Number of Acts: 1
Number of Principals (Male): 6
Number of Principals (Female): 1
Total Cast Size: 7
Note: there is a world where the band/cast is supplemented by additional musicians, if need be.
The authors are open to actors of all gender-identifications playing any track. Note that the actors play all the instruments in the show. Most of the roles double.
Genre & Style:
Dramatic, Romantic, Nautical Folk-Rock Musical
SeaWife is a haunted tale of the high seas. Both historical and pointedly modern, the sumptuous and energetic music of The Lobbyists guides us through Seth Moore’s world of whale hunts, ghosts, and adventure to ask: “Can humanity save itself from its own devouring?”
SeaWife began as a shared idea between The Lobbyists and Seth Moore, to create a narrative vehicle for the band to explore their lush folk stylings within an epic theatrical journey. With director/developer Liz Carlson they embarked on a rigorous path of exploration, ever ready to respond to an evolving understanding of their work. Initial self-produced workshops were soon followed by institutional support by Ars Nova, New York Stage and Film, Cape Cod Theater Project, and The Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat. SeaWife’s world premiere production in 2015 was produced by Naked Angels in partnership with the South Street Seaport Museum in NYC. In 2017, a regional production at the White Heron Theater in Nantucket debuted its current text and score.
5 Things You Should Know
- SeaWife gets its unique feel and storytelling style from a collaborative writing process very different than that of traditional musical theater. The actor-musicians wrote their own music, Seth shaped character tracks around actors and contributed as an art director/designer as much as a writer, and Liz developed and guided the writing process as much as the action on stage. Our philosophy was to approach the piece like a folk song: as a community with everybody lending their whole creative self to its making.
- SeaWife takes place in port cities and on the high seas during the first half of the 19th century—the golden age of American whaling. To accomplish the challenge of putting this grand and sweeping world on stage, the SeaWife team set out to create a piece driven by heart, lush musicianship, and barrels of clever theatricality. The physical language of our productions thus far has been realized economically—transforming wooden dowels and crates into seaside bars, whale ships, and great cetaceans alike; embracing the storytelling as much as the story. We have learned that this aesthetic lends itself to adaptability (and producibility) and even makes the story feel more epic.
- You’ll experience pared down instrumentation in the NAMT presentation but our vision for a fully realized production involves seven actor-musicians building a complete sonic world through their instruments, as well as orchestrations which also include accordion, other guitars, a drum kit, and more mandolin and banjo. You can experience these orchestrations and some of the actor-driven soundscapes on our album, Songs from SeaWife, available through our website seawife.org, or everywhere you stream music (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.).
- We are interested in securing regional and/or NYC productions with The Lobbyists as the cast. We are also open to a self-licensed version for theaters to produce on their own with local actor-musicians. Orchestrations may be made available to perform for seven actor-musician tracks. There is some character-specific instrumentation, though creative flexibility around who plays what would not be deterred. SeaWife may be performed with pared down orchestration with at least one guitar, banjo, violin, cello, and percussion. SeaWife can support a minimum of six performers, though seven is recommended. Should a producer want to build out the cast with more voices, that is also possible.
- SeaWife has enjoyed two successful productions: a sold-out five-week run in New York City produced by Naked Angels in partnership with the South Street Seaport Museum, which earned two Drama Desk nominations (Outstanding Music in a Musical by The Lobbyists & Outstanding Lighting Design by Jake DeGroot); and a two-month regional run at Nantucket’s White Heron Theater.