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

By Evan Henerson
11 Jun 2014

Rick Elice and Michael Patrick Walker
Rick Elice and Michael Patrick Walker
Photo by Jim Cox

Rick Elice, Michael Patrick Walker and Nicole Parker talk with about creating and performing in the new romantic comedy musical Dog and Pony.


When a creative duo who are not romantically linked makes beautiful music (or plays or movies) together, it becomes human nature for onlookers to wonder whether that partnership extends to the bedroom. Once the artistic workday is over, so to speak, are these creators getting it on and, if so, does that romantic spark fuel the creative partnership? If things go sour on the personal arena, can the professional partnership continue?

Playwright Rick Elice has been ruminating on these types of questions — albeit in a human interest rather than TMZ vicarious way — since he did a stint acting in a play written by Elaine May more than a decade ago. There is a common assumption that the immortal team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May were an item as well, despite the fact that both writer-actor-comedians have long been married to other people.

"That experience of 10 years ago is coupled with my own experience of being in several intensely collaborative relationships in my life which were very intimate and very personal as well as professional," said Elice, whose new musical Dog and Pony, currently in performances at The Old Globe, tackles that very subject. "When you spend 20 hours a day with someone, it would be hard to not have (sex) happen.

"How the people in those relationships navigate that intimacy and that dependency and sometimes that dysfunction is fascinating to me," he continued. "It really becomes sort of a second family, sometimes more intimate than one's personal relationship."

Key members of the Dog and Pony creative team can likely relate to working in close collaboration. Composer/lyricist Michael Patrick Walker co-wrote his Off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz with Gary Adler. Elice's first two Broadway musicals, Jersey Boys and The Addams Family, were written with Marshall Brickman. And during her days acting and writing for "MADtv," Dog and Pony leading lady Nicole Parker cooked up a lot of yuks alongside writing partners Jordan Peele and Ike Barinholtz, often at the expense of Britney Spears and her then husband Kevin Federline.

"I remember writing jokes at midnight, having to make each other laugh or saving each other," said Parker. "There's a whole scene about that (in Dog and Pony) and a song that describes the nature of collaboration. It's so rich for anybody in the audience since everybody has had that kind of friend."


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