“Desperate Measures” will end its run at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages October 28 it was announced Monday. This makes me so sad. You won’t see many reviews on “Un-Block The Music” because I know how difficult it is to put on a show, and all of the blood, sweat and tears that go into it. However, it seems a crime to let this show close without a few positive words. It was so funny and the music quite memorable. I came out of the theater singing “It’s a Beautiful Day for a Lifelong Commitment”!
“Desperate Measures” is the recipient of Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music (David Friedman) and Outstanding Lyrics (Peter Kellogg), the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Off-Broadway Musical, and the Off- Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical.
I saw the show on Friday night, and an interview was set for Monday with Peter Kellogg. However, I heard from the show’s publicity team Monday morning telling me the show is closing. I still wanted to speak to Peter. He has already done so much, with more to come. Despite the “not so great news”, he was upbeat during our interview. He said, the show has been established in New York, and now can move to other places.
Lessons are learned with each show. The first musical Peter created was “Anna Karenina” (with composer Dan Levine). “We did a stage reading, and Circle in The Square Theatre loved it, so we did another stage reading with them and then brought it to Broadway. It wasn’t received well critically in New York. We rewrote it for Chicago. Then we rewrote it for Japan where they loved it. It has been done three times there! I now know, you need the development process of doing a show at other theaters before you take it to Broadway,” Peter says.
The first show David Friedman and Peter did together was “Chasing Nicolette” based on the French romance, “Aucassin and Nicolette.” Obviously, fans of the classics, the two decided to write “Desperate Measures” which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Measure For Measure.”
Bill Castellino is the director and choreographer of the show and Peter tips his hat to him as well. Bill has a list of credits including “ Cagney” and “Soulmates” as well as having written eight musicals and many other revues. Then, of course, there are the actors who bring the show home. There were Outer Critics Circle nominations for Lauren Molina (“Rock Of Ages”, “Sweeney Todd”) and Conor Ryan (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” on NBC). Lauren was also nominated for the Lortel.
Peter says “Lauren is fearless.” When I met her after the show, I told her, she reminded me of Lucille Ball and “I Love Lucy.” Peter says, there should be a club called “I Love Lauren.” Then, there is Conor Ryan who Peter compares to a modern-day Ray Bolger (the scarecrow in “The Wizard Of Oz”). Added to his physical talents and comic timing, he has a voice that melts as well. I have to also mention Sarah Parnicky who made her Off-Broadway debut in this show. While watching her, all I could think about is that she would make an amazing Fraulein Maria in “The Sound Of Music.” Loved her.
Peter has hopes for the future of “Desperate Measures. “I started with ‘Anna Karenina’ which had a cast of 20 people. Then, I did ‘Chasing Nicolette’ which was a cast of 10. Now I am down to 6 people with ‘Desperate Measures’. With small casts, we get interest from regional theaters that are small and love to do small musicals.”
If you are in New York, and you have a chance, go to see Desperate Measures before October 28. Here is the ticket link: https://www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/Desperate-Measures/Overview
At the very least, check out the soundtrack available for digital streaming and purchase at https://masterworksbroadway.lnk.to/DesperateMeasures-OBCR
Also, stay tuned for Peter Kellogg’s next show, “The Rivals” which will premiere at Pennsylvania’s Bristol Riverside Theatre at the end of this month! He also is writing a musical about New Zealand set to premiere next Fall….Whew!!! Can’t wait!!!