Adam Overett is, as his many fans say, all over it—in a very good way. He’s the writer and composer of Bay Street Theater’s summer musical, My Life Is a Musical and is also currently performing on Broadway in Murder for Two, directed by Bay Street artistic director Scott Schwartz.
“I can’t wait for Adam’s voice to be introduced to the larger theatrical landscape because he is an extraordinary talent,” Schwartz says. “This is the first of many, many productions for him that I believe will be very successful.”
Overett, a Yale graduate who grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has also performed in both the Broadway and touring productions of Light in the Piazza, says the idea for My Life is a Musical came to him many years ago. He was thinking about “how people who hate musicals complain that they’re so unrealistic. ‘I just can’t buy people bursting into song,’ but what if that was realistic—someone whose real life consisted of people bursting into song, that no one else sees?” he wondered. “People often jokingly ask if my life really is a musical, and all I can say is, it sure would make my life easier—then the songs would just come to me, instead of my having to write them.”
He fleshed out the idea: “Well, let’s say [Parker, the main character] hates musicals and is ashamed of this condition, so he never tells anyone about it his whole life. What would happen if he were put into a scenario where he was surrounded by actual music—like, a live music band—and could no longer be sure what was ‘real’ music and what was ‘in his musical’, and he ran the constant risk of being found out? And the story developed from there.”
Enter Marlo Hunter, a director and choreographer based in New York who recently won the prestigious 2013 Callaway Award for Excellence in Choreography for her work on Carner & Gregor’s UNLOCK’D, which she directed and choreographed at the Duke Theater. She met Overett while directing him in another Carner/Gregor project. (Theater is a small inter-connected world!)
Hunter remembers Overett leaving the room after a rehearsal. “Derek Gregor said, ‘Adam is also a writer. He’s extremely talented. The second I read [this script] I emailed him right away saying if anything ever happens with it I want to be involved. It was so clear on the page…I could envision every moment. It is so funny and so heartfelt. The structure was so sound.”
Believing in his talent, Hunter was determined to work with Overett and in 2012 they started planning a concert of his original songs. In the meantime, Overett heard that My Life is a Musical was selected for presentation as part of the TRU (Theater Resources Unlimited) New Musical Series. Overett called Hunter and they were on their way.
“I was so excited to work on this,” says Hunter. Presented to the public for the first time in February 2013, “It was optioned immediately. The producers who were there that night are the ones who are now the commercial producers, Perry Street Theatricals.”
There was “further development work in July and a fully staged developmental lab production in December 2013, at the Duke Theater in New York,” Hunter says. “The word of mouth was fantastic after the presentation and it was suggested to Scott [Schwartz] to look at the show for Bay Street …”
“This is a world premiere production for this show,” says Schwartz. Being able to, at long last, create a production design is incredibly exciting. Our cast and designers are phenomenal. In your career, you work on a lot of stuff you are confident in and enjoy, but very rarely do you see a show from its beginning that becomes a passion project for you.”
Overett is also thrilled to have the show premiere in Sag Harbor. “It’s such a beautiful town, of course, and the theater itself is incredible—so full of history, and at the same time very vibrant and alive-feeling,” he says. “It feels like a magical sort of place…I can’t wait to work there!”
“My Life Is a Musical” will be performed at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor July 29–August 31. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.