MISTY MAKES IT BETTER is an original musical for anyone who’s ever felt passionately about an important cause. Or felt passionately about felt. Or both.
Misty Riggs crafts like nobody’s watching... and they’re not. The quirky teenage optimist livestreams daily to an audience of zero about her passion for all things sequined, glittered and puffy-painted. But when her takedown of a bully goes viral and actual followers follow, Misty finds a new calling: to be a champion for the LGBTQ+ community!
Ignoring the misgivings of her BFF (and only F) Alix, Misty sets out to make genderfluid classmate Jacey the star of a campaign Jacey never asked for. When Alix and Jacey unexpectedly click, their budding romance not only threatens Misty’s grand plan, it also blindsides Alix’s mom (who’s got her own complicated thing going with the school principal). Increasingly isolated, Misty vows to win over Jacey and prove herself a hero—no matter the cost.
An intimate and thorny comic drama with a driving, pop-inflected score, MISTY MAKES IT BETTER explores the shifting fault lines of modern identity and the perils of doing what’s right for all the wrong reasons. A bedazzling new musical with an indie edge—get into it!
MISTY MAKES IT BETTER was developed at the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, New York SongSpace, and Musical Theatre Factory, where Alex Brightman directed a staged reading featuring Chris Dwan, Marcy Harriell, Gizel Jiménez, Drew McVety, and Jacey Powers, with musical direction by Paul Staroba.
I started my career writing plays for counter-culture icons like talent tornado Justin Vivian Bond, trans pioneer Candis Cayne and drag legend Sherry Vine. As a budding queer artist, watching them in action really set the bar for what it meant to live authentically.
Flash forward to a few years ago. Like a lot of us, I had activism on my mind and I ran across the story of a girl suspended from school for wearing a protest T-shirt. It was a lightbulb moment. I started thinking about a character like that girl, but turned on its head: what if her heart seemed to be in the right place, but her motives were not purely altruistic…?
Suddenly obsessed with the notions of performative allyship and virtue signaling, I wrote a play called LIKE A BILLION LIKES. It won some contests and got a lovely premiere, but the piece didn’t yet feel finished to me. There was more emotion and complexity to mine from the material. A little voice in my head said, “It should sing!”
So I turned to the songwriting team of Brad Alexander and Jill Abramovitz. Jill, a whip-smart lyricist and Broadway performer, had been the star of an earlier musical I co-wrote. I knew Brad was a genius composer and the winner of the Richard Rodgers Award, which is A Very Freaking Big Deal. To my delight, the material sparked for them, and we dug in. In addition to stirring numbers, brilliant dramaturgy and, like, a billion other things, they brought their invaluable perspective as parents. The characters and story deepened considerably, and we’re proud of what we’ve created — a darkly funny tale of allyship gone very wrong… with songs!
A NOTE FROM THE BOOKWRITER
Jill Abramovitz LYRICS
A contributing lyricist on Broadway’s IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, Jill is the translator of the award-winning Israeli musical BILLIE SCHWARTZ. She is the lyricist of TheatreWorksUSA’s MARTHA SPEAKS (book by Kevin Del Aguila, music by Brad Alexander), and the lyricist/co-bookwriter of THE DOGS OF PRIPYAT with composer Aron Accurso and co-bookwriter Leah Napolin (Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, Jerry Bock Award, NAMT 2011 and Goodspeed’s Festival of New Artists 2012).
With Brad Alexander, she adapted the film BREAD AND ROSES (NYMF Reading 2016, AMAS Dare to be Different Festival 2017). Jill is a past Dramatist Guild Fellow, a Harrington Award winner in the BMI Workshop, and a past member of the Musical Theatre Factory writer’s workshop as well as Goodspeed’s Mercer Grove, where she developed MISTY MAKES IT BETTER with Brad Alexander and playwright Erik Forrest Jackson.
Jill is also a Broadway and TV actress, having recently appeared as Maxine/Juno in BEETLEJUICE, Susan Charles in CHICAGO MED (NBC) and Stevie in THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL (Amazon). jillaonline.com
Erik Forrest Jackson BOOK
Erik’s comic drama LIKE A BILLION LIKES is the winner of the Southwest Playwriting Competition and the Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award. His musicals include the Goodspeed premiere of CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT, adapted from the Warner Bros. classic (co-book Patrick Pacheco, music by Jason Howland, lyrics by Amanda Yesnowitz), and BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka (co-book Ben Winters, arrangements by Tom Kitt).
New York premieres include: a comic adaptation of Stephen King’s CARRIE; DOLL, a twisted take on Ibsen’s A DOLL'S HOUSE; the comic thriller TELL-TALE (GLAAD nomination, Best Play of the Year); and the comedy CHARLIE! He adapted the beloved TV series CHEERS for a live stage event and authored the MUPPETS MEET THE CLASSICS humor series for Penguin Books and Disney. Residencies: Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Monson Arts, Chulitna Artists Residency, and the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals.
Erik serves on the Advisory Board of the American Theatre Wing and the selection committee for the Clive Barnes Foundation Awards. erikforrestjackson.com
Brad Alexander MUSIC
Brad wrote the music for SEE ROCK CITY & OTHER DESTINATIONS (book and lyrics by Adam Mathias), recipient of The Richard Rodgers Award, The BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award, and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical. He wrote the music for DOG MAN: THE MUSICAL (book and lyrics by Kevin Del Aguila), now playing Off-Broadway at New World Stages through April 30, 2023.
Additional theater: TheaterWorksUSA's CLICK, CLACK, MOO (Drama Desk, Lortel nom), JUST SO STORIES and MARTHA SPEAKS; songs for DUCK FOR PRESIDENT, FLY GUY and WE THE PEOPLE (Lortel nom).
TV: CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG (Scholastic/Amazon/PBS Kids); PBS’s Emmy Award-winning PEG + CAT; VH1’s “Celebreality” campaign; "Kind Of Crazy" for SUBMISSIONS ONLY (lyrics by Jill Abramovitz.
In development: BREAD AND ROSES, adapted from the film by Paul Laverty and Ken Loach (book and lyrics by Jill Abramovitz); CAT KID COMIC CLUB, based on the graphic novel series by Dav Pilkey. Brad is a member of NAMT, DGA, SAG-AFTRA and BMI Workshop. bradalexander.com