To say that Sea Legs: A Nautical New Musical blew it out of the water would be quite an understatement. Set in the small New England town of Sweet Ann Harbor, this original musical introduces us to four orphaned adventurers fascinated with the sea beyond their small town. After a time jump they find themselves reunited in adulthood in the midst of a search for the man who pulled the plug on Periscopia, an underwater utopia the friends dreamed of searching for as kids. The residents of this underwater world, an eccentric bunch who eat bubbles and have an affinity for prom dresses and leather, make waves as they settle in Sweet Ann Harbor, intent on creating a new home for themselves. Chaos ensues when it is revealed that one of our orphaned friends is more connected to the crime than he lets on, and we see the true meaning of friendship as he races to prevent one of his own from taking the fall.
At the heart of this seaside tale is an important message about the journey into adulthood and to finding identity. The orphans we follow throughout the play see their lives develop in ways they hadn’t expected, and some have trouble coming to terms with how things have panned out. Yet by the end they have discovered where it is they are meant to be, whether it is sailing the seas or raising kids in a small port town. It seems that this struggle is analogous to the futures faced by many of the cast and crew of the production, as well as many in the audience. The play finishes with a number about how Sweet Ann Harbor will always be there for the characters to return to, and a tear was brought to the eyes of many seniors in attendance. The song transcends the musical and serves as a message to the graduating class about the place many will think of as home as they start their journey beyond college.
As writer Tyler Dean finishes his theater career here and embarks on an adventure to bigger and better things, the song serves as a farewell to him as well, and also as a grounding connection to a home where he found great success. In the same theater where he and partner-in-crime Mike Tooman have grown and sparked, we see their final original production fittingly cap off their time here.
Beyond the core message of the play was a highly enjoyable cast of characters and deviously catchy soundtrack – I pity the poor soul who thought he could make it out of that theater without at least one of those tunes banging around in his head. From the retired sailor turned pigeon whisperer who sings about his ability to see the future in bird droppings to the fully choreographed pop zinger about the glamorous city of Periscopia, each piece takes on a life of its own. If you don’t trust me on this you can see for yourself in the coming months – Sea Legs: A Nautical New Musical is set to hit YouTube just as Dean and Tooman’s previous work Zombie Farm: A New Musical did, and a soundtrack is in the works.