In a recent interview, musician and Greenwich Village resident Steve Earle said that he is working on a musical about… Washington Square Park. The material is based on his 2007 album, Washington Square Serenade. (You can see from the creative album cover above, part of the Arch, what looks like nearby One Fifth Avenue, and, of course, a large dog.)
As to what the musical focuses on, Earle told Billboard magazine:
It’ll be a very New York musical. It’s based on the idea that there’s 20,000 people buried underneath Washington Square Park — and therefore the park’s pretty haunted. The characters in the play are all buskers and chess players, and then the protagonist is a kid who dropped out of NYU and busks in the park and hangs out with the chess players and gives walking tours of Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park as part of his living, which is how the audience learns about the history of New York and the history of the park.
The musician, who is also an actor and activist, completed a weekly residency at downtown’s City Winery during the month of January and has lived in New York for about 10 years. (You can learn more about Steve Earle here).
Earle has been known to walk through Washington Square Park and give nice-sized tips to musicians. The park, its culture and its history obviously mean a lot to him. No word on whether the play will debut in New York, off- or on-Broadway; I am sure we will hear more about it soon.