Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Room to Breathe: Seeing "I Married Wyatt Earp"

I have to say that I love the lady love that has been happening in some of the new musicals that have been running in New York. First Helen on 86th Street, which featured a large young female cast, then The Shaggs, a lyrical, haunting biopic about a band of sisters, and now I Married Wyatt Earp.


With a cast of 11 women, I Married Wyatt Earp (Music by Michele Brourman, Lyrics by Sheilah Rae, Book by Thomas Edward West & Sheilah Rae) tells the story of the women of Tombstone, Arizona whose romantic entanglements and struggles to accomplish their dreams bring about the deadly shootout at the OK Corral. Not knowing a lot about the historic gunfight that inspired several movies and this musical, I was intrigued by the tale and was eager to see how the big event would eventually play out.

What emerges at the core of the musical, however, is an interesting story of class and the relationships between many of the women as they fight to protect their own ambitions. Though there is a love triangle surrounding the infamous Wyatt Earp, the conflict I was most intrigued with was the one between headstrong, fresh-faced Josie (Wyatt's eventual wife and self-proclaimed true love) and the stoic, hard-working Earp women (including Wyatt's current wife at the time). The relationships they fight for are complex and everyone has their pride at stake as they try to survive the frontier.

The music also often soars, as you can for yourself in the following videos from the New York Theatre Barn D-Lounge concert:

("Unpacking Dreams" sung by Sheilah Rae, Alison Luff, Tina Stafford, Ashley McHugh, Stephanie Palumbo, Diane Findlay, Kelli Firth, Louise Gassman & Colleen Coussinat)

("Room to Breathe" sung by Carolyn Mignini and Mishaela Faucher)

("Ain't Going Back" sung by Sheilah Rae, Alison Luff, Tina Stafford, Ashley McHugh, Stephanie Palumbo, Diane Findlay, Kelli Firth, Louise Gassman & Colleen Coussinat)

You can check out more videos through NYTB's Youtube channel here, or buy tickets to the production at 59E59 here.

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