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September 19, 2013

'Crazy Moon'

Baird blasts into new territory in musical journey play

Gordon Baird, a local writer and actor known for his animated spirit, has penned an odyssey of his own machinations.

“Crazy Moon” takes the audience on what Baird calls an “adventure musical.” The show opens tonight and runs two weeks at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center in Gloucester.

The 10-song musical, which runs an hour and 15 minutes, follows a pastiche of characters, including the Traveler, the Priest, Milo, the Oracle, Katherine and the Paramour. The show stars Baird, and features Kathleen Brown and pianist John Hyde, a local favorite.

“The plot is both mysterious and occasionally swashbuckling,” Baird said. “The play is also technically innovative at the end, using music and an interactive film and a live video musical duet.”

This theater piece was inspired by three literary works “as unalike as they are brilliant,” said Baird. Those works are Richard Dana’s sailor story “Two Years Before The Mast,” first published in 1840; Sam Holdsworth’s “Greenheads,” published in 2008 about the local carnivorous fly and its life journey, and the 1955 children’s classic “Harold & the Purple Crayon.”

The work also involves two new Gloucester institutions, the Gloucester Writers Center, which held a play-writing workshop that spawned this story, and the new Rocky Neck Cultural Center, which is an anchor to the historic artist colony.

“The play just poured out of me. It was a confluence of influences, both literary and local,” said Baird. “I knew I had to study the greats if I was going to write a journey play.”

To that end, he reviewed the epic journeys as told in Homer’s “Odyssey” and Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” in which nine major things happened to the traveler. So his story too contains nine scenes.

Baird said this show does not involve the usual crazy “Gordo” antics. To the contrary, he delves into a more serious role, albeit infused with humor.

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