When actor Geoffrey Nauffts first thought about playwriting, he knew there were two people he’d want to partner with if he ever did a musical: Duncan Sheik or Jonatha Brooke. This was way before Spring Awakening, but Nauffts sensed real storytellers in both Sheik and Brooke. “I thought those guys would write great musicals, and Duncan went on to do that and now I’m getting to work with Jonatha,” he says.
If his instincts are right, audiences are in for a treat with his new musical Melissa R and Dorothy Sue, which receives its first full workshop at Vassar College & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater July 22.
“It’s about two women who found out at the age of 40 that they were switched at birth,” Nauffts explains. “It’s about them piecing their lives back together again and figuring out who it was they were supposed to have been.”
Brooke, one half of the ’90s duo The Story, brings her singer-songwriter feel to the work, under the direction of Sheryl Kaller, who directed Naufft’s Tony-nominated play Next Fall in 2010 and earned her own Tony nomination doing it.
Reunited, the team’s priority is to see if the show—now fully written—works. “We did a workshop of the first act in January with Texas State’s musical theatre program. We learned a lot,” says Nauffts. “Now we have our second act, it’s like, ‘Do we have something?’”