Meeting his mother’s high school friend couldn’t have lasted more than three minutes for playwright Cory Grant, but this memory was the groundwork for the Piccolo Spoleto Theatre Series debut of Derma, a musical about one woman’s attempt to live life to the fullest in the face of a debilitating disease.
Sharon had scleroderma, a relatively little-known autoimmune disease manifesting itself in the hardening of the skin and internal organs.
“When I went to shake Sharon’s hand, I noticed her smile. Her disease had taken its toll on her skin, some of her fingers were missing and her whole hand was cocooned in a bandage, but her smile glowed,” Grant remembers. “And I wrapped my little hand around hers and shook it. I remember thinking for the first time in my life that a body was a separate thing from a soul.”
Derma, co-written by New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts graduates Grant and Jared Coseglia, focuses on the narrative of lead character Joan, played by skilled Broadway performer Megan Lewis. The show consists of 10 scenes with 10 songs, inspired by popular female artists from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, that follow Joan’s life at 10 different periods.
Approx. 1 hour, 25 minutes. Part of Piccolo Spoleto.