School of Theatre and Dance Presents new musical "Chaining Zero," Nov. 5-14

"Chaining Zero" is written by Kent State alumni John Moauro and Griffin Parsons

Kent State University's School of Theatre and Dance continues its 2021-2022 season with the first fully staged developmental production of the new musical Chaining Zero, running Nov. 5 – 14 in E. Turner Stump Theatre.

With book by Kent State alumni John Moauro (BFA, Musical Theatre ‘07) and Griffin Parsons (BFA, Musical Theatre ‘06), music and lyrics by Jeffrey James and Justin Halpin, and additional book by Alana Rader (BFA, Musical Theatre '05), Chaining Zero is a musical where stories of struggle, hope, desire and pain intersect with everything you thought you knew about the strangers around you. Directed by professor Terri Kent, choreographed by guest artist Martín Céspedes, and music directed by associate professor Jennifer Korecki, the musical follows a diverse group of strangers stranded together on a New York City subway car who, thrust together by circumstance and trying to salvage their daily plans, learn that an unexpected stranger could potentially alter their lives forever. 

Kent State's production of Chaining Zero is the first time audiences will see the show as a fully produced work from start to finish and reunites director Terri Kent with her former students Moauro and Parsons. A story of human connection with an Indie pop score, Chaining Zero has had multiple readings across the United States – most recently at New York's Mary Rodgers Room. The musical is a collaboration between its Nashville-based composers/lyricists James and Halpin and its writers Moauro and Parsons who worked remotely throughout the pandemic to further develop and workshop Chaining Zero and share the new musical with the world. Excerpts of Chaining Zero were first shared via YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook as "Chaining Zero Sessions" that featured performers Sasha Allen, Stephen Christopher Anthony, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Jackie Burns, Jeffrey James, Christine Dwyer, Brittnie Price, and Danny Quadrino. 

The Chaining Zero production team includes costume design by Keely Rutledge, lighting and projection design by Jaemin Park, scenic design by Travis Daniel Williams, sound design by Brea Lecklikner, props design by Kathalina Thorpe and technical direction by associate professor Steve Pauna. Alexandra Baxter is the production stage manager.

For tickets call 330-672-ARTS (2787), purchase online at or in person at the Performing Arts Box Office located in the Roe Green Center lobby of the Center for the Performing Arts at 1325 Theatre Drive. The box office is open Mon. – Fri., Noon to 5 pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for Kent State University alumni, $14 for faculty and staff, $14 for seniors (60+) and non-Kent State students age 18 and under are $10. Tickets for full-time, Kent campus undergraduates are free of charge. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $12 per person.  Flex pass subscriptions are also available. The box office accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, checks, and cash. 

About the Creative Team

 John Moauro (Book)

Broadway/West End/Off-Broadway/1st National Tour: HAIR-Ensemble/us Woof/ Dance Captain ( nomination for Best Featured Actor, WhatsOnStage nomination: Best Ensemble Performance). John can be heard on the Tony Award winning and Grammy Nominated Revival Cast Recording of HAIR. TV: The Tonight Show with David Letterman, The Macy's Day Parade, The View, The Tony Awards, The Late Show with Conan O'Brien, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Extra Live at The Grove, NBC New Years Eve with Carson Daly. His photo has been seen in a fashion spread in Vogue magazine and on the front page of The New York Times style section. John has also performed at The Met Gala and on stage alongside Dolly Parton, Liza Minnelli and Elton John, to name a few. Directing Credits: Assistant Director of the Second National/International Tour of HAIR, Associate Director for The 50th Anniversary Concert of HAIR (Jazz at Lincoln Center), both under the direction of Tony Award winner Diane Paulus. Assistant Director of Terminator Too Judgment Play (World Premiere), Assistant Director/Choreographer Hope, Frankly (World Premiere). 

Griffin Parsons (Book)

National Tour/Off-Off Broadway: Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid (King Triton). Regional: Garden of Rikki Tiki Tavi, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Overcoat, Cats (The Hangar Theatre). Jesus Christ Superstar (Porthouse Theatre). He has also performed at Walt Disney World Resort in Entertainment. Commercial Credits: OCPS, Disney and Universal Orlando. Griffin is an alumnus of Kent State University where he received his BFA in Musical Theater. Chaining Zero marks his first credit as a writer.

Jeffrey James and Justin Halpin (Music and Lyrics)

Justin Halpin and Jeffrey James are established singer/songwriters based in Nashville, TN. While writing independently and with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the two have had numerous songs cut by artists and DJ’s in Europe, Australia and the US. The pair are responsible for writing or collaborating on songs featured in 200+ film, television and trailer placements on outlets including Showtime, HBO, Netflix, Hulu, cable and major networks. They have also worked with brands including Xbox and Ford. Halpin & James began composing for the stage in 2018 and now have multiple musical theatre projects in various stages of development and production. James was also featured on season 2 of NBC's Songland in May of 2020 with his song We Can Be Heroes.

Alāna Rader (Additional Book)

Alāna Rader is a Brooklyn-based Playwright, Poet, Actor and Director. In addition to her work on Chaining Zero, she has two full-length plays in development, Warning: a Dystopian Fable and Bugle Boy. During an Artist in Residency program, she wrote and created the Children's Theatre piece Down the Rabbithole: Into Other Realms, which she also directed. Alāna's recent poetry can be found in Review Americana and Fleas on the Dog. Her short plays The Edge and The Woods have been read by New Circle Theater and PRWF Theater in NYC. Sending lots of love to the cast and crew of "Chaining Zero" at KSU! @lanaenchanted 


Tickets to Chaining Zero can be purchased through the Performing Arts Box Office by phone at 330-672-2787 or online at the link below.

Purchase a Ticket to Chaining Zero


Media Contact:

Joni Koneval, 330-672-0116,

POSTED: Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 10:24am
UPDATED: Friday, November 5, 2021 - 4:26pm