Seen recently in engagements around the country, the theatrically-frisky, presentational show — with the GrooveLily trio playing themselves and characters in two separate plots, separated by more than 100 years — will run 17 performances Dec. 3-23.
Striking 12 contrasts a modern urban tale of a lonely man on New Year's Eve, with Hans Christian Andersen's story, "The Little Match Girl," in an unique experience that is part pop concert and part sentimental, traditional musical. Along the way there is a wildly funny comment on Andersen in the form of a song called "Screwed Up People Make Great Art." Observers have said the unconventional show challenges notions of what musical theatre is, while still being utterly accessible, moving and entertaining.
A concert cast album of the show has been a hot seller on the PS Classics label. Visit www.psclassics.com.
The show is billed as "a festive holiday fairy tale full of musical comedy, pop-rock tunes and old fashioned uplift for the New Year." Music and lyrics are by GrooveLily's Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn and Gene Lewin (and all three perform multiple roles and play the score), and book is by Tony Award-winner Rachel Sheinkin (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). Tony Award-winner Ted Sperling (who contributed orchestrations for The Light in the Piazza) directs.
"Ever had the end-of-year blues?" the production notes ask. "Who hasn't? Come take a hip little trip with one of the most acclaimed bands in the country, GrooveLily, as they spread some warmth on the cold winter nights, performing their own unique rewiring of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Little Match Girl.' Their festive fairy tale is a clever mix of musical comedy, pop-rock tunes and old fashioned uplift that will ignite your holiday spirit and illuminate your New Year in a rockin' performance that cannot be matched!"
Ars Nova is at 511 W. 54th Street. All tickets are $25.
Valerie Vigoda is an electric violinist and singer and the founding member of GrooveLily. She has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper (opening for Tina Turner and Cher), Joe Jackson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A former Army lieutenant, she stars with her bandmates in print and on TV in the ongoing "Perseverance" ads for "Today’s Military." She founded GrooveLily (originally "The Valerie Vigoda Band") in 1994, with a critically acclaimed CD called "Inhabit My Heart."
Brendan Milburn plays keyboards and sings. Before joining GrooveLily, he graduated from Pomona College and NYU's MFA program in Musical Theatre Writing. He does a lot of arranging for GrooveLily, and he’s an accomplished record producer as well.
Gene Lewin plays the drums and sings, and hails from Princeton, NJ. Like many of his heroes (Jack DeJohnette, Russ Kunkel, Vinnie Colaiuta), he "joyfully blurs the lines between jazz and rock, supporting and complementing the music but unafraid to instigate when the time is right." He has appeared on CDs with George Coleman, John Patitucci, and many others.
Ted Sperling recently made his New York City directing debut with Michael John LaChiusa's See What I Wanna See at The Public Theater. Other Broadway credits as music director/conductor/pianist include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; The Full Monty; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Angels in America; My Favorite Year; Falsettos; Drood; Les Misérables; Roza and Sunday in the Park With George.
The performance schedule for Striking 12 is Dec. 3, 7, 9, 17, 21, 23 at 8 PM, Dec. 4, 18 at 4 PM, Dec. 4, 6, 8, 15, 18, 20, 22 at 7 PM, Dec. 16, 17 @ 11 PM.
To purchase tickets, call SmartTix at (212) 868-4444 or go to www.SmartTix.com. Ars Nova is located at 511 West 54th Street.
Two years ago, Ars Nova opened its doors in memory of Gabe Wiener with the goal of being a home for artists to develop and perform new works in an intimate audience setting. Ars Nova produces theatre, comedy and music events, "making exciting live entertainment accessible to a New York audience at affordable prices."
In addition to fully staged productions, Ars Nova offers a free play reading series (Out Loud), an alternative music and comedy series (Thursdays at 10), a musical theatre series (Broadway Spotlight), a singer/songwriter series (Uncharted) and in-house writers' workshops. For more information, visit www.arsnovanyc.com.