The workshop of REB+VoDKa+ME at NYU that performed this past weekend was one of the most intensely rewarding experiences I’ve had as a writer.
It’s been a little over 3 years since I sent Julia links to these two related articles and was like “Don’t think I’m a scary person but could this be our next musical?” and she basically said “You’re not scary and yes.” Two years ago, we started writing the show with director Ben Kamine in R&D Group, led by dramaturg-extraordinaire Megan McClain. A year-and-a-half ago Rich Silverstein came on board when we shared our first 16 songs from the show in public. And five months ago we finished a first draft of the script.
And this weekend the show was given a fully designed and produced workshop staging with a cast of amazing juniors and seniors from the New Studio on Broadway at NYU/Tisch. To call this opportunity a gift is an understatement – we wrote a show that doesn’t exist in a physical space and by not being bound by music stands we were able to learn more than we ever could have imagined about our work.
Much credit for that goes to our amazing creative and design team (partially pictured here) for helping us to develop our own world and our own physical language to make the 90-minutes of the show a complete thought.
And we could never have seen our work as fully as we were able to without the willingness, openness, depth, and hard work of the twelve students in the cast. They navigated this technically, musically, and emotionally complex piece with the kind of grace and heart we couldn’t have imagined when we first had the idea three years ago.
Immense thanks are due to Kent Gash, Sarah Schlesinger, and Brandon Anderson for inviting us into this collaborative process. Be on the lookout for some production photos in the near future!
Our week in San Diego came to a close with a reading of the show on Saturday afternoon. It was so wonderful to get to hear the new draft (with four new songs and a bunch of new pages) and to get to know the wonderful people of Diversionary!
Thanks to our cast (L-R in the photo) Lauren King Thompson, Susan Hammons, Allison Spratt Pearce, Sam Heldt, Chase Hauser, and Adam Cuppy; thanks to music director Patrick Marion, who guided these six wonderful actors through more than 20 songs in about that many hours; thanks to stage manager Kira Vine for keeping us together; thanks to the whole staff at Diversionary (Jenny, Sebastian, Skyler, David, and Anthony) for welcoming us and making us feel at home; and big thanks to Artistic Director Matt Morrow for bringing us out and guiding the show towards the spring. We can’t wait to head back and start rehearsals in six short months!
After almost a year of planning, we have finally arrived in San Diego to workshop The Loneliest Girl in the World with Diversionary Theatre!
Julia and I are spending the week here to hear the show, meet the team, and get the lay of the land before our production in the spring. Diversionary has put together such a great group for our week here, with Artistic Director Matt Morrow at the helm with music director Patrick Marion. Perennial favorite (and perennial Tommy) Sam Heldt has made the journey with us to join a cast that includes San Diegans Allison Spratt Pearce, Adam Cuppy, Susan Hammons, Chase Hauser, and Lauren King Thompson.
I’m so excited to spend the week putting the pieces together with these wonderful folks (and the palm trees, sunshine, and hummingbirds)!
After finishing a draft of the show at the Yale Institute for Music Theatre this summer, REB+VoDKa+ME will get up on its feet for the first time this fall! The Tisch New Musical Theatre Workshop, a collaboration between NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and New Studio on Broadway, will present a workshop production of the show for four performances, November 17-19.
Julia and I are excited to be once again working with director Benjamin Kamine and music director Rich Silverstein on the project. And special thanks to GMTWP’s Sarah Schlesinger and NSB’s Kent Gash for the opportunity to work with students to bring the show to life!
Check back here for casting (after next week’s auditions) and ticket info in the coming weeks…