New Jersey Stage
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
NEW MUSICAL WICKED MOON PREMIERS AT 4TH WALL IN BLOOMFIELD
Billed as "a contemporary romantic musical comedy," Wicked Moon features music by Varick Bacon, lyrics by Bloomfield resident Powers McElhone, and a book and additional lyrics by Richard Aellen. The musical tells the story of the Wicked Moon Cabaret club, where we meet club owner Arlene. The right man for her married someone else, the wrong man wants to marry her niece and her best friend would rather talk like a man than trust one. Add a landlord who wants to terminate her nightclub lease, a charming young music director, and the return of a lost love and this musical is complete.
The show features a stellar cast including Bloomfield residents Christine Orzepowski and Kim Mesiti. They are joined by Fran Leonardis of Ringwood, Tom Waltz of New York, John Zisa of Maywood, Brian James Grace of Clifton and Clinton Scott of Hawthorne. Jeremy Kronenberg of New York City directs at 4th Wall for the first time. He is joined by Music Director Lisa Lemay, who is returning to 4th Wall after serving as music director for last season's Sweeney Todd, and Kate Swan of Teaneck who choreographs. Kathi Iannacone from New York is the Production Manager, and Karl Loveland of Metuchen serves as Stage Manager for the show.
According to the writers, Wicked Moon began as a song that became a love story that grew into three stories of love. Composer Varick Bacon and lyricist Powers McElhone had already written the song "I Must Be Dreaming," by the time they contacted librettist Richard Aellen with the idea of creating a musical incorporating the song. The lyrics tell of someone yearning for a lost love. That someone -- the singer -- became Arlene Lewis, and the process began of envisioning her life in musical theatre terms.
"Talented writers are an essential ingredient for this series, and this trio has put together an interesting little gem that we are happy to showcase," says Gwen Ricks-Spencer, 4th Wall Executive Director. While a senior at Harvard, composer Bacon wrote the score for the Hasty Pudding Show. More recently, he studied composition with John Wallowitch and has collaborated with a stellar group of lyricists including Carleton Carpenter. Lyricist Powers McElhone's works have been performed in cabarets and theatres from coast to coast, and book writer Richard Aellen is an award-winning playwright and novelist. His works have included the musical Nobody, based on the life of Bert Williams, which received its premier at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival this year.
The staff of Wicked Moon will work with the show's writers as part of the production process. The show is being mounted as a workshop, with minimal sets, costumes and lights, but will include a talk-back session with the audience after each evening's performance. "This format allows for useful feedback to the writers, staff and performers. The audience can focus on the story without being distracted by sets and props and costumes," said Ricks-Spencer. "M.I.D. Stage provides a platform for new and emerging writers to see their creations in a workshop setting. Our hope is that one day these works will become the main stage productions for other theatres."
Wicked Moon runs in Bloomfield at the Westminster Arts Center on the campus of Bloomfield College for three nights only, March 10, 11 and 12, 2011. Performances will begin at 7:30 pm to accommodate talk-back sessions with the cast and crew following each evening's performance. Tickets are only $15 and may be reserved by calling 973-748-9008 ext. 279. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted. Tickets may also be purchased on-line; additional information is available at www.4thwalltheatre.org.