What started as a unique presentational concert musical featuring the pop trio GrooveLily (with songs penned by two of its members) has been expanded, re-constructed and re-orchestrated/arranged for stock, amateur and professional licensing by Theatrical Rights Worldwide.
The new full-cast theatrical version of Striking 12 can boast a cast of eight to 12 actors and a band of six, with variations in the company and band size. The show's librettist Rachel Sheinkin (a Tony Award winner for …Spelling Bee) and songwriters Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda holed up in a hot rehearsal room in Poughkeepsie, NY, in June 2007 to revise their concert musical into a larger legit musical-play for actors, borrowing an Our Town style that retains the direct-address of the earlier concert version. New orchestrations and arrangements for acoustic instruments are by Curtis Moore.
For the larger show, one song — a breakout number for GrooveLily drummer Gene Lewin, "Give the Drummer Some" — has been cut, and replaced by a number, "The Little Guys," for a character who speaks in praise of supporting players.
TRW is making both versions of Striking 12 available — the original band show for three musician-actors who respectively play electric violin, keyboards and drums, and the larger theatrical show.
In addition to the property moving forward to be interpreted by new directors and performers, GrooveLily will tour the band version of Striking 12 around the country starting Oct. 26 (in Tacoma, WA), culminating in a four-performance run in GrooveLily's native Manhattan, at The Zipper Factory 8 PM Dec. 27-31. Zipper tickets ($35) are on sale now. Visit www.TheZipperFactory.com. For the full tour schedule, visit www.Striking12.com. Commercial producer Nancy Nagel Gibbs remains attached to the musical, which she presented at Off-Broadway's Daryl Roth Theatre for a holiday 2006 sitdown. Prior to that run, which also featured GrooveLily, the bandmates had appeared in engagements around the country for several years, including a concert by Melting Pot Theatre Company that was recorded by PS Classics for a cast album.
Sean Patrick Flahaven, general manager and director of music and marketing for Theatrical Rights Worldwide, was an early champion of the show and thought the title would be strong in the TRW catalog. A half-dozen stagings of the large-cast Striking 12 will emerge over the 2007 holidays, including a production by Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, where GrooveLily once played the trio version several years ago. The new Prince staging will play Dec. 7-31.
As of Oct. 15, the new version's professional premiere will be at New Stage Collective in Cincinnati, OH, Nov. 29-Jan. 6, 2008. Wharton High School in Tampa, FL, is the only confirmed amateur staging so far. It'll play Dec. 6-12. More late 2007 productions are pending confirmation.
Flahaven said that since its August debut in the TRW catalog, Striking 12 has received more than 25 script/score requests (or "perusal packs" as they're called by TRW) from theatres around the country. For more information, visit www.TheatricalRights.com.
Striking 12 tells the story of a grumpy 21st century office worker who wants to be left alone on New Year's Eve, but something is awakened in him when he's visited by a quirkily optimistic young woman who is selling a string of mood-enhancing holiday light bulbs. Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl" is evoked, and the show is split between modern times and the 19th century fable — all of it with the audience fully aware that musician-actors are in the spotlight, telling the story in a presentational way with an eclectic pop score that critics have embraced for honoring musical theatre craft and conventions.
"Most of our customers want the larger version," TRW's Flahaven told Playbill.com. "It preserves the meta-theatrical aspect of the [earlier property] — not only the contemporary story and 'The Little Match Girl' story, but the idea of the actors and musicians playing 'themselves' and doing the show. It sounds artsy but it's very moving and theatrical."
For more information about Striking 12 and GrooveLily's tour dates — and to sample music from the show — visit www.Striking12.com. For album information, visit www.PSClassics.com. For more information about pop group GrooveLily, visit www.GrooveLily.com.
Sheinkin, Milburn and Vigoda's new musical, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, has been nominated for 10 Ovation Awards in Los Angeles.