An Inside Look at Writing “Gone Tomoro” with Timothy Murphy
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

An Inside Look at Writing “Gone Tomoro” with Timothy Murphy

1. Where did the inspiration or idea for the show come from?

The inspiration for GONE TOMORO came from the situation facing the Kiribati Islands in the South Pacific. As a result of global warming the atolls which comprise the Kiribati’s are disappearing into the Pacific. Looking further into the situation by speaking with demographers, I learned that potentially up to a fourth of the worlds population may have to move in the next one hundred years. The people from the fictional island of Tomoro are among the first to relocate.

A mass relocation of humanity with no country ready to accept them started me thinking about America, a nation of immigrants. At this time we are a country of the self absorbed and sub-cultured. It’s not the same melting pot immigrants from generations ago encountered. Here is where the journey begins….

 

2. What was the first song you wrote for the show?

The first song written for GONE TOMORO was probably “Gone Tomoro”.  I like to start a book with the last scene first. “Gone Tomoro” is the second to last song.

 

3. What was it like collaborating? What was your method of writing?

When working with Galt MacDermot, collaboration begins primarily after the book is written. He reads it and decides to be involved or not. Once the songs/melodies take shape we work with them, it’s rare we change the lyrics or fine-tune them.

 

4. Why do you feel readings and workshops are important to the development of a new musical?

Readings and workshops are the most important tool for developing a musical. As Galt says, “you can’t talk about music you have to hear it”. I don’t believe in reading the dialogue out loud to hear it, that’s too subjective. I want to hear from actors who are interpreting it to see if it works or not.

 

5. How is GONE TOMORO different from other shows you have written or worked on?

GONE TOMORO is a quantum leap for me as I am primarily a song lyricist. I’ve worked with Galt on a musical called CORPORATION. He wrote the music and lyrics, I wrote the book. We have collaborated on a number of songs over the last thirty years. Some songs were used on Galt’s albums and some were used in concerts by Galt and other performers.

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