We originally wrote QUALITY STREET back in the 1980s. It was our third musical in two years. While waiting for SHINE and CHAPLIN to somehow emerge from their cruel Broadway postponements, it was a breezy joy to work on this project which was witty, playful and romantic. It also gave me a chance to indulge by appetite for period inspiration again.
I admit I had little exposure to Regency-set drama and only knew J. M. Barrie as the author of Peter Pan. But here was another play about the elusive nature of youth and the exploration of transformation in us all. Coincidentally, that theme was also a relevant personal challenge between a wise lyricist and a brash composer 30 years apart in age.
After a bit of unexpected legal squabbles, we were granted permission by the Barrie Estate and a production was scheduled for Virginia Museum Theatre in the Spring of 1984. When that was sadly aborted due to budget problems, we put the show aside as the grim 1980s played out.
In the early 90s, blessed with first rate performers, musical directors Jack Lee and James Kowal, we presented a series of staged readings under the guidance of Tony-winning director Vivian Matalon. New York Musical Theatre Works, National Alliance for Musical Theater, The Stamford Center for the Performing Arts, and The York Theatre Company each gave us fine showcases.
Although much admired, dear QUALITY STREET, with its elegant Barrie sensibilities and its anti-pop score, seemed destined to be ever out of sync with the gloomy devolving musical theater era into which it was born.
Those early workshops created a leaner, restructured musical, removing larger ensemble numbers, the intermezzo, dance and secondary character songs while falling under the spell of Les Miz by adding a ‘power’ anthem or two. But over the years, Lee and I realized we missed the charm of our first version which lovingly tipped its hat to classical works, both serious and light, and traditional musical theatre. With that in mind, the newly completed QUALITY STREET returns to the full original script, with the complete score restored.
- QUALITY STREET | One of Me (Phoebe's Soliloquy) - Anderson | Goldsmith, Vocal Kim Crosby (Live in Stamford 1993)
- QUALITY STREET | Goose (Duet) - Anderson | Goldsmith, Vocals Kim Crosby, Meg Bussert (Live in Stamford 1993)
A perusal script, orchestral demos and the piano|vocal score of the new 2017 version are now available.