While Americans were going ga-ga over a woman in an egg, the theater world shined a spotlight on a pair of Westporters.
Last weekend “Dogfight” received a Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater. The studio production’s book is by Peter Duchan (book). Music and lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Peter and Justin are Staples grads; Benj is very familiar locally, as a longtime collaborator with Justin.
Rodgers Awards nurture talented composers and playwrights by subsidizing productions of their musicals in New York. This year’s jury was chaired by Stephen Sondheim.
Set in 1960s San Francisco, “Dogfight” follows Eddie Birdlace, a Marine about to ship out to Vietnam. He and his friends hold a cruel competition — a “dogfight” — during which each man brings the ugliest date he can find to a party.
According to Playbill.com, “Eddie finds Rose, a diner waitress whose idealism and compassion challenge him on his last evening before he ships out. When he returns, a broken man, to a changed America, he may finally be ready for the redemptive kindness Rose offers.”
Peter and Justin’s latest award is of interest to Westporters for another reason, beyond their hometown roots: Richard Rodgers lived for many years on Hulls Highway, just over the Fairfield line.