Pacific Resident Theatre is developing the new musical STALLED, and the company is now presenting the first staged workshop. Conceived and written by Liesl Wilke and expanded from a piece which won the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest in 2011, STALLED is a contemporary play about women who are stuck but yearning to find a way forward in their lives. There are music and spoken words celebrating the multi-layered nature of women’s lives. Supported by a live band quartet, the story is set inside the executive ladies’ room in one of Seattle’s buildings, meticulously designed by Rich Rose.
While discussing its transition into a musical, Wilke mentioned, “When I came to Los Angeles, I re-wrote it as a TV pilot; and Jimmy Miller, one of the producers I had pitched, suggested that I make it into a musical. I was actually working on it as a play, but I started thinking that he’s totally right. However, I can’t carry a tune. Then, serendipitously, I had just become friends with Andy Marsh’s parents. I mentioned to them that I needed a musician because I knew that one of their kids was a musician. I thought maybe he could recommend someone who would want to work on this weird women’s thing. Andy said that he wanted to read it because he’d always wanted to do a musical.”
Andy Marsh became the composer and co-lyricist for the show, which features a cast of ten women including Joanna Daniels, Mia Michaud, Klea Scott, Lauren Han, Marwa Bernstein, Faith Lister, Nicolette Norgaard, Julia Wilke, Lillie Silva-Muir, and Sook Hyung Yang. Marsh said, “When I read it, there was just something about it that touches on so many themes, whether you’re a guy or a girl, however you identify. Themes of self-identity, loneliness, dealing with anxiety and depression. It touched on a real human note for me, and I thought that it was such a wonderful opportunity to really pair that with, what I hope everyone thinks of as catchy music.” Musical direction is by Jeremy Mann.
Director Cal Brady joined the team after studying with PRT’s Artistic Director, Marilyn Fox, at UCLA. He believes that “…what drew me to the piece is that all the characters deal with motherhood or with being a daughter and the mother-daughter connection. I think we all have some version of that, some figure, a father or mother or just a parent. I have a really deep and complicated connection with my mom. I just saw that as kind of a through line for all the characters that I love. As a non-binary person, I’ve struggled with bathrooms my whole life. Going into male bathrooms makes me feel so anxious, and the only time I’ve ever really felt safe or comfortable in the bathroom is when I’m going into a gender-neutral bathroom.”
Liesl Wilke explained the title of the show by saying, “I like the idea that the women are sort of separated from each other and have to break through that or they’re separated from something or from someone else they’re not connecting with in the way they should. They’re stuck in their lives or not being able to fully tell the truth about who they are and what they want out of life. It’s hard even sometimes just to accept what is great in your life and what’s not working. We also tried to line up the stories so that that everybody is either stuck or had their progress interrupted in some way.
Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice is celebrating over thirty years of national recognition for being one of the top regional theaters on the West Coast. The company presents works of the highest quality in order to entertain, inform, and educate its multicultural community. In addition to the company’s commitment to rediscover the rarely performed classics, PRT is focused on fostering and developing new works through the collaboration of an artistic ensemble influenced by societal relevance, past, present and future. STALLED is just one example of their collaborative commitment to the development of new works.
STALLED runs through May 15, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 703 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291 (parking is free in the lot behind the theater and on the street). Tickets range from $35 to $45 (55+ Discount $5 on Thursday and Friday; Student Discount $5 on Thursday and Friday; Student rush $12 discount offered at the door). For information, call 310-822-8392 or go online. For reservations, go online.