‘It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love’ will be performed one night only, Saturday, June 29

TEMPLETON — A homegrown musical is making its way to the Templeton Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 29. “It Takes Two: Brand New Songs About Same Old Love” is the brainchild of Michael Kaplan and Mark Pietri, a SLO County-based theatrical songwriting duo, presenting their third original work.

“It Takes Two” celebrates the risky business of falling in love. Nineteen original songs and bits of spoken word make for a funny and touching 80 minutes. The show stars Kelly Fitzgerald, Ritchie Bermudez, Sholly Von Stein, Michael Kaplan, and Mark Pietri on piano. After a sold-out run at By the Sea Productions in Morro Bay earlier this year, the troupe is bringing the show to Templeton for one night only.

Kaplan and Pietri met each other through Craigslist in 2014. Michael had written half a musical comedy and desperately needed to find a musical collaborator. The two met over coffee, and once Mark was certain he wasn’t being set up for a kidnapping, he began working with Michael on “Danny Come Home.” That process was interrupted when the SLO Little Theater (now SLO Rep) decided to produce their revue, “We’re Canceling Cable (and Other Empty Threats).” The duo quickly completed five songs for that production, which debuted in 2015. “Danny Come Home” was produced in 2017 at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theater, and again in 2018 as a concert version at the Unitarian Universalist Church in San Luis Obispo.


Kaplan has also written the three-act comedy, “Love Town,” which was produced at the Pewter Plough Playhouse and “Foodies,” a two-act musical farce written with Jeff Mar, that has received staged readings in Dallas, Cambria, and Winter Park, Florida.

“’Danny Come Home’ was based on a local incident that happened in this county over 10 years ago,” Kaplan explains.“The whole controversy about Annie the Dog, which involved Dave Congalton and Adam Hill, among others.And ‘Foodies’ is a musical comedy set at the Paso Robles Food & Wine Festival. I’ve loved writing about this area, but this show is definitely more universal in its themes.”

Kaplan began writing “It Takes Two” in 2021, drawing on a handful of unperformed songs he’d written with Pietri, as well as several new creations that “bubbled up from romantic turbulence,” he admits. The pair completed the work in 2023, designing the production to be small and portable so they could perform around the county at multiple venues.

Ryan Flores, manager of the Templeton Performing Arts Center, said, “I jumped at the chance to work with this group. Uniting the community and embracing the arts is what the Templeton PAC is all about. We’re in a time of great growth, and many new diverse productions are on their way to our stage. An original musical revue by members of our community felt like a bullseye!”

To sample videos from the Morro Bay production, visit youtube.com/playlist?list=PLP0WKCWyaYDd7OIf6Di1BIhukYyQqmzvm

To purchase tickets, visit the TPAC website at templetonperformingartscenter.com/

Feature Image: The cast of “It Takes Two” – from left to right: Sholly Von Stein, Mark Pietri, Michael Kaplan, Ritchie Bermudez Hills, and Kelly Fitzgerald McCraw.