This week, Nautilus Music-Theater returns to the Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview for five performances of its production of The View From Here
, a one-man show by New York-based composer/lyricist Timothy Huang. Huang first debuted the piece at the New York Music Theatre Festival in 2005. Nautilus performed it for the first time last year in a work starring Joel Liestman, with musical direction from Jerry Rubino and stage direction from Ben Krywosz.
The script is pretty much the same since its first showing in New York, with the exception of a few changes in the lyrics suggested by the Nautilus team. They also re-examined the leitmotifs in the music, particularly in regard to one particular melody that recurs throughout the show. However, "fundamentally it's the same story," Huang says.
The piece is about "a dude who looks out the window and sees something different every day," he says. Throughout the story, the man is writing letters to his love. "Eventually, I came to realize the story is essentially about a man dealing with loss and suffering."
|Courtesy Nautilus Music-Theater|
When he was first workshopping the play, his collaborator, Liz Lucas, suggested that he was writing about the stages of grief. That became his roadmap for creating the story. It's "a deep and disturbing story masquerading as a musical comedy," he says.
Huang attempted to make the music as sonically varied as possible within the realm of musical theater. And while some of the songs draw from different sounds such as Latin influences, there's also some tunes that sound as if they could be in the great American songbook. One particular melody, "A Little Part of Every Day," which appears in small sections throughout the show before it's played in full, harkens back stylistically to the days of Irving Berlin.
Huang hopes at some point to write a companion piece for the show portraying a woman in the same apartment, perhaps 30 years before the events in The View From Here.
As for Joel Liestman, who performed in the one-man show last year, Huang says he's fantastic. "He's such a nuanced actor," he says. "He finds moments of pure joy and sympathy. I really can't express how impressed I am with him."
IF YOU GO:
The View From Here
May 24-June 2
Jon Hassler Theater
412 W. Broadway, Plainview
Call 507.534.2900 or 866.548.7469 for more info