‘… And Then I Wrote a Song About It’ a tour-de-forceEntertainment News Thursday, March 31st, 2011
The Diversionary Theatre’s new show, … And Then I Wrote a Song About It, is not your typical musical theatre production. There’s no ensemble cast. It’s just one man singing every song, reciting every line and dancing every dance.
The multi-talented Nick Cearley portrays Randall, an aspiring actor-singer-songwriter-dancer-secretary, with a certain ease that can only come from relating almost entirely to the character.
“I would say 90 percent of the character is me,” Cearley said. “In this case, the character has brought me to life. It’s made me realize a lot about myself as a person and as a performer.”
The story of Randall, an optimistic young gay man searching for success in fame and love during the turbulent New York City disco era, is based on writer Eric Weinberger’s life.
“I call it a memoir based on (Weinberger’s) life from 1979 to 1982,” Cearley explained. “It’s a rare piece of musical theatre. It’s Randall’s journey about being a nobody, wanting to be a somebody and what all that means.”
Cearley began dancing at the age of two in his family’s Ohio dance studio, but he realized the performing bug had bit him when he was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West in the third grade production of The Wizard of Oz. He continued to perform in local theatre productions and attended the Boston Conservatory.
Two years ago, Cearley auditioned for Wanda’s World, another show written by Weinberger. While he didn’t make the cut for that production, Weinberger thought the role of Randall would be perfect for the talented New York City actor.
When the pair first began to discuss the show, it was merely a play. However, over several meetings and read-throughs, they began to realize that it had a musical vibe.
“It just evolved and developed and started to lend itself towards a musical,” Cearley said. “We went from three songs to five songs to an entire full-fledged 14 song musical.”
When the production opened in New Jersey this past winter, it found immediate success with both the critics and theatre-goers. Director Igor Goldin, who previously directed YANK! at the Diversionary Theatre, decided to bring the musical to San Diego for its West Coast debut.
Aside from the one-man-show aspect, … And Then I Wrote a Song About It is unique because it’s the story of a gay man in the years before AIDS even had a name and homosexuality was less accepted than it is today.
“Especially for younger folk who have Glee and Modern Family and see how acceptable it is (to be gay) in the public eye now compared to how things weren’t acceptable in the time period that the play is placed in,” Cearley said. “I think it’s an important part of gay history.”
… And Then I Wrote a Song About It premiered at the Diversionary Theatre on March 25 and runs through April 10. Visit diversionary.org for performance dates and tickets.
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