Seventeen long months ago, my husband of 34 years left me. I channeled my anger into music, and created a cabaret inspired by my experience. Divorce - The Musical...Better Mad Than Sad debuts at The Triad Theater in New York City on September 28, 2012. My reluctance to let divorce (or my ex-husband, for that matter) steal my spirit, coupled with a good dose of alternative medicine -- song and dance -- has provided me an opportunity to give audiences a 75-minute escape they, too, can find comedic comfort in. Creating the show is what saved me. Herewith, my story:
March 2011: My husband and best friend tells me he no longer wants to be married and that he is in love with someone else. WHAT? Disbelief and shock fill me. He moves out.
I stand in my hallway and vow out loud (very Scarlett O'Hara) that my spirit will not be broken.
I begin accepting any invitation and go out every night, but the apartment still seems empty when I return home.
April 2011: I try to keep my sanity as the divorce proceedings begin. I start hearing songs in my head -- in the shower, lying in bed, on the subway -- snippets of songs about heartbreak and betrayal. Oddly the songs are funny, in a slightly cynical manner. I start writing down the lyrics. A friend says I should do a cabaret show about divorce. BINGO.
I ask my piano teacher, John Thomas Fischer, also a composer, to collaborate with me. We start sitting down at the piano and banging out songs. We laugh a lot. I discover that I can write lyrics -- who knew?
June 2011: The phrase "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" comes to mind. "The Fuck You Fugue," "Bitter Pill" and "Holidays Suck" are each penned. The process is therapeutic. I try and limit my occasional pity parties to 10 minutes. I call girlfriends to talk it out; they inspire "Best Friend Rag."
August 2011: We sign all separation papers. Looking across the table that day, I think, "He was a lot cuter when I loved him." Then I think, Hmmm that would be a good song. And now it is: "You Were a Whole Lot Cuter."
Fall 2011: Waiting for the divorce to be final. Will it ever be over? Write a song about it: "Divorce is Such a Grim and Gruesome Thing to Undergo."
January 2012: Divorce is finalized. It feels strange but anti-climactic. My feelings and thoughts develop into more songs. How did I not see what was right in front of me? "Denial." How weird does it feel to have the whole bed to yourself? "Sides." How many other women are in the same boat? "A Gallery of Cads." How many times do you fantasize about him getting swallowed up by a tsunami -- or some other exotic death? "The Best Scenario." How do the kitty cats feel? "Daddy's a Douchebag." How does she live with herself? "The Other Woman."
Spring 2012: John and I keep writing. And laughing. Pretty soon I have laughed away a lot of the heartbreak. Now there are 25 songs, enough for a show. The first song is "Better Mad Than Sad" and the last is "Better Glad Than Mad." I realize I'll be fine without him.
Summer 2012: The show is ready for a staged reading. It is successful beyond my wildest dreams. And so much fun. I come home now, open the door to my apartment, the kitties greet me and I think, Ah I am home, and nothing seems missing.
Divorce - The Musical...Better Mad Than Sad will deliver eight showcase performances beginning on September 28, 2012 at the Triad Theater in New York City at 158 West 72nd Street. Tickets are currently available through www.brownpapertickets.com, or by calling (800) 838-3006. For more information about Divorce - The Musical...Better Mad Than Sad, please visit www.divorce-themusical.com.