Musical debuts in West Palm Beach with cast from Broadway
Broadway talent is in West Palm Beach readying a new musical for its first bow here in South Florida, where the production started on the page before making it to stage.
And those pages are the work of Boca Raton playwright Bonnie Logan.
“Time Stops — A World Premiere New Musical” will run from July 15 to 17 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
“The title, it’s the moment in time when something happened to you … and life is sort of still for a moment, a week, a day,” Logan explains from her home at The Polo Club of Boca Raton, which she shares with her husband, Cliff, while their two sons run the family’s sausage manufacturing firm in Arlington, Va.
This is not her first musical. Logan made a splash with “Boca Bound,” her first foray into writing a libretto. That show, which focuses on a community of seniors, sold out at The Wick Theatre in, of course, Boca Raton back in 2019.
“I loved the process. I really love doing this,” Logan says. “We finished ‘Boca Bound’ very shortly after that, and then COVID hit. Everything for that show was put on the back burner. Nothing was happening. During COVID, I knew I wanted to write another story. I love the process so much that I knew I had to do it again. I’m totally hooked on this. It fulfills me in every imaginable way.”
“Time Stops” is about a playwright named Emma who is reeling from the death of her teenage daughter. Her husband, Charlie, is also shattered but tentatively going on with his life. Emma’s grief leads her to create a musical within a musical about the life she dreams her daughter might have had.
That imaginary world includes doppelgangers of characters in Emma’s life. As she gets lost in her imaginary world, these other people in her life also find themselves at different crossroads with their unrealized dreams.
The cast features Maria Goodman, Armand Lane (”Much Ado About Nothing”; “Silence! The Musical”), Evan Fagin (”The Last 5 Years”), Alan Chandler (”Knoxville”; “Oliver!”), James McClellan (”The Elephant Man”; “Caroline, or Change”) and Ashley Wilcox (”Boca Bound”; “Mamma Mia”). Ensemble members include Kirsten Kaiser and Chase Wolfe.
The show’s creative team also comes to the project with impressive musical theater credits on their resumes. The original music and musical direction is by Brett Boles (“Foreverman”; “Benjamin Button”). The director is Chad Larabee (”Dreyfus in Rehearsal”; “Ain’t We Got Fun”). And the musical supervision is by Tony Award- and Emmy Award-winning Broadway producer and music director Michael J. Moritz Jr. (”Hadestown”; “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”).
Here’s more about “Time Stops” in excerpts from a question-and-answer session with Logan.
Q: What the story about?
A: I knew I wanted to frame it within the context of writing a musical, so I could share with everyone what that was like. So this time, [I was] a lot wiser and much more knowledgeable about what I was doing … working with Michael Moritz and the creative team from New York. This time around, I wanted to write a much deeper story. I think it’s much more relatable because it’s about all of us and the choices we make … that are not the best choices.
It’s about this couple going through the loss of their only child. The husband has done OK. He never really moved on, but he’s going forward and his wife is not. The [book] is about what she decides to do to deal with this crisis and what happens to her as she goes through it. She decides to write a musical and change the outcome of her daughter’s life. And the people [around the couple] also begin to question their own lives and their own choices. But you can see the hopefulness.
Q: What was the actual writing like this time?
A: Writing is a very, very difficult thing to do. You have to love it. I’ve seen [shows] where there was no character development. I wasn’t pulling for everybody. I knew that if we’re going to do this, the title characters have to be people that the audience really got to know.
Q: What was it like working with composer Brett Boles, who came up with 26 songs for “Time Stops,” even though you two had never met before?
A: Michael [Moritz] said to me, ‘I honestly think we need to start with Brett Boles.’ Michael gave him the script at 6 p.m. and Brett read it by 9 p.m. and called Michael and said, ‘I want to do it.’ I just knew right away he was the right one for me.
[Boles had] two songs that he thought would be appropriate for the show, as an introduction … so that I could see, hear and feel the kind of work he does. And they were so spot on I said to Michael: ‘He’s the perfect one for me.’
It’s been a joy working with him, an absolute joy. There isn’t a single song that he wrote that I don’t adore. Now did we have rewrites? There were changes and more changes, yes … but it all just came together. When two people respect each other and are on the same wavelength, that’s when you get the beautiful work.
Q: What was it like hearing those words that had been in your head spoken by actors?
A: We had a virtual read through with the actors from Broadway … it gives us a tremendous amount of feedback. In one of the scenes that I thought was crystal clear … something happened to the key character. [The actors] totally missed it. I said to [the creative team]: ‘How did this happen?’ I realized I needed to do more groundwork … with more emphasis in earlier scenes … on how our lead character begins to [experience] her undoing.
It’s like dominoes. If you touch one, they all fall down. You have to go back and fix them all. It took me a couple of months. That was a great learning time for me. It was a ton of rewrites. I made it tighter and clearer.
Q: How did you first start writing?
A: It all really started in 2017 when we were already settled in our new house and we went back to Virginia for a couple of weeks. We came back a little bit early so [my husband] could be in a golf tournament. I had a very bad accident. It was a very rainy night. I slipped and fell and broke my femur in 40 pieces and, having to stay for all the surgeries and therapies in Florida for a year, there was no way to go back or really do anything at all. I was very incapacitated.
During that time I was trying to rehabilitate, a friend [Richard Peshkin, the composer for “Boca Bound”] came over with some songs. He said, ‘Why don’t you take a song and see if you can write a story?’ He knew I love to be a storyteller. I just love to tell stories. I thought it was kind of silly, but I thought I’d give it a try. So about a week after he brought these songs over, I started doing it. I started writing scenes even though I didn’t know if this was something I wanted to do or could do.
You know, it’s funny, you never know at what age you find out you are a good fit for something, and all those years you didn’t know you had it. You have to be ready for something. Everything has to be perfect for you to realize you can do something.
The Weekender – South Florida Events
Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.
Q: Why musicals?
A: I’m surprised I’m doing any of this. My sister thinks that when I had the accident, the femur got loose, traveled up my body and affected my brain. I swear she does actually think that. This is an opportunity for me. The thing about life is that it presents you with lots of opportunities, but you have to realize that’s what it is. And I did. This has brought me so much joy and happiness.
WHAT: World premiere of “Time Stops”
WHEN: July 15-17, 2022
WHERE: Rinker Playhouse at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
INFORMATION: 561-832-7469; Kravis.org