A playwright from Lexington is heading to the Big Apple to showcase her musical creation.
“One More Fine Day” is a dark musical comedy written by Lexington native Caitlyn Leonard. The play, which features 14 songs, focuses on the adventures of Teddy Sewell, an agoraphobic with avoidant personality disorder, who is admitted to a mental institution in 1974. The play was based on Leonard, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which means she goes through cycles of mania and depression if not treated.
The play was recently accepted into the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City, where it will be performed on July 20, 23 and 24. The festival features plays, variety shows and staged readings.
Leonard said she was happy when she found out her play was admitted into the festival and “amazing” was too bland of a word to describe her feelings of going to New York to put on her play. She called it a humbling experience.
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“I’m so happy,” she said. “I’m thrilled. I’m ready to go up there and make people laugh.”
Although the play focuses on mental health, usually a serious topic, Leonard said she found a way to make the issue humorous. Leonard said musical theater lends itself to comedy, which makes people laugh but also highlights harsh truths.
“I think that you can laugh at it and you can want to help them at the same time,” she said. “I think that sometimes laughing at it is the only way to cope with it.”
For example, a song called “Double Time” features several characters trying to rate their problems, such as anxieties, on a scale of 1 to 10. Leonard said the scene is based in reality.
“You basically reduce your current state to a set of numbers, and that’s a really interesting experience to have, especially four or five times a day,” she said.
The musical features musicians from the Lexington area and the actors are from Kentucky, including School for the Creative and Performing Arts graduate Scott DiMeo and local artist Michael Mau, who has performed at Bluegrass Opera and the Woodford Theatre.
“In this area, we are rich, honestly, we are rich with onstage talent,” Leonard said.
Leonard said the play’s music was influenced by Burt Bacharach, a songwriter and composer who produced many popular songs such as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and “I Say A Little Prayer” from the 1950s to 1980s. The lyrics in the play are simple, romantic and sincere, just like Bacharach's.
The play, which is recommended for teenagers and older, is about 90 minutes long.
Before the play is performed in New York, the Leeds Center For The Arts in Winchester is hosting the show on July 16 as a fundraiser to pay for the cast’s trip to New York. There is no set price for tickets, encouraging patrons to pay what they can.
Caleb Leonard, who is Caitlyn’s husband and plays the lead role, said, “Five bucks, we can make that stretch a long way.”
If you go
“One More Fine Day” musical
When: July 16, 7:30 pm
Where: Leeds Center for the Arts, 37 N. Main St., Winchester
Tickets: Pay what you can