By: Dale King Contributing Writer
You never know what will inspire the creation of a stage musical.
Boca Bound, the music-packed production crafted by a pair of Boca residents, traces its roots to a woman’s immobilizing leg injury and the kind deed by friends who encouraged her to find some “intellectual stimulation” to help out during her lengthy recuperation.
What transpired after a year of recovery and two years of relentless writing and music composition is a slice-of-life, “Oh, that happened to a friend of mine” musical story that hits the local stage later this month, said the show’s author, Bonnie Logan.
The premiere performance of Boca Bound will take place Sept. 19-22 at the Wick Theatre. It is based on Logan’s book, with music and lyrics by Richard Peshkin. The first-time playwright and the composer both call Boca Raton home.
The show includes 19 songs performed by an eight-piece musical group. The performers plan to release a cast album afterward.
A team effort, Boca Bound is being produced by White Ibis Productions. Michael J. Moritz Jr., recipient of a 2019 Tony Award as a co-producer of Hadestown on Broadway, is the production’s music supervisor and vocal arranger. Chad Larabee will direct the production.
“I am excited to start working with this phenomenal cast and creative team,” said Larabee, who just arrived a few weeks ago to begin rehearsals. “We are fortunate to be working with an eclectic array of actors and artists from South Florida, Broadway, national tours and regional theatres from across the country.”
Businesswoman Bonnie Logan, the woman at the center of the project, was active with her own career and her husband’s work. A couple of years ago, they were leaving a restaurant when she caught her foot in the grate of a storm drain and fell, severely injuring her leg and damaging a replaced knee.
During “a year of trying to get well,” she was visited by her good friends, Karen and Richard Peshkin. Richard, a retired physician with considerable experience in music, suggested she needed “intellectual stimulation” and proposed she write a story.
“You decide what it’s going to be about,” Richard told Bonnie. “Here are a couple of songs I wrote – think of them as inspiration. I’ll be back in a few days,” she recalled him saying.
“Karen and I knew Bonnie as a friend,” Peshkin said. “And we were aware she has a great sense of humor. Little did we know that she has great writing skills and a strong ear for dialogue.”
“I wrote all the time, for work, but never for theatre,” Logan said. “And other than being able to tell stories about anything, I never thought writing for theatre, let alone musical theatre, was in my future… not even for a second.”
Logan said the project was moving along when it hit a wall. “We were in a crisis” that needed solving. She happened to attend a show at the Polo Club featuring Michael Moritz. “I literally ran to the stage after and asked him to help.” He did – and became the show’s musical supervisor and vocal arranger.”
Peshkin wrote the music and the preparation went along. “I learned that writing. “You have to be a team player,” he said. “Musically, I learned that writing lyrics within the framework of a story is much easier than trying to start from scratch without a particular theme. Thus, I wrote each song’s lyrics first before adding the melody. In the past, it was random.”
“And I learned very quickly that I didn’t need 20 years of experience to write a meaningful and honest story,” Logan noted. “You can learn the technical skills necessary if you’re passionate and not afraid to work hard (and we worked very hard). And special people can always be found to help you learn what you need.”
“What I discovered was what I really needed, I already had … a lifetime of stories to tell.”
Boca Bound tells the tale of Nadine, a successful New York attorney. When a significant change occurs in her well-ordered life, she must learn to adapt – and to reassess. A trip to Boca Raton, re-connections with friends and family and the possibility of a future she had often dreamed of but never believed could happen, lead Nadine on a journey of discovery – about the choices she has made and those she can still make in order to find fulfillment and happiness.
The cast includes Neva Rae Powers as Nadine, Missy McArdle as Gert and Steve Carroll as Allan. Other cast members include Philip Chaffin, Justin Figueroa, Ashley Wilcox, Gail Byer, J.R. Coley, Peter Librach, Janna Morrison, Colleen Pagano and Troy Stanley.
A portion of proceeds will benefit the Pap Corps, a cancer-fighting organization founded in 1952. It has donated a total of $110 million to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, including a historic $50 million pledge in 2016.
The Pap Corps gets its name from Dr. George Papanicolaou, a pioneer in cytopathology and early cancer detection, who introduced the world to the revolutionary “Pap” test to find cancer in women.
To purchase tickets, visit www.thewick.org or www.bocaboundmusical.com, or call 561-995-2333.