Reporting Sara Boyd Pelissero
They say you should always write what you know and for a local couple, they’re taking that notion both to heart — and to the stage.
Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble have been married for nearly 14 years and during that time they’ve collected quite a bit of anecdotes and experiences along the way.
The duo, who were also behind March’s “Kingdom Undone,” decided to write a musical about marriage somewhat for a bit of free therapy and also to share a story they hope several can relate to.
Shying away from the political spotlight and the definition of marriage, the Gambles say they chose to instead highlight the ups and downs of being in a committed relationship.
Jeremiah Gamble gives us a few more details.
Tell us a little about your new show, “Til Death: A Marriage Musical.”
Til Death follows the story of Ethan and Olivia, a couple in marital midlife crisis who find themselves stuck in a remote cabin with newlywed strangers who arrive with a fanny pack of secrets.
Obviously there’s a lot of similarities with the show and you and your wife’s reality – the couple is celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary, you guys are approaching your 14th. Is this based off your personal experiences?
There’s definitely some fact mixed with fiction in this show. As I began to flesh out these characters I found myself often drawing on very familiar source material. As we say in our opening song, ‘There’s more drama here than just what’s on the page.’
At a time when marriage is very much in the political spotlight, you guys have chosen to remain neutral and shy away from the political angle. What was behind that decision?
In our politically charged culture there’s a lot of outward energy directed at the “opposition” (especially in an election year). We wanted to take an inward look at our own struggles with trying to practice forgiveness and live out a committed relationship.
What made you want to write a musical about marriage?
We always learn something new when we write a show — about life, about ourselves. Creating art is therapeutic and frankly, after 14 years of marriage and running a theater company together, we thought a little self induced “art therapy” wouldn’t hurt.
Tell us about the music in this show.
We’re big fans of Stephen Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown. I’d like to think our music is akin to theirs, but that’s probably just wishful thinking. There’s quite a variety of musical styles that fit the many moods of the piece– ranging from tango to ukele-driven elven folk.
You partnered with three other real-life married couples for this show — Michael and Joy Donley, Nathan and Stephanie Cousins and Betsy and Corey Mills. What was that experience like?
We always enjoy connecting with people who work with their spouse — it’s a unique dynamic. And certainly to be working with other creative couples on a piece about marriage added an extra layer … affording plenty of “my husband totally does the same thing” eye-rolls, or “you see what I have to put up with?” looks. Seriously though, these are all people we love working with and have worked with before, and it’s even sweeter when we can all be working alongside our best-friend/teammate.
What’s it like working with your spouse, on a show about marriage?
Vanessa and I collaborate on all of our shows. It goes pretty smoothly for the most part. Of course there are those times where we’ll get all petty over a lyric or melody line on a song about forgiveness. It’s rather comical, really.
Who should come see this show?
Anyone who is in a serious relationship, who has been in a serious relationship, or is thinking about being in a serious relationship. And/or people who like to laugh.
‘Til Death runs from Oct. 24 to Oct. 28 at the Open Window Theatre in Minneapolis. For tickets and more information, click here.