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Arden: Season 2

Serial Podcast

Created by Emily Vanderwerff, Christopher Dole, and Sara Ghaleb

Original songs created for Season 2 by Laura Stratford (music & lyrics)

Arrangements by Annabelle Revak

What if Hamlet took place on a ranch in modern-day Montana, and the lead was a young woman with a guitar? For season 2 of the hit podcast Arden, I created nine original songs distilling the themes of Hamlet's soliloquies.


The Bone Harp

​Full-length Musical

Book and Lyrics by Laura Stratford

Music by Heidi Joosten


Jenny and Jessa are outsiders, living on the outskirts of town with their father, the village gravedigger. Since their mother ran away ten years ago, they've found companionship in the Boneyard, a ghostly realm they can only enter together, populated with the spirits of the town's former inhabitants. When a new spirit appears in the Boneyard, the girls must question everything they thought they knew about their family, and decide which world they want to live (or die) in.

Premiering with Underscore Theatre Company in 2022!


57th National Mathlete Sum-it

Full-length TYA Musical

Book by Laura Stratford

Music by David Kornfeld

Lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser

Additional music by Dylan MarcAurele

Story by Larry Little

Licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide

The almost-all girl high school math team from Waukesha, Wisconsin has lost--and then won--the regional math competition, and are off to compete in the National Mathlete Sum-it. These smart and funny whiz kids must unite to solve difficult math problems without getting distracted by teen drama and pressures.
Always witty, sometimes uproarious, this is the story of girls becoming women-- conquering anxiety and rivalry, finding a way to affirm themselves as individuals and as team members, and learning to win at math...and at life!

Select Praise:

“The book, by Laura Stratford, is heartwarming and funny...Get ready, Disney, because [this] is likely to be your next hit"

Times Square Chronicles

“A likeable, sweet, quite entertaining musical...A pretty big club is the sub-genre of musicals that have used school days and their clubs and cliques to click with an audience, but this one does it especially well and in an endearing way.”

Nitelife Exchange



a (hardcore amateur) musical

Full-length Musical

Book, lyrics, & Music by Alex Higgin-Houser, David Kornfeld, Brendan Siegfried and Laura Stratford

The darkly comedic Pr0ne: A Hardcore, Amateur Musical explodes the world of a single pornographic video, asking the question, “If we could step into the frame and see that person for who she really is, her hopes, her dreams, her challenges, past, present or future, what would we find?” What happens when we take that person who has been objectified and re-personify her?


The plot follows Jessica Harrison, a young woman struggling to find her place in the film industry, as the country discovers her secret: that she is the unnamed, possibly exploited, young woman in an adult “casting couch” video at the heart of a highly sensationalized legal battle. As Jessie struggles to decide how to testify, her brother and his demented college roommate quest to clear her name and reunite their family

Select Praise:

“The young writers succeed in saying something and being an authentic voice of their generation...We must admire the guts and sheer abandon of the young Underscore Theatre Company in creating this frequently entertaining, intentionally outrageous and subversive original musical...In telling [Jessie's] story, Pr0ne explores porn with an uninhibited and raunchy honesty...For its two hours of stage time, [the] writers...set new records for explicit gross-out humor in a musical comedy not written by someone with 16 years of a hit Comedy Central TV series on their resume. But like The Book of Mormon’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Pr0ne’s take musical theater conventions and use them to subversive ends.”"

Chicago Theatre Beat


Spa Fire

The Children of the one percent

One-act Musical

Book, lyrics, & Music by Alex Higgin-Houser, David Kornfeld, Brendan Siegfried and Laura Stratford

Take four privileged young people looking for a relaxing day at the spa, add fire and a locked alley gate, and subtract their cell phones and wallets, and you have a delightful one-act musical that asks the hard questions: how can we save the children (of the one percent)?

Commissioned by Ex-Pats Theatre Company, Chicago, IL.


Liberal Arts: the musical!

Full-length Musical

Book, lyrics, & Music by Alex Higgin-Houser, David Kornfeld, Brendan Siegfried and Laura Stratford

Five freshmen and one senior navigate their way through life, love and deconstruction theory at Secular Liberal Arts College (SLAC), only to find that their expensive education has left them flush with student loans and short on, well, “practical experience.”

Select Praise:

"There's a lot of talent on display in the writing and performing of Liberal Arts"

The Windy City Times

“The piece has some great dialogue and lyrics, makes excellent use of the space”

Chicago Theater Beat



a fresh-brewed musical

One-Act Musical

Book, lyrics, & Music by Alex Higgin-Houser, David Kornfeld, and Laura Stratford

Grounds is the world's first indie-folk-rock-hip-hop musical (as far as we know). Actors are musicians, musicians play characters, and the audience is right in the cafe with us. Illuminated by bursts of shadow puppetry, this bittersweet, family-friendly comedy follows the proprietors and regulars of a doomed Minneapolis coffee shop and explores what happens to a community when we lose our home.

Select Praise:

"The only thing that’s that there isn’t time for more of it...stunning...a hell of a lot of fun."

Twin Cities Daily Planet

"A neatly packaged homage to the wide variety of creativity and human interaction that (forgive the expression) percolates daily in coffee shops around the world. ...filled with pleasures for fans of theatre craft"

Indy Theatre Habit

"Keeps us laughing and listening and sends the audience out with a smile."

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