The Eleventh Hour @ Town Stages

"She left me here alone in the minor D." - Nevin Denham

The Eleventh Hour

Smugbug Productions
Town Stages, 221 West Broadway

June 25, 2018

What do time travel, black holes, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and rock'n'roll have in common?

Why, the end of the world of course!

Or at least that's what they say in the romping, rollicking good time that is The Eleventh Hour, a hilarious and clever musical written by David Seamon. It has all the trappings of a so-bad-that-it's-good made for SyFy movie about black holes, married with the punchy, enthusiastic spirit of high school theater nerds who refuse to grow up. And it's brilliant in its absurdity.

What would you do at the end of the world? Go to church? Find your loved ones? Drown your woes in alcohol? Snuggle with a puppy?

In elementary school, I developed a mortal fear of volcanoes. I think there was an iMax special at the Albuquerque Museum of Nature and Science, and for weeks I couldn't stop thinking about them. My bedroom window looked out on a huge backyard with a flower-filled hill that sloped down DIRECTLY into my room. As an 11-year old, I didn't even have to try imagining gushing walls of lava flowing down that flowerbed and melting my flesh as I slept. Even after convincing my mom to move the bed to the other side of the room I HAD to keep my curtains 100% closed at night. No light leaking in. To this day I'm still nervous to sleep with the curtains open.

The reason I tell this story is because I became obsessed with thinking about what I'd save if lava came rushing down my backyard (which was bound to happen any day now). There wouldn't be much time, so I'd obviously only be able to carry 3 things. I'd definitely grab my teddy bear and my violin. The third item fluctuated - would it be my stuffed dolphin, or my water bottle? My first Beanie Baby, or a Rubick's cube? A Harry Potter book, or a Nancy Drew book? What was worthy of surviving the end of (my) world??

Like many episodes of South Park, The Eleventh Hour embedded a heartfelt message between the lines of song. Nevin, Amy's boyfriend, doesn't want to move with her to New York City (they live in New Brunswick, NJ). He's comfortable where he is. He plays guitar in a basement rock band. Life is generally good, and New Brunswick is home. This - more than the speedily approaching black hole - will probably result in their breakup.

But, much like flipping a coin, Nevin realizes at the moment of impending doom that he wants to be with Amy more than he wants the comfort of New Brunswick. The "11th hour" is when we realize what we truly wanted all along, it just took us a while to figure out. Here's hoping we didn't lose it along the way.

If lava had come rushing down my garden terrace, I probably would have forgotten everything (including my teddy bear). I'd probably grab my parents and my dog, leaving myself to wonder forever what the third object could have been. Thanks to the team at The Eleventh Hour, I know it doesn't really matter, because "nothing is ever gone, it's just a decrescendo."

Image courtesy The Eleventh Hour website

Ticket price: $35

My price: $10

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Pasi Brothers Productions
Smugbug Productions
Dan Swern, Christopher Pasi, and David Seamon present
The Eleventh Hour!

Tam Justin Garcia (Nevin Denham)
Rachelle Legrand (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)
Christopher Pasi (Astor Whitewater)
Joshuah D. Simpson (Shawn Ryan)
Kara Willow (Amy Leonardo)
Brianne Wylie (Thelma/Leslie)

Creative Team:
David Seamon (Book, Music, and Lyrics)
Annie Rutherford Lutz (Lighting Design)
Joey Braccino (Lighting Design)
Dustin Ballard (Sound Design)
Mary Gragen Rogers (Properties and Puppetry)
David Seamon (Music Direction)

Skyler Fortgang
Emily Goggin
Chris Neptune
Greg Salmon

General Management by Smugbug Productions
Dan Swern, Owner and Producer
Hannah M'Lynn, Company Manager

Originally commissioned and developed by coLAB Arts. Based on a story by David Seamon, Annie Rutherford Lutz, and Shimmy Schwartz for coLAB Arts.

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