Get Me Home: A Travel Opera in Three Acts
By Neal Learner (2020)
Get Me Home: A Travel Opera in Three Acts follows the adventures of Maxine T. Heart, an American expat, as she rushes home to see her father who was injured in a bicycling accident. Set in three 10-minute acts, the sung-through musical calls for four characters (2 men, 2 women) playing various roles:
- Act I is set in a foreign airport as Maxine tries to sort out a ticketing snafu that almost prevents her from leaving.
- Act II is set in the hospital where Maxine reunites with her mother and younger brother, and sorts through some family issues beyond her dad’s injury.
- Act III is set in a restaurant of Maxine’s adopted country where she kindles a romance with the luggage handler who helped her overcome an obstinate ticket agent.
Get Me Home is a musical odyssey that distills a series of real-life scenarios to their emotional essence, touching on themes of mortality, family, stress, jealousy, and love. The show calls for four characters — young adult male/female and senior adult male/female — with each act lasting roughly 10 minutes. The story is entirely sung through with solos, duets and four-part harmonies, all accompanied by piano. Maxine is the consistent in each act while other actors change characters to reflect the story. Short narrations establish each act, and minimalist scenery is arranged to set each scene.
(See below Acts I & II performed below by Taphouse Theatre, Dallas, Texas; and demo recordings of Acts I, II & III)
Taphouse Theatre performance of Act I and II
demo recordings of three acts
LIFE: A Comic Opera in Three Short Acts
By Neal Learner (2016)
Life is as grand! Not always in the sense that it’s “wonderful and pleasurable” but rather in that it’s large and intrinsically dramatic. Life is funny/sad, painful/sensual, anxious/confident, exciting/boring, loud/quiet, hateful/loving, beautiful/ugly, desirous/repulsive and everything else in between. It has three distinct phases: beginning, middle and end. And there’s nothing anyone can do to change that. Life: A Comic Opera in Three Short Acts sets to music this grand topic in the only medium up to the task – opera! The work features a mother and father and their twin children, a boy and a girl, as they experience the flow of life in all of its subtle and not-so-subtle moments.
(See below full performance and scenes from 2017 Capital Fringe Festival performance)
Prohibition: The Musical
Book, music and lyrics by Neal Learner (2019)
Beer: the bubbling source of happiness and headaches for generations of college students. Raise your tankards high…drink, drink! Such is the scene at American College, where students imbibe daily at the ultra-hip Blind Pig, a campus-based artisan microbrewery run by charismatic brewmaster Adolphus Busch. All is jolly until a series of beer-fueled incidents stokes the college leadership into action. A near-fatal car crash of an intoxicated female student is the last straw. The administration, led by President Wilson and Regents Volstead and Nation, passes an amendment effectively banning beer on campus…prohibition! On the 100th anniversary of the 18th Amendment, which banned sale and distribution of intoxicating beverages nationwide, the modern college campus once again grapples with turbulent questions around alcohol. Is drinking culture out of control? When do good intentions infringe on personal freedoms? When is it right to defy authority? What drives people to get trashed?
“Prohibition: The Musical” takes a modern-day look at America’s dry history, delivering the crisp, cool satisfaction of a tall pale ale.
Sometimes you have to break the rules to defend your rights, but a little moderation goes a long way.
(See below full demo recording and breakout songs)