Dogfight (musical)

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Dogfight
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Original Off-Broadway cast album cover
Music Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Lyrics Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Book Peter Duchan
Basis 1991 film Dogfight written by Bob Comfort
Productions 2012 Off-Broadway
2014 Off-West End
2015 Australian Production
2015 European Amateur Premiere
2015 Dutch Production

Dogfight is a musical with music and lyrics by Pasek & Paul and a book by Peter Duchan. It is an adaptation of Nancy Savoca's 1991 film, Dogfight.[1] The musical premiered Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in 2012, and in August 2014, the musical had its European premiere at the Southwark Playhouse in London.

Productions[edit]

The musical opened on July 16, 2012 at the Second Stage Theatre, after previews from June 27, and concluded its limited run on August 19. The show was directed by Joe Mantello and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Its original production starred Lindsay Mendez as Rose. Derek Klena as Eddie, and Josh Segarra as Boland. The cast also included Nick Blaemire, Annaleigh Ashford, Steven Booth, Becca Ayers, Adam Halpin, Dierdre Friel, F. Michael Haynie, and James Moye. David Zinn designed sets and costumes and Paul Gallo designed the lights.

The show received rave reviews for its writers and for leading lady Lindsay Mendez's performance.[2]

The original cast recording was released on April 30, 2013.[3]

Dogfight engaged with specific socio-cultural issues that existed in the 1960s. Theater critic Ben Brantley highlighted how military glory, which leads to the perceived invincibility of the Marines, resulted in their obsession with the dogfight. During the Vietnam War, patriarchal Americans treated the Marines as if they were superior, shown by the actions of the Dogfight, a degrading and humiliating ritual for women.[4] Rose is an important female character to the show – she represents the change in America for women during the 1960s. She anticipates that something is changing in the world and we see her strength after she discovers the true nature of the Dogfight, demonstrating the empowerment of women during this era. [5]

Other productions[edit]

Dogfight played at the Southwark Playhouse in London from August 8, 2014, through September 13, 2014, in a production directed by Matt Ryan and starring Laura Jane Matthewson as Rose and Jamie Muscato as Eddie.[6]

The first New York regional production played White Plains Performing Arts Center September 19–21, 2014,[7] produced by WPPAC and the Harrison Summer Theatre.

On April 9, 2015 the European Amateur Premiere of Dogfight opened at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, England. Directed by Adam Lacey, Musically directed by Jack Hopkins and Choreographed by Pippa Lacey (Assisted by Amber Lloyd and Anna Forster).

The Australian premiere is presented by Neil Gooding Productions in association with the Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, opening on May 1, 2015, with direction by Neil Gooding.[8]

The first fully translated production of Dogfight will be in Dutch and opens on June 11, 2015 at the M-Lab theatre in Amsterdam.[9]

The San Francisco premiere of Dogfight opened on September 22, 2015 at San Francisco Playhouse, with direction by Bill English.[10]

On October 2, 2015 Dogfight made its New Zealand premiere at Auckland Music Theatre, with direction by Katie Flood.[11]

The Oklahoma premiere of "Dogfight" opened on January 23, 2015 at Upstage Theatre, with direction by Patrick Towne, and music direction by Joey Harbert.

Synopsis[edit]

Act One[edit]

In 1967, Eddie Birdlace, a U.S. Marine just returned from Vietnam, rides a Greyhound bus heading for San Francisco. As he travels through the night, he remembers Rose Fenny ("Prelude: Take Me Back") and the night he spent in San Francisco four years earlier. Memories overwhelm him and suddenly it's November 21, 1963.

The Greyhound bus becomes a military bus, carrying Private First Class Birdlace and his rowdy fellow Marines, fresh out of training and ready for action. Arriving in San Francisco, they're eager to take the town by storm on their last night in the United States ("Some Kinda Time"). Birdlace and his two best friends, Boland and Bernstein, who call themselves the Three Bees ("We Three Bees"), are participating in a dogfight, a cruel game with simple rules. Each Marine puts $50 in the pot. The one who brings the ugliest date to the party wins the money. Birdlace and his friends set off to scour the city for potential dates ("Hey Good-Lookin'").

Birdlace ends up in a diner, where he sees Rose, a shy waitress, quietly playing guitar in a corner booth. He flirts with her, eventually inviting Rose to be his date ("Come to a Party"). Not knowing the true purpose of the evening, she's excited to go on her first date. She tears items from her closet, searching for the perfect dress ("Nothing Short of Wonderful"). Meanwhile, other Marines find their dates, including Boland, who breaks the established rules of the dogfight by inviting Marcy, a wisecracking, near-toothless prostitute eager to win a share of the cash prize that comes with being deemed the ugliest date ("Come to a Party (Reprise)").

As Birdlace and Rose walk to the party, she is chatty, revealing her folk music aspirations and her burgeoning pacifism. When they reach the Nite Lite, a club rented for the party, Birdlace finds himself questioning his plan to subject her to the event. He suggests they go somewhere else and get a bite to eat. Rose believes his change of heart means he's embarrassed by her, that he doesn't want his friends to meet her. Conflicted, Birdlace acquiesces and they enter the party.

At the table with his friends and their dates, Birdlace drinks heavily and grows sour. He tries unsuccessfully to keep Rose off the dance floor during the slow dance, when the contest is officially judged. As they dance, each Marine presents his date for judging ("That Face"). It's determined Marcy is the ugliest, crowning Boland the big winner. Later, in the ladies room, Marcy reveals to Rose the true nature of the party ("Dogfight"). A distraught Rose returns to Birdlace. She is furious and deeply hurt and slaps him hard across the face. "I hope there's a war and you get killed," she tells him, before escaping in shame. Back home in her bedroom, surrounded by rejected dresses and dashed hopes, Rose beats herself up for having believed Birdlace's lies ("Pretty Funny").

Act Two[edit]

The Marines, reckless and invincible, continue their debaucherous last night with a trip to the arcade and then by visiting a prostitute ("Hometown Hero's Ticker Tape Parade"). But Birdlace can't bring himself to revel like his friends do. Feeling terrible about how he treated Rose, he leaves them and goes to her. He apologizes as best he can and offers to make it up to her by taking her out to a fancy dinner. At first incredulous, Rose sees Birdlace's apology, though misguided and inarticulate, is in fact genuine. She consents to the date, demanding they never again discuss the dogfight ritual and its indignities. They cautiously set out on their date ("First Date, Last Night").

At a swanky restaurant, Rose challenges Birdlace's tough exterior and cuts through his posturing, lies, and bravado. They share a meal and inch closer to understanding each other. Later, they take in the late-night view from the Golden Gate Bridge. Rose tells Birdlace that, despite its unpleasantness, what happened earlier that night has helped her to a new understanding. She can no longer allow herself to be defined by what other people think of her ("Before It's Over"). In the remaining hours before Birdlace must report and ship out, Rose nervously invites him home with her. They share an awkward and romantic first sexual experience ("Give Way").

The next morning Birdlace returns to his buddies and the world of casual cruelty that shaped him ("Some Kinda Time (Reprise)"). The Marines head overseas, where they will be pawns in the growing Vietnam conflict. Birdlace sees his friends, including Boland and Bernstein, killed in action. These harsh memories linger as Birdlace arrives in San Francisco in 1967, a broken, confused, lost man, unwelcome and derided ("Come Back"). Birdlace makes his way through the changed city to find an older, wiser Rose at the diner. Compassionate as ever, she welcomes him home ("Finale: Take Me Back").

Cast and characters[edit]

Character 2012 Off-Broadway Production 2014 Off-West End Production[12] 2014

NY Regional Premiere

2015 Australian Production[13] 2015 European Amateur Premiere 2015 Dutch Production[14] 2015 New Zealand Amateur Premiere 2016 Boston Professional Premiere
Rose Fenny Lindsay Mendez Laura Jane Matthewson Gina Gentile Hilary Cole Cecily Redman Eline de Jong Bridie Dixon Alejandra M. Parrilla
Eddie Birdlace Derek Klena Jamie Muscato Dustin Smith Luigi Lucente Maison Kelley Jeffrey Italiaander Paul Williams Jordan J. Ford
Boland Josh Segarra Cellen Chugg Jones Colin Earyes Toby Francis James Mateo-Salt Stef van Gelder Chris Wardle Jared Troilo
Bernstein Nick Blaemire Nicholas Corre Tyler Henson Rowan Witt Aidan Cutler Luuk Melisse George Everts Drew Arisco
Marcy Annaleigh Ashford Rebecca Trehearn Chelsea Alfredo Johanna Allen Lauren Key Iris Oppatja Stella Wilson-Staab McCaela Donovan
Mama Becca Ayers Amanda Minihan Paulette Oliva Danielle Barnes Lucy Follows Rhona Roode Nicolette Nes Liliane Klein
Stevens Adam Halpin Joshua Dowen David Cronin Kyle Sapsford George Stuart Silencio Pinas Sergei Vector Dylan James Whelan
Fector F. Michael Haynie Samuel J Weir Shawn Smith Haydan Hawkins Frazer Shine Ruben Van keer Keith Marr Dave Heard
Gibbs Steven Booth Ciaran Joyce Steven Liberto Jack Van Staveren Alistair Smith Jorrit de Vries Tim Soloman Edward Rubenacker
Ruth Two Bears Dierdre Friel Emily Olive Boyd Natalia Fogarty Emily Havea Amber Lloyd Marie Körbl Steph Sharp Jenna Lea Scott
Lounge Singer James Moye Matthew Cutts Douglas Katch Gray Mark Simpson Chris Wolverson Silencio Pinas Lance Ainofo Patrick Varner

Musical numbers[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Off-Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2013 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Lindsay Mendez Nominated [15]
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated [16]
Distinguished Performance Lindsay Mendez Nominated
Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Musical Won [17]
Outstanding Choreographer Christopher Gattelli Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Nominated [18]
Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Peter Duchan Nominated
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Pasek & Paul Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Lindsay Mendez Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dogfight, New Musical About Cruelty and Hope, Opens in NYC; Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena Star". Playbill. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Review Roundup: Second Stage's DOGFIGHT". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Dogfight Official Cast Recording - Amazon". Amazon. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Cruel, Tuneful Jerk In Love ‘Dogfight’ At Second Stage Theater" The New York Times, July 17, 2012
  5. ^ Brown, Scott. "Theater Review: Musical Dogfight Shows Some Teeth" Vulture, July 2012
  6. ^ Shenton, Mark. " 'Dogfight' to Receive U.K. Premiere at London's Southwark Playhouse" playbill.com, May 8, 2014
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Casting Announced for New York Production of 'Dogfight' " playbill.com, August 25, 2014
  8. ^ Purcell, Carey. "Pasek and Paul's 'Dogfight' Gets Australian Premiere Today" playbill.com, May 1, 2015
  9. ^ "M-Lab Has 'Dogfight' With Cast of Young Talent" m-lab.nl (translate.google.com), April 10, 2015
  10. ^ Wilson, Emily (September 22, 2015). "Dogfight, a River Phoenix Movie, Comes to the SF Playhouse As a Musical". SF Weekly. 
  11. ^ Stuff.co.nz
  12. ^ Tarento.net
  13. ^ Dogfight hayestheatre.com.au
  14. ^ "Dogfight". M-lab.nl. 
  15. ^ "Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; Giant and Hands on a Hardbody Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Cox, Gordon. Off Broadway musicals outnumber Broadway shows in the tuner category". Variety, April 23, 2013
  17. ^ "The Piano Lesson, The Whale & Dogfight Honored at 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards". Broadway.com, May 6, 2011
  18. ^ "Outer Critics Circle Nominees Announced; Pippin Earns 11 Nominations". Playbill. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 

External links[edit]