Annie DiMartino, Long Wharf Theatre’s director of education, had a hard time looking for suitable material for her students at Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven. She had already done some of the usual suspects – Godspell, The Fantasticks, Seussical– and was looking to present a new challenge for her students.

“I found it became increasingly difficult to find material that was enticing and challenging for students for an acting point of view as well as musically engaging,” DiMartino said.

So she decided to write something herself.

DiMartino’s original musical, Threads of a Spider Web, with lyrics and music by Carol Taubl, will take place at Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II Saturday May 14. The performance by xx students from the Educational Center for the Arts is free and open to the public.

A mother tells a stranger on a plane about the loss of her two children to a drunk driver. From this horrific tragedy comes an exploration of several interlocking lives, all considering love, loss, acceptance and the poignant question of what might have been. The characters are lightly influenced by the poetry of Coleridge, Wordsworth, St. Vincent Millay, Plath and Dickinson. Original music – a mix of pop, power ballads and rock – complete the experience.

“Music is such an integral part of my life, as well as poetry. I’ve found that at certain points in my life, when things happen, I can pick up my collection of poetry, re-read it and feel connected. Someone else has been there. Someone else feels what I feel,” DiMartino said.

While the play has the obvious academic benefits of introducing students to poetry and performance, DiMartino is trying for something more personal. The characters gather some hard won life lessons, lessons DiMartino hopes are not lost on her young cast members.

“Ultimately the show is about hope, it is about survival, but not in a dark way. It is about survival in a powerful way.” she said. “It is about survival through grace, not violence or anger.”

For more information contact Steven Scarpa, director of marketing and communications, at 203-772-8255 or via e-mail at steven.scarpa@longwharf.org