The Story of My Life closed at Broadway's Booth Theatre Feb. 22 after 18 previews and five regular performances. The CD serves as a document of the score, but also as a calling card to encourage future productions.
The Broadway production was produced by Chase Mishkin, Jack M. Dalgleish, Bud Martin, Carole L. Haber in association with Chunsoo Shin.
Brian Hill penned the original libretto (much of which is underscored), which shows small-town pals Tom and Alvin between the ages of six and 35. In the intermissionless 90-minute show, Chase's Thomas leaves town and finds fame as a fiction writer, while Gets' Alvin stays behind and cheer-leads from long-distance.
The show's producer Chase Mishkin said in a statement, "I'm thrilled that the wonderful Will Chase and Malcolm Gets will go into the studio to preserve this score as only they can. I hope this gives audiences in the U.S. and around the world a chance to discover a fresh writing team in Neil Bartram and Brian Hill." The theatrical memory-play of a musical has orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick (A Catered Affair, 110 in the Shade, LoveMusik, Road Show). Musical director is David Holcenberg, whose Broadway credits include Good Vibrations, Mamma Mia! and Seussical.
For more about PS Classics, the label devoted to show music and the legacy of the American popular song, visit psclassics.com.
Songwriter Bartram is the recipient of a Dramatists Guild Jonathan Larson Fellowship, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, and was a finalist for the 2007 Fred Ebb Award. He wrote the music and lyrics for The Nightingale and the Rose and Somewhere in the World, which ran for five seasons at the Charlottetown Festival in Canada.
Directed by Tony Award winner Richard Maltby Jr. (Ain't Misbehavin', Fosse, Ring of Fire), the musical marked the Broadway debut of the writing team of Bartram (music and lyrics) and Hill (book), real life partners who hail from Canada but are now New York City writers. The Story of My Life premiered at Toronto's Canadian Stage Company in fall 2006, and has been revised and refined under Maltby.
Most New York City critics were not won over by the small, some said mundane, musical. The Associated Press praised the piece. Roma Torre, a critic on the local NY1 channel, praised the show but questioned whether it belonged in a big theatre (the Booth is one of Broadway's smallest houses). Regional audiences in Connecticut embraced the show in a developmental run by Goodspeed Musicals last fall.
In The Story of My Life, Tom processes the chapters of his life (literally thumbing through short stories that he wrote) and discovers a main character between the lines — Alvin.
What was buried in the pre-opening press, partly because the producers didn't want to underline it, is the fact that the show is told in the frame of Thomas trying to write a eulogy for his pal, Alvin, who died mysteriously. This revelation is hardly a spoiler, as it's revealed in the show's first moments. Nothing in any of the show's marketing would lead a ticketbuyer to believe it's a musical given wing by the shadow of death.
Fans of the score say the show is not at all about death — it's not funereal or maudlin — but rather it's made up of detail- rich chapters in the lives of two yearning, sensitive pals. A woman overheard at a preview said, "It made me think about people in my life who got me where I am; it makes me want to call them on the phone."
Gets' Broadway credits include The Moliere Comedies, Amour (Tony nomination as Best Actor in a Musical) and concerts of Passion and Dreamgirls. Gets may be best known to audiences as Richard on the television comedy "Caroline in the City."
Chase's Broadway credits include High Fidelity, Aida, The Full Monty, Rent and Miss Saigon. He was Roger in the final Broadway company of Rent, which was recently captured on film for a "cinecast" presentation (now on DVD).
The Story of My Life was seen in the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in fall 2007. For more information about the collaborators, visit bartramandhill.com.
For more information visit www.thestoryofmylife.com.