'Life' imitates life in new play

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
Jon Carpentier and Corey Lynn Arruda during a rehearsal for the musical 'Life As I Knew It'. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

A cast of performers took over the second floor of Victoria’s Station on Oct. 27. They were rehearsing for “Life as I Knew it,” a rock musical set to open on Nov. 8. The rehearsal space wasn’t the only thing unusual about the work. It was collaboration between three local men, Dominick and Paul Lucenti and Jon Carpentier.

Brothers Dominick and Paul have known Carpentier for almost six years. Paul and Jon have performed in about 50 shows in five years, according to Lucenti. The main characters in “Life” are based on their personalities, he said.

It was Dominick who came up with the concept for the play, Paul who revised it and wrote the script, and Dominick and Jon who wrote the music and lyrics of the show’s 19 songs. They even made a CD of it for director Jim Weigel. “I listen to it all the time,” he said.

The two-year effort required a lot of phone calls and a Facebook thread. The three also had to shape their individual talents and skills into what Weigel calls a remarkable piece of work. “We argued about plot points, but I was working with my brother and a friend who is just like a brother,” Dominick quipped. That comfort level must have helped. “In the end, we worked well together,” he said.

Weigel came across the play while chairing the Off Bradley Committee. The committee is responsible for booking as many shows as possible that aren’t part of the Bradley’s six-show regular season.  The story line and music grabbed his attention.

The story centers on best friends and high school seniors Kyle and Braedon. The two couldn’t have more opposite personalities. Throw in high school angst, a senior prom and the reckless exuberance of youth, and you have the jumping off point for the play. Weigel calls it a serious drama sprinkled liberally with rousing music, funny lines and a hopeful ending.

“I found it re-invigorating. They have fresh and spontaneous ideas about the world and relationships,” Weigel said. “It helped this 60-something keep in touch with what it was like to be a teen and 20-something.”

The story line is one all theater-goers can relate to, according to Paul Lucenti. “This is realistic stuff that everyone has gone through,” he said.

“The cast is incredible,” Dominick said, while watching the actors recreate a party scene. “They have pulled it all together.”

Because of renovation work being done at the Bradley, the show will be held at Killingly High School Auditorium on Nov. 8, 9, 15, 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 10, 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.thebradleyplayhouse.org.

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