The Lady with a Lap Dog was first presented as part of Nautilus Music-Theater's monthly "Rough Cuts" series. In just the 20 minutes completed at the time, it showed great promise. Daniel Pinkerton (one half of Fortune's Fool Theatre along with his daughter Ariel Leaf, who designed the warm lighting) has adapted the short story into a succinct 80 minutes, mostly sung, to Robert Elhai's beautiful and interesting score. The story is of an affair between two married people, Dmitri and Anna, the titular lady. Anna finds happiness for the first time in her life through Dmitri, and although Dmitri has had many affairs, this is the first one that has touched his heart. After the brief vacation romance has ended, Dmitri can't forget about Anna, and goes to visit her, seeking a way to continue the relationship even though within the confines of their 19th century lives there's no better solution than to meet in secret every couple of months. Like the story, the musical ends with no resolution, just a beautiful ache in the heart.
|Laurel Armstrong, Joel Liestman, and Andrea Leap|
(photo courtesy of Fortune's Fool)
I think The Lady with a Lap Dog is what one would call a "chamber musical," meaning an intimate story told by a small cast and accompanied by a small orchestra. Small in size perhaps, but not in quality or importance. It's a refreshing change of pace from the large scale flashy type of piece that one usually associates with the word "musical." You have two more chances to support this lovely locally created new musical!