Starcatcher Collaborators Return to Old Globe With New Musical Dog and Pony

By Evan Henerson
11 Jun 2014

Jon Patrick Walker and Nicole Parker
Photo by Jim Cox

The Globe produced one New York reading in 2013. The five weeks of rehearsal have found Elice, Walker, Rees and the cast thrown into a whirlwind of creation, fine-tuning and refinement. And certainly — where librettist and composer are concerned — collaboration.

"We have a very similar sensibility, but at the same time we bring different things to the table," said Walker of his pairing with Elice. "There's a bit of irony here that the show is about two characters that write together and professionally collaborate, and while Rick and my relationship is nothing like the characters in the show, there is absolutely that sense that it's just like a relationship. Opposites can attract, but if you're too opposite, it doesn't work and if you're too much alike, that doesn't work either."

As the production moved into its run-throughs, the team came across a section of Act Two that found Andy and Mags taking on each other's personality traits in a way that needed rethinking. While that idea could carry forward, the approach was not working, and the team decided that 10 minutes of the show needed to be ripped out and reworked.

Elice and Walker went back into the rehearsal studio, talking things through for an hour, then went their separate ways — Elice to write a scene and a lead in, Walker to produce a new song, all in a period of 24 hours.

"It's much more in line with what the story is now," said Walker. "Certainly writing 10 new minutes is scary to do when you're about to go into tech, but it's also the kind of work that you have to do."

An exhilarated — if slightly exhausted — Parker agreed.

"If we had longer than a week and a half of previews, I think there might have been another song and another scene, and that's the exciting thing," she said. "Michael and Rick are so fast and so professional at what they do that they can make changes in such a short amount of time to help clarify the story. This is that rare musical where there's no movie or book or graphic novel to go back to and there's such independence and freedom in that. The creators can play with it and make sure that the second those lights come up, we know who these people are and how they sound."