The Elements Theatre Collective will offer the world premiere staged reading of Training: The Musical by versatile composer-lyricist-actor Joe Schermann at 8 p.m. Friday in Reds, 211 Helena Ave. in Santa Barbara, and at 8 p.m. Saturday in Java Station, 4447 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.
Schermann lives in Brooklyn and describes himself as “a composer/lyricist/singer/actor/pianist/musical director/vocal coach/strong supporter of slashes.” Last March, the feature-length indie film musical How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song?, starring Schermann and with music and lyrics by him, premiered at the Phoenix Film Festival.
In case you should come to Training expecting a set resembling Gold’s Gym, teaming with sweaty, attractive young people who sing as they work out — or a military installation bristling with smartly uniformed, attractive young recruits who sing as they crisscross the parade ground — it might help you to know that the working title of the piece was Subway Stories. The attractive young people in Training: The Musical ride subway trains.
The Elements Theatre Collective — it has an edgy, 1930s, Waiting for Lefty sound to it, doesn’t it? — describes the upcoming show as follows: “This ensemble piece, set entirely on the 2 and Q trains of the Big Apple’s subway line, features a diverse cast of characters. A freelance musician, a pair of restaurant workers, a well-paid photo-retoucher and his not-quite-engaged-to girlfriend, a homeless panhandler, an office worker and a quirky young woman who rides the trains just for the sake of riding trains are among the strange-to-seemingly-ordinary people you’ll meet on this line. Many questions will be asked, some may be answered. Some people will grow out of their habits and cycles, others will just keep riding the same train over and over again. Such is New York. Such is life.”
Training also marks Schermann’s professional debut as a musical theater book-writer. Whenever artists, wherever their home base, have a work showing in Santa Barbara, they often find a way of being in town for the event, so I wouldn’t be surprised if …
Admission to Training is free at both venues, but you might want to go online to reserve your spot by clicking here.