It’s not often that actors get to originate a role in a new musical. It’s even rarer to have the chance to work with a Tony Award-winning artist. But this week, some of the University of Miami’s theatre students are experiencing both of these exciting events at once while participating in a workshop production of the new show “The Game of Love” which will play at the Miracle Theatre this week.
“The Game of Love” was written by Broadway legend Tom Jones, who is famous for his show “The Fantasticks,” the longest running musical of all time and composed by Nancy Ford, best known for her work “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road.” The show, based on a play by Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler, tells the story of Anatol, a Viennese playboy bachelor, and his many trysts in search of meaningful love.
“I love how Anatol is forced to deal with each of his lovers,” said junior musical theatre major Ellie Goldenberg, who plays Illona. “He snakes his way out of sticky situations with charm and humor.”
Jones and Ford are in Miami personally to direct as a part of the Myrna B. and Sheldon Palley New Theatre Initiative, a new program in the theatre department meant to give UM students the opportunity to work with professionals in the theatre world. Although it could be intimidating to work with such big names, the students in the cast have found rehearsals to be refreshingly direct.
“Tom Jones has an incredibly clear vision of every character, every lyric, every moment,” Goldenberg said. “Which makes the process much easier.”
The cast also features professional actors Jeff Kready and James Harms, stars of New York and Chicago, respectively.
“I’ve loved being able to work with the professional actors and learn from them. The atmosphere is very relaxed,” said junior musical theatre major Broghan Phelan, who plays Anatol’s first lover, Cora.
Jones and Ford have been working on the concept for “The Game of Love” for more than 40 years, but this week’s performances at the Miracle Theatre will be the show’s first production. Because the rehearsal period is only a week long, the performance will be somewhere between a reading and a full production.
“We are doing our best to stage the entire production,” explained Phelan. “But we will have binders in hand.”
Despite the pressure of the star-studded cast and production team, more than anything else, the cast is focused on learning their music, studying their characters and putting on a good show. Because at the end of the day, when the curtain goes up and the lights go out, “The Game of Love” isn’t just a fantastic learning opportunity. It’s an exciting show and another chance for these aspiring actors and actresses to do what they love for an audience.
If you go:
“The Game of Love”
Where: Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
When: April 5-6 at 8 p.m.
For more information, call 305-444-9293 or visit www.actorsplayhouse.org