TOP FORTY-SOMETHING: The new musical comedy Love is a Many Splintered Thing is a fast-paced, zippy show about— what else?— relationships, looked at through nostalgic Top-40 hit songs of the past four decades. A company of six takes the audience on a journey from high school through adulthood, tracing the paths that each friend eventually follows. Incorporating established song lyrics to tell a new story in a unique way, Love is a Many Splintered Thing features recognizable hits from everyone from Neil Diamond to Cher, Connie Francis to Elton John, Liza Minnelli to india.arie. To wit: be careful, you might get “Hooked on a Feeling” despite friends warning you “Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer,” until you end up with “Wedding Bell Blues.” You get the idea. Tony Award-winning actor/singer/dancer Hinton Battle arranged the music, weaving songs of falling in love (“The Look of Love” and “Dizzy”) together with songs of sexual desires (“Lady Willpower” and “Should I Do It?”), telling stories of love’s aftermath (“Maybe This Time”), truths about boys (“The Wanderer” and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?”), and the realities of marriage (“Wedding Bell Blues” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”), the end of the honeymoon (“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”), betrayal (“Does He Love You?”), and ultimately love’s redemption (“Baby Come Back”) and renewal (“After All” and “Everlasting Love”).
Act I: From high school prom night to several years later.
Bill is the consummate player. When he is pursued by Desiree (“The Look of Love”), he is initially attracted, but loses interest and she sings, “Does he love me, I wanna know…” (“The Shoop Shoop Song”). His reply: “Baby, baby don’t get hooked on me.”
Meanwhile, geeky Yale is secretly in love with the unattainable Hope, and he sings “I Think I Love You.” Bill starts paying attention to Hope, but she dismisses him with, “You and I travel to the beat of a different drum.” Rebuffed by Hope, Bill sees Desiree and says, “I don’t want to be lonely tonight,” and “Lady Willpower, it’s now or never, give your love to me,” to which she sings, “Should I do it should I fall?” They do it. He dumps her, and her friends warn her about the “Sweet Talkin’ Guy.”
Sean and Roberta, true lovers, sing “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby,” while Bill tries again for Hope until they both find they are “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Dizzy.” When Sean tells his friend his Mama told him to “Shop Around” and Roberta is not happy, calling him “Mr. Big Stuff.”
Bill still can’t commit and asks his friends “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” And he talks about being “The Wanderer,” to which the girls sing “That’s the Way Boys Are.” Sean and Roberta get married and sing “At Last.” Hope realizes Bill won’t marry her and sings “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer.” Yale seizes the opportunity and tells Hope, “There is someone walking behind you, turn around, look at me.” As preparations for their wedding happen, Bill laments, “Girl, I heard you’re getting married… maybe it’s the best thing for you, but it’s the worst that could happen to me.” Sometime after the wedding, Bill and Hope run in to each other and realize they both have feelings but won’t act on them and sing “I Should Have Never Let You Go.” Yale joins Hope and takes her away, and they all sing “Happy Together” in a minor key.
Act II: Ten years later.
Yale is an internet mogul and has little time for Hope, who has let herself go, as they both sing “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Sean and Roberta found out marriage does not guarantee happiness and complain “We got married in a fever… We’ve been talking about Jackson, ever since the fire went out.”
Cut to Yale’s office, and we discover he’s having an affair with Desiree, who sings, “A few stolen moments is all that we share.” Yale goes home to Hope, but they both realize the love is gone as they tell each other “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” But why has Yale left the Golden Girl for someone so needy? He explains with, “Upside, inside-out,” she’s “Livin’ the Vida Loca.”
On the other side of the stage, Sean regrets losing Roberta and begs her, “Baby Come Back,” to which she replies “Promises, Promises.” Yale also regrets hurting Hope and tells her, “You Were Always on My Mind,” while both of them explain how “I’m Workin’ My Way Back to You.”
Finally, Yale knows he can’t right this wrong and laments, “She’s Out of My Life.” Bill re-appears, wanting to win Hope back with "Isn’t She Lovely?” And he sings, “I love you in a place where there’s no space or time… and I’m singing a song for you.” Sean pleads with Roberta and tells her he loves her “More Than You’ll Ever Know.”
Hope and Roberta enter, having heard the apologies, and sing “It Takes Two.” In the end, Hope takes back Bill and Roberta welcomes Sean as they all sing, “You Make My Dreams Come True.”
...a look at how brilliantly popular culture has been documented through the songs we made into hits.
–Michael Freeman, The Ledger
Bill – Classic narcissist, with an overriding desire to get his way. Attractive, well-groomed, and preppy. He is a charming, sweet-talkin’ guy, who is good with people, but he is a “commitment-phobe”; the eternal “wanderer.” Until he goes through a shift in Act II, other people are only there to fill Bill’s playboy needs. Tenor.
Hope – She sees herself as the good girl who always does the right thing. Pure and virginal; attractive, but modest in appearance. Hope demands a lot of her men. Mature and put-together, she is always in control… until, that is, emotion gets in the way. Soprano.
Yale – Shy, gentle, and geeky. Very alone. He is fearful of the world and people, especially girls. He wishes he could fit in. In Act I, Yale is a good student, but a social outcast. As Act II opens, we discover a changed man— a financially successful businessman in the tech field, though his social skills are still lacking. Baritone.
Roberta – African-American. A dedicated friend and lover, Roberta is full of life, but she’s very matter-of-fact, and never afraid to speak her mind. She loves Sean, but doesn’t let him get away with any nonsense. Alto.
Sean – African-American. A good man, a lover-of-life, and a dedicated friend. Sean is funny, full of energy, and always the life of the party. Sean’s very much in love with his high-school sweetheart, Roberta, and the two eventually are married. Slowly, Sean begins to take his beloved for granted and is forced to face the consequences. Bass.
Desiree Sue – Being loved is the central focus of her life. She dresses seductively. She knows she is attractive and uses that as power with men, though her neurotic and aggressive approach turns many off, including Bill. Desiree, naïve and desperate, gives her love away too easily in Act I, and has an affair with a married man (Yale) in Act II, until self-awareness sets in and she begins to take control of her life. Mezzo Soprano.
Setting: Act I takes place in the near-distant pasts, when characters are in high school, and a few years hence. Act II is 10 years later.
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"…a look at how brilliantly popular culture has been documented through the songs we made into hits. This is an energetic and lively production, with a good cast of talented singers and actors… the wave of romantic nostalgia that What We Do for Love evokes is an even better reason to attend and enjoy the show." —Michael Freeman, The Ledger
"Writer Dorothy Marcic creates a well structured mash-up of the genre, capturing the sound and feel of a time when we were all younger, and perhaps not even born yet… fluid and dynamic show… nostalgic romance coupled with a 21st century attention span." —Carl Gauze, Ink 19 Archikulture
Materials: Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production. They can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Love is a Many Splintered Thing includes: