Emily Chiu

composer / lyricist / musician

Full-length shows

apollo

Book & Lyrics by Ellen Johnston
Music by Emily Chiu

Apollo is the story of the rise and fall of an oracle, inspired by two separate oraculular incidents in history: the death of the ancient oracle of Apollo at Delphi, center of the Greek spiritual universe, and the rise of Paul, a German octopus who correctly predicted the winners of the 2010 World Cup and gained worldwide fame as an animal prognosticator.

Our story centers on the relationship between Apollo, an octopus in an aquarium that is on the verge of falling apart, and Keiko, an 88-year old Japanese immigrant who visits him regularly and sells yams from a yam van outside in the parking lot. Their stories run in parallel throughout the show. Keiko and Apollo have a friendship that centers on their daily interspecies exercises, and the yams she slips him on the sly.  But when Apollo’s talents for prediction are discovered by his keepers, they encourage the rise of a cult around him to save their aquarium. The commodification of his prophecies brings much-needed funds, but much is lost in return.

Apollo is a (tragicomedy/comedy with pathos) about the dangers of the cult of personality, the inevitability of mortality, and how the community of outsiders in this aquarium comes together despite, or perhaps, because of that fact.

unshelved

Book by Keurim Hur
Lyrics by Emily Chiu
Music by Xiaodan Zhang

Harper and Spork, two minor characters in a mediocre Young Adult novel, discover that they are on a magical shelving cart that allows them to travel to other books overnight. 
Unshelved is a genre-hopping meta musical that examines what it means to be a character in our literary landscape. 

keaton & the whale

Book & Lyrics by Molly Reisman
Music by Emily Chiu

A lonely artist named Keaton meets the loneliest whale in the world, who sings at 52-hertz, a frequency no other whale can hear. The Whale has been swimming alone and singing to only his shadow for who knows how long until one day he hears a mysterious voice reply. Unfortunately for The Whale, this voice is actually the shitty sound installation of tortured graduate student, Keaton. Keaton and the Whale is a story about loneliness and the beauty of communication in all of its many forms.