September 10, 2014: For my wife Joy Dewing’s 40th Birthday, I threw her a surprise musical. That is, she entered a room, people yelled “surprise” and then a reading of The Music Playing began. The esteemed theatre journalist Peter Filichia described it in his column on September 19, 2014:
THE MUSIC PLAYING wasn’t just a musical; it was a birthday present that Noel Katz presented at the Roy Arias Studio and gave to his wife Joy Dewing as part of the birthday party. If she were like that Jason Robert Brown character who’d rather have a yacht or champagne, she certainly didn’t seem it.
Some of Joy’s joy had to be the result of the show’s being so good. Katz can really write. I’m still kvelling over his musical SUCH GOOD FRIENDS about the blacklist; New York only saw it at NYMF, probably because it was too good for the average man.
Dewing also had to enjoy THE MUSIC PLAYING because she recognized herself and Noel in the characters of Lizzie and Chuck, parents to newly born Abigail. Chuck is SO intent on being the perfect daddy that Lizzie wishes he’d pay as much attention to her. She gets him to vow that despite the baby and how busy their lives are, they’ll make time for sex once a week no-matter-what.
(This has the ring of truth, at least to me. I remember when my now-ex-wife suggested we have a sex schedule as well – only she suggested every 18 months.)
Lizzie and Chuck also make time for a trip alone to Bermuda – but wouldn’t you know that the moment they get there, they get a call from the babysitter that Abigail has had an accident. I hope you get to find out what happens by getting a chance to see THE MUSIC PLAYING. Perhaps the day will come when it’s deservedly on Broadway and someone will take you as your birthday present.
While THE MUSIC PLAYING may turn out to be the season’s best musical, Janine Nabers’ SERIAL BLACK FACE may well become its best play.
The Music Playing
book, music and lyrics by
Sassafras and Quvenzhané