The upcoming show at the Palm Coast City Repertory Theatre features more than just local talent on stage. Flagler County talent also co-wrote the show.
“Committeed,” a musical that tell the story of five women and three men in 1989, at an Upper East Side psychiatric ward, was written by Tricia Brouk with music and lyrics by Flagler Palm Coast High School alumnus Andrew David Sotomayor. The show originally premiered at West End Theatre in New York City in April 2014 and will be performed in Palm Coast for 12 shows opening April 24.
“It’s a fascinating exploration of these young people coping with the stresses that have been sent their way,” said John Sbordone, artistic director of CRT.
Brouk describes the show as a little “Orange is the New Black” meets “Girl Interrupted” meets “Friends.”
“Pain is pain,” Brouk wrote in the show’s description. “We all know it, we all feel it, we all relate to it. Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about. ‘Committed’ is a theatrical experience that brings awareness to mental illness and with compassion and humor, try to get past the suffering.”
She said the hope is to use art to de-stigmatize mental illness and get people talking about it. Brouk and Sotomayor spent time researching illnesses and giving life to the characters, realizing through their development process that there’s something for everyone to connect with; whether it’s being the new person or somebody who suffers from clinical depression.
The show’s dark but beautiful approach to the issue of mental illness is something that CRT director Sbordone was drawn to in addition to the opportunity to work off a new script. But the kicker was the chance to bring Sotomayer’s work back to Flagler County.
“We often hear of the athletic exploits of local graduates, but it is rare that one has achieved this special height in the performing arts,” Sbordone said. “What better for a theater that’s doing different and edgier stuff than to bring home a local talent that’s been off in New York and having great success.”
Sotomayor said it’s almost difficult to wrap his head around a Palm Coast theater performing a show that he co-wrote.
“It’s so huge for me personally because I grew up in that community,” Sotomayor said, noting that when he was growing up, there were few places to perform musical theater. “The fact that a theater in my hometown exists is amazing, and them wanting to perform original work is amazing.”
Five of the eight cast members selected for the Palm Coast show are young adults who have graduated from Flagler County schools.
“That’s quite beautiful: it’s really amazing that there are FPC grads in the show,” Sotomayor said. “It’s such a gift to be able to have young artists perform your work, period. But, people from my hometown, who come from a similar experience — without even knowing them, we share something.”
On that same note, Sotomayor hopes that by a Palm Coast theater choosing to perform a show co-written by a product of Palm Coast, that it gives some encouragement to those reaching for the stars.
“I hope it serves as an example for all the young artists growing up in Palm Coast that it is possible to go after your dream,” Sotomayor said. “You can move to New York and write a musical.”
Kelly Nelson Rivera
IF YOU GO
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays April 24 through May 10
Where: City Repertory Theatre, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Suite B207, Palm Coast
Tickets: $25 for adults and $15 with a student ID. Call 585-9415.