Jack Dyville began writing as a teenager, and although he is “semi-retired,” that has not stopped him from sharing his work. His latest creation is a musical for all ages, the sea adventure “A Mermaid’s Tale” at the Triad Theatre in New York.
“Writing used to be my hobby, and has turned into a full-time job now,” said Dyville, a Guttenberg resident.
Back to 1968
Beginning in 1968, he was affiliated with a theater company in New York called Friends Always Creating Theatre, where Dyville worked as an actor, playwright and director. He’s been coined the “Jack-of-All-Theatrical-Trades” for his various talents.
His career has spanned 44 years, with a B.A. in theatre and journalism from Texas Wesleyan University and an MFA in Directing from Texas Christian University, and additional masters’ credits from United States International University of San Diego.
His first job was with the ballet corps at Radio City Music Hall. Soon after, Dyville worked on Broadway productions such as “Hello Dolly” and “West Side Story.” In 1979 he began his career as a playwright by creating the youth musical “A Country Christmas Carol” that was published with I.E. Clark.
“The entire cast is brilliant, they have really brought these characters to life.” – Jack Dyville
“My writing career blossomed there,” said Dyville. “It was something that playwrights never get the opportunity to do. I got to see anything I wrote usually get produced.”
His experience has made him a well-rounded director and playwright. Currently more than 16 of his selected plays have been published.
“I think I’ve learned, because I’ve acted to make the dialogue as believable and real as a conversation,” said Dyville.
Yet another kid-friendly show is “Eeek! A Mousical” which played at the Sandbox Theatre in Mamaroneck, N.Y. in 2011. Two of his more serious plays are “The Memory Book” and “An Umbrella in the Snow” which both tie into illnesses such as HIV-AIDS and Alzheimer’s.
Under the sea
Commissioned to write a musical based on a 1911 book called “The Sea Fairies” by L. Frank Baum for the 100th anniversary of the local library, Dyville wrote “A Mermaid’s Tale,” now running in New York.
“A Mermaid’s Tale” began its Off-Broadway run at the Triad Theatre on Sept. 15. The show begins its fourth week on Oct. 6 and is scheduled through the middle of December, with the possibility of extending its run into 2013.
Dyville hopes parents and children will enjoy the play. He considers it to be as clever and funny as the book. This is his Off-Broadway debut as a playwright.
“It’s fun for ages 4 to 94,” said Dyville.
“A Mermaid’s Tale” is based on a young girl named Trot and her grandfather who go on an underwater adventure with mermaids. Her grandfather tells Trot that “no one ever saw a mermaid and lived to tell the tale.” They are each turned into a mermaid and a merman for the venture.
The underlying message of the play is overcoming adversity and good conquering evil.
“The entire cast is brilliant, they have really brought these characters to life,” said Dyville.
After one of the performances Dyville asked a little girl what she thought of the show and her response was that it gave her goose bumps. According to Dyville, the play has even received high praise from Murray Schisgal who wrote “Luv,” which earned Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Author of a Play and co-wrote the film “Tootsie.”
He would like to bring “A Mermaid’s Tale” to Guttenberg but was under the impression that the majority of the community only spoke Spanish.
After three and half years of residency, Dyville says he loves the town of Guttenberg.
“I think it’s quaint that it’s just four blocks long,” said Dyville.
“A Mermaid’s Tale” has one performance a week on Saturdays at 3 p.m. on 158 West 72nd St. at The Triad Theatre. There you can experience the Mermaid Magic, meet King Anko, the villainous Zog, his slightly zany assistant Sacho, an underwater Goldsmith who saves the day with her street-wise, rap-style delivery, three Mermaid Princesses , the Pessimist, the Botanist and the beautiful Queen Aquarine.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ or on a 24/7 ticket hotline at 1-800-838-3006.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org