I recently had dinner with good friend and good playwright Eric Weinberger, whose latest work, Wanda’s World, played to sell-out crowds at New York’s 45th Street Theater this winter. The musical, which he co-penned with composer/lyricist Beth Falcone, received rave reviews, including one from Steven Suskin in Variety calling it “…a bright, endearing musical comedy.”
Despite audience demand, though, Wanda’s World couldn’t run longer because the wonderful non-profit organization that presented the play, Amas Musical Theater, can only afford to mount four-week runs. Eric and his partners are trying to arrange for another run, but producing theater—especially in New York—means investing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Eric’s off-Broadway play Class Mothers garnered a Drama Desk nomination for its star, Priscilla Lopez. Several of Eric’s fine plays have been produced and one, Tea For Three: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty which he co-wrote with Elaine Bromka, has been touring the country since January, 2004. The man has credentials.
If you believe that good work—whether it be theater, literature, art, music, or dance—eventually finds a way to an audience, Eric has every right to be optimistic. Wanda’s World is indeed a cheery, entertaining romp through the ‘tween years. The music has bounce and verve, the libretto plenty of jokes for the kids and wit for the adults. Let’s hope Wanda finds a new stage.