Mauckingbird Theatre Company is doing things a little differently for its fourth season.
The company known for gay-themed professional theater is amid its first musical production, “[title of show],” running through Jan. 30 at Upstairs at The Adrienne Theater.
The show follows two struggling gay writers, Hunter and Jeff, as they decide to write an original musical with the deadline for the New York Musical Theatre Festival just weeks away.
Ben Diddle, who plays Jeff, describes the show as “very meta-theatrical.”
“These guys are telling their own story in a musical of their own creation,” Dibble said. “So it’s a very self-conscious theatrical show. It’s very much about the creative process. A lot of what Mauckingbird does is taking traditional shows and using an all-male cast to play with gender. This show is about these gay men who are trying to write musical and break into the Broadway scene. The whole show is about them accomplishing that.”
Michael O’Brien, who plays Hunter, said the show highlights how the two writers, with their different personalities, handle the pressure of the creative process.
“Hunter is definitely the dreamer of the two,” O’Brien said. “He thinks about winning awards and being on Broadway winning a Tony Award and all of those spectacular things that come with getting your work produced on Broadway. I think that Jeff, my cohort and best friend, he’s much more a realistic counterpoint to that. He thinks about the logistics of what needs to be done from an artistic standpoint. He’s sticking to the integrity of the piece and making sure that we’re writing art for ourselves and not for the masses. Hunter definitely gets caught up in the machine and Jeff keeps him grounded.”
O’Brien concurred with Diddle that “[title of show]” represents a departure both in style and tone from the kind of production Mauckingbird has done in previous seasons.
“This is my first show with Mauckingbird,” O’Brien said. “It’s definitely much more comedic than some of the things that they have done in the past. While the two characters are men and gay, it’s not a show about being gay. It just happens that these guys that are writing a musical are gay.”
“One of the things about this show is that it’s a love letter to musical theater and Broadway, present and past,” Dibble added about the tone of the show. “There’s a lot of in-jokes and references to people you wouldn’t really know unless you were a big fan of musicals.”
“[title of show]” runs through Jan. 30 at Upstairs at The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St. For more information, visit www.mauckingbird.org or call 215-923-8909.