about the show




DARK HEART takes place in the broken psyche of Emma Black, a 15-year-old girl who is unable to cope with the tragic loss of her sister. After a suicide attempt, she returns to her boarding school surrounded by friends and is haunted by the ghost of her sister, Alise. Riddled with guilt and depression, Emma must fight to survive in the war against her own emotions.

Emma must choose how to move forward.

DARK HEART’s score is vibrant and punchy, conjuring the sounds of Billie Eilish and Florence and the Machine. 

At this critical moment for the arts and our country, the Avellino sisters believe strongly in the power of representation in theatre and are proud to write and produce a musical featuring an all-female cast. They also recognize the prevalence of mental health issues, particularly in teenagers, and the importance of provoking a necessary discussion. “Mental health is something we see very little representation of in the musical world, and we hope to shed light on these issues and offer validation for those who are coping,” says writer Lindsay Avellino. This show is an honest and heartfelt look at teenage mental health. One is truly able to experience what it is like to be trapped in your own mind. It provides food for thought, a terrifying glimpse into this reality – and most of all, culminating with a hopeful message: "you can only find light if you let there be dark."



Both Lindsay and Jessica Avellino were a members of the non-profit youth theater company, InfinInity Youth Repertory Theatre, in high school. In 2016, the first draft workshop of DARK HEART was directed by the Executive Director, Paul Perez, and was performed by the students of the theater company in the East to Edinburgh Festival in NYC at 59E59 Theaters and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

While at Elon University, Jessica Avellino, composer/writer, began extensive revisions of the score through the mentorship of  Dr. Todd Coleman for her senior capstone project.  Both Lindsay Avellino and Jessica Avellino worked together to rewrite the script and lyrics.

In the Spring semester of 2020, the Elon Music Department approved a class for credit  designated as rehearsal time for the student cast, musicians and crew under the direction of Dr. Coleman and Jessica Avellino.  The Elon Student Government Association (SGA) approved funding for the production costs associated with the show. The show was set to be performed on April 25th in one of the Elon Theater Department's black box theaters, but was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19.  The planned cast recording in the Elon Music Department studio was adapted to be remotely recorded by the cast and musicians  and produced by Jessica Avellino and Dr. Coleman.

We are thankful for the generosity and support from the Elon Music Department, Elon Theater Department, and SGA. We are beyond grateful to Dr. Coleman, the cast, the musicians, and the crew for all of their dedication and commitment to the show. None of this would have been possible without them!