by Victor Lodato and Polly Pen
directed by Jackson Gay
originally produced at Magic Theatre,
San Francisco, CA.
November 13, 2013
through December 8, 2013
(Photo: Analisa Leaming and Jeff Pew)
Lovely, upbeat Sara Jane is valiantly trying to keep it a sunny day as she waits on the home front for her husband Jerry. Though she believes in the cause, nothing has seemed quite right lately. There’s a lot to figure out, and it’s possible that singing through it all might help. Acclaimed playwright Victor Lodato and celebrated composer Polly Pen team up to bring us this eccentric and powerful story.
My long admired colleague and friends, Victor Lodato and Polly Pen, shared with me a thirty-minute short called Arlington that instantly captured my imagination. But what could I do with a thirty-minute play, let alone musical? Polly, Victor and I set about discussing the possible new plot, themes and character evolution that a full-length form might support and Victor’s “mental secretary” (as he calls it) went immediately to work. Soon after, he emerged from a retreat where he wrote an entirely new original draft that bears the same name. By the end of the summer, Polly finished orchestrating the music with this new, full-length narrative in-hand.
I am a sucker for hybrids. I love deep, dark comedies; I love stories with great music and musicals with great stories. Arlington raises the bar on hybrids. It's almost a completely sung-through drama with an enormous amount of frivolity. It places us squarely in the room with our protagonist as she shares her most intimate dreams, trivial obsessions, and eventually her darkest fears. The play hovers just above naturalism and looks at the pervasive nature of war. In some ways it asks at what price we serve our country. Its politics are personal and deeply deceptively simple and then, over the course of a long reveal, become heartbreakingly palpable. The play almost invites the audience to partake in a shifting consciousness from which the character and perhaps the audience may never return. I feel that the direction we’ve taken is that a profound betrayal is being uncovered but it is not of the marital kind – it is the most profound change of heart that may be experienced over the course of this evolving journey.
-Loretta Greco, Producing Artistic Director
For Arlington, an extra week of rehearsal time was key to the musical’s evolution and will result in a much stronger premiere production. In particular, this extra week provided Victor and Polly more time to work with the musical director, Jeffrey Pew, and the actress, Analisa Leaming, in revising and arranging the work. Also, because this musical is almost entirely in song – almost like an opera – rehearsal hours work differently than a play, so that only so much work can be accomplished each week. As a result, an additional week of rehearsal proved to be a huge benefit in the refinement of performance.
Director: Jackson Gay
Set Design: Eric Flatmo
Lighting Design: Jeff Rowlings
Sound Design: Sara Huddleston
Costume Design: Antonia Gunnarson
Assistant Director: Ellen Abram
Musical Director: Jeff Pew
Stage Manager: Julie Haber
Director of Production: Sara Huddleston
Technical Director: Dave Gardner
Props Design: Jacquelyn Scott
Local Casting: Dori Jacob
New York Casting: Elissa Myers Casting, Paul Fouquet (CSA), Heather Hurst (CSA), and Karie Koppel (CSA)
Season Producers: Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock
Producers: Corky and Donna LaVallee, Jaimie Mayer Phinney
Cast: Analisa Leaming and Jeff Pew