CHICAGO – NOW AND THEN, a new musical about a long-term loving relationship between two gay men, will be mounted in a commercial production by Now and Then Productions in the Broadway Theatre at the Pride Arts Center from July 12 – August 11. The musical with a folk-infused score by Dennis Manning and a story and book by Ronnie Larsen had its World Premiere at Wilton Theatre Factory in the Ft. Lauderdale area in September 2018 and was recommended for the Carbonell Awards, South Florida’s Theater and Arts Honors.
This musical tells with humor and heart the relationship of the characters Daniel and Greg from their twenties through their middle and later adult years. They meet in college, when Daniel is an aspiring country singer-songwriter and Greg has dreams of being a stand-up comedian. The two characters will be played by six actors, portraying Daniel and Greg in their twenties, mid-thirties and sixties as they deal with such universal relationship challenges as establishing trust, financial pressures, and keeping their love vibrant over time. The story by Ronnie Larsen, whose plays have enjoyed long runs off-Broadway and across the US, is loosely based on events from Manning’s life. Manning, whose wistfully melodic15-song score will be accompanied by three of the actors playing acoustic guitar on stage, has worked as a singer-songwriter and has performed at Nashville’s celebrated Wild Horse Saloon.
Larsen will direct a cast including Carl Herzog, who was just recently given a Jeff Award nomination for his role on THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY by Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Herzog, also known for his work in Theo Ubique’s MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA and Kokandy Productions’ TOMORROW MORNING, will play “Daniel 2” – the thirtysomething version of the aspiring country singer Daniel. Taylor Adams, who appeared last fall in MEN ARE DOGS at Chicago’s James Downing Theatre, will play “Greg 2,” who in his thirties has become the more practical half of the couple. The cast also will include Will Fulginiti as “Daniel 1” and Benjamin Walton as “Greg 1,” the college-age version of the couple. Manning will again play the role of “Daniel 3” that he originated in the World Premiere production. Casting for “Greg 3” will be announced shortly.
The three versions of the couple will sometimes be on stage simultaneously, as if remembering or anticipating events in their relationship over the decades. Daniel and Greg’s past and present will co-exist on stage, as the title NOW AND THEN suggests. Reviewing the World Premiere production for the website New York Style Guide, critic Bill Hirschman said, “director Larsen stages bookwriter Larsen’s concept deftly and inventively by visually, aurally and dramatically juxtaposing these couples.”
NEW YORK STYLE GUIDE’s Hirschman also praised the score, saying “Manning’s heartfelt music gloriously meanders in a fusion of several genres. Without intentionally emulating them, it echoes early Indigo Girls, Joni Mitchell, coffeehouse folk and a hint of Grand Ol’ Opry, notable for rippling cascades of finger-picked notes along with strummed background chords that add strength and palpable dimension.” The enthusiastic reception to the score from audiences and critics alike led to a cast recording, which was released in April and is available through Amazon Music, iTunes, YouTube Music, Spotify, Google Play, Pandora, Deezer, and iHeartRadio.
NOW AND THEN
Music and Lyrics by Dennis Manning, Story and Book by Ronnie Larsen
Directed by Ronnie Larsen
Music Direction by Dennis Manning
July 10 – August 11, 2019
Previews: July 10 and 11 at 8:00pm All preview seats $15.
Press Opening: Friday, July 12 at 8 pm
Regular Run: July 12 – August 11 with evening performances Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 7 pm; matinees Saturdays at 4 pm and Sundays at 3 pm
Pride Arts Center – The Broadway
4139 N. Broadway
Premium front row seats $50, general admission seats $35. Tickets available online at www.nowandthenthemusical.com
Dennis Manning (Lyricist and Composer). Dennis has been a singer, songwriter and performer for more than 40 years in the country, pop, folk music industry. He has performed in Nashville at the celebrated Wild Horse Saloon. He did theater in the early days in productions of GODSPELL, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. Dennis was a Franciscan Friar, a restauranteur, and has worked in a variety of industries. He holds an MS in Training, BS in Marketing, BA in English and has a recording engineering certification.
Ronnie Larsen (Story and Book). Ronnie Larsen is an actor-director-playwright-producer whose work has been seen in every major city in America, as well as in Canada, Australia, Italy and London. Twelve of his plays have been produced and five have been seen Off-Broadway in New York City. He has also made a documentary that had theatrical runs at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, Cinema Village in New York City and the Laemmle 5 in Los Angeles as well as showings at numerous film festivals in America, England and the Berlin Film Festival. His plays include: SCENES FROM MY LOVE LIFE, MAKING PORN, 10 NAKED MEN, PEEP SHOW, ALL-MALE PEEP SHOW, GIRL MEETS GIRL, MY BOYFRIEND THE STRIPPER, SHOOTING PORN: LIVE ONSTAGE!, A FEW GAY MEN, SLEEPING WITH STRAIGHT MEN, CHARLIE THE SEX ADDICT, COCKSUCKER: A LOVE STORY, SEX AND VIOLENCE, and TWO DEAD CLOWNS. He created the documentary, SHOOTING PORN and he has also hosted THE VAGINA TALK SHOW, THE PENIS TALK SHOW and THE TGIRL TALK SHOW.