WNPR

Adam Gopnik Of "The New Yorker" Brings His Musical To New Haven

May 11, 2017

A new musical is running at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven called "The Most Beautiful Room in New York." The book and lyrics are written by Adam Gopnik, staff writer for The New Yorker, with music by composer David Shire.

Speaking on WNPR's Faith Middleton Food Schmooze, Gopnik said that he considers musical theater to be the most moving, and most difficult, of all art forms.

"It's the one form where ordinary people get to sing of extraordinary emotions," said Gopnik. "And to try to craft those moments when the only thing a character can do is sing, it's terrifically hard and unimaginably rewarding when it works, and you can feel the audience rise with the words and the music."

Gopnik, who's written fiction, humor, and reported from abroad for The New Yorker, said a key challenge in creating song lyrics is that they must always be driving the story forward.

"For me as a prose writer, it's a bit -- it's different," he said. "It's a pleasure when you're reading prose to meander a little bit, if you feel you're in good company. You like to take a digression. You like to nestle in a parenthesis for a minute or two."

But Gopnik said in musicals, the audience doesn't control the time. "We have to give you an absolute linear propulsion of storytelling, and at the same time have some wit and beauty and melody along the way," he said.

"The Most Beautiful Room in New York" centers on food and family in a small restaurant. The play runs at Long Wharf Theatre through May 28.