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'They're Playing Our Song'

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Sonia (Sarah Hund), left, receives guidance and motivation from her voices (Lauren Morgan and AnnaLee Traeger).
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David Schmittou and Sarah Hund play Vernon and Sonia, a composer and quirky lyricist.

By John J. Guglielmi - For The Courier-Times

The Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre is starting its 2019 season with Neil Simon and Marvin Hamlish’s musical “They’re Playing Our Song.” Lyrics by Carol Bayer Sager.

This romantic comedy explores the ups and downs of the professional and personal relationships of songwriters Vernon and Sonia. The musical was inspired by the real-life relationship of Marvin Hamlish and Carol Bayer Sager.

Overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, in his 14th story apartment, Vernon Gersch (David Schmittou) sits at his piano working on the melody for a new song. Gersch is a well-known song writer who has garnered many awards over the years. He is down to the last eight bars of the song when the doorbell rings.

Flying through the door comes Sonia Walsk (Sarah Hund), a force of nature and an inspiring lyricist. She has come – late, of course – to collaborate with Gersch on a number of songs. Vernon notices that her attire is somewhat peculiar. Sonia confessed that she has a passion for Broadway plays and likes to wear costumes from her favorite productions. “But I think I have this dress on backwards.” Sonia said as she swirled around trying to see the backside.

Vernon likes most of her lyrics but isn’t sure about some of the wording. Sonia tells Vernon, that when she comes up with an idea or is stuck, she likes to ‘Talk it out with the girls.’ The girls being her alter egos who pop onto the stage at critical times.

Sonia moves into Vernon’s apartment and they continue working on their songs but occasionally Leon gets in the way. Now this Leon is or was Sonia’s boyfriend who she is trying to break up with – maybe. He calls at all hours and drives Vernon crazy. Vernon tells Sonia to change her phone number. “I once changed my insurance agent and he stopped sending me calendars.”

Feeling cooped up, they head to Le Club for a night out. There Vernon breaks out with “They’re Playing Our Song” when he hears one of his tunes. This fast paced energetic song was nominated for a Tony Award in 1979.

Being a very pragmatic individual, Vernon likes order and structure. So dealing with Sonia’s eclectic personality sometimes drives him crazy. “Talking to you is like sending out my laundry. You never know what is coming back.”

Sonia and Vernon decide that maybe a weekend away would help their relationship. So off they go to Quogue (pronounced – kwog), Long Island to a beach cottage. They get lost and the car breaks down. Sonia hitchhikes to town while Vernon pushes the car. Just as he collapses on the bed, guess who calls – Leon. Not a good thing.

Their relationship encounters more bumps and curves and Vernon breaks it off and moves to California. Three months later, Vernon ends up in the hospital with a broken leg and a visit from Sonia. Vernon’s alter egos appear and the trio performs a very funny “Fill in the Words.”

But as in all good relationship stories, love conquers all and they find true love. Hund and Schmittou play off each like the perfect comedy team. Their timing is right on cue.

The show only runs through Feb. 3, so get on the phone at 317-876-0513 or www.beefandboards.com to make your reservations.