Long strange journey
Manchester native stages musical, with eye on New York
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Baron was listening to The Who’s Tommy in his car when the former rock singer realized that his song, “No More Football, Dad,” was actually a start for a musical.
Fifteen years after playing guitar and singing in the Bronin Hogman Band in the 1980s, Baron, a Manchester native, set to writing Boomers: Promises Made Not Kept. In 2004, Actorsingers in Nashua staged the epic, “a personal journey of a baby boomer through three decades, with the culture shock of the Boomers’ history as a backdrop.”
Now Boomers will be produced at Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, later this month complete with orchestra conducted by Thomas Cavendish, chorus, rock band, actors from national Broadway tours plus Manchester talent. The hope is that the show will help Boomers make it off-Broadway in New York City in the spring. He’s also applied for a Broadway Asia license, Baron said.
“Boomers is something that came from inside of me that could not be denied ... [writing] is something that you have to do and not just want to do. In fact there are times when I don’t want to do it. It’s a very exhaustive and tormented way of life and financially exhausting,” Boomers said.
A friend in Florida approached investors, who opened Boomers Productions, LLC. Baron said when he got the call, the investor asked, “Why haven’t people been knocking your doors down?”
“Well, my show is a tree that fell in New Hampshire—did you hear it?” Baron replied.
Baron flies to Fort Lauderdale and back every four days, while balancing his other jobs as a plumber and DJ. He’s mortgaged his house and sunk his savings into Boomers, he said. “I just can’t ask for money, I don’t know why,”
But support keeps him going. He received an e-mail from a dad who hugged his son after watching Boomers.
“It’s about caring about the person that’s right beside you. That just absolutely told me I’m going in the right direction,” Baron said.
Another woman told him after a show that Baron must be a women trapped in a man’s body to write “Candlelight Dinner,” a song about a wife’s ignored attempt to rekindle her 15-year marriage.
Close to 35 local people are going to Florida to help. Local Joe Rojek is directing. Actorsingers members will perform. Wally Palunelt, a theater professor at New England College who went to high school with Baron, will stage manage and design the lighting.
“I’m one happy guy, and I’ll tell you what, I’d rather jump off a bridge than let these people down that are behind me,” Baron said. He credits the Actorsingers’ production with giving the show more validity, and tips a hat to the late Joe Lajeunesse, the former Hippo theater writer, for giving encouragement.
Currently, Baron is working on Brother’s Keeper, a musical that requires only four actors and four musicians.
Check out browardcenter.org or boomersthemusical.com to hear music clips from the show.