ORIGINAL ROCK MUSICAL
Love. War. Trauma. Drugs. Relief. Laughter. Love. Repeat.
Starting with Benjamin’s birth into a loving two-parent household, we see him grow up, take his first sips of beer with his cousin Kyle, strike out with the girl of his dreams, and join the Marines to find purpose.
Disaster strikes as both young men struggle to cope with physical and mental trauma. Seeking love and understanding, heroin fills the void and runs rampant.
However, Benjamin finds a sense of stability in his newfound love, Mara. While the relationship seems to be perfect to Benjamin and Mara, it creates a terrible rift in Benjamin's family ultimately forcing Benjamin to make the hardest decision of his life.
Book, Music, and Lyrics by
ARTISTS IN ACTION
Your sneak peak at the music of Higher
PLAYWRIGHT & COMPOSER
Mark has been playing music and writing songs since he was a teenager. He was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band C.O.D. Although he has written over a hundred songs, secular and spiritual, this is his first musical - a rock musical about the heroin epidemic.
"This musical is inspired by the courageous stories of hundreds of veterans, and the numerous voices I have met throughout the country affected by the heartache and stigma of addiction. This piece is dedicated to them, and to the providers who treat them."
MATTHEW DAVID GELLIN
PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
The opportunity to work with Mark to make HIGHER happen was a no-brainer. While Greater Cincinnati does not have the reputation for being a crucible of new work, there is no where in the current American canon that addresses the Heroin epidemic head on - and certainly not as a rock musical. However this piece will gain national attention for its honesty, visceral music, and universally experienced love story that no one dares talk about publicly. There should not be a stigma against seeking help or providing help. Mental health should not be an isolating problem as it sends a shockwave through the family support system. A.L.T. looks to #BreaktheWalls by lifting up the voice that would otherwise go unheard. It boggles my mind that Mark was turned down by a handful of other theatres with this idea. I’m thrilled that A.L.T. was the one who could step up to the plate for this home run hit.
Eric Knechtges has composed and arranged music for a variety of media. He is currently the staff arranger for the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, and has worked with the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the New York Gay Men’s Chorus, the Seattle Men’s Chorus, and many others around the world. He has taught music theory and composition at Xavier University, Thomas More University, and Northern Kentucky University. A regular performer on keyboards in community theatre's around Cincinnati, he has also served as rehearsal accompanist and music director for several local productions.
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