"We're kind of on fire about it," Mendez previously told Playbill.com. "It's cool to work with someone and know you're working on it because it's a passion project, and you love it… When we got to premiere a couple of the songs downtown, we [thought], 'Oh! Other people think it's funny, too,' and that was kind of the first step."
Directed by Dave Solomon with music directed by Michael Borth, the show is a two-person musical revue conceived by Mendez (Godspell, Dogfight, Everyday Rapture, Grease) and Holland (orchestrations and vocal arrangements for Godspell), with music and lyrics by Holland. The duo debuted two songs from the project Dec. 19, 2012, in a concert of new work at the SideWalk Café in the East Village.
You're Gonna Hate This, which features an eclectic mix of tunes that examine various aspects of hatred, also stars Mendez and Holland, who will duet on most of the songs in the hour-long evening.
The musical has about a dozen songs — the titles of which also function as mnemonic devices, with the first letter of each word in the title spelling out the word "HATE" — that tell a variety of stories and touch upon a diverse mix of musical genres. "You won't see the same character twice," said Mendez, "but the songs will all line up and connect, and the journey will start somewhere and definitely end somewhere else. But nobody's linked, necessarily. The stories are all pretty singular… Each song is kind of its own genre and moment."
"I like to have what seems like unreasonable parameters to work around because if the sky is the limit, there's nothing to rein you in," added Holland about the challenge of the mnemonic song titles. "I didn't know if it would work. Initially, when I came up with the idea of all of the titles spelling out 'HATE,' I thought, 'Well, this is either going to be inspiring or it's going to be completely crippling!'"
Song titles include "Hector And The European," a story about the attention-hungry waiter Hector; "How Are The Eggs," a look at the life of a married couple; "Here's Alison The Elephant," a solo for Mendez; "Hard Act To Enjoy," a club song for Holland; "He's Angry This Evening," a rock tune about a mother and son; and more.
The band includes Michael Borth (keyboards), Matt Hinkley (guitar/keyboard), Sean Driscoll (guitar), Daniel Fabricatore (bass), Jay Mack (drums) and Jeffrey Roberts (percussion).
The choir of backup singers featured include Brittany Bara, Lucas Brady, Karin Bryeans, Melissa Castillo, Bo Clark, Ashley Dillard, Risa Dorken, Charles Franklin, Tom Horvath, Adam Levy, Stefanie Miller and Chris Stevens.
According to Joe's Pub, Mendez and Holland "team up to celebrate America’s true favorite pastime with You're Gonna Hate This, a fast-paced original revue featuring new songs by Holland. Crossing, blurring and deliberately smearing the lines of pop, rock, jazz, gospel, and even (gasp) musical theatre, the show explores all the stuff we love to hate - and does so with a six-piece band. Come hate everything with us (you know you want to)."
Shoshana Feinstein produces the concert event.
Joe's Pub is located at 425 Lafayette Street. For more information and tickets, visit JoesPub.com.