Annie Bacon and Kyle Rasche Come Together to Write the Michigan-Based Musical "The Keeper" and Perform Songs February 17 at Trinity House Theatre
Back in October, two Michigan folk singer-songwriters formed an unexpected partnership.
“I think we both knew of each other, and I was a fan of Annie before we [had] actually met in person because she had written this amazing folk opera a few years ago,” said Rasche, who writes, records, and performs under the moniker Chain of Lakes.
Within only a few short hours of meeting Rasche, Bacon started writing the initial songs for a full-blown, stage-ready musical called The Keeper and shared them with him.
“I’d done my stalking and knew she’d be great to work with and immediately shared my dream with her to write a musical that had been germinating for a few years,” he said. “She came back to my room later to work on it with a bunch of it already written.”
Over the next four months, the duo harnessed their songwriting chemistry to compose 32 songs for The Keeper, which takes place in 1942 and centers on the White Shoal Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac.
The musical follows a lighthouse keeper named Sam and his crew as they experience changes in their daily work routines due to advancements in technology that might put their livelihoods at risk.
“There was a lot going on historically at that time, and Sam finds himself dealing with a lot of change,” said Bacon, who also composed The Folk Opera in 2008. “A lot of the story is, in part, dealing with the struggle to accept change and is about making peace with the pace of change.”
Bacon and Rasche will bring The Keeper to life during a February 17 show at Livonia’s Trinity House Theatre. The duo will perform the musical in its entirety for a southeast Michigan audience after having shared some songs recently at Grand Rapids’ Midtown.
“This work has cracked me open more than anything I have ever done,” said Rasche, who shares an admiration of lighthouses with Bacon.
“I’ve never had a line in a play, and this is an entirely new world for me. I grew up on theater, and my wife and I go to plays together, but I have never written a musical or poured myself into a project like this before.”
Sean Miller is a Michigan singer-songwriter and freelance arts and entertainment writer.
To learn more about the White Shoal Lighthouse and the mission to restore it, visit the White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society at preservewhiteshoal.org.