Video: Watch Taylor Iman Jones and Thomas Silcott Perform 'If Your Child' From The Lonely Few | Playbill

Video Video: Watch Taylor Iman Jones and Thomas Silcott Perform 'If Your Child' From The Lonely Few

The new rock musical, now running Off-Broadway at MCC Theater, is a "nuanced queer love story" between two female musicians.

MCC Theater's New York premiere of the new rock musical The Lonely Few—featuring music and lyrics by Zoe Sarnak and a book by Rachel Bonds —began previews April 27, with an official opening set for May 20 at the company's Newman Mills Theater Off-Broadway. Watch Taylor Iman Jones  and Thomas Silcott perform "If Your Child" from the show in the video above, accompanied by music supervisor Bryan Perri

The musical follows Lila (played by Tony winner Lauren Patten) and her band, The Lonely Few, who have a standing gig at Paul's Juke Joint in Kentucky. When an established musician, Amy (Jones), gives them a chance to join her on tour, love blossoms between Lila and Amy.

For Sarnak, her own identity as a gay woman informed the story of The Lonely Few. "I suppose one reason [I chose to tell a story about queer musicians] is that I am one!" 

It was also important for her, as a songwriter, to create a story featuring actors who also play their own instruments. "I love actor-musician shows," says Sarnak. "There’s something about them that feels so raw and present for the audience. And I love romantic and lush musical theatre pieces. There is a reason that love and heartbreak inspire so much of the music we hear on albums and playlists and the stories we see on stage. So, it became a dream to write something that could weave together these influences. We have a long and rich history of queer theatre makers and beautiful pieces that explore queer identity. But our aim here was to really center a nuanced queer love story, where a complex relationship is really the backbone of the narrative. That piece of what we’re making is deeply personal and meaningful to me."

The song that Sarnak has chosen to share with Playbill follows a moment between Amy and Paul, the owner of Paul Juke's Joint, which the musicians play a gig in. "['If Your Child'] is a diegetic performance within the show, a moment of reckoning onstage between Amy and Paul," Sarnak says. "These two characters have a shared history but have been estranged for years. When they end up on tour together, Paul asks if they can perform a duet. Amy pulls out an old song about someone they both know, Amy’s mother and Paul’s ex-wife."

An important part of the show is the specifics of Amy's struggle as a gay Black woman living in the South, and looking for acceptance while building her career. Sarnak recalls the moment that she was inspired to write "If Your Child." "The original seed of this song came to me several years ago," Sarnak continues. "I actually remember the moment quite vividly. 'If your child was a…' came to me as a sung melody on a walk near Washington Square Park. I think it was in an instance where my subconscious knew something before I had fully realized it. I had not yet come out and was still figuring out my own sexuality. But part of [doing] so deeply connected with this question, 'If your child,' and I found myself writing a draft of the song. As we developed the character of Amy, I was really able to shape it around her and her backstory."

WATCH: Lauren Patten and Cast of MCC Musical The Lonely Few Record 'God of Nowhere'

The Lonely Few features scenic design by Sibyl Wickersheimer, and offers audiences the opportunity to be immersed in the show with onstage seating. So the audience can feel like they're in the bar where the band is playing their gig. 

"Trip and Ellenore (our directors), Sibyl (our set designer), and Adam (our lighting designer) have created a unique space and theatrical experience," Sarnak says. Audiences don't need to sit on the stage, they can also sit in the proscenium house, though the onstage is particularly fun, in Sarnak's opinion. "If you want to really be sitting at the center of Paul’s Juke Joint, then sitting onstage is the way to do it. Because this show flows between diegesis and non-diegesis, there are many moments where the on-stage audience is a key part of creating the characters’ environment. You won’t be put on the spot if you want to have a more anonymous experience. But the characters do absolutely sing to, and amongst, the audience. Rachel and I always hoped that there would be a certain magical flow between performance space, magical musical theatre headspace, and the environments of these characters’ everyday lives. The team has brought that to life so thoughtfully. And on stage, it happens all around you."

The cast of The Lonely Few also includes Damon Daunno, Peter Mark Kendall, and Helen J. Shen. Billy Cohen, Christine Dwyer, DeWitt Fleming Jr, Taloria Merricks, and Rose Van Dyne serve as understudies.

The production also features costume design by Samantha C. Jones, lighting design by Adam Honoré, sound design by Jonathan Deans and Mike Tracey, orchestrations by Sarnak and Perri, and arrangements by Sarnak. Perri is the music supervisor, Myrna Conn is the music director, and Tomoko Akaboshi is the music coordinator.

The production stage manager is Bess Marie Glorioso with casting by The Telsey Office's Beth Lipari and Phyllis Schuringa.

The musical was originally commissioned and produced by Geffen Playhouse.

Performances are currently scheduled through June 2.

Photos: The Lonely Few In Rehearsal

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