Ellie Gallagher’s ‘PC Girl Cabaret’ heads to the Big Apple
What: “PC Girl Cabaret”
When: 3 p.m., Sunday, April 14
Where: Triad Theatre, New York City
Ellie Gallagher’s “PC Girl Cabaret” is heading to the Big Apple.
The comedic and sometimes-poignant account of Gallagher’s experience living in Park City for the past 20 years will run for one day only at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at the Triad Theater, just off Broadway in New York.
“This is a childhood dream,” Gallagher said. “I always wanted to perform in New York. I’m a Broadway, big-city girl who lives in a mountain town.”
Gallagher premiered “PC Girl Cabaret” at Downstairs in April 2018, with the idea of giving tourists a taste of what it’s like to live in the resort town.
“It was also to show people that it isn’t where you come from and where you live that defines you,” she said. “While those things may shape your life, they don’t make you who you are.”
Gallagher has added and refined the production that will perform with Utah Conservatory co founder Debra Cook, and local professional actors and singers Jordyn Aspyn and Josh Durfey.
Incidentally, Gallagher said, Cook will perform her musicals “Jilted to Perfections: A Mor-mom’s Love” at the Triad a day before “PC Girl” opens.
“We felt it would be more convenient to do both shows that weekend,” Gallagher said.
Cook suggested Gallagher take “PC Girl Cabaret” to New York in January.
Cook reached out to Bernie Furshpan, the Triad’s managing partner, and booked the show after a few emails, Gallagher said.
Gallagher never thought she would perform a cabaret show in New York.
“When I am cast in other shows, I’m cast in very specific roles,” she said. “Through those castings, I have learned that I can’t play the ingenue, because my style belongs in a cabaret.”
Gallagher’s involvement with the local musical fundraiser, “Giving a Bleep,” directed by Annette Velarde, helped Gallagher hone in on her love for storytelling.
“Annette wrote several monologues for me one year, and she let me play around with them,” Gallagher said. “So when I did them, I really felt like I was talking with the audience, and I found that’s what I enjoyed the most. I felt like I needed to do something like that, so the idea of ‘PC Girl Cabaret’ came out of my love for storytelling.”
Gallagher has refined her production over the past year.
“While the flow of the show has remained the same, we have adjusted songs and added some new stories,” she said.
While most of the stories are autobiographical, Gallagher has intertwined accounts from other Park City residents.
“I don’t journal, but I do is record locals’ stories, with their permission, of course,” Gallagher said with a laugh.
Gallagher will record these interviews on her phone and then flesh them out.
“I make the characters anonymous and turn them into spots that fill the transitions of the show,” she said.
Two places where Gallagher did some of her interviews were a CrossFit class and at Walmart.
“Our CrossFit classes and our Walmart are different than other CrossFits and Walmarts in the world,” she said. “Our CrossFit is like an Olympic training center, and our Walmart is like the Nordstrom of the Walmart chain. I mean, when did Walmart start carrying Ralph Lauren?”
Although each story Gallagher has recorded is different, she has noticed some recurring themes.
The differences between the second-homeowners and year-round residents is one theme, while dating is another.
“When I moved her 20-plus years ago from Boston, the dating scene was basically three single guys between the ages of 18 to 24 to one single girl,” Gallagher said. “While that demographic has evened out, because there are many older single women here because of divorces, it’s still slim pickings for girls.
The reason for the lack of choices is the personalities of the men, Gallagher has found through her interviews.
“Young guys come to Park City to ski or mountain bike and live the adventure,” she said. “They are generally free spirits who aren’t looking to settle down.”
That’s not to say that women can’t find their husbands here, because they do, according to Gallagher.
“But generally, Park City isn’t really the place to do that,” she said.
“PC Girl Cabaret” also changes, depending on who is performing with Gallagher. The New York performance will feature some mashups that were co-written by Aspyn and Durfey.
Gallagher calls one of these segments the “Money Mashup,” based on what if feels like to be a wealthy older woman – a “cougar” – in Park City.
“It features the song ‘‘Bring on the Men’ from ‘Jekyll and Hyde,’ and we tell the story about ski instructors who wind up teaching a cougar a private lesson,” she said.
The other mashup is in the finale, where Gallagher performs “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple,” and “Colors of Paradise” from “The Spitfire Grill.”
Mash-ups do require special licensing, but Gallagher found it easy to get permission to use the songs.
“I also went through the whole show and make sure we had all the rights of the songs through publishing companies,” she said.
Getting the permission for “Colors of Paradise” was different.
“It was originally produced as a small off-Broadway production, so I reached out to the composers directly,” Gallagher said. “And after a quick couple of emails, they gave me permission.”
When Gallagher returns to Park City next week, she will shop for a permanent venue.
“Downstairs and its owner Seth Hill, are great, but it’s hard getting people to come during the summer,” she said. “Also, cabaret is traditionally done on a stage in a place where there cocktails and food are served.”
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