Welcome! We hope this message finds you well during this incredibly difficult time. All of us at FUSE are working hard to find our way in a world that has changed completely in a few short weeks. We know you are too.
FUSE is in the middle of its seventh season. With great regret, we’ve canceled the remainder of our season: Ruthless, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, and Pippin, and our final play reading of the season, The Humans.
Since COVID-19 hit the United States and closed down schools and non-essential businesses, we’ve been searching for ways to transfer the joyous, in-person art form of musical theatre into a joyous, online art form. Problem is, there is no training manual. We hope to make some exciting announcements soon about some online productions.
In the meantime, we appreciate your support. If you’ve purchased a ticket to a canceled production, we hope you’ll consider the cost of the ticket a donation to FUSE so we can meet ongoing expenses and be ready to go when we can meet in person again. You can make a tax-deductible donation here: https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/fuse-productions
Richard Biever (Producing Artistic Director) has spent his life creating theatre, as an actor, director, composer/lyricist, and music director. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, received a Bachelor of Music Education (voice and choral conducting) from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and an MFA in Directing for the Musical Theatre at Penn State.
His professional career began at age 16 when he acted and music directed shows for Enchanted Hills Playhouse in Syracuse, Indiana, near his home town of Nappanee. While at IU, he music directed the first non-union production of Little Shop of Horrors. That show’s book writer and lyricist, Howard Ashman, was to direct the IU production but was hired by Disney to write The Little Mermaid. Instead, Howard’s assistant, Albert Tavares, directed and subsequently hired Rich to music direct both the national and international tours of Little Shop.
Rich spent nearly two years as the resident music director a Circa 21 Playhouse in Rock Island, Illinois, and two years as resident music director for the Downtown Cabaret in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
He and Heidi Dittmar were married in 1990 and lived in NYC for 2 years, before moving back to State College, PA to start a musical theatre training program. Their son Marshall was born in 1993 and daughter Madeline in 1996, while the family was living outside Philadelphia, PA. Rich and Heidi were working in Boston, MA in September 2001 and Rich was inspired to create a musical tribute to 9/11 called The New Normal: A Spiritual Response in Words and Music, which played to over 1500 people on the plaza of the Christian Science Center on September 11, 2002.
The Bievers returned to State College in 2003 and have remained there since. Daughter Olivia was born in 2004. They re-opened their musical theatre studio, called Singing Onstage. Each semester, Singing Onstage produces 8 shows with 150 students, ages 4-18. Singing Onstage also produced several full-length musicals with adults and students. Following Rich’s completion of his MFA in Directing at Penn State (with mentor Susan H. Schulman), he began a musical theatre development company, Singing Onstage Productions, in NYC and produced readings of new works and forgotten gems of the past. He directed two new musicals: Harmony, Kansas and Nightfall and a reading of the Howard Ashman/Marvin Hamlisch 1985 musical Smile.
In 2012, Rich became the Executive/Artistic Director of The State Theatre in State College, and revitalized the programming and energy there. In July of 2013, Rich started FUSE Productions, The State Theatre’s own resident theatre company. When the board of The State restructured the management of the theatre, Rich left to make FUSE an independent theatre company.