Pin It
Favorite

Michael Kaplan and Mark Pietri take the stage in It Takes Two, their third musical production together 

Whoever said meeting a complete and total stranger on Craigslist can't work out hasn't heard the story of Michael Kaplan and Mark Pietri, who co-wrote and directed It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love.

"I felt I had to start writing a musical; I had always wanted to do something in musical theater. It was sort of a late life decision," Kaplan told New Times. "I had written half of it and I realized, I am not a musician. I don't have any musical training; I can't make up melodies. I clearly needed to collaborate with somebody with musical chops, so I put it out on Craigslist."

click to enlarge ICONIC DUO Michael Kaplan (left) met Mark Pietri (right) on Craigslist after Kaplan decided it was time for him to write a musical but soon realized he wasn't a musician and didn't have any musical training. The two have been inseparable friends since. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL KAPLAN
  • Photo Courtesy Of Michael Kaplan
  • ICONIC DUO Michael Kaplan (left) met Mark Pietri (right) on Craigslist after Kaplan decided it was time for him to write a musical but soon realized he wasn't a musician and didn't have any musical training. The two have been inseparable friends since.

Kaplan said over the next few days, he received four responses. One person in Central Europe, one in Hawaii, and one in San Francisco all asking him when they will get paid.

"Then a guy in San Luis Obispo said, 'What the hell are you doing writing a musical without a musician?' And that was Mark. And we had coffee a few days later and just totally connected," he said.

Pietri, who grew up in the theater and worked for the Great American Melodrama and SLO REP as a music director, became Kaplan's partner for a new adventure of co-creating musical theater.

"I'm not really a lyricist. I could write stories and I'm a decent writer but when it came to writing lyrics, I felt intimidated because of great lyricists and how they work," Pietri said. "It's nice to have someone to bounce things off when you're working together. If you say something funny, the other guy will react, so it really is the process of two people."

click to enlarge LOVING PARTNERSHIP It Takes Two is a musical about the push and pull of love through the eyes of two sets of partners. One old couple and one young one take us on the risky journey of falling in love. - IMAGE COURTESY OF MICHAEL KAPLAN
  • Image Courtesy Of Michael Kaplan
  • LOVING PARTNERSHIP It Takes Two is a musical about the push and pull of love through the eyes of two sets of partners. One old couple and one young one take us on the risky journey of falling in love.

It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love will be the third musical the two have written together. The show offers up a tale of love through the experience of two couples, one young and one old, and the risky business of falling in love, all sung through 19 original songs.

"It'll be a collection of songs and monologues and pieces, and during the COVID lockdown I had been doing a lot of storytelling events, which is just autobiographical in nature," Kaplan said. "I've been telling some stories about classic win moments in my adolescence, for instance, being 13 and absolutely paralyzed, having a crush on a fellow junior counselor at a day camp and just too scared to ask her anything."

Kaplan's friend at camp—doing the very thing we've all begged our friends to do—asked the fellow counselor if she liked him back and even recorded the conversation on a tape recorder so Kaplan didn't have to miss a word. While humiliating at the time, this story brought laughs among the crowd he was speaking to, and this kick-started It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love.

"He's brilliant in the settings; these monologues that he's written are stellar, they absolutely are," Pietri said. "He's just got a wonderful way of telling the story and making it happen in front of the people, and they absolutely relate to that."

The musical will be 80 minutes with no intermission, and it's playing at the Templeton Performing Arts Center for a one-day showing on Saturday, June 29.

click to enlarge MEET THE CAST (Left to right) Sholly Von Stein, Mark Pietri, Michael Kaplan, Ritchie Bermudez Hills, and Kelly Fitzgerald McCraw will star in It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love, which will have 19 original songs from Kaplan and Pietri with an 80-minute runtime. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL KAPLAN
  • Photo Courtesy Of Michael Kaplan
  • MEET THE CAST (Left to right) Sholly Von Stein, Mark Pietri, Michael Kaplan, Ritchie Bermudez Hills, and Kelly Fitzgerald McCraw will star in It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love, which will have 19 original songs from Kaplan and Pietri with an 80-minute runtime.

It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love is composed with five main actors traveling throughout the county performing with Kaplan and Pietri: Ritchie Bermudez Hills, Kelly Fitzgerald McCraw, and Sholly Von Stein.

"We really liked the idea of creating this portable production that we could play in multiple venues around the county, and kind of like a band, we take the gig when we can schedule it," Kaplan said. "They've all been in other productions around the area, and Sholly is based in North County. Kelly, I saw in a show up at the Cambria Center for the Arts called The Musical of Musicals. It was a whole parody of musicals, and she just knocked me out, and Ritchie was recommended to us by a friend, and he came in and sang one song, and we were hooked."

Kaplan will even take to the stage and sing for the first time in his life.

"I originally was just going to direct but ... after casting our four players, the guy who was basically supposed to be my more mature actor said, 'Oh, I'm moving out of the county, and I can't do it after all,'" Kaplan said. "I just decided that was probably the universe telling me to get over my fear, take some singing lessons, work very hard at it, and get onstage."

The cast will also be performing three shows in SLO at the Unitarian Universalist Church the first weekend of August. Δ

Reach Staff Writer Samantha Herrera at [email protected].

Tags:

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Search, Find, Enjoy

Submit an event

Trending Now