Photograph by David Bartlett
Original Production - New York International Fringe Festival 2013
Production photography by Jonah Jonathan
. . . Background information on The Hat . . .
The Hat is an original, experimental play written by Melissa R. Randel. A veteran of A Chorus Line, Randel examines Michael Bennett's iconic choreography from a personal perspective.
"The Hat was inspired by an event that occurred while I was touring in the Bus and Truck Company of A Chorus Line. My father, a jazz musician, died unexpectedly while we were on tour, in New Orleans. The news was delivered to me after a performance, as I walked through Louis Armstrong Park. The juxtaposition of Broadway glamour and human frailty was profound and theatrical. This event became the inspiration for The Hat.”
The Hat centers around a family of artists and their dreams: realized, derailed, deferred. A father's descent into alcoholism coincides with his daughter's Broadway debut. Stories of benign neglect, abuse, and abandonment, are told by two unreliable narrators: mother and daughter. The women’s physical world is small compared to the man’s oversized arm chair, but each finds magic in her tiny props and set pieces, as long scarves appear out of nowhere and tether the women to The Musician. Ultimately, both women transform love without reciprocity into personal triumph.
In early incarnations of The Hat, The Musician, played by jazz trombonist David Gibson (www.jazzbone.org) played all the male roles. In solo versions of The Hat, The Musician speaks only through his instrument, through original compositions by Gibson.
Set against a backdrop of swing era jazz and Broadway glamour, it is a story about love, failure, redemption, and the mutable nature of truth. The Hat premiered at the 17th Annual New York International Fringe Festival in 2013.
© Leap In the Dark Productions