Legendary theatre composer John Kander (Chicago, Cabaret, Curtains) and gifted playwright Greg Pierce’s (Slowgirl) first collaboration is a beautiful and haunting new musical, consisting of three thematically-connected tales of desire, love and loss.
Excerpts from The New York Times review, October 23, 2013, by Ben Brantley: All these minimusicals play on the contrast between the open unknowingness of youth and the weary knowingness of adulthood. The first of them, “Andra,” is the most classic, one of those coming-of-age accounts conventionally described as bittersweet. In this version, Noah, a lonely and precocious little boy, is introduced to the wonders of astronomy by a solicitous carpenter who is doing installations for the boy’s parents, a never-seen financier father and an order-obsessed mother.
In “The Brick,” the second show on the bill, young Darius, visiting relatives in the green hills of Connecticut, is introduced to the gritty black-and-white world of old gangster movies by his film-buff aunt, who is bored and restless in the time-honored manner of fictional suburban wives. She gets to cut loose, though, in a dance sequence that riffs drolly on Balanchine’s “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.”
And in the title segment, the show’s most poignant, the adoption of a too-perfect boy by two gay men becomes a mystical contemplation on the ephemerality of love. Each plot has a twist that turns the tone from blithe to somber — and in two cases from natural to supernatural — via the application of textbook irony. And each is steeped in a wistful whimsy that courts preciousness and may wear thin for theatergoers of heartier tastes.
Music by John Kander Book and Lyrics by Greg Pierce
Story by John Kander and Greg Pierce
Noah: 11, curious, a misfit, prickly, hesitant to trust anyone
Ben: 40s, works hard, keeps to himself, hard on himself
Narrator: male, 50s, gentle, confident, also plays Ms. Clurdlo
Classmate Mom: 40s, impatient, high-strung, overwhelmed by parenting, also plays Andra
Darius: 12-ish, gleeful, hyperactive, canít wait to tell this story
Uncle Cliff: good natured, chummy, oblivious (also plays Infomercial Guy, Delivery Guy, Internet Guy, Reporter, Doctor, and Margery the Cribbage Biddy Who Smells Like Woodchips)
Aunt Charl: bored with her life, crazy about Darius, sweet, until…
The Brick: oh Lord, up to no good
Denny: 40-ish, Jakeís partner, a lawyer, boisterous
Jake: 50-ish, Dennyís partner, former history teacher, organized
Collin: 12, their foster son, mature, worldly, feels he should act like a kid
Narrator: Jakeís younger sister, sympathetic, grounded
Piano/Conductor (Keyboard 1)
Reed (Flute, Bb Clarinet, A Clarinet, Soprano Sax, Alto Sax)
Percussion (Vibraphone, Triangle, Marimba, Suspended Cymbal, Bowed Vibes, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Snare Drum, Cymbal, Mark Tree, Concert Bass Drum, Crotales, Temple Blocks, Siren, Cowbell)