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Melancholy Play

Book and Lyrics by Sarah Ruhl

Music by Todd Almond

“Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical” is playwright Sarah Ruhl's first musical based on her 2002 play of the same title. It tells the story of Tilly, whose melancholy is of such exquisite quality that it causes every stranger she meets to fall in love with her. One day, inexplicably, Tilly becomes happy, and wreaks havoc on the lives of her paramours.  Tilly’s hairdresser becomes so melancholy that she turns into an almond and it’s up to Tilly to get her back.  


Twin Cities Stages ~ "Theatre Elision has done it again, produced a musical theater piece that I have never heard of before and is delightfully absurd . . . This work, like all the work I have seen by Theatre Elision, requires actors who can both hit musical notes and comedic notes, and they have yet to disappoint me . . . I am always so charmed by their work."

Cherry and Spoon ~ ". . . the music is so beautiful it at times brought tears to my eyes.  In contrast, the lyrics are silly and whimsical (I swear I heard "Cheetos, Doritos, and cheddar goldfish" at one point).  The contradiction makes for a delicious combination. . . a wonderful five-person cast who sing and work well together . . . so perfectly brings this charming and quirky little piece to life."


Enjoy our Highlights Video!

And Our Production Photos!

by Amy Stockhaus

Cast & Creative

Tara Schaefle
Ben Rubenstein
Jim Ahrens
Christine Wade
Ruthie Baker
Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, Dear Elizabeth and Stage Kiss. She has been a two-time Pulitzer prize finalist and a Tony award nominee. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, often with premiers at Yale Repertory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and have been translated into over twelve languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has received the Susan Smith Blackburn award, the Whiting award, the Lily Award, a PEN award for mid-career playwrights, and the MacArthur "genius" award. Her book of essays 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write was published by Faber and Faber last fall and named a Times notable book of the year. You can read more about her work on She teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and she lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Todd Almond is a composer, lyricist and playwright. Theatre includes original music for the recent Broadway production of Noises Off (Roundabout Theatre Company); book for Girlfriend (songs by Matthew Sweet, directed by Les Waters; CTG); book, music and lyrics for Kansas City Choir Boy (also starred alongside Courtney Love, directed by Kevin Newbury; Prototype Festival, American Repertory Theater, Center Theatre Group); music, lyrics and book/adaptation for The Odyssey, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest (directed by Lear deBessonet; Delacorte Theater, The Public Theater’s Public Works Program); Iowa (a collaboration with play-wright Jenny Schwartz, directed by Ken Rus Shmoll; Playwrights Horizons); score for Melancholy Play (a chamber-musical version of Sarah Ruhl’s play).

Todd Almond


Piano:             Harrison Wade

Violin:             Mary Alice Hutton            

Violin:             Fangye Sun        

Viola:              Anne Ainomae          

Cello:             Rosa Thompson-Vieira         

Production Team

Director:                     Lindsay Redman

Music Director:          Harrison Wade

Vocal Director:           Christine Wade

Stage Manager:         Krin McMillen

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