By Michael Gioia
14 Jun 2012
In the new musical, which features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Peter Duchan, Klena will play Corporal Eddie Birdlace with Mendez as Rose, the awkward waitress who helps him find his way. Here, the two rehearse "First Date/Last Night" with composer-lyricist Paul.
In Dogfight, directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, the duo will be joined by Annaleigh Ashford, Becca Ayers, Steven Booth, Dierdre Friel, Adam Halpin, F. Michael Haynie, James Moye, Josh Segarra and Nick Blaemire. Christopher Gattelli, a recent Tony Award winner for Newsies, will choreograph.
Here's how Second Stage bills the new musical: "It's Nov. 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying, and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace (Klena) meets Rose (Mendez), an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of compassion."
Dogfight previews begin June 27 toward an opening of July 16 at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre, where Next to Normal and The Little Dog Laughed premiered prior to Broadway.
Behind the scenes with Mendez and Klena: