Book and Lyrics by Jenny Stafford
Music by Willem Oosthuysen
Prodigy tells the story of a young woman’s growing up, showing her simultaneously at age 14 and age 24. Emily, at age 14, is convinced that she’s a prodigy, just like her two heroes—her dad (a cellist) and Mozart. She just doesn’t know at what. However, when Emily is told that her father is killed in a car crash right before his biggest competition, she is determined to find out what makes her special and make him proud. With the help of her imaginary friend, Mozart, she sets off on a quest to find her skill. Meanwhile, her mother, devastated by the loss of her husband, becomes stoic and watches TV all day. As Emily and her mother alienate each other further and further in their grief, their relationship is soon destroyed.
Through non-linear storytelling, we also follow Emily, age 24. Having found her skill as a cellist like her father (though not prodigious), she has buried herself in the obsessive world of the cello, and Cello (portrayed by an actor throughout the piece) becomes the only real relationship in her life. However, as she starts to discover the limitations of her relationship with her cello and is confronted with a series of real-life relationships, she starts to wonder if perhaps the skill she spent her life trying to find is also the skill that limited her.
Prodigy was a finalist for the Yale Institute for Musical Theatre and the Barrington Stage Mainstage, and has been presented at New York University’s Collaborative Development Program, Indiana University, and the Two Rivers Theatre.
Alyse Alan Louis, Cyrilla Baer, James Sasser, Stephen Mark, Patrick Burr, Tara Halpern. Cello: Alden Terry