MANN… AND WIFE, a new musical by Douglas J. Cohen and Dan Elish based on Elish’s novel Nine Wives, will receive its world premiere at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre in February of 2016. This musical will continue the new works initiative started in 2014 with TRIANGLE by Tom Mizer, Curtis Moore, and Joshua Scher and continuing in October 2015 with BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR by Adam Gwon and Julia Jordan.
Dan Elish co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical 13 and is also the author of ten novels, including The Worldwide Dessert Contest, Nine Wives, and Born Too Short, which won a 2004 International Reading Association Students’ Choice Award for YA literature. Elish has also written for TV, notably PBS’s Cyberchase. “In Nine Wives, my goal was to write a coming of age story about a lovably hapless single man in New York, looking for the perfect wife. While I wanted the book to be funny, I also wanted it to afford an honest look at a certain breed of guy not often portrayed in books, movies, or theater: a guy who might occasionally objectify women and make some bad decisions, but who, deep down, is a hopeless romantic who wants what women are professed to want: a life partner, a home, and a family,” said author of the book and co-lyricist of the musical, Dan Elish.
Elish continues “As we’ve written the musical version MANN…AND WIFE, Doug and I have found opportunities to make the stage version funnier and perhaps even more poignant than the book. We like to think we’ve been able to maintain the best elements of the novel while adding more depth to the characters.”
“The best musicals are snapshots of our era and try to define the times we live in. While MANN…AND WIFE does not profess to be about every man, Henry Mann is a product of his era. Even though today’s lifestyle focuses on breakneck Internet speed and caffeinated gratification, MANN…AND WIFE hopefully reminds us that the need for true love and lasting relationships is universal and transcends time.” Cohen, who wrote the music and is co-lyricist, adds. Douglas J. Cohen received the 2010 Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting and two Richard Rodgers Awards for writing NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY, produced twice off-Broadway with productions worldwide, and THE GIG, produced at MTC Stage II and Goodspeed Musicals receiving the Noël Coward Prize. Cohen penned the scores for THE BIG TIME, THE OPPOSITE OF SEX, GLIMMERGLASS, and BARNSTORMER.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Doug’s heartfelt music and inspired lyrics for many years,” said Michael Baron, Lyric’s producing artistic director. “After being charmed by Dan’s touching, sharp, and funny novel and script, I immediately thought this intimate musical about relationships and finding love in the modern world will work beautifully in our 279-seat Plaza Theatre.”
MANN…AND WIFE is being shepherded by producers Larry Hirschhorn and Jayson Raitt. Raitt recently developed and produced the hit musical MURDER FOR TWO and Hirschhorn is a 3-time Tony award winning producer whose credits include Broadway’s THE ELEPHANT MAN starring Bradley Cooper and A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER.
“Opportunities like this are hard to come by, as more and more regional theatres choose to produce known shows,” said Jayson Raitt. “The fact Lyric has cultivated an audience that wants and appreciates new work is to be greatly applauded, and we could not be more thrilled that new musical theatre is alive and thriving in Oklahoma.”
MANN…AND WIFE has been developed at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Goodspeed Musicals, and the Sharon Triarts Playhouse.
The remaining shows of Lyric’s 2016 season will be announced in June of this year.