAX UNDERSTOOD features Elise Youssef* as Mom, Teddy Spencer* as Dad, Jonah Broscow as Max, with Jeremy Kahn* as Albert, Alyssa Rhoney as Fin, Jackson Davis* as Munc and Hayley Lovgren as Peg. (*Member of Actors’ Equity Association)

This heartrending musical drama features a book by Nancy Carlin, music by Michael Rasbury, lyrics by Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury, and direction by David Schweizer (Rinde Eckert, And God Created Great Whales, Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur for NYC Opera). Jennifer Reason is music director for the production, with scenic design by Alexander V. Nichols, lighting design by David Robertson, projection design by Alexander V. Nichols and Micah J. Stieglitz, costume design by Beaver Bauer, choreography by Mary Beth Cavanaugh, sound design by The Norman Conquest, and production stage management by Kevin Johnson* (AEA)

For this two-week limited engagement of MAX UNDERSTOOD (April 16 – 26, 2015) tickets are available through City Box Office (

For more information about the show, isit

Sound Maze for Max, an interactive installation linked to MAX UNDERSTOOD

Opening to the public April 4th is a new interactive exhibit, Sound Maze for Max featuring ten newly invented musical instruments collaboratively designed and built by Paul Dresher, Alex Vittum and Daniel Schmidt. The preview/press opening for Sound Maze for Max is Thursday April 2 (4:30-7pm), World Autism Awareness Day. This remarkable hands-on installation offers audiences of all ages — including adults, teens and children with Autism – unprecedented opportunities to experiment freely with sound and movement in a creative and welcoming sonic environment. Sound Maze for Max will be open April 4 – May 3 (Tues-Sun) in the Firehouse at Fort Mason Center. During the premiere performance run of MAX UNDERSTOOD, Sound Maze for Max will be open to audiences 2 hours before every show.


This World Premiere of MAX UNDERSTOOD follows three workshop productions. Max was originally workshopped off-Broadway as part of the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival, also directed by David Schweizer. Where the workshop production was describe as “gorgeous and heartrending,” “transfixing and memorable,” and “consistently fascinating” and named an Outstanding New Musical. At the Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference of 2008 the production was selected for development in a staged reading workshop during a residency.


Additional workshop performances of MAX UNDERSTOOD were produced by the University of Virginia Department of Drama. Additional support was provided by the University of Virginia Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts.


The San Francisco premiere of MAX UNDERSTOOD is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, the Kenneth Rainin and Phyllis C. Wattis foundations, Meyer Sound, Keith McMillen Instruments, and many individual donors.