The action begins with the opening number (“What Are the Odds?”), which reflects on our natural history (both prehistoric, and recent), and explores the evolution of the human race that has permitted the performers and audience to arrive at the starting point of the show.
The scene shifts to a planetarium exhibit in the museum, and the foursome ponder what they could acquire to make them happy, each expressing their desire for “More Life”. They divide to conquer the museum. Exhibits begin to trigger memories. For Woman 2, the Hall of Birds evokes childhood recollections (“Give Me Your Attention”). At the deep-sea exhibit, Man 1 shares his experiences competing in a middle school talent show, where he discovers his intuitive need to cloak his true self from unwanted scrutiny (“Dazzle Camouflage”).
At an exhibit studying natural selection, the group learns that those who fail to adapt, fail to survive. They reflect on how ‘survival of the fittest’ applied to their own middle school experiences (“Members Only”). Soon, Woman 1’s discovery of the bee exhibit triggers her self-recognition as a ‘busy bee’ who fills her life to avoid the pain of growing up in a hoarding house. As their memories and stories grow into a chaotic "Cacophony", they all begin to understand the obstacles that stand between them and their enjoyment of life in the present moment also known as the Now. Here. This.
Man 2 wanders, lost and bored in the museum, finding himself at a turtle display, where he continues fantasizing about what would make his life more interesting and fabulous (“Archer”). At a display featuring early hominids, Woman 1 and Woman 2 debate whether money and privilege can buy happiness (“That’ll Never Be Me”). Man 1 then recalls the regret of masking his true self and passions in college (“Kick Me”).
The gang continues to share ‘a-ha’ moments that they’ve experienced, including the teaching of Trappist monk Thomas Merton, and his advice to keep in mind three words: Now, Here, and This. Merton believed that if you can get to the intersection of Now, Here, and This, then you will be present to truly appreciate your life.
After Man 2’s botched attempt at making a real connection with security guard Archer, the gang exchanges stories about moments when they found themselves directly in the moment, but not necessarily moments they enjoyed (“That Makes Me Hot”).
In “Penny Words”, Woman 2 and Man 2 share their experiences of extremely precious moments of life, and how small acts of self-expression are sometimes the most powerful.
As their museum exploration continues, the quartet discovers an exhibit on various kinds of tribes and families, and sings in celebration of having found each other-their own tribe-out of all the people in the world (“Then Comes You”).
In “Golden Palace”, Woman 1 shares the false myth of a place where only highly educated, deeply intelligent, privileged people are granted the opportunity to create works of greatness. In “Get Into It”, Man 2 shares his history of living in a fantasy world . And in “This Time”, Woman 2 struggles with her father’s expectations but eventually celebrates in accepting him for exactly who he is, freeing her to enjoy her life.
After a full day at the museum (and a fuller life), the cast invites the audience to step out of the museum and directly into the present moment, to experience the adventure of their own lives.
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Written By: Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell & Jeff Bowen
History. Of. Show.
Many of you interested in performing this show came to it by way of a Broadway musical called [title of show]. That piece was originally created and performed by the same collective of artists responsible for Now. Here. This. While NHT is neither a prequel nor sequel to [tos], it did come about from a desire the original [tos] team had to continue a very productive and powerful collaboration. Around the time [tos] was on Broadway, we were often asked to appear in benefits for some great causes in and around New York City. Because we had the ability and desire to create our own work for those benefits, we did. What came about in many of these pieces was this hybrid of original song and story telling. After several of these pieces were created, an opportunity to workshop a full length show of these pieces came to us in the summer of 2009 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and we were fortunate to begin to build the foundation of what would eventually become Now. Here. This. The project continued to take shape with residencies at The MacDowell Colony and Weston Playhouse. Then, our collective returned to the Vineyard Theatre where we had performed [title of show]. In the summer of 2011, a staged lab workshop of NHT was presented which led to a full off Broadway production in the Vineyard’s season in the spring of 2012. That production starred Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff and was directed and choreographed by Michael Berresse with musical direction by Larry Pressgrove.
We are so grateful to the artistic institutions that helped shape NHT and incredibly proud of the show you hold in your hands.
We also hope your artistic journey and production brings you joy, growth, reflection and an appreciation for the present moment. That’s just what it did for all of us.
Vocal Range of Characters:
|Name||Vocal Type||Low Note||High Note|
Woman 1 was originally played by Susan Blackwell.
Woman 2 was originally played by Heidi Blickenstaff.
Man 1 was originally played by Jeff Bowen.
Man 2 was originally played by Hunter Bell.
Vocal Range notes for Now. Here. This.:
Written By: Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell & Jeff Bowen
Advice. To. Director.
We believe the power in NHT is in the performers being the simplest, most honest versions of themselves. Yes, there are heightened moments throughout the show, but ultimately, if a cast and creative team honors the book and music and is open to the risk and joy in sharing their authentic selves, the show will work.
Is. It. True?
Many of the stories in the show are indeed based on autobiographical moments from the authors’ lives. However, like many great works of art, that veracity is simply a seed, which we then grew into compelling characters. Our goal was to create a great musical not a documentary.
- Libretto/Vocal Books 10 pack
- 10 – Libretto Book
- Pre Production Package
Man 1 (Bari-tenor, B to G#)
Man 2 (Tenor, C to A)
Woman 1 (Alto, F to C)
Woman 2 (Alto, F to D)
Now. Here. This. takes place inside a natural history museum and in the minds and memories of the characters. In the original production, simple small units and projections were used to represent various halls of the museum.
Changes. In. Show.
For those of you fortunate enough to have seen the show in it’s run off Broadway you may note a few minor changes. In that production, the creators and authors of the show used their own names. In the licensed version, we use Man 1 & 2 and Woman 1 & 2. This decision was made to ensure there is no confusion in the approach actor’s take to these characters. These are four people. Four characters. They are not historical representations of the original cast members. Also, any cut songs, shifted songs, or tweaked dialogue is because of the authors’ intent to make the best version of the show possible. A reminder that upon signing your licensing contract, no alterations or changes are allowed to the script and score you have in your hands. Plus, we’ve clocked some time with this piece and think we’ve worked things out rather nicely as is.