Broadway's Little Women lyricist Mindi Dickstein penned book and lyrics for the new musical, Trip, with music by Daniel Messe, now being explored in a two-week reading by the not-for-profit that launched Sunday in the Park With George and Grey Gardens.
Under the direction of Trip Cullman, rehearsals began May 21 toward an invitation-only reading on June 1.
Known for her humane lyrics for the Broadway and touring musical version of Louisa May Alcott's Civil War-era classic, Dickstein ripped a page out of earlier American fiction — the classic 1819 Irving tale of the lazy Catskills fellow who fell asleep for many years — to create what she calls a quirky new "musical tall tale."
Dickstein explained, "It's inspired by 'Rip Van Winkle.' It's about a girl searching for her father, who's been missing for 30 years. It's a musical comedy with heart."
Trip had the previous title of Strange Vacation. It's set in New York City, Chappaqua, NY, and the Catskill Mountains. Music direction is by Greg Pliska. The cast includes Kate Baldwin (as the daughter), Sarah Uriarte Berry (as her young mother), John Breckenridge, Alma Cuervo (as her older mother), David Greenspan, Ian Kahn, Krista Rodriguez, Brian Sgambati (as her father) and David Turner.
Also on Dickstein and Messe's plate is a musical adaptation of the children's book, "Nate the Great," about a boy detective, for TheatreworksUSA (she'll write book and lyrics, he'll do music).
As a librettist, Dickstein will adapt Disney's "Toy Story" for Disney Creative Entertainment, which creates work for Disney cruises and theme parks. Songs will be by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, known for GrooveLily and the musical Striking 12.
The Trip commission by Playwrights Horizons was through the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Commissioning Program. TimeWarner Inc. also supports The American Voice: New Play and Musical Theater Development at Playwrights Horizons.