As any divorcee knows, success is the best revenge.
After her husband Tony dumped her for a younger woman after 34 years of marriage, Ruthe Ponturo poured her angst and need for Spanx into writing the musical, "Till Divorce Do Us Part," now playing in New York City's DR2 theater near Union Square.
Working with composer John Thomas Fischer, they crafted funny heartfelt ditties about suddenly having to fly the plane solo while having to emotionally refuel. Audience members laughed out loud with songs aptly titled, "Gallery of Cads," with a special shout out to Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards, along with "Holidays Suck," "Better Mad than Sad," "You Were A Whole Lot Cuter Before" and of course the rallying song "Best Friend Rag" which is a Valentine to girlfriends who often cushion the fall -- at least the ones who don't desert you.
The plot is about Ponturo's character, played by Erin Maguire, who along with two engaging supportive friends, played by Gretchen Wylder and Dana Wilson, sing, dance and laugh their way through the surprising twists and turns of finding yourself single after a lifetime of marriage and not only doing a re-do but turning the page to self-discovery and possibility. There is also a male character, John Thomas Fischer, who plays Dottie, an advice columnist who reads plaintive letters from the divorced which inspire the girls to swing into a dance and song number.
Ponturo, who studied theater and choreography, says she was determined to make this musical upbeat and not a clichéd divorcee lament.
"Even though at the moment my husband left I was devastated, I realized I had a life before him and would have a life after him," she said. "Creativity is good therapy."
In fact, Ponturo sold all the jewelry Tony gave her to fund the initial worship in August of 2012. As for her ex, while "Till Death Do Us Part" is still running, her husband's Broadway production of "Bronx Bombers" about the Yankees just bombed. "That is a satisfying feeling," she admits, "But also a sad one.It is terrible that all the people involved in the production are now unemployed. Also I had spent so many years of my life trying to make his life great. We had many good years together and that is what makes divorce so complicated. You remember those years but have to focus on the next ones."
And now life is good. On her own. She may have lost one Tony -- but she may one day get another Tony -- the ultimate reward/award from the theater community.. Ah yes. Sometimes the good girls do win.