About the Show 2017-10-27T00:57:28+00:00

The Art of Living

an original musical comedy

book and lyrics by Dan Gallagher

music by Vivienne Deane

A young woman named Ily and her free-willing mother are on the run from a gangster loan shark. They seek refuge in a haunted mansion. While there they have a series of ghostly encounters: Shakespeare, Elvis Presley, Casanova, and Arthur, a handsome man who may turn out to be the love of Ily’s life. Chaos ensues when everyone wants Ily dead and an important mystery is solved in the process.
Performed at the Strand Center Theatre October 6th, 7th, 8th 2017.
An earlier version of the play was performed at Clinton Community College in 2015.
The cast of The Art of Living, from its October 2017 run at The Strand Center Theatre.
The cast of The Art of Living, from its January 2015 run at CCC Theatre.

Cast of Characters


the female lead

On the run with her irresponsible mother, Ily meets and falls for Arthur, though she is not sure whether he is a ghost or a lunatic. Either way, she is skeptical and does everything she can to keep her affection for him in check. She is witty, bright and thoughtful but more than a little bit guarded.


the male lead

Falls for Ily, the first living girl he has ever met. While he is attracted to her lively spirit and energy, he knows that the fact that she is not a ghost presents quite a hurdle in their relationship. He is kind, naive and very genuine, and never having been in a romantic relationship before, does not play the games that are sometimes associated with trying to attract someone.


Ily’s mother

Totally uninhibited, she is more of the child than Ily. She takes Ily with her as she flees from Rocco Antonucci, a loan-shark to whom she owes eighty-thousand dollars. The two of them seek refuge in a haunted house. (Think Karen Walker from “Will and Grace”.)

Vivian Lund

owner of the mansion and Arthur’s mother

She passed away in a fire that destroyed the mansion nearly 200 years ago. Her main objective is to look out for Arthur, and she is very concerned about his feelings toward a living girl. She is very loving and in fact very over-protective. (Think Bette Midler.)


Vivian’s level-headed maid

Eleanor also perished in the fire that destroyed part of the mansion, but has stayed by Vivian’s side and has in fact been as much a mother to Arthur as Vivian herself.


Spirit of the immortal Bard, Shakespeare is the first of the love experts to help Arthur, but later proves invaluable in the quest to find the treasure of Lund Manor.


Ghost of the iconic singer, Elvis also advises Arthur in the art of wooing women. His advice, however, centers on the irresistible appeal of music.


The legendary lover and adventurer, Casanova is called upon by Arthur to advise him in the ways of love. He explains women are attracted to a man of action. It also doesn’t hurt to be unfathomably good-looking.


Ghost of the silent film star, Valentino loses his sex appeal as soon as women hear his ridiculous voice. It is not surprising that he insists that women want a man of action, not words.


One of the love experts called on by Arthur, Tiffany does not seem to have any concrete advice to offer, yet she seems to have all of the “experts” falling at her feet.


Actually a deceased traffic cop named Sarah Brodsky, she passed away before she had the chance to solve one great mystery. Now convinced that she is actually Sherlock Holmes, she is determined to solve the mystery of Lund Manor.


Holmes’ friend and sidekick. While Watson is fully aware that Holmes is actually delusional, he is determined to help his friend and love interest solve a mystery.


Was once owned by Ily until he was hit by a Mack truck, Toby is now passing his time as Holmes’ trusty blood-hound. He explains (yes, he can talk) to Ily that the accident with the truck was not her fault.

Rocco Antonucci

The gangster and loan shark who is after Gloria and Ily to collect her winnings from her card game with Gloria. When she meets Arthur, she tries to convince him to kill Gloria and Ily “in the name of love.”


One of Rocco’s thugs, Eddie is actually smarter than he seems and is well-versed in art history. His knowledge of Sophie Manon’s art allows him to advise Rocco on the value of her self-portrait.


Rocco’s other goon. He is in fact as dumb as he looks.

Sophie Manon

The ghost of the artist herself, Sophie’s self-portrait hangs above the fireplace and may hold the key to the mystery of Lund Manor.