“Heartbreak Express” by George Lam and John Clum is partially inspired by Tai Uhlmann’s documentary film “For the Love of Dolly.” The show follows four Dolly Parton superfans waiting to meet the star for the first time.
According to a summary from Marble City Opera, Sisters Darlene and Luanne entered an essay contest and won the chance to meet Parton in person. Darlene hopes the encounter improves their lives, while Luanne is not so sure. The other two fans are longtime partners Don and Travis, who have amassed an enormous collection of Dolly memorabilia. They put their life savings into making a new Dolly doll and came to get Dolly’s blessing to make the new dolls. The opera ends in a quintet as the four describe their life-changing encounters with the superstar.
The Heartbreak Express will be at the Old City Performing Arts Center from October 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $40 and can be bought online here.
The show will star Whitney Wells as “Luanne”, April Hill as “Darlene”, Min Sang Kim as “Assistant”, Ben Rorabaugh as “Travis” and Daniel Spiottae as “Don”. Logan Campbell is the conductor and Marya Barry is the stage director.
Heartbreak Express made its world premiere on November 13, 2015, at the Bank Street Theater in the West Village. The New York Observer called the show “an unpretentious gem.”
“So offbeat a topic might have tempted a composer to bizarre and campy excesses, but George Lam kept his music heartfelt, always attentive to the cadences of speech,” wrote James Jordan in the Observer about the show.