In the fall of 2005, writer James Lundy and I were having dinner at my house. I played him some of the music I had recently written, and told him I had started writing a musical about two Irish brothers during the Irish Potato Famine. During a conversation, which lasted four years, we ironed out every detail of this intricate story - then divided the workload with James focusing primarily on the script, and me focusing primarily on the music and lyrics, so that today, we finally have our show. Originally we dreamed of seeing it on a stage someday - any stage... but we have far exceeded those simple expectations to date with two separate productions of the show.
The first occurred in 2009, when we self-produced a one-hour version of the show during the Minnesota Fringe Festival. The show had been written as a full-length musical, so we made significant edits to fit it into the one-hour format. We were able to assemble a talented cast of singers and actors and the show was a hit at the Minnesota Fringe Festival that year. "The Red Tureen" (directed by Vienna Folliard, starring Andrew D. Umphrey, and featuring Therese Walth, who is currently playing the leading role in "Hairspray" at The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres) garnered wonderful reviews and sold enough tickets to make it the 6th most popular show out of 165 total shows that year.
Based on the success of that run, we decided to re-mount the show, but this time wanted to stage it as a full-length production with live musicians. We were fortunate to have a talented cast of musicians, singers and actors as well as a professional production team that was headed by director Michael Sheeks, producer Jo Holcomb and music director Andrew Kust. Martha Davis, who wrote all of the arrangements, and also created additional music for the show, rounded out the creative team. The show was presented at the Howard Conn Theater in Minneapolis in June of 2011, and was well attended and received.
Currently, the creative team that wrote "The Red Tureen" is making plans for future productions of the show.
THEATER | Eat Street Players' "The Red Tureen": Come watch a musical try to decide what it wants to be when it grows up
BY MATTHEW A. EVERETT, TC DAILY PLANET
June 09, 2011
...But you gotta loveThe Red Tureenfor being a big, unapologetic historical epic. The thing's got ambition. The cast oftentimes sings the hell out of it, as if it were full of old standard musical theater tunes they'd heard many times before. The commitment here is infectious. WhereverThe Red Tureenand all its characters are going, you want them to get there. And you want it to be big. It has that potential. Everyone here knows what they're doing. Even seemingly little things, like the band sequestered onstage in a little wing of a church building with stained glass windows, are clever, well-thought out and executed choices."