OnStage, Connecticut

 

Review: 'Eddie and the Palaceades' at Square Foot Theatre

By Nancy Sasso Janis

  • Connecticut Critics Circle/OnStage Connecticut Critic

April 10, 2017 9:26 pm ET


 

Wallingford, CT - The Square Foot Theatre had the honor to present the world premiere of ‘Eddie and the Palaceades,’ a musical with book and lyrics by Roy O’Neil and music by Stephen Feigenbaum. It was at Mr. O’Neil’s invitation that I attended the final matinee on a beautifully spring-like Sunday afternoon. SFT is celebrating their tenth season and 59th production, and Executive and Artistic Director Jared Andrew Brown thanked the writer for trusting them with presenting his original musical.

SFT does not always welcome reviewers, but I did get to see their wonderful production of ‘Children of Eden.’ The first thing I noticed is that they flipped the house so that the stage now runs along what was a side wall. It looked so different that I felt like I was in a different venue, but the new arrangement seemed to accommodate more patrons. Mr. O’Neil told me that his show has been running to sold-out crowds.

‘Eddie and the Palaceades’ (not to be confused with Gerry and the Pacemakers) is an all-original musical about a 60s era band from Waterbury, CT, referred to as “Brass City.” The fictional band appeared on American Bandstand as well as Ed Sullivan and they opened for the Beatles. After a 30 year hiatus to raise their children, the empty nesters are ready to restart their musical career with a benefit concert to save the Palace Theater. Yes, Waterbury’s Palace Theater, because the story was inspired by people, places and events associated with the Brass City, which was twice (!) rated by Money Magazine’s as the worst city in America.

The writing team is made up of a baby boomer (Mr. O’Neil) and a millennial (Mr. Feigenbaum) but both are Yale graduates. (Coincidentally, the new home of the SFT is in the Yale Shopping Center on Yale Avenue in Wallingford.) The different generations of the writing team yielded what I thought was a charming mix of freshness and nostalgia in a story with original characters and more than 18 new songs.

Those characters include lead singer Eddie Doyle (played by Brian Ozenne with a fine singing voice,) his wife Gracie and their now adult daughter Mary. Eddie’s best friend Vinny Moriarty was the third member of the band who has lost the wife, the best songwriter the band ever had. The officials trying to raze the beloved Palace Theater include Mayor Big E. Williams (played by Sarah Golley) and her three alderman cronies.

The show opens with the band members singing “Welcome to the Palace” and then the very sixties “Bangarang.” Songs that moved along the plot included “Write About That,” “Spread My Wings,” and “I’m Fed Up, I’m Leaving.” Second act plot pushers included “Rip It Up,” (as in the Money Magazine) “C’mon Eddie You Can Do It,” and ‘Injunction.” Knowing that the final number before the bows is entitled “Back Together” is an indication of the ending.

Both acts moved along quickly, with speedy set and costume changes and the entire piece struck me as perfect for Off-Broadway. I loved the antics of the trio of alderman. Mr. O’Neil shared with me that as a result of feedback received that the show was too long and had too many threads of subplots, he cut some 20 pages from the script. While I do not know what was cut, I wonder if some of it would have fleshed out the supporting characters a bit. It was fun keeping an eye and ear open for the Waterbury references in the script.

Patrick Laffin directed this new work and Jennifer Kaye served as the choreographer. Alan Dougherty is the resident music director and conducted the three-piece orchestra from the back corner of the room.

Mr. Ozenne had good stage presence in the leading role of Eddie. Francis Michael did well as his sidekick Vinny. Toniann Carey had the musical pipes to sing her big numbers “I Want to Go Out and Sing” and “Fires of Spring.” Heidi Schulte also sang well as the conflicted daughter and was a natural onstage.

Ms. Golley had a big voice to match the personality of the shady mayor of Brass City and Mike Trzciensky, Jessica Giannone and Heather Bazinet had some funny moments as the trio of alderman. Karen Sportino was the only member of the ensemble and covered several parts.

The set was decorated with old Palace Theater posters and there were references to WATR radio, as well as a conglomerate company with initials that spell LULU. As a show of solidarity on opening night, representatives from Waterbury’s Palace Theater included Frank Tavera, Jennifer Zembruski, Sheree Marcucci and WATR’s Tom Chute, the King of Culture.

SFT is proudly sponsored by Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation.

Nancy Sasso Janis is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and continues to contribute theatre news to Patch. Follow her new Facebook page Nancy Sasso Janis: Theatre Reviewer and on Twitter @nancysjanis417

The Enterprise

Woods Hole Theater Company Begins New Works Series

  • By JOANNE BRIANA-GARTNER

Roy O’Neil, (right) author of “Eddie and The Palaceades” with Peter Cook of Falmouth, who will play Eddie when the Woods Hole Theatre Company presents a staged reading of the musical August 12 and 13 at the Woods Hole Community Hall.

When Woods Hole Theater Company member Corinne Cameron was asked if the theater would consider staging new works (mainly musicals) that were still in development in order to give playwrights a chance to see their play rehearsed and performed and then receive feedback, Ms. Cameron knew it was a win/win. She and Annie Hart Cool took the idea to the board and the rest of the members agreed. After placing an ad in the online publication “Musical Writerszine,” Ms. Cameron found herself hip deep in manuscripts, librettos and background CDs.

For the first in the WHTC’s New Works series of staged readings Ms. Cameron chose “Eddie and the Palaceades,” a musical about a rock band from the 1960s. The band opened for the Beatles, then the members gave up their musical dreams to raise their children. The show opens 30 years later when they are empty nesters looking to write the next chapter in their lives.

“Eddie and the Palaceades” was chosen for a number of reasons, said Ms. Cameron, who will direct the production. First, because it was “fully thought-out and worthy. Several people read it and agreed it had potential.”

The play might still need some tweaks, but mostly “it’s in its final form,” Ms. Cameron said. “It’s been performed successfully in workshop competitions; the August 12 and 13 shows will be the first time it’s been shown to a paying audience.”

“We’re excited and hoping to get a large audience for feedback,” said Ms. Cameron, who said she imagined how cool it would be to make a suggestion and “have it become part of the show.”

The play was also chosen because the playwright, Roy O’Neil of Connecticut, has a summer home in Eastham. By choosing this play “we are supporting a local artisan,” said Ms. Cameron, adding Mr. O’Neil’s “been great to work with.”

Finally the play appealed to Ms. Cameron because it’s family friendly. “It’s got a wide reach. The musical style should especially appeal to baby boomers,” said Ms. Cameron, who described the sound as a “Beach Boys feel.”

Stage readings are important not only for the feedback, but also so the playwrights can see for themselves what works.

Mr. O’Neil has been to several rehearsals, Ms. Cameron said. “He can see where things don’t work lyrically and he can make changes,” she noted, adding, “The music director, Marcia Wytrwal, has also made musical changes and presented those changes to Mr. O’Neil.”

When auditioning actors and actresses for the show Ms. Cameron not only chose performers for Eddie and the Palaceades, but some extra performers she hopes will make up a core group of performers to tackle New Works pieces going forward. Ms. Cameron hopes to be able to stage at least two new works a year.

Members of the core group who are not part of “Eddie and the Palaceades” will still attend the show and give feedback.

“Eddie and the Palaceades” will be performed Friday, August 12, st 7 PM, and Saturday, August 13, at 1:30 and 7 PM. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.woodsholetheater.org or at the door on a first-come, first-served basis

On August 13, following the matinee, a panel of invited guests will provide feedback on the show. “Basically they’ll review it,” Ms. Cameron said.

While WHTC will continue to stage three to four full-length productions a year plus continue with its Tales and Anecdotes series, it is Ms. Cameron’s hope that WHTC will become a go-to place for new musicals, adding the community hall is a “great space with great acoustics.”

The Dramatist

The Dramatist header.png


DG National Report: Connecticut by Charlene Donaghy

@dramatistsguild

In Connecticut, as in other states, we inspire each other: dramatists like Emma Palzere-rae and Judith Clinton who organize productive writing retreats in southeastern CT, Steven Otfinoski who elevates our dramatist community, William Squier of Curtain Call who was instrumental in bringing together dramatists for our June event, and many more.

Another dramatist who comes to mind is Roy O’Neil who is an inspiration not only in his writing but also in his musical skills and determination to his craft. Roy and I met a few years ago at the Warner Theater where I first heard of his musical Eddie and the Palaceades. The piece was in an early draft but, even back then, the music was infectious and the story universal. And, perhaps more important to our CT dramatists’ community, it is a story born in our state, of our state.

Eddie and the Palaceades is the story of a one hit wonder from the 1960s. He runs for mayor 30 years later to save the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT, where his band got its start and its name. Somewhere in my romanticized version of this story, the musical premieres at The Palace in Waterbury and, quite frankly, they should snap this up before an NYC theatre steals it. At the Midtown International Theater Festival it was nominated for nine awards including “Best Musical Production” and “Best Book, Lyrics, and Music” for Roy and his co-writer Stephen Feigenbaum. At the Manhattan Theater Mission’s New Musicals Showcase it won “Catchiest Song” for “Bangarang,” “Best Comedic Couple,” and “Audience Favorite.”

The seed and passion for the show sprouts from Roy’s Waterbury, CT hometown. Everything in the show - the band, Palace Theater, crooked politicians, planning and zoning deals, historic architecture, salt of the earth citizens, Italian restaurants, primary elections, write-in campaigns - is traceable back to Waterbury. But the show itself is fiction: what make it a success are the characters and the emotional roller-coaster they each ride from start to finish. x
x
In the beginning,  Roy was writing alone: trial-and-error, self-education, classes here and there including auditing several ASCAP Musical Theater Workshops with Stephen Schwartz. At the start of 2012, Roy knew in his heart that many of the songs were “chop and drop” items rather than tunes that sprung from the story and the characters…and then on the Yale School of Music bulletin board he found Stephen Feigenbaum. Stephen “prodded and poked and forced…provided encouragement” as he and Roy shared craft, discipline, and most of all persistence. Roy cut out the “boring”, raised the stakes, and developed his protagonist into that over the hill one hit wonder who gets into a fist fight with the Mayor in the opening scene.

In true collaborative nature, sometimes Roy and Stephen argued but that usually led to something better. Conversations prevailed, Roy wrote the lyrics, Stephen composed, and then they listened together, Roy saying things like “too fast” or “make it more like Aretha Franklin”. They worked like that for almost a year, fully dedicated to each other, to Eddie, the Palaceades, to CT. And, now, Eddie and the Palaceades is fun and uplifting, with just the right blend of what is worth fighting for in this life, intertwined with love, friendship, and 22 songs that you can’t stop singing. Eddie and the Palaceades is on the National New Play Exchange as well as their web-site: www.eddieandthepalaceades.com.

A true CT story, written by one of our own, and that, to me, is inspirational for dramatists in every state. 

[photo caption: Eddie and the Palaceades performance in the 2014 Midtown International Theater Festival. Photo credit: Faith/Focus/Flash (Dlo Slaughter).] 

cdonaghy@dramatistsguild.com

OUTERSTAGE.COM

Dear Eddie, Thanks for the Memories!

“Eddie and the Palaceades”
Part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival
reviewed by Mary Ann Randazzo

What fun the audience had especially for those born of the Baby Boomer generation longing for the good old days and realizing it’s never too late to dream! This was definitely the theme “Eddie and the Palaceades” demonstrated with so much energy, laughter and a touching moment where I found my eyes welled with tears from the heart-touching song “I Miss My Wife.”

Kudos to Shelly Valfer, the unlikeable Mayor, though short on vocals but full of comic relief along with his three Aldermen created roars of laughter. The cast did an amazing job keeping the audience engrossed while the stage crew expertly and flawlessly changed scenes.

Thanks to the playwright/lyricist Roy O’Neil for being an exemplary model that you’re never too old to do what you love and to have a dream come true. This show was unquestionably two hours of pure enjoyment!

TALKIN' BROADWAY. COM

Off Broadway
Eddie and the Palaceades
Theatre Review by Howard Miller

Eddie and the Palaceades

Eddie and the Palaceades, the self-proclaimed “corny and square” musical now on view at the June Havoc Theatre as part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, taps into the yearning of many a baby boomer to find one more moment in the spotlight and one more cause to get the heart thumping.

An aging “one-hit wonder” ‘60s band, Eddie and the Palaceades, has gathered to perform a fundraising concert aimed at saving the hometown Palace Theater, one of those grand old performance spaces that has gone to seed and is about to be demolished to make way for the mayor’s pet project. It is to be replaced by a revenue-enhancing enterprise that will include a disposal facility for medical waste, another one for spent radioactive rods, and a pornographic video store. The band’s leader, Eddie Doyle (Bill E. Dietrich), is determined to stop Mayor Biggie Williams (Shelley Valfer) at any cost.

At the urging of his friend and bandmate Vinny (Tony Triano), Eddie decides the only way to stop his archenemy is to run against him in the upcoming mayoral election. His plans run him afoul of his wife Gracie (Sheila Egan), who wants the band to go on tour one last time, and their daughter Mary (Kayleen Seidl), who has left home to find her fame and fortune as a writer for a New York-based magazine that has ranked her town as the worst place to live.

Playwright and lyricist Roy O’Neil has eschewed the potential for satire (aging hippies fighting City Hall) in favor of straightforward storytelling, and he and composer Stephen Feigenbaum have opted for songs that are driven by the plot and characters. Like the nostalgic values it offers up, Eddie and the Palaceades brings to mind old-fashioned musicals. It has a couple of lovely ballads, including “I Miss My Wife,” sung as a duet by Eddie, whose wife has left in anger, and by Vinny, whose wife has passed away. There is also a number about Italian cooking that seems inspired by The Most Happy Fella, and a couple of politically-tinged ditties like those in Fiorello!. These political numbers are performed by a trio of aldermen played with goofy comic charm by Luke Hoback, Robert J. Dyckman, and Joseph Peterson — abetted by Merete Muenter’s amusing choreography and Jamibeth Margolis’s overall direction.

Eddie and the Palaceades, with a running time of just under two hours, is still a work-in-progress. You will have to squint your eyes to get past the minimal production values and squint your ears to get past some of the occasionally less-than-stellar singing. But even with a few wrong notes here and there, the show hits the right notes when it comes to its heartfelt expression of love, friendship, and the things worth fighting for.

NYCBEEPS. blogspot.com

Off Broadway Theater Review
Brian-Paul Mendoza
Eddie and The Palaceades at Midtown International Theater Festival
Book and Lyrics by Roy O'Neil
Music by Stephen Feigenbaum

 

Thank God for the festival circuit... the love child of creativity and shoe string budgets.  If it weren't for NYMF, Fringe, MITF and PCTF, half the musicals written today would never see the light of day.  Take EDDIE AND THE PALACEADES.  Currently enjoying a sold-out run at the Midtown International Theater Festival, this feel good musical about a band who once opened for the Beatles then dropped back into obscurity doesn't bring down the house.  It does, however, leave you feeling exactly the way hearing say..."COME ON EILEEN" by Dexy's Midnight Runor or Toni Basil's "MICKEY" feel- all warm and fuzzy inside.  Which is no easy task, creating nostalgia in an original musical - kudos to director Jamibeth Margolis.

The story (Book by Roy O'Neil) is pretty straight-forward.  Big business and a heavy-hitting political player is threatening to tear down The Palace to make room for, well it doesn't matter.  What does matter is that it's fired up something in "Eddie" and "The Band" to save The Palace Theater, but not quite.  As the story unfolds and character's true agendas reveal themselves, we see that this sweet story is really about trying to re-make your mark and the cost of releasing your dreams while you still happen to be dreaming them.

Thematically, this piece is spot-on, especially when focused on the original band members.  Where it strays is with the daughter of two of the band mates - dramaturgically, she just doesn't serve the story.

As an audience member, I was completely drawn into the husband-wife through line, but I felt another band mate delegated simply to helping the husband re-claim his glory, would have been more interesting if we could see why he wasn't so interested in re-claiming his glory.  What had he discovered as an adult that kept him from chasing fame all over again?  The score (Music by Stephen Feigenbaum, Lyrics by Roy O'Neil) ran the gamut from terrific to so-so, shining especially when focused on the band's journey.  Keep an eye out for this one, folks, with some work on the book I'm sure EDDIE AND THE PALACEADES will play again. And again.  And again...

 

 

 

MY ENTERTAINMENT WORLD/MY THEATER

Midtown Theatre Festival Round-Up

By // Theatre (New York)

Eddie

Eddie and the Palaceades

The end of summer is prime theatre festival season in NYC, and I kicked off my theatre festival escapades this year at the Midtown Theatre Festival (i.e. the only time you will find me anywhere near the hellish nightmare called Times Square if I am not headed to a Broadway theatre). With over 75 plays, musicals, cabarets and one-acts, the Midtown Theatre Festival has a diverse offering of avant-garde, quirky, serious, and developing shows. Despite my aspirational goal of seeing every show at the festival,* I managed to take in three diverse performances.

Eddie and the Palaceades!

Fun, light, and upbeat musicals have been a staple in musical theatre since before the advent of Oklahoma!, and I have seen my share of nostalgic jukebox musicals traipse through New York City. The newest incarnation of an unabashedly fun and uplifting musical comes in the form of Roy O’Neil and Stephen Feigenbaum’s musical Eddie and the Palaceades. Self described as a “corny and square” “rock and roll musical” “with brand new songs that reek of nostalgia,” Eddie and the Palaceades is neither deep nor groundbreaking, yet it generally works and can likely find an audience among baby boomers.

Eddie and the Palaceades is the story of aging Eddie Doyle, who, together with his wife Gracie and friend Vinny Moriarty,* remembers the good old days when his band rocked the local Palace Theatre in Brass City (a blue collar town in Connecticut). Eddie finds himself at odds with evil Mayor Biggie Williams who wants to destroy the Palace Theatre and sell the land to Land Use Liabilities Unlimited for some less than savory construction projects. Meanwhile, Eddie’s daughter comes home from NYC to do a cover story on Brass City – the worst place to live in America. Eddie, having had enough of the judgment and efforts to destroy the town that he holds so dear, decides to take a stand – rising up against Biggie Williams and his own daughter to save his town. A story of personal growth, Eddie and the Palaceades captures both the feel good notion that a person can change his or her destiny and the cliché that home is where the heart is.

Stephen Feigenbaum and Roy O’Neil’s music and lyrics shine for a few brief moments throughout this play, but generally the music and lyrics struck me as generic upbeat musical faire without much personality. While catchy tunes like Meet Me At The Palace, Write About That, and C’mon Eddie You Can Do It get the crowd clapping, chuckling, and nodding their heads, and the requisite love song The Heart of the Story is appropriately sappy, there is nothing novel or revealing in the lyrics or score that merits discussion. Generally, I did not hate the music but I did not love it.

With one notable exception, the cast of Eddie and the Palaceades transformed this show from a one-note bubblegum piece to a work of heart. Bill E. Dietrich has an “everyman” quality about him that is necessary for the role of Eddie, but he also has quite an impressive voice. Sheila Egan’s Gracie is enjoyably feisty, and she and Kayleen Seidl, who plays daughter Mary, portray respectably strong and successful female characters with great poise and confidence. Other standout actors include Michael Indeglio who is ideal as the charming, “boy next door” and Marilyn Matarrese who, despite having very little stage time, steals the show with her upbeat rendition of the song Mangia. Although much of this cast is talented, Tony Triano may have been my favorite member of the ensemble as the lovable widower Vinnie Moriarty. Triano plays sidekick to Dietrich’s Eddie with an understated sense of humor and unmitigated honesty. He was delightful. Not all of the actors were quite so successful. Shelley Valfer was woefully miscast as Mayor Biggie Williams in large part because he struggles with the musical numbers.

In totality, Eddie and the Palaceades is a fun romp through one man’s nostalgic feelings towards his hometown and an innocuous call to follow your dreams. I’ve seen the same themes better written and better presented, but parts of this show are enjoyable.

*Characters named Doyle and Moriarty – my inner Sherlock Holmes fan is grinning.

 

 

THEATER IN THE NOW

Spotlight On...Bill E. Dietrich

Name: Bill E. Dietrich

Hometown: Columbus, Georgia

Education: BFA Musical Theater, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music

Select Credits: Jekyll & Hyde (Original Broadway Cast), National Tours: My Fair Lady, Les Miserables, Evita (20th & 25th Anniversary), Annie, Man of La Mancha, and Hello Dolly with Madeline Kahn. Regional: Baby, Peter Pan, South Pacific, The Rocky Horror Show...

Why theater?: I ask myself that all the time. Usually when I write my rent check. It’s the thrill of being able to transport yourself and an audience to a whole different reality. I didn’t really want to be an airline pilot, so I chose actor. I’ve worked with some wonderful people and traveled to some beautiful places. And the theaters I’ve been fortunate to perform in have been stunning. Besides, you really wouldn’t want me to serve you a Dover Sole. Just ask the last guy I served one to.

Who do you play in Eddie and the Palaceades?: I play Eddie Doyle, lead singer of the Palaceades. ROCK AND ROLL!!!

Tell us about Eddie and the Palaceades?:
There is a beautiful old theater, The Palace, in Brass City, Connecticut. The mayor would rather line his pockets with cash, than restore the landmark. Eddie and his band got their start at the Palace. I’m sure you can see the conflict brewing already. Through Eddie’s stubbornness and tunnel vision, his family life begins to show the strain. Will he save the Palace? Does he bring down the Mayor? Will he and Gracie ever kiss again? You have to come see the show!

What is it like being a part of Eddie and the Palaceades?: Having a great time. It’s also very helpful to have Roy O’Neil, the author, involved in the process. Surprised he hasn’t slugged me for mangling his words during rehearsal. I promise Roy, I’ll be solid!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Having been brought up in a musical household, it was obvious it would be musicals that drew me in. And as loud as I sing, I’m perfect for the outdoor venues. Who needs a mike? When it comes to inspiration, I admire many many artists but I have to inspire myself. Otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’d love to get in on the new Les Miz as Thenardier or one of the managers in Phantom of the Opera. Do you know people?

What’s your favorite show tune?: Right now, all 10 songs I’m singing in the show!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: If Audra McDonald directs a show, I’ll  be in that. Can you say Tony #7?

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: It would be called, “Why Are You Watching This? Go Make a Tuna Melt!” and can I play myself? I’m a SAG member and have a great tuna salad recipe.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Even before it won the Tony I’ve been a big fan of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, but they are probably sold out so come see Eddie and the Palacades!

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: It might sound egotistical, but then this is an interview about me. "Fanfare For A Common Man," a song I co-wrote about my Grandfather while on tour with one of the Evitas'. The Chillbilly Band, Back Home. Available on the iTunes. Get your today!

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I love to… ah,.. I really enjoy… um,.. let’s go with Netflix. Anything British.

What’s up next?: If I knew the answer to that, my mom would sleep easier. Hopefully something fun and exciting, like Eddie and the Palaceades. Did I mention I’m playing Eddie?

THEATER IN THE NOW

Spotlight On...Jamibeth Margolis

Name: Jamibeth Margolis

Hometown: Ventnor, NJ

Education: Ithaca College

Favorite Credits: Warsaw (A New Musical) and Jekyll and Hyde as director and assisting director Jerry Zaks on The Caine Mutiny Court Martial on Broadway

Why theater?: I was in my school production of Oklahoma! in sixth grade and I never looked back.

Tell us about Eddie and the Palaceades: Eddie and The Palaceades opened for the Beatles then dropped like a rock back into obscurity. Twenty-five years later, the Palace Theater where they got their start is threatened with demolition. Eddie runs for mayor to save the theater, but his decision tears his family apart. Eddie and The Palaceades is an original musical about family and friendship, standing up against corruption, and the universal need for love and respect.

What inspired you to direct Eddie and the Palaceades?:
I met Roy O'Neil (writer) about a year ago and loved this show from the first time he mentioned it to me.  I am honored to be a part of it and to collaborate with Roy and this amazing cast and creative team on a piece that is so timely and universal.  I think all of us constantly examine our friendships, our families, our passions.  I know I do.  Roy takes these themes and puts them against a political backdrop to create a show that is both relevant and touching.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that is dramatic, historical and epic.  I love theatrical adaptations of movies and novels.  I am inspired by the masterful staging in plays like WAR HORSE and the by the brilliant writing of Aaron Sorkin.

If you could work with anyone you've yet to work with, who would it be?: Harold Prince.  I wrote my college thesis paper on him and have revered him ever since.  Mr. Prince has enjoyed enduring success in the theater.  He is always willing to take risks and explore daring subject matters.  I believe that he has helped to shape musical theater as we know it for half a century.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
I see a lot of wonderful theater, so it is hard to choose. I recently saw Once on Broadway for the first time and was captivated by the music, the story, the staging and the brilliant musicianship of the cast.  I also love SISTAS: The Musical Off Broadway.  I cast this show and I think it is an amazing 90 minutes in the theater!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Christina Ricci would play me in a movie called “No, My Name Is Not Marybeth: A story of Hope, Dreams, Theater and Adventures in Catholic School”

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Tea.  If you can't find me, I am probably at Teavana.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: “Seize the Day” From Newsies

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?:
The manager of a NHL team.  I grew up watching ice hockey with my Dad.  I still watch every game I can.  It would be interesting to bring my theater management skills to the ice rink.

What’s up next?: Continuing to work on and develop Warsaw. Check out www.warsawthemusical.com and directing a brand new chamber opera this Fall!


THEATER IN THE NOW

Spotlight On...Marilyn Matarrese

Name: Marilyn Matarrese

Hometown: New York

Education: B.F.A. in Drama from NYU; Post Graduate Certificate from the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, London, UK

Select Credits: TV& Film: "The Americans", "Nurse Jackie", "The Sopranos", "L&O Criminal Intent", "Lbs.", "MIAMI OR BUST', Off Bway: Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, Regional: Lost in Yonkers

Why theater?: For me, there is nothing like the energy of a live audience.  I love that there’s something different every night.

Who do you play in Eddie and the Palaceades?: I play Mama Cerelli, a widow, and owner of the local Italian Deli.  I also make some pretty magical eggplant.

Tell us about Eddie and the Palaceades: Eddie and the Palaceades is a delightful, feel good musical.  It has something for everyone, humor, pathos, and of course great music.

What is it like being a part of Eddie and the Palaceades?: It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to originate a role in a world premiere.  Plus, the cast and creative team are so strong. The rehearsal process has been a pleasure.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:  I love being transported to another place as an audience member.  I’m inspired by the careers of Elaine Stritch, Barbara Cook, Joanne Woodward, Angela Lansbury – they are so consistently good.

Any roles you’re dying to play?:
“Fosca” in Passion, “Mazeppa” in Gypsy, “Maria” in Lend Me a Tenor, “Lady M.” in the Scottish play.

What’s your favorite showtune?:
“Move On” from Sunday in the Park with George.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Stephen Sondheim.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Gee this one really stumped me.  I was thinking Jill Hennessey or a younger Angelica Houston.  As far as the title: “Unscripted Moments.”

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Cabaret

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: “Clocks” from Coldplay

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I love watching true crime stories on Investigation ID.  I also love HGTV makeovers, and the Food Network.

What’s up next?: I have a role in the independent feature “Thirsty”, which should come out in the fall.  I am also co-star and co-creator of the comedy web series, “Patty and Patty” about two middle-aged Italian broads living in Hell’s Kitchen, We are currently shooting our third season, and you can watch us on pattyandpatty.com.

PLAYBILL

New Rock 'n' Roll Musical Eddie and the Palaceades Plays Midtown International Theater Festival

By Michael Gioia
21 Jul 2014

Pine Hill Production Company LLC and The Show Goes On Productions,
 in association with The 15th Annual Midtown International Theater Festival, present the new rock 'n' roll musical Eddie and the Palaceades through August 3, 2014.

Featuring a book and lyrics by Roy O'Neil and music by Stephen Feigenbaum, performances are offered July 21 at 8 PM, July 26 at 7 PM, July 30 at 8 PM, Aug. 2 at 3 PM and Aug. 3 at 3:30 PM at The June Havoc Theatre.

Directed by Jamibeth Margolis, the cast features Bill Dietrich (Jekyll and Hyde), Robert Dyckman, Annie Edgerton (Mamma Mia!), Sheila Egan, Luke Hoback, Michael Indeglio (national tours of Mame, Titanic, Forever Plaid), Christopher Karl (Lies My Father Told Me), Marilyn Matarrese (Tony n' Tina's Wedding),
Joseph Peterson, Kayleen Seidl, Tony Triano and Shelley Valfer.

According to press notes, "Eddie and The Palaceades opened for the Beatles then dropped like a rock back into obscurity. Twenty-five years later, the Palace Theater where they got their start is threatened with demolition. Eddie runs for mayor to save the theatre, but his decision tears his family apart. Eddie and The Palaceades is an all original blend of rock 'n' roll and musical theater, an exuberant and emotional roller-coaster ride about family and friendship, standing up against corruption, and the universal need for love and respect."

Other members of the creative team include music director Ben Krauss, choreographer Merete Muenter, set and lighting designer Duane Pagano, costume designer Heather Milam, assistant costume designer Tony Johnson, assistant director John Alden Hooper, production stage manager Erin Gallagher, production assistant/ASM Brian Piehl and production assistant Nicholas Gardella. Casting is by JBM Casting LLC, and graphics are by Alyssa Renzi.

BROADWAY WORLD.COM

EDDIE AND THE PALACEADES Set for MITF, 7/15-8/3

EDDIE AND THE PALACEADES Set for MITF, 7/15-8/3

The 15th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF) presents Eddie and the Palaceades, a new rock and roll musical with book and lyrics by Roy O'Neil and music by Stephen Feigenbaum. Jamibeth Margolis directs a cast of 12, including Bill Dietrich* (Bway: Jekyll and Hyde), Robert Dyckman*, Annie Edgerton* (Bway & Nat. Tour: Mamma Mia), Sheila Egan*, Luke Hobeck*, Michael Indeglio (Nat. Tours: Mame, Titanic, Forever Plaid), Christopher Karl* (Off Bway: Lies My Father Told Me), Marilyn Matarrese* (Off Bway: Tony 'N' Tina's Wedding), Joseph Peterson*, Mandy Leigh Thompson*, Tony Triano*, and Shelley Valfer. Eddie and the Palaceades is being staged at The June Havoc Theatre, 312 West 36th Street in NYC for six performances from Tuesday, July 15-Sunday, August 3rd, 2014. *Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.

Eddie and The Palaceades opened for the Beatles then dropped like a rock back into obscurity. Twenty-five years later, the Palace Theater where they got their start is threatened with demolition. Eddie runs for mayor to save the theatre, but his decision tears his family apart. Eddie and The Palaceades is an all original blend of rock 'n' roll and musical theater, an exuberant and emotional roller-coaster ride about family and friendship, standing up against corruption, and the universal need for love and respect.

Eddie and the Palaceades is presented by Pine Hill Production Company LLC and The 15th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival. Consulting Producer: The Show Goes On Productions; Director: Jamibeth Margolis; Music Director: Ben Krauss; Choreographer: Merete Meunter; Set and Lighting Designer: Duane Pagano; Costume Designer: Heather Milam; Asst. Costume Designer: Tony Johnson; Casting: JBM Casting LLC; Assistant Director: John Alden Hooper; Production Assistant/ASM: Brian Piehl; Graphics: Alyssa Renzi; Publicist: Paul Siebold/Off Off PR.

Eddie and the Palaceades plays for six performances on the following schedule: Tuesday, July 15th at 6:00 pm; Monday, July 21st at 8:00 pm; Saturday, July 26th at 7:00 pm; Wednesday, July 30th at 8:00pm; Saturday, Aug. 2nd at 3:00 pm; Sunday, Aug. 3rd at 3:30 pm.

Jamibeth Margolis (director) NYC directing credits include assistant director to Jerry Zaks on the Broadway revival of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial and also on A Bad Friend by Jules Feiffer at Lincoln Center Theater. Jamibeth directed Plane Crazy and Far From The Madding Crowd at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, as well as developmental productions and readings of Owl Creek: A New Musical, Warsaw, Dreamweavers, Berlin, Great Googley Moo, Family Dinner, Don't Blame Me...I Voted For Helen Gahagan Douglas, 1812, and more at prominent NYC venues. Director of the new musical Warsaw -- readings and productions at Safra Hall, the New York Musical Theater Festival, Boheme Opera, Queens College and Stockton College and most recently in Naples, FL and a reading in NYC.

Recent regional credits include directing Tosca and Pirates Of Penzance for Boheme Opera and Do I Hear A Waltz? And Jekyll and Hyde at the Arvada Center Theater in Denver. Jamibeth is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and specializes in the development of new plays and musicals. She has a B.A. in Drama/Directing from Ithaca College and is a member of the SDC. Jamibeth also cast some of the longest running shows in Broadway history including Les Miserables, Cats, Miss Saigon, and The Phantom Of The Opera.

Roy O'Neil (book and lyrics) is a member and past director of the Connecticut Songwriters Association and an ASCAP affiliate. He has been recognized with song awards from Billboard Magazine, American Songwriters Magazine, Great American Song Contest and Songs Inspired by Literature. His song "Yesterday's Backstreet Café" was recorded by Nashville artist Tracey K. Houston and released on her Songbird label. He wrote his first musical, "American Brass" which was performed in 2002 as part of a local community theater production "Broadway on the Green." In May, 2008, his 10-minute play "Places Rated" was published in the Waterbury Observer. His new musical "Eddie and The Palaceades" was selected as a participant in the 2013 First Act Feedback Festival sponsored by Theater Resources Unlimited and Musicalwriters.com. It was also selected as one of four shows included in Manhattan Theater Mission's 2nd Annual New Musicals Showcase, December, 2013 and won an Audience Favorite award, plus awards for Catchiest Song and Best Comedic Couple. He has audited several ASCAP Musical Theater Workshops directed by Stephen Schwartz in New York City and completed a playwright's workshop presented by the Warner Theater Center for Arts Education. He is a Dramatist Guild member and a member of Theater Resources Unlimited where he has been a participant in their seminars and workshops on new musical development.

Stephen Feigenbaum (music) Stephen received undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Yale University (Yale '11. BA Music. Yale '13 MM. Music.) He is an award-winning composer of music for the concert hall and the theater. His work has been performed and recorded by ensembles including the Cincinnati Pops with Erich Kunzel. He was the composer for Independents, at the SoHo Playhouse in 2012 which was a New York Times Critic's Pick and one of Huffington Post's top 10 shows of 2012. He has also composed music for ABYSS a theatrical performance of classical music, currently in development and served as Music Director for "A Winter's Tale" at The Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C. Stephen received a 2013 Music Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Stephen is a past winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble competition. He won the Albany Symphony Orchestra's Composer to Center Stage competition, which resulted in a reading of his work and mentoring by John Corigliano. The National Public Radio show From the Top has featured Stephen as a composer, and To Yale Alone (lyrics by Elisa Gonzalez, Yale '11) won the annual Fenno Heath Award of the Yale Glee Club in 2010. Stephen's music has been heard at Lincoln Center and Le Poisson Rouge in New York, Jordan Hall and the Hatch Shell in Boston, the Green Room in San Francisco, and in several international venues. It has received performances by musicians including the JACK Quartet, TwoSense (Lisa Moore and Ashley Bathgate), and Grammy-nominee violinist Caroline Goulding. Stephen was the 2010 ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Fellow at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and is a past fellow at the Norfolk (Connecticut) Chamber Music Festival.

The Show Goes On Productions (consulting producer) produces theatrical concerts and events that embrace emerging trends in entertainment. In-house works merge music and theatre in innovative and immersive environments. This new business model is defining TSGO as a leader in alternative producing and indie music. Committed to the production of story-telling through music, TSGO also provides personal management for cross-over artists in music, theatre, and film.

Eddie and the Palaceades plays for six performances from July 15- August 3, 2014 on the following schedule: Tuesday, July 15th at 6:00 pm; Monday, July 21st at 8:00 pm; Saturday, July 26th at 7:00 pm; Wednesday, July 30th at 8:00pm; Saturday, Aug. 2nd at 3:00 pm; and Sunday, Aug. 3rd at 3:30 pm.

Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online at midtownfestival.org or by calling 212-352-3101.

The runtime for Eddie and the Palaceades is 2 Hours, which includes one intermission.

 

WATERBURY REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Homage to Waterbury Roy O'Neil's play featured in New York theater festival

 

'Eddie and the Palaceades' plays Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in New York. Credit: contributed


Roy O'Neil, at almost 70 years old, has been a songwriter all his life. But until this month, he had never had a musical play the Big Apple.

In fact, he had never had a musical at all.

All of that changed earlier this month, when "Eddie and the Palaceades" opened at the 15th Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival. The new rock 'n' roll musical, for which O'Neil wrote the book and lyrics, is something of an homage to his beloved Waterbury hometown.

"It was always going to be about Waterbury," said O'Neil, now of Woodbury, who got the idea of writing a musical in the late 1990s. "I don't know why. It always winds up being about Waterbury. They say write what you know. I was born and raised in Waterbury. The stories from there are just true."

"Eddie and the Palaceades" is the story of a rock band that opened for the Beatles before dropping into obscurity. Twenty-five years later, the Palace Theater, where the group got its start, is threatened by demolition. (Sound familiar?) The group comes together to try and save the theater, with Eddie running for mayor to further the effort.

For those who know O'Neil, the fact the setting and story bear so much resemblance to Waterbury, whose venerable Palace Theater lay dormant for years before being reopened to much fanfare, should be no surprise. O'Neil, who has a career in urban planning and real estate appraisal, finds endless inspiration in Waterbury.

Last year, he released a CD, "Roy O'Neil's Brass City Christmas," 10 songs about Waterbury. His musical, a warm-hearted, exuberant roller-coaster ride about family and friendship and the human need for love and respect, has the sort of gritty, basic values cherished by the city's devoted admirers.

"I think it's great," said O'Neil's collaborator, 2013 Yale University graduate Stephen Feigenbaum, who wrote the play's music. "It speaks a lot to (O'Neil's) experience in his hometown. My parents came to see it and said this is something that everybody in every town can have some kind of experience with."

O'Neil began writing largely country songs on a guitar while a teenager. His song "Yesterday's Backstreet Café" was recorded by Nashville artist Tracey K. Houston.

When it came to writing a musical, however, O'Neil had a problem. He can neither read, nor notate, music. "I can create a melody and record it and I can create a chord progression and write the chords and play the melody but I could not create a score to give to an orchestra," said O'Neil.

So he went to the community bulletin website of the Yale University School of Music, looking for help. "I was looking for someone to help me notate the music and provide some compositional judgment to the musical theater genre," he said. There, he found a "24-year-old musical genius," Feigenbaum, an award-winning composer of music for the concert hall and the theater.

"What occurred was a great collaboration," O'Neil said. "Many of these songs that I had already written wound up being dropped entirely from the production. I wrote 10 or 12 new songs....The best thing about (Feigenbaum) was he was very direct and blunt. If he read something in the script that he thought was boring, he'd just say 'Roy, this is boring.' So I'd say 'OK,' and I'd write something else."

Feigenbaum said he was impressed by O'Neil's central idea. "The characters made sense, the story was there. It just needed some structural sense," he said. "It's just a good story. I'm pretty satisfied with it. I was impressed beyond what I expected. Every performance has been completely full."

In the NYC Beeps blog, reviewer Brian-Paul Mendoza praised the musical, writing, "this sweet story is really about trying to re-make your mark and the cost of releasing your dreams while you still happen to be dreaming them. Thematically, this piece is spot-on, especially when focused on the original band members. ... Keep an eye out for this one, folks, with some work on the book, 'Eddie and the Palaceades' will play again. And again. And again"

The pair finished their musical in 2013 and began entering it in theater festivals. It was selected as a participant in the 2013 First Act Feedback Festival and other festivals before being selected for the Midtown International Theatre Festival.

The laconic O'Neil said, despite his excitement about playing New York, his real hope is to have the musical play Waterbury.

"The logical next step in my mind is a world premiere," he said, citing Seven Angels Theater as a possible participant. "In a dream come true scenario it would be a joint venture with Goodspeed Musicals and The Palace Theater at the Palace Theater," he said.

Contact Tracey O'Shaughnessy at tosh@rep-am.com.

WATERBURY OBSERVER

Waterbury Stars In New Musical By Roy O'Neil

Waterbury native Roy O'Neil has co-written a musical set in the Brass City that focuses on politics and the effort to restore the Palace Theater. The musical is called, "Eddie and Palaceades", written with Stephen Feigenbaum, and has been selected for presentation at the First Act Feedback Fest in New York City, a new musical development workshop sponsored by Theater Resources Unlimited and Musicalwriterzine.com.

The one day workshop gives new musicals a chance to get professional feedback from experienced writers and producers on their opening number, “I want” song and their Act One closing song. Participating panelists represent experience as diverse as The Lion King, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Urinetown. Eddie and the Palaceades presentation at FAFF will focus on Eddie’s song, Meet Me At The Palace.

Eddie and the Palaceades is set in Brass City and is the story of a one hit wonder who runs for mayor to save the old Palace theater, where the band got it’s start. It is about family break-up when ambitions take divergent paths. And family reunion when love conquers all.

The musical is a rock and roll blend of uptempo tunes, ballads and production numbers. O’Neil is the book writer and lyricist. Stephen Feigenbaum is the music composer. Arrangements and demo production is by Michael Holland.

Mr. O’Neil is a Waterbury native and Woodbury resident. His past musical endeavors include American Brass, another Brass City story, which was presented at Broadway on the Green in Waterbury and included songs such as “We‘ve Got Brass“ and “Holy Land, USA“.

Mr. Feigenbaum holds a Masters degree in Music from Yale School of Music and in 2012 his show “Independents” was awarded “Best Production” at the New York Fringe Festival. Mr. Holland has numerous Broadway and cabaret credits and was the arranger for the 2012 off-Broadway revival of Godspell.

The creative team hopes that exposure and experience at FAFF will lead to other workshop opportunities and eventually a full production.

MANHATTAN THEATER MISSION BLOG

THE MTM BLOG
WINNERS ANNOUNCED!
Manhattan Theatre Mission's 2nd Annual New Musicals Showcase was once again, a great success! We started with many entries from all around the country and selected the FOUR best submissions to perform in our New Musicals Showcase. Each of the four were invited to present a 20 minute excerpt from their shows in a staged reading format, which took place on Saturday, December 7th and was attended by a sold out audience!

We invited three guest judges who read the full scripts prior to the Showcase and to adjudicate the performances! Here are the winners!

 

                                                Eddie and the Palaceades writer, Roy O'Neil and MTM Artistic Director, Katy Baker

1.     Best Ensemble – Mayday

2.     Catchiest Tune – “Bangarang”, Eddie and the Palaecades

3.     Best Comedic Couple – Shelley Valfer and Susan Destefano, Eddie and the Palaceades

4.     Best Director – Ray Zilberberg, Queen of the West

5.     Best Musical Director – Dimitri Landrain, Mayday

6.     Best Book and Lyrics – Chuck Muckle, Mourning Becomes Ridiculous

7.     Best Composition – Landon Braverman, Queen of the West

8.     Best Actress – Emily Nash, Mourning Becomes Ridiculous

9.     Best Actor – Carter Lynch, Mourning Becomes Ridiculous

10.   Audience Favorite – Eddie and the Palaecades

11.   Best New Musical – Queen of the West

The companies were invited to an after party at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill and a great time was had by all! Each of the writers were invited to participate in a talk-back session with the Showcase's judges on Sunday, December 8th. 

Manhattan Theatre Mission is so thankful for the many contributions from artists and theatre professionals who made this weekend a success! We would like to thank:

 

Our Guest Judges:

Jason Cocovinis (Music Theatre International)

Michael Gioia (Playbill.com)

Melissa Merz (Texas Tech University)

 

The Finalists:

Roy O'Neil, Stephen Feigenbaum, Michael Holland (EDDIE AND THE PALACEADES)

Jason Hart and Dimitri Landrain (MAYDAY)\

Chuck Muckle and David Eisner (MOURNING BECOMES RIDICULOUS)

Derek Hassler and Landon Braverman (QUEEN OF THE WEST)