Although PS Classics will be releasing the cast album of GrooveLily's "rewired version of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl" in stores in March 2005, because the pop musical is holiday themed, and because GrooveLily is currently performing the piece for a month at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto (where they were recently extended to Jan. 8, 2005), PS Classics has made the release available now to audiences in Palo Alto and to shoppers at the label's website, www.psclassics.com.
PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker told Playbill On-Line that in just two weeks of sales, the CD has become one of the label's strongest online sellers. The disc represents the best of performances heard Sept. 11-12, 2004, at Symphony Space in New York City, where Striking 12 was part of "Preludes," a new-musicals series presented by Melting Pot Theatre Company.
The new musical is by Brendan Milburn, Rachael Sheinkin and Valerie Vigoda and is performed by the pop band GrooveLily: Vigoda (vocals and electric violin), Milburn (vocals and keyboards) and Gene Lewin (vocals and drums).
"GrooveLily, of course, has a built-in following, and folks have been hearing this show for the last few years at performances at the Old Globe, at the Prince Music Theatre, and at Symphony Space, so there was definitely a thirst for it," Krasker said. "What's surprised us is how many folks have been purchasing 5 and 10 copies of the CD — but of course, with its clever folk-pop updating of the Little Match Girl story, it's the perfect holiday gift. And Valerie, Brendan and Gene had the smart idea to outfit the CD booklet with 32 pages of original color illustrations, so customers are getting an additional treat."
Krasker added, "We heard about the piece over the summer, saw it in performance in September at Symphony Space, and knew we wanted to be involved. So we worked to close the deal quickly." PS Classics recently snagged a Grammy Award nomination for its cast album of Assassins. Its catalog also includes cast albums of Fiddler on the Roof, Nine and (expected for Jan. 25, 2005) Stephen Sondheim's The Frogs.
The Melting Pot performances of Striking 12 represented the New York concert premiere of the unique show.
What's the show about? According to MPTC, "A wacky rewiring of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Little Match Girl,' Striking 12 is a festive fairy tale that features the acclaimed trio GrooveLily, one of the hottest bands in the country. Their sweet, witty concert-play is a clever mix of musical comedy, pop-rock tunes, and old-fashioned uplift, illuminated by an incandescent salesgirl whose holiday spirit just can't be matched."
Milburn and Sheinkin are alumni of the prestigious New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Vigoda, Milburn, and Lewin comprise the "smart pop" trio, GrooveLily, and have been touring the country since 1995. They have released five albums of their own songs.
Striking 12 was previously produced at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in 2002 and the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 2003.
The first show in Melting Pot's Preludes series in April 2004 was Vanishing Point by Rob Hartmann, Liv Cummins and Scott Keys.
Melting Pot Theatre Company "creates, develops, and produces New York premieres of plays and musicals that explore the themes, people, and events that shape the unique American experience."
Since 1997, MPTC has presented 14 Off-Broadway shows, including three world premieres and seven New York premieres, earning 18 award nominations, including a 2001 Drama Desk Award. Hits include Cookin' at the Cookery: The Music & Times of Alberta Hunter, Miss Evers' Boys, The Devil's Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith, Cobb and Woody Guthrie's American Song.
For more information, visit www.MeltingPotTheatre.com.
For information about the TheatreWorks run of the show, visit www.theatreworks.org.