January 5th, 2022 7pm Stage 2
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Alex Bechtel's 'Penelope' performed by Grace McLean
“Penelope” is a new concert musical created by Alex Bechtel and performed by Grace McLean of Broadway's "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812" and "In the Green".
Director: Eva Steinmetz
Violin: Erica Swindell
Viola: Laura Sacks
Cello: Kristine Kruta
Drums: Hiroki Matsuura
At the beginning of the pandemic, forced to quarantine in separate cities from his romantic partner, Bechtel began to write music from the point of view of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in Homer’s “Odyssey”. Thoughtful, stirring string-based instrumental pieces combine with powerful rock and pop-inspired musical theatre songs to tell the 10 year tale of the Odyssey from the perspective of one single day in Penelope’s life: the day she hopes will be her last one spent waiting for her husband to return. The solo role of Penelope is performed with chilling pathos by McLean.
Conceived as an album, and now expanded into a work of concert theatre, “Penelope” is a chance for audiences to gather in person and release through music their memories of isolation, longing, and grief.
Alex Bechtel is the creator/composer of numerous plays and musicals, most recently “The Appointment” with Lightning Rod Special. Named Best of 2019 by The New York Times, TimeOut NY, and Vulture, “The Appointment” received Critic’s Pick reviews in the New York Times and TimeOut NY, and five Barrymore Award nominations for its Philadelphia run. He is a company member of Lightning Rod Special.
Grace McLean is a multi-hyphenate actress-singer-writer-teacher on the rise. In addition to performing on Broadway (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) and Off (New Group, MCC, LCT3, Public, La MaMa, Vineyard, among others), Grace also makes time for her acclaimed original music with her band Grace McLean & Them Apples. Grace is a Broadway Women’s Fund 2021 Woman to Watch on Broadway. She is a Writer In Residence at Lincoln Center Theater where her first original musical “In the Green” was commissioned and produced, received a 2020 Richard Rodgers Award, and earned her a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical.