“Suddenly” reminds audiences that life is full of distractions

On Friday night in the Experimental Theatre, the new musical Suddenly was presented to a full house. Once seats filled up 10 minutes before the show, some decided to watch just outside the theatre on the big screen. 

Actors perform Suddenly. Photo courtesy of Rachel Rolle.

Co-Directors Anthony Scarpone and Katie Manhardt worked to unfold topics such as death, suicide, and other struggles of life. Satire was woven throughout each scene, giving the audience a sense of comedic relief. This was Suddenly’s first-ever performance, so the audience attending this weekend’s showing was the first to ever experience its songs and characters. The performances were staged readings, meaning the actors were reading from their scripts and the co-directors were still making other adjustments.

Scarpone, the writer of the script, gave some insight into the play’s background. “That is what this musical is about, Distractions…a glimpse of what I saw the world as, what I was societally raised to see the world as, and my journey to how I see the world is now.”


In Suddenly, the main character, Will, is forced to see the deeper meaning of life after he is hit by a truck on his way to work. He then encounters an angel, Uriel, who informs him he only has 24 hours to live. His last day on earth consists of trial and error, or as Scarpone previously mentioned, “distractions.” What Will should do in his last moments was constantly in question; he was a lawyer at his late father’s firm and envisioned himself getting on a case that morning to provide his girlfriend of 10 years, Sarah, the life he assumed she wanted. In reality, all she wanted was his time and for him to propose marriage. 

Even with limited time, he proceeds to chase that fallacy. He stops by a coffee shop to bribe his boss for a big promotion. Yet when Will runs into a barista named Michael, disguised as the devil, he is steered off track. Michael sends Will on an expedition, causing him to quit his job and miss the dinner reservation where he planned to finally propose to Sarah. Luckily, after taking the wrong turn, Will is able to get back on track before leaving this earth; telling his mom how much he loved her, visiting his father’s grave, and finally proposing to Sarah. Suddenly is a reminder to viewers that nothing is certain, and to appreciate the things they already have—otherwise, you may find yourself always chasing the life you hoped to have.