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How Do You Keep The Music Playing

Playwright and Director Josh Ravetch on bringing the songs of Alan & Marilyn Bergman to the stage in “Chasing Mem’ries”

Tyne Daly and Robert Forster star in Chasing Mem’ries: A Different Kind of Musical. Written & Directed by Josh Ravetch. Lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman.

I am proud to announce the Geffen Playhouse world premiere ofChasing Mem’ries: A Different Kind of Musical starring Tony Award-winner Tyne Daly and Academy Award-nominated Robert Forster, with songs by three-time Academy Award-winning lyricists, Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

Ten years ago Carrie Fisher and I approached the Geffen Playhouse with Wishful Drinking, a one-woman-show that she would perform live. With the immense support of the Geffen, we found our way from Westwood to Broadway. So when I began to work on a new project with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, I very much wanted the Geffen to be the theater from which to launch.

The great Maureen Stapleton would often say to Marilyn Bergman, “You married the perfect person.” Alan was instantly dismissive of the accolade and would always respond with the same two-word phrase, “Ohhhh, pleeeeease!” But at the core of Stapleton’s remark was the question everyone asked about the Bergmans’ gorgeous marriage: “What’s your secret?” They even wrote a song that posed that question — a song recorded by their long time muse, Barbra Streisand. The song was the Academy Award-nominated “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” While the song doesn’t attempt to answer the title’s question, Alan’s own response is simply, “One washes, one dries.”

Around the time we began to talk about a new play, my father and my uncle died. Both men had life-long happy unions, and like the Bergmans, my uncle and aunt were writers — in their case, screenwriters. Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. wrote Norma Rae, Hud and The Long Hot Summer, to name a few. I watched both my mother and my aunt endure the crippling reality and profound trauma of facing a solitary life for the first time in more than half a century. My aunt once noted that, “Coping is a myth. There is no coping. Call it that if you’d like, but there’s just getting from one day to the next day — and then to the next.”

I marveled as these exceptional women slowly adopted a kind of courageous elegance in the face of incalculable loss — a loss they sprinkled with unexpected humor, considerable wisdom and, of course, immense and unbridled grief. Out of those experiences, Chasing Mem’ries was born.

For tickets and showtimes, please visit geffenplayhouse.org/chasing or call our Box Office at 310.208.5454 (open daily, 7:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m.).

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