This musical is anything but basic.
A Bergen Beach playwright will make a splash this month with a frothy new musical comedy opening on Nov. 17 at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House in Bay Ridge. “Pumpkin Spiced Musical” tells the story of an advertising agency that embraces the commercial craze surrounding the flavor of fall by inventing a unique pumpkin spice–flavored mystery product. The show was inspired by the annual autumnal obsession with squash spices, which has hit an all-time high this year, said the playwright.
“I love pumpkin spice lattes, I love Starbucks, no doubt about it,” said Ben Stiefel, who plays piano at Hunter’s every Friday night. “But to have air fresheners and cereals and candies — it’s all just gone totally nuts. This fall, it’s everywhere you look, once you start recognizing it.”
Stiefel, who insisted that he only drinks the flavored Starbucks lattes “once or twice a week,” said that he has nothing against consumers of the pumpkin-flavored products, but he wanted to poke fun at the advertisers, marketers, and executives who shamelessly hawk the goods.
“It’s just endlessly silly the way companies are trying to profit off of this pumpkin spice craze, and I thought it would be a really cool way to satirize it. It was more my intention to satirize that than the people who might enjoy this stuff,” he said.
He was particularly aghast when he recently saw pumpkin spice dog treats at Petco.
“My first thought was, maybe there’s a new audience for my show, these dogs that love pumpkin spice,” he added.
The show features four local actors — James Parks, Sofie W. Smith, Natalie Perry, and Peter Anthony Moore — with Stiefel accompanying on the piano. Before and after the roughly 90-minute show, audience members can indulge in a variety of custom pumpkin drinks from the Hunter’s menu, including pumpkin-spiced espresso martinis and apple cinnamon sangria.
Stiefel refused to reveal what pumpkin-flavored product the advertising agency creates in his musical, but promised that the audience will be as shocked as he was at Petco.
“I think it’s a big moment,” he said. “My hope is that it’s surprising and funny in a big way.”
“Pumpkin Spiced Musical” at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House (9404 Fourth Ave. between 94th and 95th streets in Bay Ridge, www.hunte