The two-actor revue-like show, now subtitled Songs From a Marriage, mixes well-known and brand-new songs by lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. and composer David Shire (a Buffalo native and Oscar winner) to create an intimate portrait of a marriage, from dating to divorce papers. It was recently added to Studio Arena's 2006-07 season, replacing Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Joel Silberman (who co-conceived the project with Maltby) directs Brian Sutherland and Lois Robbins, who recently starred in the world premiere of the show in Ventura, CA. Silberman said the show grew in leaps and bounds in the Rubicon Theatre Co. staging in California.
Sutherland and Robbins were also part of a developmental run of A Time for Love in Westchester County, NY, in 2004. The piece has since taken on new songs and new shape, feeling more like an original musical than a song-cycle career retrospective with each new step.
In addition to boasting popular M&S numbers that have appeared in other properties, eight songs have been created specifically for this show (three are new to since its California bow), and Silberman confessed to Playbill.com he has wish list for a couple more new numbers he hopes to discuss with the songwriters.
"What started as a 'catalog show' is turning into a book show without dialogue," Silberman told Playbill.com during the Buffalo rehearsal process. Tony Award nominees Maltby & Shore will attend the preview weekend and return for the opening.
Silberman said there has been interest from outside producers, but as a director he likes to live in the moment and work on the show at hand. "I want to make this show right and not rush it," he said. "We're here not to audition, but to work on it."
A Time for Love is sweetened by video clips of real-life older couples expressing their stories of marriage.
Steven Young is the lighting designer, Trefoni Rizzi is the scenic designer (the idea of picture frames is central to the visual world of the show). Lynn Hinman handled costumes.
The musical director is Dean Mora. A piano and bass are on stage.
In addition to M&S favorites "Life Story," "The Story Goes On," "Stop, Time," "Fandago," "One of the Good Guys," "There," "Closer Than Ever," "And What If We Had Loved Like That" (and more), the show includes the new titles "Sex and Breakfast," "Him and Her," "Dating Again," "Time for Love," "No Time for Love," "It's Not What I Expected," "Something in a Wedding" and the new opening, "Song Cycle." A Closer Than Ever number called "I'll Get Up Tomorrow Morning" (not heard on that show's cast album) is also part of the new score, Silberman said.
"The name 'Richard Maltby' sends shivers of excitement through Western New Yorkers," stated Kathleen Gaffney, Studio Arena's CEO & artistic director. "His production of Ring of Fire was so popular here, and I am thrilled to be able to bring another one of his projects to the Buffalo community. We are also very excited about Maltby's collaboration with Buffalo-native David Shire. The two have produced wonderful pieces together in the past and we are looking forward to welcoming them back to Buffalo."
A Time for Love is billed as "a poignant, sweetly comic, and charmingly romantic musical of two people who meet, fall in love, marry and eventually grow apart."
A Time for Love, then billed as a "song cycle," got its world premiere Feb. 1-25, by Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura, CA.
Maltby and Shire gave us Closer Than Ever, Big, Baby and Starting Here, Starting Now.
Robbins is a film, TV and stage actress. Sutherland toured as Sky Masterson in the 50th anniversary Arena Stage production of Guys and Dolls, and recently played the songless American husband in the national tour of The Light in the Piazza. He also took over the patriarch role created by Scott Bakula in Ford's Theater's Shenandoah. His Broadway credits include Steel Pier, 1776, Dance a Little Closer, Cats and Victor/Victoria. He played the title role in Pittsburgh Public Theater's Man of La Mancha.
Maltby has had his hands full recently with book and lyric contributions to Broadway's The Pirate Queen.
A Time for Love came out of a conversation between actress Robbins and lyricist-director Maltby.
For more information, visit www.studioarena.org.