“A Magical Musical-Mystery Tour Through a Young Girl’s Mind”
A 16 year girl, LINDSAY, is a non-conformist surrounded by well-intentioned people who think they know what’s best for her. Her parents, friends, teachers and peers all pressure her to see the world the way they do. When Lindsay falls out of a tree (reading Catch-22, natch) she goes on a surreal journey inside her mind and soul. Like Dorothy, she wants to get back home to her real life, but the manifestations of her Id, Ego and SuperEgo explain that the only way she can get back is to find Wisdom. So Lindsay embarks on this quest, meeting along the way manifestations of her Annoyance (Annie), Hostility (Sinead O’Connor), Confidence (Hilary Clinton), Insecurity (Dr. Evil), Friendliness (Donkey from Shrek), Sincerity (Queen Amidala), (Hubris )Britney Spears), Timing (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), her male side (Bill and Ted), Animus (Beetlejuice), Creativity (The Cat-In-The-Hat), Judgment (Ferris Bueller and Martha Stewart), Obliviousness (Josie and the Pussycats), Delusion (Agent J & K from Men In Black), Empathy (Edward Scissorhands), and Hope (Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Ariel, Esmeralda, Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Princess Mia, Mulan), She ultimately meets Truth (Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks) leads her to the Red Room where the Dream Man presents her with masks representing the different influences of her life (parents, teachers, friends, popular girls). Told she must choose one, Lindsay considers, then rejects all of them – she wants to be herself. Because she has chosen correctly, she is then introduced to Wisdom who sends her back to her real life.
Written and Directed by Broderick Miller
Producer – Leda Gordon
Assistant Director – Erika Gardner
Musical Director – Andy Chukerman
Set Design – Sandi Silbert, Brian Davis
Costumes – Kathleen Nolen, Kelbe Bensinger
Lighting Director – Diana Wagman
Choreography – Kelbe Bensinger, Ruth Anne Hammond, Trish Boyer, Aimee Young
Video – Jay Heit, David Rosen
Music Coordinator & Production Sound – Dave Feinman
Special Make-Up and Effects – Mark Rappaport
House Manager – Mary Beth Sorensen
CFO & Sound Director – Mark Feldman
Stage Manager – Marcus Hammond
Backstage Manager – Ruth Coke
Hair & Make-Up – Jayne Goldberg
Pre-School Coordinator – Langdon Page
Photography – Iris Schneider
Cast Party – Helene Siegel
Poster – Carrie Peterson
Sound Effects – Robin Russin
Ticket Manager – Sarah Russin
Spotlight – Moo Moo Gordon
Program – Michael Travis
PhoeBax Award Winner: Baxley Andresen (founding awardee)
O Lucky Girl! is a play about the allure, perils and consequences of conformity. A young girl in her formative teenage years is pressured by her parents, peers, teachers and friends to see life the way they do. Ultimately she decides to be herself and therefore finds Wisdom.
In many ways, O Lucky Girl! is the most important SCTG play. If Stay Awake! was a gentle step towards more avant garde children’s theatre, O Lucky Girl! was a full plunge. Buoyed by the success of Stay Awake!, we felt the confidence (and maybe even more importantly, the approval) to further explore thematic and character complexity. O Lucky Girl! – the story of a young girl who goes on a surreal journey within her own mind, confronting peer pressure, expectations and self-doubt and ultimately finding wisdom – …is in many ways the classic SCTG play, establishing themes that we would revisit in later productions. If you had to distill the essential SCTG play into one sentence, it would be something like “a search for wisdom with a bittersweet resolve.”
Once again, the kids were up to the challenge of complex themes and characters. The songs, musical numbers and staging were more sophisticated and the kids responded with hungry energy and delight.
The visual and metaphorical centerpiece of the play was Sandi Silbert’s surreal set, creating the colors, space and textures of a teenage girl’s mind, again realized by Brian Davis with wit, style and efficiency. Andy Chukerman joined the show as Musical Director, beginning a friendship and association that strengthened and endured through several future productions. Andy brought great positive energy and enthusiasm to the show, which sparked our singers and dancers to even greater heights. Leda Siskind signed on as producer and was instrumental in negotiating the kids and departments through an unusually complicated production.
Significantly, Erika Gardner joined the SCTG family with this play. Erika’s impact on our theatre community is immeasurable. Not only has she been a rock of support and professional efficiency as an assistant director, but she has also served as choreographer and vocal director. More importantly, she has been one of the most important creative and visionary voices in the ongoing growth and development of the SCTG.
This play was inspired by the film 1973 O Lucky Man! by Lindsay Anderson. The movie was a contemporary take on Voltaire’s Candide, wherein an ambitious but very naïve young man endures a series of outrageous adventures that eventually teach him humility and a bit of wisdom. In Anderson’s film, young and naïve Michael Travis embarks on a similarly odyssey in modern-day England. If you were a young and naïve young man trying to make sense of the world at the time, seeing O Lucky Man! could be life changing. In 1975 I sneaked backstage at the Lyric Theatre in London’s West End just to meet Anderson and personally thank him for making this movie which had such a profound effect on me. He couldn’t talk to me at the time because he was rehearsing with Helen Mirren on the The Sea Gull, but he said come back the next night and we could have a chat. Anderson became my mentor and hired me as his assistant. I later I served as his First Assistant Director on various film and TV projects until his death in 1994. Life changing indeed.
O Lucky Girl! was an episodic adventure with several surreal moments including encounters with dinosaurs, Power Puff girls, and the world of Twin Peaks (marking David Lynch’s debut as a significant and continuing SCTG muse). There were many highlights, including with Elena Delvac’s powerhouse delivery of “Piece of My Heart”; the bittersweetly rocking “Cornflake Girl”; Sofi Shield’s playful take on “Long Tall Texan”; and Justine Rappaport knocking out the room with “Jurassic Park”; and the soaring anthem “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” performed by the entire cast.
But perhaps the most remarkable moment of the play was an ensemble version of the Alanis Morissette song, “Unsent,” performed by Ariel (Justine Rappaport), Belle (Elizabeth Brightly), Sleeping Beauty (Phoebe Minette), Snow White (Nastassia Godoy) and Princess Mia (Alexandra Vickery). The song is a collection of letters by Morissette to old boyfriends, thanking them for the joys and life lessons she gained from knowing and loving them. Somber and melancholy, the song is a lyrical expression of love lost and wounded appreciation. The juxtaposition of Disney princesses singing a song of such pain and regret created an extraordinary moment of sophisticated poetry. The girls were seeing beyond the Prince of their Dreams, and even further beyond love’s ephemeral radiance. They had reached a stage of mature reflection and bittersweet gratitude. As in all songs and scenes that we perform (“what is the scene/song about – and what is it REALLY about?) the subtext was roundly discussed and explored during rehearsals. As a result, these young actors drew from deeply within themselves and created a moment of stunning maturity and poise for teenage girls on the cusp.
What I remember most about O Lucky Girl! was the chaotic dress rehearsal where everything and everybody was malfunctioning. Props were lost, lighting cues were missed, lines were forgotten, parents were sniping about the lateness of the hour, the (adult) drummer in the band through a hissy fit…and a mounting dread that this was all one big colossal failure palpably took over the room. At the very lowest and darkest moment of all this surrounding despair, an amazing calm and serenity suddenly washed over me. Some voice, some spirit, something within…SOMETHING…was silently reassuring me that it would all be okay and that he show would work out fine. I return to this moment again and again when panic inevitably rears its head during stressful tech rehearsals. As long as we all keep our heads and humor, it will all work out. Have faith.