City Theatre Premieres Long Story Short, New Musical by Striking 12 Writers, Oct. 23

News   City Theatre Premieres Long Story Short, New Musical by Striking 12 Writers, Oct. 23 Long Story Short, the new relationship-minded musical based on the play An Infinite Ache, with songs by the award-winning team of Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, begins performances Oct. 23 at Pittsburgh City Theatre.

Directed by City Theatre artistic director Tracy Brigden, this world premiere is a co-production of City Theatre and TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, CA.

Milburn and Vigoda wrote music and lyrics for the cult-hit musical Striking 12 and are two-thirds of the pop group GrooveLily.

Long Story Short plays City Theatre's 272-seat mainstage to Nov. 16. Opening is Oct. 29. The TheatreWorks run, 20 miles south of San Francisco, will play Dec. 3-28.

The two-character musical features Ben Evans and Pearl Sun as lovers. The new musical, according to City Theatre, "follows what happens when Charles, a nerdy young Jewish guy, falls in love with Hope, a young Asian-American woman from Los Angeles. Through hip, funny dialogue, clever lyrics and indelible melodies, we fast-forward from the couple's first white-hot shining moments, through the ups and downs of decades, to a surprising finale. Long Story Short rejoices in how something as fragile as love might last forever."

City Theatre commissioned Milburn and Vigoda to write the book, music and lyrics for Long Story Short, inspired by the play An Infinite Ache by David Schulner. Long Story Short was developed at City Theatre during its MOMENTUM festival in 2007 and 2008, and at TheatreWorks as part of its New Works Initiative. The production is supported in part by grants from the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The score is performed by a four-piece band (piano, violin, cello and percussion) and features more than a dozen new songs by Milburn and Vigoda. (They've recently made demos of the score available to the public for free on their website, groovelily.com.)

The design team for Long Story Short includes Neil Patel (scenic), Andrew David Ostrowski (lighting), C.T. Steele (costumes), and Elizabeth Atkinson (sound). Douglas Levine is the music director.

Writer-composers Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda are a married couple who are two-time Jonathan Larson Award winners. Their projects include Striking 12, the first GrooveLily concert-musical; Toy Story the Musical for Disney; Sleeping Beauty Wakes for Deaf West Theatre/Center Theatre Group; Wheelhouse, the second GrooveLily concert-musical; A Midsummer Night's Dream for McCarter Theatre/Paper Mill Playhouse; Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, a new one-woman musical which Vigoda will perform.

Evans (who plays Charles) returns to City Theatre having appeared there last year in the one-man, seven-character comedy The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? and in 2005 as Steve in Hearts Are Wild. Recent credits include Forbidden Broadway Off-Broadway, the European tour of Grease (Kenickie and Danny), Annie Get Your Gun (Frank Butler) at Gateway Playhouse, and Idols of the King (Elvis) at Cortland Rep.

Pearl Sun (who plays Hope) is making her City Theatre and TheatreWorks debut. She'll appear in the new musical Happiness by Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and John Weidman, directed by Susan Stroman, in spring 2009 at Lincoln Center Theater. Other notable credits include Broadway's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Off-Broadway's Walmartopia, The Seven, The Yellow Wood and more.

City Theatre is located at Bingham and 13th Streets in Pittsburgh's South Side.

The play An Infinite Ache had its world premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, in 2001.

For tickets and more information call (412) 431-CITY or visit CityTheatreCompany.org.

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Home studio demo recordings for almost the whole score of Long Story Short have been released (one at a time) on groovelily.com since mid-August, continuing to the Pittsburgh opening.

Among the song titles are "Rocking Chairs," " "It Happens in a Moment," "Live Like This," "We Should Get Married," "Fragile As Love," "Unpacking the Suitcase," "There She Goes," "Knock Down, Drag Out," "Empowered," "Flash Point," "Introductions/Fragile As Love," "What Was That?," "Still Love," "Live Like This" Reprise and "Letting Go."

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According to their own bio page, "New York City trio GrooveLily inhabits that contemporary space where creative musicians ignore the boundaries laid down by words like rock, folk, jazz and pop. Intelligent original songs with no shortage of wit connect lush musical textures and soaring vocals with the blazing six-string electric violin of Valerie Vigoda, the lightning-fingered piano of Brendan Milburn, and the joyful drums of Gene Lewin. With backgrounds in classical music, musical theatre, jazz and rock, the three members of GrooveLily are making a new music that's all their own. The success of their first concert-musical, the critically-acclaimed holiday show Striking 12, has led them farther into the world of theatre, where they have carved out a unique niche as a rock band writing and performing shows."