Overture the Musical

OVERTURE THE MUSICAL
Book by Krista Eyler and Barbara Nichols
Music and lyrics by Krista Eyler
(Running time 1 hr. 50 min.; performed with intermission)

SYNOPSIS
Setting: Kansas City, Missouri; The 1953-1954 season of the Kansas City Philharmonic

A story about saving something beautiful.

ACT I
A young ticket seller for the Kansas...
OVERTURE THE MUSICAL
Book by Krista Eyler and Barbara Nichols
Music and lyrics by Krista Eyler
(Running time 1 hr. 50 min.; performed with intermission)

SYNOPSIS
Setting: Kansas City, Missouri; The 1953-1954 season of the Kansas City Philharmonic

A story about saving something beautiful.

ACT I
A young ticket seller for the Kansas City Philharmonic, Lily Brooks, is perched on backstage stairs listening to the orchestra as it tunes. The orchestra is not seen, but she reacts emotionally to the oboe’s first call. She sings her love for beautiful beginnings, and getting carried away by the notes (“Favorite Sounds In the World”), she grasps a left- behind baton and conducts wildly. She strews about sheet music as her musical fantasy reaches a crescendo, but is interrupted by the entrance of Christopher, an assistant concertmaster for the KC Philharmonic, and Inda Beasley and Richard Wangerin, Philharmonic company workers. Lily retreats hurriedly, still holding the baton, back to her perch on the stairs as Christopher, Inda, and Richard find a mess of paper scattered about the stage. They discuss a demanding rehearsal schedule dictated by Maestro Hans Schweiger as they tidy the rehearsal space. They search for the missing baton and discover Lily on the stairs as she reveals herself as the one who took it. Christopher is incensed at the interruption, but the smart-and-sassy Inda kindly offers to take Lily back to the main office and quells the conflict. As the ladies exit, Richard reminds Christopher of the 1st Annual Jewel Ball fundraiser they must both attend that evening to rescue the abysmal finances of the Philharmonic. Christopher agrees to attend and sets his mind back to the work at hand: taping together important measures of orchestra scores. He expresses his apathy for his career and his desire to create music his own (“18 Measures”).
Lily, Inda, Richard enter the main office area and get to work on fundraising, by phone, thousands of dollars necessary to keep the Philharmonic afloat for the remaining season. Inda leads the charge and rallies the workers to “get on the horn” in order to find new season ticket holders (“VICTOR 8761”). Lily is told she is now required to “schmooze” patrons at the Jewel Ball due to her earlier indiscretion at the rehearsal hall. As Richard and Inda leave the office, a piercing sound is heard. Lily grabs her ears and is clearly in pain. The sound fades as Richard walks back into the office and notices Lily in pain. He asks if she is well, but Lily denies anything is wrong and tells Richard she will see him at the Jewel Ball.
As the notes for the opening waltz at the Jewel Ball are heard and the dancers take the floor, Richard, Inda and Christopher discuss how to get more dollars from the patrons in attendance. Christopher is slowly getting drunk. Lily arrives and looks beautiful, though, she is clearly unnerved by the crowd and cacophonous chatter (“Party Chatter”). During the music, the piercing sound is heard again. Lily reacts painfully, but no one else notices the sound, and the dancers continue. Christopher purposely bumps into her in this moment, and they begin awkward small talk. They decide to avoid the crowd and withdraw to his apartment.
At Christopher’s messy apartment, Lily draws his attention to the jazz music of the city outside his window. She awakens a lost love in him (“Something Stays”), and reveals she is a classically-trained musician with perfect pitch. She avoids telling him the entire story of her past and she leaves his apartment, though Christopher asks her to stay with him.
The next day, Richard, Inda and the Philharmonic’s Director, Hans Schweiger, are arguing about how best to raise money to save the season. They grow weary of fighting year after year to keep the orchestra going, but Richard becomes the cheerleader for the group (“Been Here Before”).They all decide to enlist the powerful philanthropic help of Mrs. Clara Hockaday and Mrs. Marie McCune, founding members of the Women’s Philharmonic Committee.
Lily is taking phone orders when Christopher surprises her with an office picnic. She discloses more of her past and how she came to the city following the Philharmonic (“Another Hat”). Christopher invites Lily on a “real date” to El Casbah dinner club and she gladly accepts.
In the days that follow, Mrs. Hockaday and Mrs. McCune quickly gather their “troops” of committee members at a high-class luncheon event, and pledge their allegiance to the Philharmonic’s financial health (“The Pledge”). Lily and Inda are honored guests. As the luncheon draws to a close, and the Philaharmonic ladies take their leave, the piercing sound strikes Lily’s ears and she falls in pain near Inda. Lily confesses to Inda she is going deaf, and shares her frustrating journey, and reveals she was forced to leave her position as a first-chair violinist due to her advancing disability (“So Far”). The women are greeted by Christopher who has news to share with Lily. Lily chooses to keep her disability a secret and does not tell Christopher.
Christopher escorts Lily to a supper club and teases her about her trivia win over the ladies of the Women’s Committee (“Lily of the Hats/El Casbah”), and they kiss as they dance. Christopher shocks Lily by telling her he has been selected to lead a new orchestra in California and wants her to go with him. Not wanting to burden him with her disability, she rejects Christopher and leaves the club in a flurry of loud music and activity. The music swells and blends with the high-pitch sound that sends Lily to her knees in pain. She holds her ears as the lights fade to black. The only sound heard is Lily’s distressed breathing.
ACT II
An inept baritone is heard butchering an aria as Richard, Inda, Christopher and Lily patiently sit behind a table enduring the warble. Lily is avoiding Christopher. They are auditioning singers for the chorus of the 1st Kansas City Opera Festival, and have no competent choices. The baritone is dismissed, and they poke fun about at the tedium of the audition process (“One More Time”). Christopher finds a moment alone with Lily and confesses his love to her (“Worth Waiting For”).
The Women’s Philharmonic Committee is holding its biggest fundraiser to date and treats the crowd to a classical feast of sound and spectacle (“The Kitchen Symphony”). Lily is helping at the event and is noticed alone by Mrs. Hockaday and Mrs. McCune. The women engage the noticeably-discouraged Lily in a tender discussion of loves lost and won, and how to gain a life well-lived (“If We Could Have”). They encourage Lily to combat fear and despair by following her heart. Mrs. Hockaday and Mrs. McCune exit together as Lily gives voice to her hope (“Overture”).
Hans Schweiger demands an answer from Christopher about accepting the new job in California, as Richard and Inda encourage him to make the move. Christopher hesitates because he wants Lily at his side. Schweiger tries to lift his spirits by giving Christopher the opportunity to conduct the Philharmonic the following night as a goodbye gift. Inda tells Christopher if he really wants Lily, he needs to tell Lily very plainly he loves her. In her comic attempt to encourage Christopher toward romance, she kisses Richard, and Richard returns the amorous action to Inda. Richard and Inda give Christopher a very firm push toward pursuing Lily, no matter the personal cost (“Say the Words”).
Christopher rushes to find Lily and “say the words” to her in person, but finds her dejectedly sitting on the office floor. Her hearing is almost gone and she is without hope. He tries to convince her that her disability will not hold either of them back and their future is brighter in days spent together (“Worth Waiting For Reprise”). Lily is insistent Christopher move on with his career without her, but Christopher refuses to take no for an answer. He invites Lily to his conducting debut the following evening. The next night, Christopher, Inda, and Richard wait onstage before the Philharmonic concert. After nervously pacing the hall, and searching for Lily in the audience, Christopher takes the stage to welcome the crowd to his first concert as conductor of the KC Philharmonic. Just as he begins his address, Lily appears in the audience. In a surprising turn of events, through a plan only known to Christopher, he welcomes Lily to the stage and offers her the baton, and a chance to lead the Philharmonic. She is terrified and unsure of being able to hear the music, and cannot take full command of this task on her own. Chris gently leads her to the podium and stands behind her. He delicately places his hands under hers and lifts them upward. With the baton shared, they raise it together in one excited, upward swoop as a quick blackout suggests to the audience there is still much for which one can hope.
THE END
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Overture the Musical

Character Information

  • Lily Brooks
    20-40,
    Female
    Ticket seller for the Kansas City Philharmonic; She has perfect pitch; She is direct,passionate, smart, esoteric
    about orchestral music; Has progressive hearing loss; longs to conduct.
  • Christopher Peters
    25-50,
    Male
    Assistant concertmaster for the Kansas City Philharmonic;
    determined and smart; intense; dissatisfied with his career path; an accomplished musician.
  • Inda Mae Beasley
    40-60,
    Female
    KC Philharmonic Publicity & Sales Director; Smart and sarcastic, savvy.
  • Richard Wangerin
    40-60,
    Male
    Manager of the KC Philharmonic; Affable, organized, dependable; Charming and dapper.
  • Mrs. Marie McCune
    50-70,
    Female
    President of the Philharmonic Women’s Committee; never-say-die attitude; old fashioned; prim.
  • Mrs. Clara Hockaday
    40-60,
    Female
    Vice-President of the Philharmonic Women’s Committee; light-hearted; warm and adventurous.
  • Hans Schweiger
    50-70,
    Male
    Music Director and maestro of the KC Philharmonic; charming; German accent (Last name is pronounced Sch-VEE-ger)
  • Ensemble
    20-50,
    Any race
    ,
    Male and female
    Dancers, singers, office workers (4-8 people)

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    The New York Musical Festival
    ,
    2019
  • Workshop
    ,
    The Arts Asylum
    ,
    2018

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    The New York Musical Festival
    ,
    2019
  • Professional
    ,
    The Arts Asylum (Kansas City, MO)
    ,
    2018
  • Fringe
    ,
    The Kansas City Fringe Festival
    ,
    2018

Awards

Winner
,
Next Link Show/Grand Jury Selection
,
The New York Musical Festival
,
2019
Audience Choice
,
BEST OF FEST, NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL, AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD
,
NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL
,
2019