a coatcheck musical

by Stephanie Fleischmann
music by Christina Campanella
directed by Hayley Finn

Three coatcheck girls in cahoots while away a long night in their booths, confiding in each other their hopes and dreams. Besieged by snooty customers and dodging the bullets of an oily-headed maitre d’, Coatcheck Lila, Leeanne, and Lisette take us on a vaudevillian romp through the coat closets of the service industry. Peppered with song and dance, melodrama, slapstick, and a little bit of Dada to boot, Secret Lives is a riff on class and identity, on silver spoons and starlets in the making, on photographic memory and foundlings and the holes in the pockets of our coats.

A musical very much made for these times, Secret Lives taps into a depression-era mentality with spunk and charm. Laced with the ebullience of physical comedy, it is, ultimately, grounded in an underbelly of loss and longing. But ultimately this coatcheck musical is about the power of the imagination to effect change: Like the play’s intrepid coatcheck girls, we are all stuck in our own “coatcheck closets”; via our capacity to dream up our futures and our fates, we have the potential to transcend its confines.


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