“T: An MBTA Musical” is a comedic “love letter” to Boston’s transportation system

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SOMERVILLE – Is the MBTA a villain? That’s the question “T: An MBTA Musical” poses.

MBTA musical returns

The production first staged in Boston in 2011, returns this month for a three-week run.

Composer and lyricist Melissa Carbuia came up with the idea for the show after graduating from Boston College.

“Even though this is a musical about the T, it’s also a musical about self-discovery,” she says.

The piece started out as a 10-minute skit and has since expanded to a 90-minute production.

It’s loosely based on the Wizard-of-OZ-type journey, where three young people in Boston, just trying to find their way.

“The infrastructure of the T is just keeping them from getting where they’re going on time. And like any true Wizard of Oz story, they learn that the crumbling infrastructure was within them all along,” Caribuia explains.

“It’s a love letter to Boston”

From mistakes like the too-narrow tracks on the Green Line extension, to a lack of money and aging infrastructure, nothing is off limits for book writer Mike Manship.

“The T seems to fail, not just in a way that is preventable, but in a way that almost feels diabolical and purposeful. So it was really easy to just turn that dial up a few notches. At the very least we can offer some humor and some catharsis to people who are experiencing this in their daily lives,” he says.

Riders know there are plenty of things to make fun of, but the piece is not mean-spirited.

“If there’s one thing Bostonians love, it’s hating on their own city. We like to complain about the traffic, we like to complain about the weather, we like to complain when the Red Sox lose, and we like to complain about the T. And in that way, it’s a love letter to Boston,” Carubia says.

The voice of the T

Audience members may also hear a familiar voice at one of the performances. Frank Oglesby, the voice of the T, will join the cast for one of the shows.  

 “T: An MBTA Musical” opens at The Rockwell Theater in Davis Square in Somerville on June 7 and runs through June 23. And that’s right off the Red Line.

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