Craig Harris was the Music Director and Pianist for The Secret Lives of Coats, a play by Stephanie Fleischmann, with music by Christina Campanella, directed by Hayley Finn.
Red Eye Theater kicked off their 31st season in October 2014 with the world premiere of a quirky musical in which three coatcheck girls confide their hopes and dreams via a network of tin can telephones, and our most precious treasures disappear into the holes in the pockets of our coats.
Three coatcheck girls in cahoots while away a long night in their booths, confiding in each other their hopes and dreams. Besieged by snooty customers and dodging the bullets of an oily-headed maitre d’, Coatcheck Lila, Leeanne, and Lisette take us on a vaudevillian romp through the coat closets of the service industry. Peppered with song and dance, melodrama, slapstick, and a little bit of Dada to boot, Secret Lives is a riff on class and identity, on silver spoons and starlets in the making, on photographic memory and foundlings and the holes in the pockets of our coats.
A musical very much made for these times, Secret Lives taps into a depression-era mentality with spunk and charm. Laced with the ebullience of physical comedy, it is, ultimately, grounded in an underbelly of loss and longing. But ultimately this coatcheck musical is about the power of the imagination to effect change: Like the play’s intrepid coatcheck girls, we are all stuck in our own “coatcheck closets”; via our capacity to dream up our futures and our fates, we have the potential to transcend its confines.
The Secrets Lives of Coats has been in development for several years, and has had a number of workshops, including one in 2008 at The Playwrights’ Center for the PlayLabs Festival in Minneapolis, a workshop production in 2010 at Whitman College, and recently at the Playwrights’ Center in the summer of 2014. The Red Eye Theater production is the world premiere.
Here are some comments from reviews and acknowledgements about the show:
“The Secret Lives of Coats,” a charming new musical at Red Eye by John Townsend, Star Tribune, 10/13/14
Playwright-lyricist Stephanie Fleischmann and composer Christina Campanella draw more from classic Broadway than Beckett. Along with director Hayley Finn, they hew to a style charmingly reminiscent of such smaller-scale musicals as “She Loves Me” and “Company.”
Craig Harris’ music direction, his band and all vocals enliven Campanella’s vibrant Broadway style…
The experimental Red Eye Theater and a tradition-bound musical wouldn’t seem to go together, but The Secret Lives of Coats binds the two like peanut butter and, if not chocolate, then at least apple slices.
Best of 2014 mention…
A Few of our Favorite Things: Best of 2014 by Todd O’Dowd, l’etoile magazine, 12/22/14