Kirby Ward

Kirby Ward

Award winning actor, director, writer, choreographer, and filmmaker

Sunday After Next

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Sunday After Next is a new musical written by Kirby Ward & Beverly Ward, based on the Oscar Wilde short story Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime.

The story, which was first published in late 1887, has inspired a number of films, plays, and television shows throughout the years. This adaptation begins at Lord Arthur’s engagement party where he’s introduced to Mr. Septimus R. Podgers – a uniquely gifted cheiromantist (a fancy word for a palm reader). Mr. Podgers reads Arthur’s palm and reveals to him, in private, that he is destined to be a murderer. When a series of ridiculous but harrowing events lead Arthur to believe he may inadvertently kill his beloved fiancé, Sybil Merton, Arthur decides he cannot in good conscience wed Sybil. At least, not until he’s killed someone else.

The clips below are concept videos of various musical moments in the show.

Launchpad Demos

WHAT DO I DO?

This is the moment in the story when Arthur faces down the palm reader who reveals to him the terrifying truth about his future.

WHAT MADE ALEXANDER GREAT

It’s Act Two and Arthur is failing as a murderer. He fears he’ll never be able to marry his beloved. But a noted revolutionary and his band of comrades step up to give him advice.

SUNDAY AFTER NEXT

How it all starts. Here’s the opening of the show.

History

The show started life as a second-year project at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City. As a result of that twenty minute presentation, the show was invited to the Wilton Playshop in Southwestern Connecticut. With minimal rehearsal, the entire show debuted to two very appreciative audiences in an informal “reading” format.

After further development at the York Theatre in Manhattan, Sunday After Next was selected by the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington to be one of five musicals presented at their annual Festival of New Works. For the festival, the show’s title was changed to Deadly Beloved.

Following the Village Theatre festival,  a 45-minute selection was featured in the “Page to Stage Festival” at the Tristan Bates Theatre in the West End of London, under the original Oscar Wilde title of Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime.

After further rewrites, the show was presented onstage at Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, CA as part of the theatre’s “Plays in Progress” series – again in a “staged reading” format.

The show, now officially titled Sunday After Next, is seeking investors and a producer to help shepherd the piece to a World Premiere.

Below is a sampling of the score, and a synopsis of the plot. An interactive version of the script is available upon request.

Act One

Lord Arthur Savile attends a society party to celebrate his engagement to the beautiful Sybil Merton (SONG: Sunday After Next)Upon Arthur’s arrival, Sybil whisks him to the terrace where they steal a kiss and a dance (SONG: This Is Life). The entertainment at the gathering is provided by an unusually convincing palm reader named Podgers (SONG: What’s To Be). When Arthur offers his palm, a visibly shaken Podgers dismisses him with vague predictions and platitudes. But later, privately, he foretells an ominous future: Arthur will commit murder. Stunned, Lord Arthur fears a happy marriage is impossible in light of this news (SONG: What Do I Do?). His concerns are compounded the next morning when a series of frightening mishaps lead him to believe he may in fact murder his darling Sybil if he doesn’t do something quickly. With his marriage looming, and with the help of his trusted manservant, Saunders, Arthur decides the only conscientious course of action is to kill someone as soon as possible (SONG: Why Not Do The Deed?).

After visiting his private club to help bolster his resolve (SONG: Proper Poison), Arthur determines poison is the safest method. His ideal subject? His aged second cousin, Lady Clementina Clarke (SONG: One Foot In The Grave). After presenting her with a poison pill disguised as the latest cure for gout, Lord Arthur postpones his wedding (SONG: A Little While Longer) and travels to Italy where he impatiently awaits the news of Lady Clem’s passing (SONG: All I Deserve). When word of his cousin’s death comes, an exultant Arthur returns to London and Sybil. But when the lovebirds clear out the old woman’s cluttered apartment, Sybil comes upon the poison pill. Arthur panics, realizing Lady Clem has actually died of natural causes. He’s failed to commit murder. Worse, he’s endangered his love once again. 

Act Two

To the great dismay of Sybil’s mother, Lord Arthur again postpones the wedding (SONG: Enough). Despite her mother’s frustration, Sybil remains steadfast in her devotion to Arthur (SONG: My Heart). Feeling a failure, Arthur seeks the advice from his friend and acclaimed revolutionary, Igor Ivanovich (SONG: What Made Alexander Great). Igor suggests a bomb. The new target? Arthur’s obnoxious uncle, the Dean of Chichester. Igor refers Arthur to a London bomb maker who supplies him with an armed and soon-to-explode clock (SONG: Mitt De Boom).

As Arthur carries the ticking bomb in a box through the streets of London, he begins to lose his resolve. (SONG: Not So Long Ago) He seeks refuge in his men’s club where he bumps into a disguised and determined Sybil. Terrified that he’ll accidentally blow his darling to smithereens, he instructs the barman to “take care” of the package for a moment. Sybil has sought Arthur out because her mother has lost all patience. She’s taking Sybil away to Europe on the evening train. Arthur tells Sybil he has something he needs to do before they wed and if she knows what his task is, she won’t love him anymore. Before she leaves, Sybil assures Arthur that she’ll always be devoted to him, and that he’s a good man (SONG: A Rare Man). Bolstered by Sybil’s faith and devotion, Arthur decides he’s been foolish. With new determination to live up to Sybil’s ideal, he decides he’ll destroy the clock and proceed with the wedding. But when he asks the barman for the ticking package, he’s horrified to learn it’s been sent to the name and address written on the top.

Arthur and Saunders rush to the Dean of Chichester’s house, unaware that Sybil is in close pursuit. The Dean invites them in and, at the moment of detonation, Arthur throws the clock out the doors towards the Thames and – unintentionally – into the waiting arms of his fiancé who has climbed unseen onto the terrace. She catches the clock and falls backward off the balcony and into the river. There’s an explosion and a splash.

Convinced he’s actually killed his beloved, Arthur rushes, in anguish, to the Tower Bridge to throw himself off (SONG: This Is Life Reprise). There he encounters Podgers who is preparing to do the same. Rodgers reveals his act was a sham. He sneers at Arthur’s gullibility and tells him he’s an idiot for wasting his time on silly predictions. Arthur realizes his he’s been a fool, but as he steps back from the edge of the bridge, Podgers lashes out at him. In trying to harm Arthur, the nasty man loses his footing and falls into the river. Just then, Arthur’s brother Reggie motors by on his boat. He’s fished Sybil out of the water…and amazingly, she’s unharmed! Arthur pulls her to shore, instructs his brother to go and see if he can rescue Podgers…and Sybil and Arthur begin planning their wedding anew (SONG: This Is Life Finale).

The show ends as Sybil and Arthur finally get married.

About The Authors

BEV WARD

As a child, Bev attended San Diego Junior Theatre where she fell in love with the performing arts. By the time she was eighteen she was working with Anne Miller and Mickey Rooney in the National Tour of Sugar Babies. Bev is a late bloomer into the realm of song writing, coming to her craft after spending three decades as a very successful singer, actress, and dancer. She’s appeared on and Off-Broadway (Epic Proportions, Anastasia, A Child’s Christmas in Wales), in numerous National Tours (Sugar Babies, Crazy for You – Helen Hayes Nomination for Best Actress, Show Boat, Billy Elliot), and has sung with renowned musicians and orchestras all across America. She has collaborated with husband Kirby Ward on multiple directorial projects, and together they’ve written three musicals.

By special request from the Gershwin Estate, she and husband Kirby were invited as guest stars with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for a special celebration of Gershwin: The Political Operettas where their rendition of “I’ve Got a Crush On You” stopped the show. She has performed for British Royalty, as well as First Ladies Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush. You’ll find Bev’s first EP of folk/pop music, Bev’s Noble House Of Pancake, on iTunes and Spotify. Bev is also a visual artist and has had several showings of her work in and around New England.

KIRBY WARD

Mr. Ward is an actor, writer, director and choreographer. He was the original Bobby Child in the London West End premier of Crazy For You, a performance that garnered him an Olivier Award nomination, an original cast album and a chance to meet Queen Elizabeth II. Broadway credits include  Show Boat, Woman of the Year and Never Gonna Dance. He has directed and choreographed large and small scale stage productions of She Loves Me, Grease, Singin’ In The Rain, Big River, Little Shop of Horrors, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fiddler on the Roof, Sugar Babies, Dames At Sea, Crazy For You, Me & My Girl, and Return to the Forbidden Planet, to name just a few. Abroad, he’s directed full scale musical productions in Seoul, Beijing, and Inner Mongolia, where he oversaw the conversion of a 25,000 square foot yurt into a state of the art theatre-in-the-round and then put it to use  directing a musical based on the life of Kublai Khan featuring an entire cast of Mongolian folk performers.

Some of Mr. Ward’s writing credits include the American TV show Wake Rattle & Roll and the cartoon show Monster Tails. He’s a co-creator of the stage musical The Gypsy King, which was presented at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington in 2010. His original short film, Down in the Mouth, which he wrote, directed and edited, received the Best Short Film award at the Kent Film Festival in Connecticut and was featured in four other national and international film festivals including the Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival in 2007. 

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