Bay Ridge will play host a musical with humor, a twist and some spice.
This fall, the “Pumpkin Spiced Musical” will make its debut with Brooklynites Ben Stiefel and his wife Elizabeth co-directing the unique show at the Oak Room at Hunter’s Steak & Ale House, 9404 Fourth Avenue, starting on Friday, November 17.
Stiefel discussed the inspiration behind the work. “My ‘Pumpkin Spiced Musical’ satirizes the pumpkin spice frenzy that occurs each holiday season,” he said. “The idea for the show grew from my love of Starbucks’ pumpkin spiced lattes, the holiday season, and the craziness of the ever-growing pumpkin spice phenomenon. I saw that once pumpkin spiced lattes became hugely popular, companies began putting out more and more pumpkin spiced products — cookies, candies, breakfast cereals, air fresheners, etc. In fact, the other day, while in Petco, I saw pumpkin spiced dog treats! Well, the absurdity of the ever-growing pumpkin spice scene inspired me to write the show.”
Stiefel, a former Bensonhurst resident who currently lives in Bergen Beach, has loved musicals his entire life, and his idols include Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz as well as various jazz, pop, and classical composers.
That said, “The inspiration for my comedic writing comes from my real life experiences,” he explained. “For example, in the opening scene of the show, much like myself, one of the main characters complains about the high cost of pumpkin spiced lattes, which anyone who has bought one recently knows can run five dollars or more a cup!”
Audiences are expected to be in for something different, which is exciting for the directors. “I’m looking forward to the audience experiencing the excitement of live theater,” he said. “Performing in a small venue, every seat is an ‘orchestra seat,’ giving everyone who comes to the show an up-close and personal musical theater experience.”
Attendees can expect a mix of music inspired by classic musicals such as “Grease,” “Hairspray” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”
According to Stiefel, who has directed two original musical comedies, many aspects of my show are unique. “My song writing, while inspired by the best of Broadway, is uniquely my own,” he said. “I strive to make each song a moving and exciting work, while always advancing the narrative. Also unique is the story, which is truly original, and contains some fun and unexpected twists and turns that will keep the audience anticipating what comes next.”
Audiences will also be treated to top-notch performers including Brooklyn native musical comedy actors James Parks, Sofie W. Smith, Natalie Perry and Peter Anthony Moore.
“Each of them brings a wealth of experience to their roles,” he said. “Parks has been very active in New York and regional theater, as well as being consistently sought after for collaborating on new musicals and demo recordings. Smith is a New York City-based actor/director who has performed at Lincoln Center and New Dramatists. Natalie Perry has performed in shows such as ‘Evita’ and ‘Nevermore,’ and can be heard on the original cast recording of ‘Space Voyage the Musical Frontier.’ Peter Anthony Moore made his Broadway debut as an original cast member of Disney’s ‘The Lion King,’ and has acted in many New York film and television productions, danced with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, and starred in many regional productions including ‘A Chorus Line.’”
Stiefel also has extended experience performing in Bay Ridge. “I have been playing piano on Friday nights at Hunter’s for the past six years,” he said. “In the 1980s, my band, All The King’s Men, played regularly in such Bay Ridge hot spots as the Loft, Ernie Barry’s, and the Brown Derby. To me, Bay Ridge has always meant excitement, with the friendliest people, the best shopping, and the never-ending nightlife always inspiring me.”
“Pumpkin Spiced Musical” will be performed on Friday, November 17 at 6 p.m., Saturday, November 18 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, November 19 at 2 p.m. in the Oak Room at Hunter’s Steak & Ale House, 9404 Fourth Avenue. Tickets are $20. To purchase seats, visit www.psmusical.ticketleap.com/tix.