Last updateMon, 16 Oct 2017 11am

Stepping Out

New play is in TheatreWorks' 'Wheelhouse'

Photo By: Courtesy of TheatreWorks
Photo Courtesy Of Theatreworks GrooveLily’s latest musical opens this week.
TheatreWorks is scheduled to present the GrooveLily musical “Wheelhouse” – the company’s 60th world premiere – today though July 1 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

The pop-rock trio GrooveLily, creators of the TheatreWorks/Off-Broadway hit “Striking 12,” stars in this autobiographical musical about traveling tunesmiths in desperate need of a tuneup as they rocket across the country in a worn-out Winnebago.

Obie Award-winning director Lisa Peterson directs. Workshopped at TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival, “Wheelhouse” chronicles the misadventures of GrooveLily’s rubber-to-the-road tour with humor and a rock ’n’ roll soundtrack performed live on stage. Uninspired by countless 9-to-5 days and wanting to kick-start their creative lives, three part-time musicians sell their possessions, buy a beat-up RV and embark on a musical odyssey across the country.

Part concert, part hero’s journey, “Wheelhouse” explores how much friendship can withstand in the face of repeated engine meltdowns, too many hashbrown dinners and several bumps along the road. TheatreWorks has long collaborated with GrooveLily – comprising Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn and Gene Lewin – beginning with “Striking 12” in 2003. The show went on to successful runs Off-Broadway and across the country, and returned to TheatreWorks in 2010 for a sold-out run.

The band tours extensively and contributed songs to Disney’s “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” film. Vigoda (electric violin, vocals) has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper, Joe Jackson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and has opened for Tina Turner and Cher. Vigoda founded GrooveLily (originally The Valerie Vigoda Band) in 1994.

Milburn (keyboards, vocals), earned a master of fine arts in musical theatre from NYU’s Musical Theatre Writing Program but was instead drawn into a rock band. He said his road time with GrooveLily proved to be a way back into writing musicals. Lewin (drums, vocals) earned a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

He tours regularly with Audra McDonald and has played on recordings with George Coleman and John Patitucci.

The musical is set to preview 8 p.m. today through Friday and open 8 p.m. Saturday. Future shows are slated 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays (no 7 p.m. show July 1), 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays (no 2 p.m. show June 30). Tickets are $19-$69.

For advance tickets and more information, call 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.

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