An interview with Itamar Moses, one of the writers (along with Gaby Alter) of 2012 Festival Show Nobody Loves You, about the show’s path so far and what to expect as it heads Off Broadway this summer to Second Stage. The show is a past recipient of a Project Development Grant from our National Fund for New Musicals for its development at The Old Globe.
The new musical comedy Nobody Loves You follows a philosophy grad student who auditions for—and surprisingly finds himself cast on—a reality TV dating show, all in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend. But when an unexpected on-set love connection threatens to ruin his plan, manufactured drama collides with real emotion in this original new musical.
What was the industry’s response to your show at the Festival?
Whole-hearted praise. Worship really. It was mayhem. The ghost of Oscar Hammerstein rose from the grave and placed a mantle labeled ‘The Future of Musical Theatre’ on my and Gaby’s shoulders. Or, whatever, people seemed to like it okay.
What has changed with the show since being at The Old Globe last year and being at the Festival?
We came away from The Old Globe wanting to replace some songs, clarify and sharpen certain elements of the story, improve some jokes, and take some time off the show. That process had already begun by the time we did the Festival, so we got to hear some new versions of scenes and try out one of our new songs. We’re even farther along in that process now. A bunch of stuff has been rewritten, we’ve replaced two songs and cut two others entirely, on top of streamlining certain aspects of the book. Musicals are very, very tricky and I expect we’ll be working right up until they make us stop.
The show is about to premiere Off Broadway at Second Stage Theatre this summer. How has your approach to the show changed going from an in-the-round space in San Diego to a traditional proscenium in New York?
This is really a question for our director and designers. But generally speaking, the approach is always just about figuring out how to use the space you’re in to support and enhance the storytelling and themes. I’ve premiered three shows in that in-the-round space at The Old Globe, and every time I think, “How are we gonna do this in the round?” And every time it forces solutions that are very cool and that I almost miss when it’s time to do it in a proscenium even though that’s usually how I envision things in the first place. Certainly doing this show in a proscenium allows you to have more stuff, to render the backstage world of the TV show more vividly. In the round, you really can’t have much in the way of set. You can’t even have any walls!
What are you guys most excited about for this summer production? Any surprises in store?
Getting to see the show with all the improvements on the page back up on its feet. And getting to see these characters come to life again, I’ve developed a genuine affection for them. As for the second part of your question, if we answered that, they wouldn’t be surprises anymore, would they? Or, I guess: “Yes.”
Why should people head to Second Stage this summer to see Nobody Loves You?
Because it’s going to be a cultural moment of earth-shattering importance. But if you like to miss out on that kind of thing, by all means, skip it.
For more information about Nobody Loves You, please visit www.2st.com.