Now — as a professional “director/ producer/ multiple hat-wearer” with successes on 2 continents — Ari understands more than ever the importance of organization, planning and preparation.
Except when he’s putting on a musical in just 24 hours.
From start — casting, writing songs and dialogue, staging, rehearsing and opening — to finish.
Poof! Like Brigadoon, the moment the curtain falls on a performance that did not exist one day earlier, it’s gone forever.
“24-Hour Musicals,” they’re called. Ari has organized them at New York’s Gramercy Theatre since 2008.
Now they’ve become a little less ephemeral. A documentary crew has produced a film about the event. “One Night Stand” — which earned great reviews at festivals around the country — will open nationally in hundreds of theaters on Wednesday, January 30.
Fittingly, it will play for one night only. The closest Connecticut sites are Milford and Danbury.
This being Westport, there’s more than one connection to the film. Staples 2003 grad Justin Paul and his writing partner, Benj Pasek — who most recently wrote the Broadway smash “A Christmas Story, The Musical” — participated in the 2009 24-Hour Musical, which the filmmakers followed. Ari, Justin and Ben are featured prominently in the movie.
Ari calls each exhausting, exhilarating 24-Hour Musical “an Ironman for the theater.”
The New York Times says the film “borrows from the frenzied, ticking-clock world of reality television.”
Describing the final product, Ari says, “Part of the fun is when people forget their lines. The audience loves seeing blood on the floor.”
There’s an even better line in the movie. Near the beginning, actress Tamara Tunie proclaims, “I’m excited and I’m terrified. It is kind of like sex.”