Jedlicka Performing Arts Center (JPAC) will stage the regional premiere of the musical by novice musical theatre writer Joe Brooks, who penned the show's book, music and lyrics. The professional non-Equity staging will play Jedlicka in Cicero, IL, through Nov. 10.
The Broadway production, directed by Brooks himself, was panned by the major critics and became a kind of Springtime for Hitler experience for musical theatre fans eager to see just how adventurous a musical could be. At one point in the show, which concerns eccentrics on earth and in heaven, a giant lemon appeared on stage. Critics and internet wags said the image was a glaring (and unintentional) metaphor for the show's success. Thanks to deep-pocketed producers, it played 61 performances at the Music Box.
Brooks might be best known for writing the Academy Award-winning song "You Light Up My Life."
JPAC calls the new production "another theatrical coup," staged by special arrangement with Oscar-winning composer Joe Brooks, who also wrote commercial jingles in his career. This will mark the show's first production since its Sept. 30-Dec. 11, 2005, Broadway run.
According to Jedlicka, "Set in Greenwich Village, In My Life tells the story of a musician with personal troubles, including Tourette's. One day he meets a journalist with a plight of her own (she has obsessive-compulsive disorder). They sing a little, dance a little, and with some help from above, begin an unlikely romance that proves life's greatest affliction is in fact true love." "This is truly one of the most original, exhilarating productions I've directed," stated director Dante J. Orfei. "Behind the fantasy and humor lies an important message: we should celebrate each moment because, as a song says, life does 'turn on a dime.'"
Added Jedlicka producer Joseph Messina, "I'm thrilled to have Mr. Brooks return to the JPAC. It continues our commitment to bring the freshest, most exciting works to our audiences."
Leading the Cicero cast as the unlikely lovers are JPAC favorites David Kav as J.T. and Amy Steele as Jenny. Also featured are Amy Brophy, Madeline Floodstrand, Bobby Johnson, Wayde Mathews, Barbara L.W. Myers and Anthony Patryn. Rounding out the ensemble are Dominic Boyte, Harrison Lubel, Lou Maningas, Scott Sawa, Beniqua Sipla, Kristin Trute and Afra Williams.
The creative team includes scenic designer Michael Nedza, musical director Mark Breta, choreographer Jennifer Cupani and costume director Patty Halajian.
The Broadway production — which co-starred Jessica Boevers and Christopher J. Hanke — marked the Broadway debut of Jonathan Groff (he understudied the roles of J.T. and Nick), who was Tony Award-nominated as Best Actor in a Musical in 2007 for his work in Spring Awakening. David Turner, who played the frisky glam-rock angel Winston in the Broadway run, went on to success in Spamalot and is currently appearing in The Ritz on Broadway.
Tickets are $15. For more information call (708) 656-1800 or visit www.jpactheatre.com.