Livi Perrone, a 2016 Cornwall High School graduate, is no stranger to theater. She wrote her first original work when she was 13-years-old and has since written a number of adapted plays and musicals for young performers. Having completed her first year at New York University, for dramatic writing, Perrone has written an original musical, with Emmy award-winning composer, Sean P. Pallatroni, and will be bringing it to Orange County later this month.
“Happily the Musical” will be performed, by local actors and actresses, at 8 p.m. on June 30 at the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh. Tickets will be available at the door.
Perrone produced and directed “Happily” at NYU and it’s also been performed at New York Winterfest. In August, it will appear in the New York Musical Festival.
“My very close friend and I were discussing how Disney doesn’t have any LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) representation,” Perrone said. “We started discussing what it would look like if a story, that’s built on the traditional structure of a Disney movie, incorporated LGBT characters.”
Perrone began writing about a year ago and the 60-page script underwent 10 drafts before it was ready to produce.
The musical is set in Happily Ever High School where the four main characters learn how to be a prince, princess, narrator, or fairy godmother. “Happily” takes place in the remaining two weeks of the characters’ senior year. As graduation looms, they start to realize they don’t want to be who they’ve been told they have to be.
“The most important thing the show iterates is the importance of being true to yourself,” Perrone said. “What is your happily ever after? What do you want to pursue in life and how do you get there? Don’t let anyone else assign that to you.”
While she wrote, Perrone tried to fit as many lessons as she could into the 75-minute production.
“Happily” was written for an audience in the 8-14 age range, but Perrone said it’s been enjoyed by teens and adults alike.
Once the script was complete, Perrone approached Pallatroni about composing the music. And it didn’t take him long to write the score.
“His strength is the ability to understand the genre,” Perrone said. “He really gets the story and the youthfulness of it, but also he’s been working and writing musical theater forever.”
Aside from the writing, Perrone has also been challenged by the directing process. While she believes the author is the best person to direct the performers in order to nail the characters accurately, the challenge is dealing with the emotional connection that comes from being involved in all aspects of a production.
“I think it helps me strive for perfection, getting every detail perfect,” Perrone said. “I’ve had the honor of working with talented actors, which made it easier.”
Perrone is looking forward to performing for her own crowd, but admits she’s also a bit nervous.
“There’s always the fear of how it will be perceived, but up until this point we’ve had nothing but positive feedback. I think it’s easy for them to get swept up in the joy of what the story is and the hope it presents that I don’t think people will have an issue with it.”
Looking ahead, beyond the New York Musical Festival, Perrone said the show is being pursued by an off-Broadway theater. She also hopes to take the musical on the road, touring schools and the New York City area.