Over at Queensbury Theatre in CityCentre, Producing Executive Director Marley Singletary has made it her mission to bring new musicals to the stage.
So why is she premiering Breaking Out of Sunset Place, which is a play?
“I’m a proponent of new work,” she explains, “and we’ve always known that we would add plays to our calendar. I met the playwright and we hit it off, and she allowed me to read the script. Choosing to do it not only gives us the opportunity to put a play in our season sooner than we thought we might—it’s also a chance to incubate something.”
Singletary was drawn to the story of two women who decide to break out of their retirement community in a wild, “Thelma and Louise plus one” adventure. Maudie and Emmy are best friends, and they’re looking to recapture their independence in their sunset years. The plan is to grab a car and go. But then Emmy’s roommate, Olivia, learns about their scheme and wants in on it. What happens along their adventure driving from Texas to Florida winds up being an exploration of aging, friendship, and what it means to be part of a team.
“You don’t necessarily see women this age on stage—not in roles like this,” says Singletary. “So Sunset Place is a chance for us to tell a story that isn’t usually told. Plus, this is a nearly all-female production team, and a world premiere.”
Singletary said that she loves the chance to do world premieres because there’s no set roadmap of how a show should look or sound. Having the freedom to create that, collaborating with her actors and designers is something she enjoys about being an artist.
“There’s no rules!” she says. “So, there’s all this fun and creativity that takes place. But it all starts on the page, and being able to have the writer in the room with us is a bonus. The actors get to work on the material, but Patricia [Barry Rumble] is right there if there are questions.”
Singletary hopes the audience will embrace the play as an exploration of what it means to be human. She thinks the show has characters that will be relatable—and she loves being able to showcase Queensbury as a place that tells stories like this one.
“I want people to come to this show, see the high-quality work we’re doing and come back, knowing that we’re a place where this kind of art can happen.”
Jan. 24-Feb.10. Tickets from $15. Queensbury Theatre, 2777 Queensbury Lane. (713) 467-4497. More info and tickets at queensburytheatre.org.