Book, Music, and Lyrics by Sarah Hirsch
(9 M/5 W)
SECRET PASSAGES takes place in the present day in the Harvard Club in New York City. A group of adults (including Sam, Miles, Cara, Genevieve, and several of their old classmates) has gathered for the 20th anniversary memorial service for their friend Mathias, who died unexpectedly during their senior year of high school. In the middle of the service, Sam proposes that the four friends leave and play Capture-the-Flag, like they had in high school. He thinks this would be a fitting way to commemorate Mathias, who always had an adventurous streak.
So the friends start a game of Capture-the-Flag within the Harvard Club, racing down its winding corridors, exploring its hidden rooms. During the course of this game, they each grapple with their own lot in life and the ever-present tragedy of Mathias’s death. Weaved into the story is a second narrative, taking place twenty years earlier, during their senior year in high school. We see the day before Mathias’s death. While his friends struggle with typical high school pressures, Mathias determines to escape the rat race and live an unusual life, exploring secret passages. Mathias’s sudden death the next morning leads his friends to reevaluate their plans. They make a pact to adopt Mathias’s liberating philosophy and do something unusual with their lives.
This musical is a meditation on the traps of convention, as well as an exploration of the way a single, random event can inexorably influence our lives.