"In the Wings"
or: What the Hell are you doing
in the Waiting Room for Heaven

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In the Wings*
OR... What the Hell
are you doing in the
Waiting Room for Heaven?
A new musical in development
by Deborah Henson-Conant.

Looking for a current performance?
Check Deborah's Tour Page

Most recent workshop production:
Fri. Oct. 23, 2009 • Seattle
features Deborah Henson-Conant with:
Clarice Fredrickson • Susi Hsong • Meg Mann • Janelle Nadeau • Genevieve Picard • Casey Pinckney • Emily Rostykus • Mark Andersen • Lynn Andersen.

Aubrey Giles' has an After-life day-job in the Waiting Room for Heaven, where she coaches new Heavenly recruits for the Celestial Choir with the help of her sidekick, Gabriel and her singing, dancing, harp-slinging Minions. 

Turns out, life was the ultimate reality game show -- and the folks in this room are the ones going on to the final round for the Celestial Choir. That's the good news

The bad news is, the final round is a doozy. with a set of personal Celebrity Judges that's each person's nightmare. But with Heaven's new "No Soul Left Behind" policy, every recruit gets a coach -- and that's where Aubrey comes in.

Aubrey's part cheerleader, part personal trainer and part wheeler-dealer --- if anyone can get you in, she can. But Aubrey has a secret.: her life has never flashed before her eyes -- and until it does, she can't progress to the next level of the game. She's stuck in the Waiting Room for Heaven. Until tonight ....

"In the Wings" is part One-Woman show, part musical.  It previewed in 2008 at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA (under the name "What the Hell are you doing in the Waiting Room for Heaven??"). The 2009/2010 revisions include a revised script, new songs, and an expanded cast of harp-slinging would-be Angels.

Photos (in the banner above) are from the 2008 preview production at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA  Graphics on this page are from various versions of the show, and since both the title and the script are changing, they may differ from posters for the current version of the show.


This 3-and-a-half minute video trailer – created by Lynn Andersen – uses footage from the 2008 production of the One-Woman Show version of "In the Wings."


Click left for a Jukebox.  If it doesn't work from your email version of this e-newsletter, then click here to see this e-newsletter on line, and the link should work from there.  

from the 2008 one-woman version of "In the Wings" directed by Wesley Savick, at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA (the show was then titled "What the Hell are you doing in the Waiting Room for Heaven??)

THE BOSTON GLOBE: "...everything from dreamy glissandos togutbucket blues on her electric harp and singing up a storm....And Henson-Conant's flamboyant stage look is just right for the role of Aubrey Giles, a performance coach to recently deceased hopefuls auditioning for the heavenly choir. She wears long braids with shiny ribbons mixed in, a white minidress, golden cowboy boots. She's a little bit pearly gates, a little bit Barbarella. Add in the rock-star-style grappling with her blue electric harp, and she is definitely memorable."

THE BOSTON HERALD: "Deborah Henson-Conant, also known as the Hip Harpist, has a lot going for her: She’s charismatic and fearless, with stage presence to spare; she’s got a powerful singing voice, and above all, she can play the harp like nobody’s business. In this case, an electric harp with blue flames licking up the frame, attached to the athletic, punked-out Henson-Conant with an elaborate harness...The Grammy nominee has Joan Baez-style vocal chops. She can pretty much make anything she wants come out of that harp - blues, rock, folk, musical theater-style ditties - and she does."

THE BOSTON METRO: "...one of the quirkiest, most delightful performance pieces this side of limbo ... Henson-Conant is also an engaging storyteller with an off-beat optimism that leads her to ponder oddities like why a dimple is good and a pimple is bad. She has depth, inner-wisdom and the ability to share her own demons...Be forewarned that if you’re sitting up front, you could become an integral part of [the] finish. It may not be enough to get you into heaven, but you’ll laugh so hard you won’t care.

OCT. 23, 2009 Seattle Workshop Production
(Images & comments courtesy of the American Harp Society, Greater Seattle Chapter's Newsletter, "Resonance")


Comments from an observer of the Oct. 23, 2009 Seattle workshopping process:

"I don't know how they did it, but seven local harpists, a local organist and a song-and-dance bell-ringer put on one heck of a show October 23. Oh, and Deborah Henson-Conant had a role, too. Susi Hussong, Emily Rostykus, Casey Pinckney, Clarice Frederickson, Genevieve Picard, Meg Mann andCanadian Janelle Nadeau were the harpist-choir members, tireless Mark Andersen the organist and the show's director/producer and everything else, and equally hard working Lynn Andersen the Man in Black dancer/bell ringer/radio announcer.

"They started rehearsing Monday night. I happened to see a bit of Tuesday night's rehearsal, and in the words of our younger set: “I was, like, no way!” There were lever problems, parts were being reassigned, and Deborah was saying things like "OK, I haven't figured out how we'll do this next part..." with only two rehearsals left! Omigosh.

"Then I went to the Thursday night rehearsal at the Daniels with husband Rick, whom Mark had asked to work the spotlight. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears! Music both played and sung had been learned, staging figured out, and there were even costumes!

"By Friday night it was still better, after a final rehearsal that afternoon. All of a sudden, there was A SHOW! Things flowed, no one appeared to forget anything (or if they did they covered it up), and all had a rollicking good time. Harpists who had been raised in the tradition of learning every note on the page and playing it perfectly, of having their part ready before the first rehearsal, had learned to go with the flow, and with Deborah it's a mighty strong current. Her acting chops were on full force, and her playing was beautifully mesmerizing, as always. Afterwards she took questions from the audience and fielded them with grace, humor and gratitude, for they will help her as she continues to shape the show." (Joyce Rice / courtesy of "Resonance" Newsletter)