Musical Based on Craigslist Ads to Premiere in Vancouver

Songs about 'bald longing and tenderness'

Craigslist ads have given voice to the pathetic and desperate over the years, and the same can be said for musical theater. So, it's only natural that they join forces, in Canada of all places, at Vancouver's PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, where Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata will re-debut. The 85-minute musical revue, written by CBC broadcaster Bill Richardson and singer/songwriter Veda Hille (below), is a loosely connected string of songs with lyrics taken verbatim from ads that Richardson found on Craigslist. The research phase of this project must have been something else. Anyway, the 20-minute workshop version of the show went to great pains to build a story whose characters had some dignity, and I hope the full production follows suit. "What comes through in these ads so often is just this bald longing and tenderness. It's a kind of searching. People are looking for something," Richardson says. "It turns out that it's a piece about hunger, as much as anything else." It's true that even the most broken, depraved Craigslist personals ad reflects humanity. Through a funhouse mirror in hell, perhaps, but that's still a reflection.