Huzzah!, a new musical about the world of Renaissance Faires written by husband-and-wife duo Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, had a reading at Williamstown Theatre Festival in August starring Disaster! Tony nominee Jennifer Simard.
“Hopefully more cool things will come of that,” O’Keefe told Playbill.com by phone. “We’re going to hopefully do some big readings before Christmas, so I don’t want to give away too much! I want to be tantalizing if that’s okay.”
The cast also included Tony Award winner Michael Rupert (Sweet Charity, Falsettos), Herndon Lackey (Parade, Les Misérables) and P.J. Griffith (American Idiot, Giant), among others.
“Ren Faires have been around for 50-plus years, and they are an amazingly American phenomenon where, in celebrating the past, you invent amazing new things,” said O’Keefe. “Almost all of our counter-cultural influences have come out of Ren Faires—everything from world music to international foods to weird hippie modes of dress…
“Nell and I have loved Ren Faires for decades, and it just turns out that it’s like the best of America. … So our story is about a family-owned mom-and-pop-type operation that is threatened mostly by its own family dysfunction. And, as we worked on this show for the last year or two, everyone we encountered said, ‘Oh my God, this is about the upcoming presidential election!’ We said, ‘I beg your pardon? Okay, we’ll take it.’ But…hopefully we have something pretty timeless because the weird, alternate ways of thinking and living that you see at Renaissance Faires are so wonderfully peculiar. They should be protected, and we’re writing a show about how you do that in today’s world.”
O’Keefe added that “it went phenomenally well” and that there is “more to come.”