The Jay Records release, produced by Flaherty and John Yap, was previously mentioned for a fall 2006 release, but that did not transpire. Visit www.jayrecords.com for more information.
Loving Repeating's stock went up Nov. 6, 2006, when Galati and Flaherty won the 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work (Musical), for the world-premiere production that appeared earlier in 2006 at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, in a co-production with About Face Theatre.
Subtitled A Musical of Gertrude Stein, the work, which is now being considered by producers outside of Chicago, draws on the writing of Gertrude Stein, exploring her life and times in the context of her relationship with Alice B. Toklas.
The cast that gave the 80-minute musical its world premiere at the MCA went into the recording studio March 13, 2006, the day after the Chicago run ended.
Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein, chronicling the passion and creative spirit of writer and intellectual Gertrude Stein, began Feb. 14, 2006. Chicago's About Face Theatre and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) are co-produced and co-presented the new work, billed as a "chamber-scale musical," which was previously developed at Northwestern University where Galati is a theatre professor. He is credited as the project's director and adapter.
About Face and the MCA have collaborated on projects for four years, and presented a developmental pre-New York run of the Pulitzer Prize-winner I Am My Own Wife in 2003. In its earlier development, Loving Repeating was called A Long Gay Book.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is a rare American visual arts organization that has a performance arm.
What does Loving Repeating focus on?
"It follows the life, the loves and creative spirit of Gertrude Stein as seen through her relationship with Alice B. Toklas," Flaherty previously told Playbill.com. "Every word in the piece is [by] Stein. It's taken from a variety of texts…poems, speeches, letters, journal entries. All of the words are by Stein, except the very, very end of the piece where the final monologue is Alice B. Toklas' words — about the end of Gertrude Stein's life."
What does the intermissionless show sound like, musically?
"Even though it's set in a very particular time in American history, I didn't want to tackle it like I did Ragtime where I was dealing with period sounds — because [this is] very modern in terms of the language and the construction of the piece," Flaherty explained. "Frank wanted to tap into the playfulness of the text. We've cast it quite young. I thought it would be more interesting to combine really unexpected kinds of music, so part of it is jazz, part of it is pop — there's a sequence that is a mini-opera that Gertude Stein has written to describe her early years with Alice traveling through Europe, and it's told as an opera. The title is A Lyrical Opera Made by Two, To Be Sung. There's a later section that's a Gertrude Stein vaudeville. There's a later section that really illuminates quite a long poem of Stein's about two women who are basically adventuresses — it deals with sexual experimentation. That has this sort of very European flavor of its own."
The show's orchestrations are by Flaherty.
The Loving Repeating creative team also included choreographer Liza Gennaro and music director Thomas Murray.
The Chicago cast was led by Chicago veteran Cindy Gold as Gertrude Stein, Jenny Powers as Alice B. Toklas, and Christine Mild as the young Gertrude Stein, with ensemble members Zach Ford, Cristen Paige, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, Travis Turner and Bernie Yvon.
According to the Chicago producers, Loving Repeating was "an inspired new musical about the brilliant American expatriate writer Gertrude Stein and her passion for life, language, and the thrill of romantic love. …A lush, lyrical new musical [that] explores the romantic world of Gertrude Stein: her capricious love affair with language, with self-expression, and with her lifelong companion Alice B. Toklas. The musical follows Stein from her student days in the late 19th century to the height of her artistic era in Paris as one of the 'lost generation,' a term she coined referring to those who came of age between the two world wars."
Stein (1874-1946), who wrote "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," was known for using "repetition, extreme fragmentation, and abstraction in her writings." He circle included Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and her beloved "wife" Alice B. Toklas.
Galati's love of Stein's writing spans four decades. His work with her texts began in the 1970s, and includes such projects as Four Saints in Three Acts for Chicago Opera Theater, She Always Said, Pablo for the Goodman Theatre, and one of his first Stein projects, Stein Pieces, which was performed at the MCA in April 1975.
Galati has described Loving Repeating as "a play within a lecture," stemming from an actual lecture Stein delivered in 1934 at age 60 at the University of Chicago, "which he uses as a springboard to give the audience glimpses into her life."
"It is the perfect partnership — bringing the great Gertrude Stein's work to the MCA, where I first presented her writing 30 years ago, and creating this production with the wonderful artists of About Face," Galati said in production notes.
What does the title Loving Repeating mean?
"It's the idea of theme and variation — repeating words and music in different variation," Flaherty said. "The title really reflects the show."
Jay released the double cast album of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Dessa Rose, as well as the London cast album of A&F's Once On This Island.