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Agnes View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

After being deserted in her wheelchair while her cranky nurse goes shopping, the title character of AGNES persuades a stranger to kill her, thus releasing her from her limited and unhappy life.

"[Michael John LaChiusa] has a heightened hothouse style reminiscent of that in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, with everyone singing intensely about seemingly mundane matters." —NY Times.   

Break View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

In BREAK, two construction workers achieve new insight into their lunch hour woes when the Virgin Mary pays them an unexpected and confused visitation.

"[Michael John LaChiusa] has a heightened hothouse style reminiscent of that in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, with everyone singing intensely about seemingly mundane matters." —NY Times.   

Eleanor Sleeps Here View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The final piece of the Suite, the melodic ELEANOR SLEEPS HERE, is a heart rending examination of the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok as they're being flown over Washington by Amelia Earhart. (see FIRST LADY SUITE)

     

Eulogy for Mister Hamm View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The sundry characters of EULOGY FOR MISTER HAMM wait on line to use their flop house's one available bathroom, and find they must unwillingly band together when they fear that their superintendent may be dead.

"[Michael John LaChiusa] has a heightened hothouse style reminiscent of that in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, with everyone singing intensely about seemingly mundane matters." —NY Times.   

Hello Again Drama View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The joys of sex are here for the asking in this adult musical fantasy suggested by Arthur Schnitzler's "La Ronde". As though seen through the lens of a combination time machine and bawdy, old-time kinescope, HELLO AGAIN criss-crosses beds and jumps from decade to decade, intimately examining the painful secrets that drive characters into each other's arms and towards the bruising effects of reckless passion. With a score that saturates the mind, HELLO AGAIN has an unforgettable, dreamlike quality—and all the luxuriance of an insistent seduction.

"Mr. LaChiusa's smart, beguilingly world-weary work was the best original musical of the season…" —NY Times.

"LaChiusa is an artist with a puckish, damn-the-torpedoes imagination…his deliriously eclectic score is like tuning into a radio station with a serious President Clinton complex: It wants to please as many listeners as possible. For the camp mavens, there is a devastating pastiche, from "shlag"-heavy Viennese operetta to Yiddish boogie-woogie. For the Sondheim freaks, some devious wordplay. For the 'they don't write them like they used to' crowd, a plangent and hummable ballad... HELLO AGAIN scores." —NY Newsday.

Little Fish Comedy/Satire; Drama View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

"I never really knew what I was like until I quit smoking, by which time there was hell to pay." So observes Charlotte, a young writer of short stories as she confronts her past, present and future in post 9/11 Manhattan. With the help of her well-intentioned friends, Marco and Kathy, Charlotte embarks on a modern-day odyssey as she desperately attempts to fill her nicotine-starved days with swimming at the Y and jogging, but to no avail. She's a stranger in her own body, and it's not a pretty thing. Flashbacks to earlier years when she first arrived in New York bump up uncomfortably with her present. She's confronted by eccentric demons of her past: her ex-lover Robert (who pops up to criticize her at the most inopportune moments); the quintessential New York roommate-from-hell, Cinder; and a former employer, Mr. Bunder, a proponent of the five-martini lunch. Charlotte is also haunted in her dreams by her adolescent heroine, Anne Frank, who warns her of the danger of flotsam—the accumulation of psychic and emotional debris that interrupts the flow of one's life. Unable to act on impulse and unable to connect with her friends, Charlotte begins to atrophy, until finally, the dam breaks. She discovers to her horror, and ultimate relief, that she has always been running away from herself; not only does she have to kick her smoking habit, she has to overcome her addiction to fleeing. Once she begins clearing away the flotsam, Charlotte is able to be a better friend, a better writer and (yes, there is such a thing) a better New Yorker. As opposed to swimming against the tide, alone and without direction, Charlotte realizes that sometimes, like little fish, it's smarter and safer to swim with the school.

"A stylish new musical. LITTLE FISH translates the sort of neurotic, sidewise narrative associated with The New Yorker's fiction into the terms of musical comedy. A lively musical about what it means to feel lifeless in contemporary Manhattan. Mr. LaChiusa's score proceeds to blend the jazzy, noirish feel of what is conventionally called the symphony of the city. LITTLE FISH can be regarded as a direct, latter-day answer to (Sondheim's) Company." —NY Times. "There is so much wonderful writing in the ninety minutes of LaChiusa's LITTLE FISH—the lyrics are wittily pointed and elegantly formed; the music inventively bends standard melodic patterns into unexpected shapes; LaChiusa is sharp with observation, generous with compassion, and able to evoke volumes of experience in the flick of a single phrase." —Village Voice.   

Lucky Nurse View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The action of LUCKY NURSE takes place in a single night. Madge, a nurse who works with newborns, worries about having to put her dog to sleep because he's getting too old. Her friend Jerry leaves his shift to cruise a singles bar where he meets and seduces Sherri. Afterwards, Sherri takes a cab home and meditates on her frequent one-night-stands, but the driver upsets her and she jumps out. Finally, the cabbie ends up at the hospital to have a look at the baby he abandoned only hours ago while Madge looks on and wonders, unknowingly, how anyone could desert their child in the middle of a cold night.

"[Michael John LaChiusa] has a heightened hothouse style reminiscent of that in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, with everyone singing intensely about seemingly mundane matters." —NY Times. . 

Olio View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The comical OLIO presents Margaret Truman at a recital trying her best to sing as she's constantly, hilariously, being upstaged by First Lady Bess.

     

Over Texas View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

OVER TEXAS, takes place aboard Air Force One on November 22nd, 1993. Mary Gallagher, the First Lady's personal secretary, and Evelyn Lincoln, personal secretary to the President, are trying to relax as they fly into Dallas. Mary, exhausted by the lifestyle, is coaxed into napping by the cool, collected, Evelyn. Mary's dreams become portentous nightmares as they are haunted by a ghostly Jackie and an eerie Lady Bird.

     

See What I Wanna See Comedy/Satire; Drama View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE, a musical about lust, greed, murder, faith and redemption, was named by New York Magazine as one of the Best Musicals of 2005 and nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical. It is based on three short stories by the Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa and unfolds like a classical Japanese screen painting. In KESA AND MORITO, set in medieval Japan, two lovers sing of the ecstasy and torment of their illicit affair and their determination to end it that night. Neither knows the other's intent. R SHOMON, set in 1951, New York City, follows the investigation of a crime of passion and the witnesses' contradicting versions of the event. An innocent bystander, a cunning thief, a flirtatious wife, a psychic, even the ghost of the murdered man are all caught in a web of deceit, where everyone's truth may be a lie. GLORYDAY, set in present-day New York City, introduces a priest during a crisis of faith after a terrible tragedy strikes the city. Disillusioned and angry, he plays a practical joke and posts an anonymous letter in Central Park, declaring that Christ will appear, rising from the pond. At first, the joke is embraced by an unstable CPA, who has chosen to live in the wilds of the park. Soon others begin to believe in the miracle, including a drug-addicted actress and a bitter reporter—even the priest's atheist aunt. On the day of the miracle, a storm blows through the Park, and only the priest sees his lie become a truth.

"SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE is a little powerhouse of a show whose sheer intensity will knock you flat—and make you think. LaChiusa's stagecraft is sure, and his edgy, pop-flavored score commandingly individual. He is thinking hard about the future of the post–Sondheim musical, and in SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE he has gone a long way toward showing us what it will look like." —Wall Street Journal. "Mr. LaChiusa delivers songs that strike at the heart. They throb with both communal feelings of hope and anxiety and a specific sense of character. The warmth arrives like a sunburst in GLORYDAY where the notions of truth and belief are extended to a cosmic level. In song the characters blossom into individuals whose timbres and cadences identify them as specifically as the shapes of their heads and bodies." —NY Times. "SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE has all the music you'd want from Broadway—cool jazz and all-purpose pop—loaded with some of the most succinct, precise, sexually frank lyrics I've heard in musical theater." —Philadelphia Inquirer. "An intelligent, adult musical that entertains and astonishes at the same time…This smoky, sexy saga enhanced by LaChiusa's muscular, jazzy score, flecked with Japanese influences and tough, punchy lyrics, makes SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE a highly original, even innovative journey." —Associated Press. "Sassily innovative, consistently tantalizing and insidiously memorable, the protean race of the music through jazz, Tin Pan Alley, show tunes and classical is riveting. We get triple suspense leading us into an aural and emotional kaleidoscope. The show will make you feel, think and, above all, groove." —Bloomberg.com. "A typically smart work from Michael John LaChiusa, SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE is a must-see." —Star-Ledger. "LaChiusa's tight-knit composition, with its feverishly racing, New Yorkily compulsive stream of words, is the strongest single piece of music theatre he has yet made. Packed with excitement the story is a gemstone, its multiple facets revealing new meanings as each character's interpretation gets told." —Village Voice.    

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