Damon Daunno, Amber Gray, Grace McLean and Margo Seibert Join LOVE THE STRUGGLE Joe's Pub Concert

The new musical by Stacy Kray and Yair Evnine is about the French existential philosophers and social activists Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

By: Nov. 23, 2022
Damon Daunno, Amber Gray, Grace McLean and Margo Seibert Join LOVE THE STRUGGLE Joe's Pub Concert

Rehearsals began last week for a concert on Monday, December 5 at Joe's Pub being presented in collaboration with Maestra Music featuring song highlights from Love The Struggle, a new musical co-written by Stacy Kray and Yair Evnine about the French existential philosophers and social activists Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, who shunned marriage in favor of a vow of 'essential love' that allowed them each to take 'contingent lovers,' so long as they told each other everything about the 'contingents,' a practice they followed for fifty years until Sartre's death. Their joint grave in Paris has since been covered in kisses by admirers from all over the world.

Described by writer Kray as having a "Spring Awakening meets Hadestown at Cabaret vibe," Love The Struggle"distills thousands of pages of the couple's provocative writings on love, gender roles and human connection into the more bite-sized format of a musical."

The cast includes Damon Daunno (Oklahoma!; Hadestown; The Lucky Ones), Amber Gray (Macbeth, Hadestown, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), Grace McLean (Suffs, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; In The Green) and Margo Seibert (Octet, Rocky, In Transit).

Love The Struggle will donate 100% of its ticket proceeds for the concert to Maestra (a nonprofit committed to achieving gender equity in theatre) with the hope that the money will help Maestra continue programs focused on eliminating employment disparities for women and other under-represented groups.

"Our protagonists believed in the power of collective action to change the world, and theatre is nothing if not collective action, so it seemed fitting given how rough the past two years have been that the concert should benefit the theatre community," Kray said. "Maestra sprang to mind immediately as a partner because they doubled down to help women in theatre during the pandemic."

From founder Georgia Stitt taking the time to teach a class at the Dramatists Guild (where Kray met Stitt) to offering zoom classes taught by elite Broadway musicians, including an accordion class Kray took from Katrina Yaukey who had appeared in the SheNYC showcase of Love The Struggle, Kray witnessed first-hand how Maestra forms collective bonds that improve women's lives.

Kray says Maestra's groundbreaking initiatives to build strength through community align perfectly with Beauvoir's belief that "One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others."

"We are thrilled to be honored by the Love The Struggle team with this wonderful concert about such an inspirational and important figure in the fight for gender parity," said Stitt.

Beauvoir herself viewed a woman's right to work as indispensable to equality. As she bluntly put it in the 1940s: "Woman is shut up in a kitchen or in a boudoir, and astonishment is expressed that her horizon is limited. Her wings are clipped, and it is found deplorable that she cannot fly."

The show will be music directed by Anna Ebbessen.

Love The Struggle has received recognition and production support from Harvard University, George Washington University, the SheNYC Summer Theater Festival, Apples and Oranges Arts and the National Alliance of Musical Theatres (NAMT) among others.

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