Time Stops, A New Musical, a theatrical production venerating the bonds of unconditional love and the strength of the human spirit as it deals with the heartbreak and emptiness of loss, makes its world premiere later this month in the Rinker Playhouse at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. The performance that brings together a multi award-winning creative team to stage the piece that’s based on a book by Boca Raton resident Bonnie Logan opens July 15 and continues for a total of five showings through July 17.
Time Stops includes 26 new songs written specifically for this production, Logan’s second tale repackaged and brought to the stage. Her first endeavor, Boca Bound, about a retiree’s trip to Boca Raton, reconnections with family and friends combined with new experiences and acquaintances – was presented in September 2019 to sold-out crowds at the Wick Theatre in Boca. A review on the South Florida Theater on Stage website hailed it as “unassailably heartfelt.”
Logan said her experience crafting two productions “enhanced my love of the process and my love for writing musicals,” she said in a telephone interview from New York where Time Stops has been in rehearsal. After working on Boca Bound, “I found I had a lot more to say,” she said. “I love working,” noting that it took about two years to complete the book that became the show that opens July 15.
“Time Stops – A New Musical” tells the story of writer Emma Portman as she begins a journey to create a musical based on the life her late daughter never had the chance to experience,” Logan explained. “As she retreats further into her imaginary world, the other people in her life find themselves at their own crossroads of unrealized dreams. Time Stops takes you on a moving journey through love, loss and the making of a musical that transforms lives forever.”
Logan emphasized that the show will offer some insight into the process of creating a musical. And while the subject matter is about a 180-degrees from Boca Bound, it does bring back some of the folks who worked on that pre-COVID show. Chad Larabee, (Dreyfus in Rehearsal, Ain’t We Got Fun), the New York-based director who works extensively in the development of new plays and musicals, helmed Boca Bound and will also direct Time Stops. Michael J. Moritz, Jr., the music supervisor and producer of the upcoming show at Rinker, was also music director for Boca Bound. He is a Grammy Award-nominated, Tony and Emmy award-winning Broadway producer, record producer, mixer, music director, conductor and pianist.
Original music and musical direction are by award-winning composer Brett Boles, a musical theatre composer, lyricist, book writer and music director. Comparing the two productions, Logan noted that Boca Bound “was really focused on a single community of seniors, people living in a country club community” otherwise known as a condo complex. After finishing Boca Bound, Logan said she “wanted to work on something relevant to a bigger population.”
Time Stops, she noted, is fiction, but it deals with something everyone must face – the loss of a loved one. For protagonist Portman, the death of her daughter literally sucks the life out of her. “She has been a writer, but after her daughter’s death, she can’t write any more. She can’t have fun anymore. She can find no more pleasure in life.” It also affects the marriage of Emma and Charlie. “They deal with their daughter’s death in different ways and in different time frames.”
Emma finally discovers a saving grace. “She makes a conscious decision to write a musical about her daughter, a story that takes a different direction than her daughter’s life.” Time Stops is that tale. “And when she gets deeper into the story, we encounter people who also find they have to make decisions.”While she authored the book totally on her own, she did consult with Larabee on the product that will arrive on the Rinker stage July 15.
She applauded the “phenomenal collaboration” that the cast and crew brought to this production. “There is not one weak link.”
Logan said she fully intends to take the performance on the road when the West Palm Beach show is done. The author had particular praise for the cast members, noting that “900 people wanted to audition.” Players include Maria Goodman as Emma; Armand Lane (Much Ado About Nothing, Silence! The Musical) as Charlie; Evan Fagin (The Last 5 Years) as Ben; Alan Chandler (Knoxville, Oliver!) as Steven; James McClellan (The Elephant Man, Caroline or Change) as Maxwell and Ashely Wilcox (Boca Bound, Mama Mia) as Gayle. Ensemble members include Kirsten Kaiser and Chase Wolfe.
The title song “Time Stops” features vocalist Elysia Jordan (Billy Elliott, School of Rock) along with composer Boles. The tune can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOpDqCfcAIk. Time Stops, A New Musical will be presented July 15-17 in the Rinker Playhouse at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets are $45 and $55. Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets, visit www.kravis.org/events/timestops or call 561-832-7469.