A used car salesman, a dentist, a real estate agent, a financial advisor, a deli owner and a music teacher get together once a week to play jazz. It is the highlight of their lives. When one answers an ad and gets a two week gig in the Catskills, they shed their ordinary lives and begin an adventure that reveals truths about friendship, the joy of music and the importance of dreams. The gig is not what they expected and each returns from the Catskills changed by the experience. This winner of the 1994 Richard Rogers Grant was inaugurated at the Manhattan Theatre Club's New Musicals in Concert at City Center and was developed at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference and the Goodspeed at Chester.
"I love a good musical and especially the rare ones that not only entertain me but make me feel something. 'THE GIG' is one of those rare musicals." - Sheldon Harnick (Two-time TONY and Pulitzer Prize Winner)
"A WINNING MUSICAL...steeped in the tradition of old-time, goodtime musical comedy!" - The New York Times
"A funny and touching new musical." - The Boston Globe
"A rich look at 'regular guys'...Excellent. Four stars." - Sacramento Bee
"A great show!" - National Public Radio
"Instantly engrossing...Cohen, as in No Way to Treat a Lady, is a keen and clever composer/lyricist, with an offbeat sense and a penchant for sly surprises." - Playbill.com, On the Record
"Crackling with energy that is a wonderfully rewarding mix of cleverly bright banter and genuine human feeling is the score for The Gig. This smartly crafted show has a mission and serves it superbly: it looks with a clear but sympathetic eye at the lives and dreams of some men approaching or past middle age. That can be felt in the characterizations that are just-right and down-to-earth and not hammy or precious or sentimentalized in performance or writing by the gifted composer-lyricist Douglas J. Cohen. It's the ultimate compliment and coup that this recording—and I suspect, the show, which has seen productions already and the CD should inspire more—works perfectly as an ensemble piece where no one man of the six—or the professional jazz musician they meet outshines the other or the material. Likewise, the songs are the model of character-driven writing with their specificity to situation and relationships and personality revelation like the peeling of an onion. This is a musical for grown-ups with little flash and lots of feeling, but also laced liberally with humor and sarcasm, mirroring real-life friendships where people bristle and blend and blubber and bond. The late Michael Gibson's orchestrations, featuring terrific jazz players (like Bud Burridge on trumpet) that more than help to capture the very accessible jazz elements of the score, are spot on. The buoyant and snappy jazz and snappy patter are a perfect counterpoint to the more intense feelings brought up (without being a spoiler, mortality is an issue here) and so ... The Gig is indeed bittersweet. But that's better than 'sweet.'" - Rob Lester, Talkin' Broadway
Originally developed at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference, The Gig received further development at the Manhattan Theatre Club after receiving the Richard Rodgers Award. A showcase at Goodspeed-at-Chester followed before culminating with the world premiere production at Sacramento Music Circus, where it received unanimous raves.