In the Shade is a new play with music by Daniel Egger and Tom Laverack about mental health, marriage, creativity and healing.
About the Show
In the Shade is a new play with music based in fact, told through the interconnected lives of three women writers – Jean Stafford, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Caroline Blackwood – each of whom was married for a time to the poet Robert Lowell – and their children.
Lowell suffered from severe manic-depressive illness, with over a dozen major hospitalizations. Lowell was also a pioneer in writing openly about his own mental illness, helping to begin a process of destigmatization that continues to this day.
In the Shade creates empathy, as it explores what this kind of illness feel like, and what its means to love someone who is so severely ill.
Ultimately, all the characters in the story are survivors, who succeeded in their creative work, and were never defeated by their struggles. It is ultimately a hopeful story, with some darkness along the way.
The show’s style is simple, intimate, and authentic, with a folk music sound.
In the Shade was written by Daniel Egger (book and lyrics) and Tom Laverack (music and additional lyrics).
The Songs from the In the Shade will be performed publicly for the first time at 7 pm on February 25, 2022 at Green Room 42 in New York City.
Performers will include:
About the Authors
Daniel Egger (book and lyrics)
Daniel Egger wrote and directed his first play at age 10. He played Teddy, a Vietnam Vet with severe PTSD, in Mark Medoff’s When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder? with a cast that included the actor and director Larry Fessenden, the film producer Rachael Horovitz, and the rock vocalist Ilene Markell. Egger was undergraduate Poetry Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the Yale literary magazine, and is a published poet, book reviewer, and journalist.
With his son Leo, Egger helped to found Eno River Players, www.enoriverplayers.org, the community theater in Durham, North Carolina, where Egger is executive director. Egger has also acted in Eno River Players Productions, including Hamlet (as Claudius), King Lear (as Gloucester), and As You Like It (as Duke Senior). During the early days of the Covid crisis, Egger helped form a syndicate to refinance The Fruit, an important Durham art/performance space.
Egger is a Professor at Duke University, and online versions of his courses are in the top-100 worldwide by enrollment during the Covid era, and in the top-250 worldwide of all time.
In the Shade is Egger’s first play with songs.
Tom Laverack (music and additional lyrics)
Tom Laverack is a singer-songwriter from NYC and co-founder of the independent label, Sojourn Records. He released his seventh album, One Stop Past Your Destination in 2014. Laverack has recorded as a solo artist and as part of the duo, Just Desserts, featuring long time collaborator Larry Fessenden.
In 2007, Laverack and Mark Ambrosino co-founded Sojourn Records. Laverack’s album, Cave Drawings, produced and recorded by Ambrosino, was the debut release for Sojourn and the inspiration for starting the label. Laverack’s music has also been featured in Larry Fessenden’s films, including No Telling, Habit, Wendigo and The Last Winter.
In the Shade is Laverack’s first stage collaboration.
Mark Ambrosino (musical direction)
Mark Ambrosino is a Recording Engineer and Producer, as well as a song writer, drummer, bass guitar player and vocalist. Mark started playing the drums professionally at the age of ten and has played on hundreds of records, films, and commercials. Mark has worked with Ray Charles, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Michael Bolton, Michael McDonald, Neil Young, Pink, Perry Farrell, John Popper, Chris Barron, The Trans Siberian Orchestra, and many others.
In 1995, Mark built his own recording studio, The Madhouse, where he has played on, produced, engineered and mixed hundreds of recordings. In 2007, Mark co-founded Sojourn Records, an independent label based out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Sojourn recently had its fifty-sixth release, almost all of which Mark produced, played on, engineered and mixed.
In the Shade was written from 2016-2020.
It was first workshopped at Eno River Players, a Community Theater in Durham NC, in February-March, 2020, with a scheduled public performance cancelled due to Covid-19.
With gratitude to the cast:
Emma Scaggs, Sam Henry, Danielle Koppel, Luigi Troiani, Veronica Gilligan, Lauren Ragsdale, and Elly Sanger.
Thanks also to Leo Egger, Milo Fryling, Julia Haws, and Gabe Whitnack.
A second Zoom-based workshop took place over Zoom in August 2020
With gratitude to the cast:
Alexandra Foucard, Courtney Bassett, Kayla Wickes, Amy Bodnar, Don Noble, Caroline Strange, Neal Mayer, Mariama Diop, and Willow McCarthy.
Thanks also to Milo Fryling, Michael Palmer and Cindi Rush.