Arts Preview: SEMI FAME: The Truck Route to Broadway
By Jim Fischer
The road to fame is paved. That’s it, just paved.
And no one knows paved roads better than Pete, the trucker with the golden voice, who lives on the highway but carries dreams of the Great White Way.
Pete’s story is told in song in the new musical “Semi-Fame: The Truck Route to Broadway,” (sub-subtitled “An Original Musical of Truckers, Dreams, Drugs and Broadway”). The locally created and produced play will debut this weekend at the Green Room at the Garden Theater.
“We weren’t aware of a ‘trucker musical,’ so we thought it could be a fun idea,” Andy Gallagher, a local musician who wrote the show’s music and lyrics, said. “On one hand, I just find long-haul truckers to be fascinating people. But we also made the show about dreaming something you’re not supposed to want at all.”
“Semi Fame” finds Pete encouraged by his friends at Margie’s Diner, his favorite haunt, to follow his performing dreams. One night at Margie’s, he meets Dan, a former Hollywood child star, himself fascinated with the life of a trucker. The two head for New York City, where Dan takes over the rig and Pete follows his passion.
Mike Kolar wrote the book, from a concept by Josh Gandee. Riley Hutchinson directs “Semi-Fame,” which Gallagher said has been written over the past two years. The production features a cast of eight and a pit band of two.
“It’s definitely a comedy, but it certainly has its moments of heartfelt sincerity,” Gallagher said.
The script makes liberal use of traditional trucker jargon, Gallagher said, and the music (songs make up about three-quarters of the show, he said) is purposefully simple.
“These are good ol’ boy songs, backed by just guitar and piano, that intentionally play on the simplicity of the trucker song.”