Happiness and its dysfunctional and often hilarious pursuit is the theme of a new comic musical that will have its premiere at the
this month. University of Wyoming
"Rainy Day People," composed, written and directed by celebrated UW alumnus Sean Stone ("Good Morning, Athens"), launches the Department of Theatre and Dance's 2011-2012 production season Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. on the Fine Arts main stage.
Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. For tickets and information call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts .
Based on an award-winning play by UW alumnus Todd McCullough, "Rainy Day People" is a musical about people who wish that they were happy, but are content only when they are making themselves or others miserable.
Stone auditioned for McCullough's wistful comedy when it was first produced at UW in 2002, and even though he wasn't cast, he was taken with the piece. So when he was required to adapt a work for his graduate thesis at
, the choice was obvious. New York University
"I loved Todd's piece the first time I saw it," Stone said. "There were so many really great characters and unanswered questions about them that I wanted explore further."
McCullough's play was inspired by Dostoyevsky's "Notes from the Underground," a novella detailing a love affair between an emotionally stunted government employee and a prostitute.
Stone's musical expands on the original play to explore parallels between modern
America and Dostoyevsky's : an overbearing government and culture, a significant class divide, a sense of helplessness among people, and a disconnect between individuals and the consequences of their actions. Russia
The musical examines how this environment leads to "rainy day people" who set their own world into chaos because they do not know how to engage fully in their own lives. The music supports the theme and features bright, fun, catchy pop tunes that belie the characters' jaded view of the world.
"Why is it as a society that we perceive ourselves to be largely unhappy, while societies that are much worse off economically and politically seem to have their heads wrapped around how to be happy in their day-to-day lives?" asked Stone.
Stone notes that as dark a comedy as "Rainy Day People" is, it is ultimately a hopeful show, because it's about people learning to identify and pursue healthy wants and needs and become their whole and best selves.
Photo: UW student Caitlin-Denney Turner rehearses for "Rainy Day People" that can be seen from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. on the UW Fine Arts main stage.