“Resolved: that Hal Hefner should really stop letting the world tell him what’s possible and try to find out for himself.”
In the new Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical comedy, Rocket Science, worlds are falling apart all over New Jersey. Families are breaking up, perfect, shiny haired academics are collapsing under the pressure of being perfect shiny haired academics, and sixteen year old Hal Hefner is free falling.
Richard Rodgers Award Luncheon, 2010: Front row: Allison Hubbard (Buddy’s Tavern), Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Weiner (Rocket Science); Back row: Raymond De Felitta (Buddy’s Tavern), Kim Oler (Buddy’s Tavern), Patricia Cotter (Rocket Science), Jason Rhyne (Rocket Science).
Based on the HBO movie of the same name, (written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz, Spellbound), Rocket Science is the story of Hal Hefner, life long stutterer and odd ball. He is bright, funny and stuck behind a wall of words he can’t quite get out of his mouth — until Queen of the Debate Team, Jenny Ryerson, plucks him from high school obscurity and entreats him join the High School Forensics Team. It’s love at first tsunami and soon Hal begins a life altering journey to tackle his biggest challenge: finding his true voice.
Rocket Science is the anti-high school musical. A musical for anybody stuck at the back of the lunch line, hoping for pizza, but knowing, odds are, they’re going to get stuck with the fish fillet; for the ones last chosen in gym class; for those who sat home with their parents on Prom Night. It’s a story of one boy’s determination, obsession and bravery to go after what he wants, even when what he wants makes no sense considering who he is. High School Debate might not be Rocket Science, but it is about being brave, and about risking everything just for the chance to stand in the light of the one you love, even if it’s just for a moment.
Rocket Science was selected to be in the Village Theater 2009 Festival of New Musicals in Seattle, directed by Brandon Ivie, and was done by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August of 2009 as well, directed by Andrew Panton. The Richard Rodgers readings directed by Kathleen Marshall occurred in October 2010 at Playwrights Horizons, and the show will be further developed in readings at the LA Music Theater Festival in August 2011 — as well as at the Penn State Musical theater program in the fall of 2011.
We’re doing a concert at the D Lounge on September 10, 2012 to feature some of the songs, followed by a Bound for Broadway concert at the Kaufman Center on September 24, 2012. Village Theater is producing the show in January so we are excited about that.
Stay tuned for news of full productions of the show in the future. A few selections are included on the media page.