The Musical Mondays Theatre Lab, the Broadway Theater Institute's showcase for new works in Manhattan, presents a reading of a new musical comedy, Absolutely Anything — a modern take on the classic 1775 English comedy, The Rivals — 5 and 7 PM Dec. 2.
"It's very, very loosely based on The Rivals," composer and co-librettist Brian Cimmet told Playbill On Line. "Our story's about John Absolute. At the start of the show, Lydia Lockhart dumps him. She says her wants to see other people. He decides the best way to get back into her life is to disguise himself, date her and act like a jerk — and then she'll come back to him."
Cimmet said he and writing partner Erich Goldstein, the lyricist and co-librettist, wanted to write a pure musical comedy — nothing deep. The six-actor show is set in Manhattan today.
The Musical Mondays reading, with Ken Barnett as John and Kate Fisher as Lydia, will offer Act One of the musical. The collaborators are looking ahead to a reading of the complete show.
Cimmet and Goldstein are also working on a family friendly musical, Pulling Together, about Santa's reindeer. The pair met in 1999 in the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and Goldstein suggested in 2000 that they adapt Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals. Appearing in Absolutely Anything are Barnett (Green Bird, Myths and Hymns at Prince Music Theater), Fisher ( Cosette, Les Miserables), Will Bozarth (The Man Who Had All the Luck), Alison Cimmet (Viola, Twelfth Night at Prince Music Theater), Larry Raiken (Follies, Big River, Baby) and Stacia Fernandez (Swing, Scarlet Pimpernel, Tom Sawyer).
Director Edie Cowan is best known for her musical staging of the original Little Shop of Horrors.
Musical numbers in the show include "Book Sits on the Shelf," "I Shudder To Think," "Good Boy or Good-bye?," "If Only You Knew" and "Lord, I Need A Sign."
The Equity-approved performances are at the BTI Theatre Arts Center, 210 W. 50th Street, Second Floor. Admission is $15. Reservations can be made by calling Bick Goss at (212) 956-5481, extension 203.
— By Kenneth Jones