Musicians At Work: Eli’s Comin’

Volume CI, No. 7/8July, 2001

An innovative Off-Broadway production based on the music of Laura Nyro has been drawing enthusiastic audiences at the Vineyard Theatre. And it’s been as exciting for the musicians as the audience, according to Music Director Joe Rubenstein.

“This is a very different kind of a show,” he told Allegro. “It’s operatic, in that there is no dialogue and it moves from one song to the next. The plot line is implied by set changes, movements of the actors, and dance.

“There’s rock ‘n roll, and gospel, and straight ahead jazz and very free stuff – so it’s been fascinating,” Rubenstein said. “All the musicians have been top notch, and when subs come in they’re always just amazing. And the singers are great. There’s never a dull night there, because it’s so varied musically. It’s been a terrific experience for me.”

Eli’s Comin’ was scheduled to close on July 15, as this issue went to press. The production, which garnered five Obies (for arranger Diedre Murray and each of the four cast members) attracted large audiences throughout its more than two-month run.

The band for Eli’s Comin’ includes music director and pianist Joe Rubenstein, percussionist Scott Neumann, trumpet player Eddie Allen, saxophone and flute player Patience Higgins, guitarist Marvin Sewell and bassist Steve Count.