The World Premiere of

Falling for Make Believe

Music by
Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by
Lorenz Hart
Book by
Mark Saltzman

Falling For Make Believe
Brett Ryback, Ben D. Goldberg

Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Public Relations
Musical Direction
Technical Director
Wigs & Hair
Assistant Lighting Designer
Dance Captain
Script Coordinator
Production Crew

Light Board Operator
Sound Engineer
Stage Crew
Key Art
Production Photography

Jim Fall
Jeff McLaughlin
Dianne K. Graebner
Sohail e Najafi
Drew Dalzell
Leesa Freed
Brian Cordoba
David Elzer/Demand PR
Keith Harrison
Lisa Hopkins
Robert T. Kyle
Cassie Russek
Eric A. Mitchell
Jeffrey Landman
John Wells
Mark Bate, Watson Bradshaw,
Cuyler Perry, Christopher Rivera
Kathryn Horan
Sean Kozma
Andrea Dean, Genetra Tull
Doirean Heldt
Michael Lamont

(in order of appearance)

Fletcher Mecklin
Richard Rodgers
Peggy/Dorothy Rodgers/Police Woman
Lorenz (Larry) Hart
Doc Bender
Vivian Ross

Tyler Milliron
Brett Ryback/Alan Everman
Megan Moran/Jordan Kai Burnett
Ben D. Goldberg
Jeffrey Landman
Rebecca Ann Johnson


Conductor/Keyboard 1
Keyboard 2

Kathyrin Lounsbery
Jesse Wiener
Larry Tuttle
Brian Boyce



Blue Moon

Falling In Love with Love

I Could Write a Book

I Wish I Were In Love Again

Isn’t It Romantic?

Johnny One Note

The Lady Is a Tramp


Mountain Greenery

My Funny Valentine

My Heart Stood Still

Nobody’s Heart

Pal Joey

Sing for Your Supper

This Can’t Be Love

Where or When

With a Song In My Heart

You Are Too Beautiful

 You Mustn’t Kick It Around

You Took Advantage of Me

1927 - 1943


New York City

Running Time

Approximately 2 hours including intermission


Q: I imagine our audience will be surprised by the way you’ve represented Rodgers and Hart in your play.

A: It was kind of a surprise to me, too, as I researched. Their songs and shows; I’ve known them since I was very young, but there was little written about their actual relationship, only hints that it was "difficult." But the details of Lorenz Hart’s – a gay theater celebrity’s life prior to, I’d guess, the mid-1970’s was censored from the record. Gay biography as a genre probably started with Christopher Isherwood outing himself in his memoir in the early 1970’s. But mainstream biographies of people like Noel Coward and Cole Porter, which detailed their gay lives – which is to say, a biography of their lives – didn’t begin appearing until later.

Q: Was there a Fletcher in Lorenz Hart’s life?

A: The particulars of most love affairs of gay celebrities in the pre-Stonewall era were scrupulously eradicated from the record, often by families who literally burned love letters and journals. So it’s very hard to find evidence of these past romances and we have to admire historians like George Chauncey who wrote Gay New York and have re-discovered what is essentially a lost civilization. Imagine – fill in the name of your particular ethnic group here – imagine it had every shred of its history deleted from publication prior to the Internet age. Nothing on record, only rumors. That was the state of gay history and biography prior to the Seventies. We’re still catching up. Imagine the difficulties trying to write and publish a biography of Jodie Foster, even just ten years ago.

But for gay people who are forced to live their love lives in the shadows, then and now, I wonder what happens when love enters the picture? When there’s a connection to one particular person? How does that get integrated into a closeted life? Does it? Can it? How does that work itself out? And for someone like Lorenz Hart, who wrote so often about love – what happens? The details of the Rodgers and Hart professional life are readily available with some Googling. But what’s missing, what’s been eradicated and will never be uncovered by historians, that’s for the dramatists to fill in.

Q: Anything else inspire you to pursue this story of Rodgers and Hart?

A: The notion that I’d be going to rehearsals and listening to Rodgers and Hart songs day after day. Bliss. Sometimes you just self-indulgently go with what you love.

Q: Do you have a favorite song from their works?

A: Oh, you’re making me choose. Let me dodge that for a moment, by pointing out our director Jim Fall’s favorite: "You Are Too Beautiful." He introduced me to that song and I was smitten. I knew we’d have to find a place for it in the show. "My Funny Valentine" has always been a favorite of mine, because generally a yearning lyric is set to yearning music and a comic lyric has a light, zippy tune. But here’s an example of a comic lyric ("Your looks are laughable") set to beautiful, yearning music. If a lyric tells what a character is thinking, and the song’s music tells what the character is feeling, here’s a complex state of affection: thinking one thing and feeling something else. I don’t know who, other than Rodgers and Hart, could pull off that trick. They did it again in "Falling in Love with Love" which has a pretty cynical lyric and a gorgeous, euphoric melody. Could these two contrasts, the anti-romantic and the romantic possibly co-exist in one song? Oh, they can, they can, and in that song, you can hear how.


Lorenz Hart (later 'Larry' to everyone but his mother) was born in 1895 to an affluent German immigrant family in New York. His talent for writing words to music was early evident and first put to serious use in teenage summer-camp shows.

Richard Rodgers, born in 1902 to a New York doctor's family, also got his start in summer-camp shows, but he did not meet Larry Hart until early 1919, when introduced by a mutual friend to collaborate on songs for an amateur club show. Rodgers, then only 16, was deeply impressed by Hart's seriousness and erudition in every aspect of lyric-writing; later he said "I was enchanted by this man and his ideas. Neither of us mentioned it, but we evidently knew we would work together, and I left his house having acquired in one afternoon a career, a partner, a best friend, and a permanent source of irritation."

Together, they would write some of the greatest songs of the first half of the 20th Century.

The team’s big break came in 1925 when the Theatre Guild hired them to write the entire score for The Garrick Gaieties; the show’s smash hit was the classic valentine to their home town, "Manhattan." Within the next five years they had written the music and lyrics to more than fourteen Broadway shows, including Dearest Enemy ("Here in My Arms"), The Girl Friend ("Mountain Greenery," "Blue Room"), A Connecticut Yankee ("My Heart Stood Still," "Thou Swell"), Present Arms ("You Took Advantage of Me"), and Spring Is Here ("With a Song in My Heart").

After a stint in Hollywood turning out songs for the movies ("Lover," "Isn’t It Romantic," "You Are Too Beautiful," "Dancing on the Ceiling," among others), legendary Broadway producer Billy Rose brought them back to New York to write the songs for his circus spectacular, Jumbo ("The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," "My Romance," "Little Girl Blue"). For the next seven years they had triumph after triumph on the Great White Way: On Your Toes ("There’s a Small Hotel"), Babes in Arms ("Where or When," "My Funny Valentine, "Johnny One-Note"), The Boys from Syracuse ("Falling in Love with Love," "This Can’t Be Love," "Sing for Your Supper"), Too Many Girls ("I Didn’t Know What Time It Was"), Higher and Higher ("It Never Entered My Mind"), and Pal Joey ("Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," "I Could Write a Book").

The partnership of over twenty years of two such different yet brilliantly-combining talents left us twenty-eight shows, eight movies and over 550 songs ─ a legacy for which we are the richer and the happier. Recordings by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, Barbara Cook, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Frederica Van Stade, The Supremes, Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, Michael Feinstein, Rod Stewart, and countless others, as well as informal gatherings around a piano with a copy of The Rodgers and Hart Songbook, continue to keep the songs of Rodgers and Hart alive, and as dazzling as ever.


There is a mystique about California that has fascinated the country and the world for many decades. In 1924, Al Jolsen sang "California, here I come." I’m of the generation that remembers the cold, grey winter days on the east coast, listening to the Mamas and the Papas sing of “California Dreaming.” In 1986, Tom Shales wrote in The Washington Post “There’s only one season in California: the eternal Spring of hope.” And it’s been said that California is the place where the future happens first.

Not to dump on other states, but no one would ever sing "Minnesota, here I come" or "Arizona Dreaming" or talk about "Idaho, where the future happens first." Drop in the word "California" and it works.

But in recent years that has changed. Our state has been in deep trouble, and we are viewed by the rest of the country with scorn and, even worse, pity. How did this happen?

I have a theory.

In 2003 the state legislature decimated the arts budget by 97%, making us second only to Mississippi in support of the arts. A few years later we dropped to dead last of the 50 states.

California used to be about dreaming, and making dreams reality. It used to be about hope. It used to be about creating the future. And that’s exactly what artists are about – dreaming, hoping, creating the future.

There was a time when we Californians routinely astonished the world with our ability to come back from catastrophes, from crippling recession, from earthquakes, from fires. Some years ago, The Economist, a highly respected British weekly, carried an editorial about LA’s response to a devastating earthquake. They might have been speaking for all of California in saying "Los Angeles fails only when it forgets what it is; when it loses heart, and looks backward. At its best, looking forward, there is no more inspiring city in America."

Ten years ago the State of California looked backward when it stopped supporting artists. And we got into deep trouble. Coincidence? I don’t think so. That’s my theory.

But now there’s reason for hope. As I write this, a bill to restore arts funding is working its way through the state legislature. (AB 580, if you’d like to call your local Assembly Member.) Fingers crossed!

Barbara Beckley
Artistic Director


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