[Title of Show]
Music and Lyrics by Jeff Bowen: Book by Hunter Bell.
2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF).
Vineyard Theatre 15 February, 2006 - now in repertory
Jeff and Hunter, two struggling writers, hear about a new musical theatre festival. However, the deadline for submissions is a mere three weeks away. With nothing to lose, the pair decides to try to create something new with the help of their friends, Susan, Heidi, and Larry on lady eighty-eights.
With the cast in place, Jeff and Hunter begin a conversation about what the hell to write about. Eventually, Jeff suggests they write about what the hell to write about. They make a pact to write up until the festival's deadline and dream about the show changing their lives so they'll no longer be Two Nobodies in New York.
The cast meets, bringing Heidi and Susan together for the first time, and after hellos, a brief Q and A, and some scheduling, the creation of this "meta-tuner' begins.
Quickly, Jeff becomes creatively stuck, and it takes his good friend "Blank Paper" to get him to "ease all his fears" and keep writing an original musical.
Jeff then starts going through his Playbill collection of short-lived Broadway musicals for inspiration and puts a call out to Hunter, who is not faring so well. His computer has crashed and he's lost two hours of work on a project he's not sure they should be pursuing anyway. Jeff urges him to pick up a pencil and paper and just write, to go doodle, play, or write anything at all. Hunter agrees, and Jeff returns to his Playbills. Susan and Heidi then enter as voices in their heads, encouraging the guys to create freely.
With the show on a roll, Hunter can't help but fantasise. Jeff reels him in, but the two confess to wanting to be successful.
Heidi, Jeff, and Larry rehearse a new song for Heidi, while Susan checks in with Hunter on his progress. After rehearsal, Jeff and Heidi grab a bite and sit to chat while Susan and Hunter continue catching up. Though both women are enjoying working on the piece, they reveal to the guys some insecurities about their roles within the show and have some questions about each other as well.
And those aren't the only feelings popping up as the show progresses. After failed dream sequences, sketchy dialogue, and axed sentimental ballads, Jeff and Hunter continue to doubt their abilities and consider throwing in the towel. Susan however, rallies the troops with Die Vampire, Die!
With the festival deadline looming, the cast rushes to finish the necessary paperwork for submission and end up discovering a name for their musical, [title of show] (inspired by the field for "title of show" on the festival entry form).
In 'September Song', the cast learns they have indeed been accepted into the festival, and are given a six performance run. Show by show, this medley chronicles the ins and out of presenting their new work. After the last curtain, Hunter tells the company that a commercial producer is interested in [title of show]. While the guys exit to take some meetings with "industry fancies" and discuss their future, the girls seize the spotlight to clear the air and celebrate their new-found friendship. Jeff and Hunter return to announce their musical has been optioned, yet unlike the self-doubts and "vampires" from before, a whole new set of problems arise. Should the show transfer? Will it lose its original spark and appeal? What, when, and why do you make changes, and who decides what stays and what goes? After a rollercoaster of readings, photo shoots, and fights, the show reaches a breaking point. Hunter and Jeff share a late night phone call between two best friends - two neophyte writers who are struggling to find meaning within their work, within their friendship, and within their lives. Heidi echoes their thoughts by sharing her own path and struggles in both her career and her life.
Exhausted, vulnerable, and maybe even a little more mature, the company resolves to follow their hearts and keep writing the show that they'd want to see, even if it means being only 'Nine Peoples Favorite Thing'.
Finally reaching a point where they cart just keep adding in everything that happens to them, the cast decides that they have no choice but to step off, put the show out into the world, and see what happens.
- Untitled Opening Number - Company
- Two Nobodies in New York - Jeff and Hunter
- An Original Musical - Hunter and Jeff
- Monkeys and Playbills - Company
- The Tony Award Song - Hunter
- Part of It All - Hunter and Jeff
- I Am Playing Me - Heidi
- What Kind of Girl Is She? - Susan and Heidi
- Die, Vampire, Die! - Sysan and Company
- Filling Out the Form - Company
- September Song - Company
- Secondary Characters - Heidi and Susan
- A Way Back To Then - Heidi
- Nine People.s Favourite Thing - Company
- Finale - Company
- [Title of Show] - Company