Ever stop and think to yourself: life is bleak and pointless, we may as well make a musical? Perhaps not, but, fortunately, the writers Glasgow Lyman and Jeff Rosick did. In their fresh and engaging performance, “We Need This Musical to Stop Us From Killing Ourselves: The Musical!,” the writing duo goes head to head with the typically weighty and unaddressed topics of suicide, self-worth and failure.
The 55-minute show takes place in Los Angeles and follows the lives of a pre-law student, Sarah (Adyn Wood), who desperately wants to be a singer; Mitchell (Lyman), a failing actor whose brothers constantly outperform him; and Dr. Hansen (Jeff Rosick), a therapist who desperately wants to tell his patients to just “shut the f-ck up.”
When Sarah and Mitchell, both patients of Dr. Hansen, overhear each other calling their therapist and explaining their plans to end it all, they form an unlikely but adorable duo. Both down and depressed, they sing an upbeat “Suicide for Two” followed by a dance montage with a noose. While on paper this sounds uncouth and possibly insensitive, in practice, it encourages confrontation with a subject that is too regularly left out of theater dialogue despite its undeniable relevance.
For Lyman and Rosick, “We Need This Musical to Stop Us From Killing Ourselves: The Musical!” wasn’t pulled out of thin air. Although the two claim that the show isn’t autobiographical, they admit that much of their professional experience has influenced the musical’s narrative. Their combined experience is what separates this musical from those poking fun at mental health, offering, instead, solidarity and empathy to those who struggle with it.
In a world where terrifying and saddening things happen every day, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel like you’re crumbling under the pressure. “We Need This Musical To Stop Us From Killing Ourselves” couldn’t have hit the stage at a better time. With suicide rates on the rise, the show tackles a tremendous issue, but in a way that’s accessible through theatrical performance. It’s an extremely important conversation to have, but for it to resonate across all audiences, it needs to be done in a manner that sheds light on the heart of the topic.
By using art to bring this challenging subject to the fore, the writers remind their audience that no one is alone. Pressure is normal; failure is normal; dark thoughts are normal. However, finding a musical like “We Need This Musical to Stop Us From Killing Ourselves: The Musical!” is very rare.
“We Need This Musical to Stop Us From Killing Ourselves: The Musical!” is playing at the SoHo Playhouse through Dec. 2.
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