New Work in Progress: Scrooge in Love!

This month, we chatted with Daniel Thomas, the Executive Director at 42nd Street Moon, and Dyan McBride, the show’s director, about their upcoming production of Scrooge in Love!, written by Larry Grossman (Fest ’95, Paper Moon), Kellen Blair and Duane Poole (Fest ’14, Beautiful Poison). 42nd Street Moon produced the world premiere of the musical last year.

What happened after A Christmas Carol? The day after that fateful Christmas we join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys to find his long-lost love Belle. Along the way he’s helped by some old friends and new ghosts! Scrooge in Love! had its smash hit World Premiere at 42nd Street Moon in 2015, and the theatre is pleased to bring back this joyous holiday tale that’s perfect for the entire family.

What is 42nd Street Moon’s mission, and how does new works development fit into that mission?
42nd Street Moon celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre. We contribute to its evolution and continuing vitality by presenting intimately produced performances of classic and rarely performed musical works. Through our productions, educational programs, and community outreach, we are committed to increasing the awareness and appreciation of the rich heritage and cultural perspective of the musical theatre and its vast influence on the world stage.

As we approach our 25th Anniversary, we are aware that the vitality of musical theatre is as dependent on shepherding the next generation of classic musicals as it is on preserving the rich heritage of shows that have come before. This is the third premiere or semi-premiere we have been involved with, and each experience has reinforced this belief.

How did 42nd Street Moon develop a relationship with the Scrooge in Love! writing team, and how did you work with them to prepare for last year’s world premiere?
Founding Artistic Director, Greg MacKellan, had a friendship with the writers. He called Larry Grossman (we had just produced his Snoopy!) and asked him if he had any other shows.  Larry sent back Scrooge in Love!.  Greg loved it. SIL featured lyrics by Kellan Blair, and we had recently produced his new work, Murder for Two. Director Dyan McBride flew down to Hollywood in the spring of 2015, had lunch with the writers and from that point on they started a series of emails, phone calls and discussions that lasted up until opening night. The writing team came out for casting, Dyan crafted the double casting ideas with writer, Duane Poole, and the Moon production team put together the look of the show.  The biggest credit should go to resident MD, Dave Dobrusky, who, along with Larry Grossman, created all the arrangements.  It was a huge task and it brought the score to life.

What is most exciting to you about bringing this story back to share with your audiences for a second year?  
For Scrooge in Love! 2016, we are keeping most of the core cast intact.  They were a special group of actors who brought the story to life with such heart. It was imperative to get Jason Graae to play Scrooge again.  Anyone who is familiar with his work knows how lucky we are to have him.  We have gone into SIL 2016 with the idea that everything is bigger and more lush.  We’ve also changed the color palette of the show, brought in some new designers and just amped it all up. We also feature young actors in our show, many of them from 42nd St. Moon’s educational department, MoonSchool. Our directorial team (director Dyan McBride, music director Dave Dobrusky and choreographer Staci Arriaga) have also all returned – this trio has brought many beautiful works to life during their time together at 42nd Street Moon.

How has producing Scrooge in Love! two years in a row influenced 42nd Street Moon’s new works development moving forward?
Already we have had several conversations with local composers about the possibility of workshopping their new pieces. What we’re really interested in is a new works festival in the summer of 2018, perhaps with a focus on Bay Area or West Coast authors and composers. Our Board and staff are very excited about this possibility, and we’re also hoping to partner with other organizations in developing this festival.

Why should everyone plan a trip to the Bay Area to see this play on the classic holiday story?
Anyone looking for a charming, funny and joyous family holiday show should consider Scrooge in Love! With the innumerable talents of Larry Grossman, Duane Poole and Kellen Blair and proven box office success in a crowded holiday market, we feel this show can be a perennial favorite for audiences across the country.

For more information about Scrooge in Love! and 42nd Street Moon’s other programming, visit their website.

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