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Underground: The Musical

We can be happy underground….

Every Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five fan knows that refrain and can sing every word about the motley crew that inhabits the underworld of pop culture in the 1990s – Officer Friendly’s “little boy” with the Mohawk, slamming the pit fantastic, nose rings installed.

Now, a theatre company in San Diego is collaborating with a local playhouse to premiere a musical featuring the characters and songs from Ben’s nearly thirty year career as a singer-songwriter. Aptly titled Underground, the musical is a co-production of San Diego’s Blindspot Theatre and the Coronado Playhouse. Blindspot’s artistic director, Blake McCarty, wrote the book for the show and works as the production manager for the Coronado Playhouse. The play has been an ongoing project for a decade, its genesis being a graduate project by New Yorkers Amy Cordileone, Donnie Tuel and Rachel Tuggle Wharton. McCarty had collaborated with Cordileone previously, and saw an earlier version of the show in 2015. During the pandemic, the group got together remotely to develop the new show, which Cordileone is choreographing. McCarty says the base theme of the show is the idea that there is good in everyone, a theme present in What Matters Most, Ben’s latest work. The show will feature bits of 40 or so of Ben’s songs, along with characters inspired by the lyrics. And rather than set in a conventional theatre, the audience will find themselves in a dive bar setting, at tables surrounding the performers in a sort of cabaret arrangement. Of Folds, McCarty says “He’s a musical genius, a musical savant who can use the keyboard as both a melodic and percussion instrument. He’s known for writing songs that are personal and full of pathos and humor that capture the quirks and depth of individual human experiences. Often he’s writing about his own foibles and flaws in a way that feels humanizing. But so much of his music is full of remarkable hooks that you can’t help walking away humming.”

Underground opens July 7 and runs Thursdays through Sundays until July 30. Tickets and more information can be obtained at