LOS ANGELES — They’ll make a stage musical about anything these days. From black comedy like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Producers, to the grisly horror of Evil Dead, puppets and Generation X losers singing naughty words inAvenue Q, and the drama of abuse and incest in The Color Purple, anything is ripe for musical adaptation.
So why not tackle the subject of divorce?
After all, far too many musicals have focused on love and marriage in a sappy, syrupy way. So L.A.-based musician, writer, and composer Erin Kamler created Divorce! The Musical, which had its premiere at Hollywood’s Hudson Mainstage Theatre on — of all the most appropriate choices — Valentine’s Day.
“Set in present-day Los Angeles,” the play’s promotional synopsis reads, “Divorce! The Musical takes us on Penny and Rich’s journey, as their fairy-tale marriage unravels. Denial, deception, and raw outrage collide with greedy lawyers, dramatically inclined family members, mountains of paperwork, and out-to-lunch therapists.
“Divorce! The Musical reminds us that laughing in the face of tragedy can sometimes be the best way to move on.”
Among the show’s satirical musical numbers are “Half”, “Rebound Sex”, “I’m Living in My Parents’ Basement and My Friends Forgot My Name”, and “Mediation”.
The musical has been getting some critical acclaim. “Erin Kamler’s witty and entertaining new musical satire takes apart almost every emotional phase of a marital breakup,” LA Weekly said, “including the horrors of dating and the hollows of rebound sex, and sets it to chirpy and wry songs that feature some sophisticated musical juxtapositions and harmonies.” Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times Reader Review has raved: “Erin Kamler’s lyrics are universally real, hitting home… a remarkably fun show.”
Kamler won the 2008 Frederick Loewe Award for her last musical, Runway 69, about a New York City strip club just before the Times Square clean-up. She also has won Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwright’s Festival three times.
The production is directed by Rick Sparks, who has previously directed They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. It stars Rick Segall and Lowe Taylor.
Divorce! The Musical will run in Los Angeles until March 29, 2009.