“Life in the Park” is the first play that I have not made in collaboration with other people. It was written entirely on my own. I believe that is why it has, what I call, a “very personal” feel. It is the most concise piece I have written. The musical numbers unfold in a natural way. They are not forced. Overall, it is a very “emotional” piece.
I have always loved when the “set(s)” are secondary to the spoken word and music. In other words, I prefer a non-spectacle. “Life in the Park” is a “minimalist” play with a full musical score. It is a platform for very good actors to shine “uncluttered”. The approach is simple, yet the subtext is deep.
The thought to write “Life in the Park” came to me when I was in production with the Musical “Ginger and Me”. That was the year I turned 50. That was in 2008. I only wrote the music for “Ginger and Me’. Libby Hughes wrote the book and lyrics. We had great hopes for “Ginger and Me’, as ticket sales were exceptionally good for the one month run at the Indian Wells Theatre in Palm Desert, Ca. It was an Actor’s Equity Production. Overall, it was quite entertaining and my music was well received. The play itself had many problems and unfortunately did not continue after the Indian Wells Theatre Premiere.
Although I fitted Libby Hughes lyrics to music for “Ginger and Me’, it didn’t exactly unfold as easily as I was used to when composing by myself. Libby Hughes was not a musician or singer, so her lyrics were not based on any vision there. However, I did write all the numbers in about a month’s time. I was driven with accomplishing a completed score quickly, so I worked incessantly to get it finished. My thought, through all of this was, “I need to write my own piece”. Plain and simple, that’s what I did shortly afterwards. I set down to write “Life in the Park” while in production with “Ginger and Me”. I wanted my “Own Piece”.
“Life in the Park” is, for me, my best achievement, thus far, as a creative writer for the Musical Theatre. It is a work that can be appreciated by audiences of all ages with broad diversity. It is a work that will leave you thinking and feeling in a way you perhaps did not think or feel prior to the theatrical experience of seeing “Life in the Park”. I will always be proud to have written it.
Gary W Heath – playwright/composer