Theatre and dance students from Ball State University in Indiana will be showcased in a Manhattan staging of a new musical comedy, Love Me, Love Me Not, based on Love's Labours Lost, April 18-21.
The company-written show, with music by Raphael Crystal (Kuni-Leml) and lyrics by playwright Deloss Brown (Heart of a Dog), is the result of an initiative meant to give students exposure to industry professionals in the creation of a new musical. Brown also directs.
Love Me, Love Me Not will be seen at Off-Broadway's John Houseman Theatre, 450 W. 42nd Street. Performances are at 8 PM April 18, 20 and 21, with a 2 PM matinee April 19. Admission is free but reservations are strongly suggested. Call (212) 971-5880 to reserve seats.
The new tuner "gives a contemporary twist to Shakespeare's classic comedy about four young men who decide to devote themselves to self-improvement, free from all distractions including the company of women," according to production notes. The book is a collaborative effort by the entire company: Leanne Boarman, Nicholas Brenner, Chris Bryant, Robb Coles, Bradford Coolidge, Elizabeth Davito, Natalie Ellis, David Bryan Geary, Kellie Harrison, Carey Kayser, Lisa Liaromatis, Tiiu Rebane, Kathleen Shawger, Adam Tilford and Jason Whicker.
The cast is made up of students from the Department of Theatre and Dance at Ball State University, where Crystal teaches musical theatre. The project is sponsored by the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. In this adaptation, according to production notes, "Shakespearean verse shares the stage with contemporary language and concepts. The action has been moved to the mythical town of Eden, Indiana, where the young men's retreat is disrupted by the arrival of four female French exchange students. Other characters include the proprietor of a rather seedy Medieval Fair, a lady sheriff, a pedantic community college professor and assorted locals."
Admission is free. To reserve seats, call (212) 971-5880.
— By Kenneth Jones