Erin Shaw fills in for Bob Simpson this week, and interviews the writer and composer of "Right Together, Left Together."
By Erin Shaw (Writer)
As any Tony award-winning composer or writer will tell you, the experience of creating a successful musical is the epitome of the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Writer Pamela Q. Eberhardt and composer Will Collyer have been working on Right Together, Left Together for many years and the journey still continues. I interviewed these two wonderfully creative artists to talk a little bit about the latest incarnation of their piece, which will be going into its closing weekend on Thursday at the Grove Theatre Center in Burbank, CA.
Right Together Left Together has been alive and kicking for many years in many incarnations, and has been touched by many wonderful actors both in New York and Los Angeles. This latest incarnation stars Jeni Incontro as Taylor, Tripp Pettigrew-Rolapp as Zac, Emily Clark-Simpson as Ashley, Bob Simpson as Paul, Lucas Alifano as Ryan, Katrina Rennells as Allison and Jeff Scot Carey as the wisecracking Dave.
“It's been Pam's brainchild from the start. I originally came on to the project composing just a few songs, "Flirting" being the first, and only surviving tune from that early draft,” says Collyer.
“That’s true.” Says Eberhardt. “Ryan Scott Oliver and Christopher Kerrigan supplied us with original music for the early stages of the show's development.”
When asked what her favorite element of the show is, Eberhardt, who is hugely influenced by comedic giants like Nora Ephron, Bonnie Hunt, Stephen Colbert, and Judd Apatow, explains, “It reaches out to an audience who don't necessarily love going to theatre, and musical theatre especially. It's written like a modern sitcom and people seem to respond to that positively, making it different from existing shows.”
The key to their continuing success might just be the ability to let go and change the material as the show evolves. Collyer explains, “We've made so many changes over the course of its development. There's literally no element of the show that has remained sacred and untouchable.”
Pam Eberhardt and Will Collyer
When asked if they could go back and change an element of the show, their answers couldn’t be more different. Will claims, “If we could go back, perhaps the nature in which it was conceived, as a story that linked existing show tunes, may have hurt more than helped in the long run, because it created a structure that was based on showcasing great songs rather than story. At the beginning, it was simply the contrivance conceived to connect those dots. It has taken us years of readings and rewrites to instill a story core that people care about, and I'm sure we'll learn more from this production and dig deeper into the next draft yet again.”
Pam explains she would have sat out the last incarnation of the show playing Taylor and just observed the piece as a writer.
When asked how their own lives have shaped and influenced the piece, Eberhardt jokes “My family loves to get married, often more than once,” and Collyer explains, “Ryan is just like me, he writes songs, he’s gay, he lives in LA.”
Where will Right Together Left Together be in five years? Collyer hopes “Well, hopefully, alive and well and being licensed and performed by strangers.” And as for Ms. Pamela? “I see a TV pilot developed from it ala Smash or Glee... but better.”
We’ll be there watching as this charming little piece gets discovered. For tickets, visit their website.
Erin Shaw is a writer from Los Angeles and active VIP member of the Unknown Artists' Play Club West.