Goodspeed Will Produce LMNOP Musical at Terris Theatre; Joe Calarco To Direct

By Kenneth Jones
April 4, 2013

LMNOP, the new musical fantasy about disintegrating language on an island, by Larson Award-winning writers Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel, will get a full production this summer at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre, Playbill.com has learned.



The project, once known as Ella Minnow Pea, a title based on Mark Dunn's 2001 novel of that name, will be directed by Joe Calarco, who shepherded a lab of the show in Manhattan in fall 2012.

Goodspeed has not officially announced LMNOP as its third 2013 show for the Terris, the Chester, CT, venue where Goodspeed nurtures new works in productions that are not open for review by drama critics. LMNOP is expected to play in July and August. An official announcement is imminent. (Read about the previously revealed Terris musicals for 2013.)

LMNOP has book and lyrics by Burkell and music by Loesel. Their musical The Extraordinary Ordinary received a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant, an ASCAP workshop, a CAP21 workshop, and productions at the Philly Fringe Festival, Farmers Alley Theatre, and Off-Broadway's Clurman Theatre. They also penned the musical revues Love Songs and Other Crap (MAC Award nomination) and Sorta Love Songs (Birdland).

The October 2012 lab cast of the property featured Lilli Cooper, Rebecca Luker, Heidi Blickenstaff, Steven Skybell, Nehal Joshi and Donna Lynne Champlin, among others. That staging was produced by Breaking Bread Theatre, under the leadership of co-artistic directors Joe Calarco (Shakespeare's R&J) and Jen Waldman, with Third Coast Creative.

According to the earlier producers, "In this compelling and smart new musical, the island of Nollop is thrown into chaos when letters start tumbling from a revered saying emblazoned in the town square. Taking it as a sign, the local government forbids the use of each letter as it falls. As infractions are met with harsher and harsher punishments, one brave woman leads the fight to save the English language from shrinking into prehistoric grunts."

Loesel and Burkell have received the Burton Lane Awards. "(Sorta) Love Songs," their debut CD, is on the Sh-K-Boom Records label. Visit scottandpaul.com.

Calarco has directed projects for Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Second Stage, Transport Group, Lincoln Center Theater, Signature Theatre in Arlington, The Old Globe, Barrington Stage Company the O'Neill Music Theater Conference, Philadelphia Theatre Company and other organizations. As a writer, his published works include Walter Cronkite Is Dead, In the Absence of Spring and Shakespeare's R&J. He is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, two Barrymore Awards, and four Helen Hayes Awards.

Read an earlier Playbill.com story about a developmental staging of the show in the University of Michigan's prestigious musical theatre program.

For more about Goodspeed's work at the Goodspeed Opera House and the Norma Terris Theatre, visit goodspeed.org.