music by Mark Hollmann
lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis
book by Greg Kotis
Orchestrations by John Gerdes
May 31-June 23, 2018

YEAST NATION


"Yeast Nation rocks the ocean floor!"
-- Tina Farmer, KDHX

"The funniest cautionary tale you’re likely to ever see."
-- Jeff Ritter, Critical Blast

"The production is absolutely spellbinding."
-- Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

"A big, goofy, summer musical. . . Come for the nonsense, stay for the soaring musical artistry."
-- Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

"Enormous talent on stage, some good music, and a few laughs along the way."
-- Steve Allen

"Who knew microbiology could be so entertaining?"
-- Judith Newmark, St, Louis Post-Dispattch

"A fun, funny show. . . the musical elements are top-notch!"
-- Michelle Kenyon, Snoop's Theatre Thouughts

A comic political thriller set on the floor of the ocean three billion years ago! The world's first bio-historical musical comedy, from the mad geniuses who brought you Urinetown!


It is the year 3,000,458,000 BC. The Earth's surface is a molten mass of volcanic islands and undulating waves. The atmosphere is a choking fog lit by a dim red sun. And the mighty waters of the world are inhabited only by rocks, sand, salt, more rocks, a little silt, and the great society of salt-eating yeasts – yes, yeasts! – the world's very first life form!

These single-cell salt-eaters are the only living creatures on earth, and they’re struggling against a food shortage, a strange new emotion called Love, and the oppression of a tyrannical yeast king. But when the king’s son ventures out of the known yeastiverse, the yeasts’ epic story – and ours – is changed forever.

The New York Times, said, "This is the rare satire that knows exactly what it’s doing and commits to it." Variety wrote, "Ostensibly, it’s about the world’s earliest life forms, but it’s really a riff on individual human aspiration, love, and theatrical storytelling. While it's an easily recognizable sibling to Urinetown, this show possesses enough uniqueness and consistent cleverness to forge its own path."

With a book by Greg Kotis, and music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Kotis, Yeast Nation has been produced at the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska, in 2007; at the American Theater Company in Chicago in 2009; at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2011; with Home School Productions in Brooklyn in 2013; at the Ray of Light Theatre in San Francisco in 2014; at Lebanon High School in New Hampshire in 2017; and at the Good Company in Freiburg, Germany in March of this year. The team has continued working on the show.

Artistic director Scott Miller saw Urinetown in November 2001, right after it moved to Broadway. He says, "It blew my mind. From the very first song, I felt like someone had written a musical just for me." New Line produced Urinetown in 2007. Miller says, "As soon as I read the Yeast Nation script and heard the songs, I knew we had to work on this. It's going to be crazy amounts of fun."

The cast of New Line Theatre’s Yeast Nation included Sarah Dowling (Jan-the-Unnamed), Zachary Allen Farmer (Jan-the-Elder), Larissa White (Jan-the-Sweet), Dominic Dowdy-Windsor (Jan-the Second-Oldest), Grace Langford (Jan-the-Sly), Micheal Lowe (Jan-the-Wise), Keith Thompson (Jan-the-Wretched), Jennelle Gilreath (Jan-the-Famished), Lex Ronan (The New One), Colin Dowd (Jan-the-Youngest), Evan Fornachon, Brittany Kohl Hester, Eleanor Humphrey, and Bradley Rohlf. The show was directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with new orchestrations by John Gerdes, music direction by Sarah Nelson, scenic and lighting design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, and sound design by Ryan Day.

Want to explore more?
We recommend:

Highlights from the NY Fringe Festival production

"The Life of Yeast" on YouTube

The book Greek Theatre Performance: An Introduction by David Wiles

The book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

The book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

The book The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins

This video from the UK's National Theatre, Modern Interpretations of the Greek Chorus

Scott Miller's analysis essay about Kotis and Hollmann's other show, Urinetown

An amazing 3-D look at a yeast cell

A cool video of yeast cell reproduction