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Gordon Leary Posts

There is always pie.

What a wonderful experience putting our gigantic little musical in the world for the first time. You can see for yourself just how amazing the world we built was!

The Loneliest Girl in the World // Diversionary Theatre, 2018
Photos by Studio Simpatika.
See Me
See Me
Shaun Tuazon-Martin, Allison Spratt Pearce, Lauren King Thompson
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A huge thanks to everyone involved in the production: Director Matt Morrow, Choreographer Stephen Brotebeck, and Music Director Patrick Marion; cast members Steve Gouveia, Sam Heldt, Lauren King Thompson, Allison Spratt Pearce, Shaun Tuazon-Martin, and Marci Anne Wuebben; stage management & run crew team Kendra Stockton, Isaac Fowler, Joey Kirkpatrick, and Kate Morton; designers Robin Sanford Roberts, Elisa Benzoni, Christina Martin, Matt Lescault-Wood, Peter Herman, and Bonnie Durben; technicians Carleton Starr, Caitlin Lamar; musicians Mack Leighton, Armando Silva, and Tom Versen; and the whole Diversionary staff including Jenny Case, David Shorey, and Skyler Sullivan; and our phenomenal production sponsors Rob Granat and Al Mazur.

(Also thanks to all the crystal shops and vegetarian restaurants in San Diego that helped make me feel right at home!)

Despite always being the ultimate goal, it’s such a strange rarity to get to see what you’ve written live onstage. And it’s even more of a rarity to see it both fulfill all of your wishes and go beyond your wildest dreams at the same time. I can’t wait to carry all that I’ve experienced and learned at Diversionary into the future!

Opened, Reviewed & Extended!

Six weeks after arriving in San Diego (with a few new songs under our belt, a few old songs firmly in the trunk, and a week of previews), Diversionary Theatre‘s world premiere of The Loneliest Girl in the World has officially opened!

Audiences have been fully embracing our giant little show, and critics have liked it, too! James Hebert of The San Diego Union-Tribune calls it “ingenious” with a “remarkable… generosity of spirit.” (And you know he got the show when he calls Tommy’s final pie-ing “an expression of something like tough love.”) I am so in love with the work that has been done, and so happy that it is resonating.

And now we’ve extended! You have until July 1 to check it out. Get your tickets now!

The Loveliest Cast In the World

We are two weeks away from our first rehearsal for the Diversionary Theatre production of The Loneliest Girl In the World and I couldn’t be more excited. The script and score have been submitted, and I’m dutifully putting off packing as long as I can.

In the meantime, though, I’m so happy to share the wonderful (and recently announced) cast – Allison Spratt Pearce (Anita), Sam Heldt (Tommy), Steve Gouveia (Bob, etc.), Marci Anne Wuebben (Kay, etc.), Lauren King Thompson (Mary Ann Mobley, etc.), and Shaun Tuazon (Kyle, etc.)

And on top of a wonderful cast, we’ve got a wonderful team bringing the show to life – Matt Morrow (Director), Patrick Marion (Music Director), Stephen Brotebeck (Choreographer/Associate Director), Robin Sanford Roberts (Scenic Design), Elisa Benzoni (Costume Design), Christina J. Martin (Lighting Design), Matt Lescault-Wood (Sound Design), Bonnie Durben (Properties Design), and Peter Herman (Wig Design.)

(Yes, we have a wig designer, and yes, that makes me very happy.)

Grab your tickets now… Previews start May 24 ahead of our June 2 opening night!

OPERA America

My wonderful collaborator Julia was one of eight composers award a Discovery Grant for Female Composers by OPERA America to support further development of REB+VoDKa+ME! We are so excited and honored that our show has been recognized in the opera world, especially in the company of friends and colleagues. We can’t wait to dive back into our theatrical Tumblr over the next year! Check back here for more updates as planning gets underway…

Read a little bit more about both the organization and the grant:

OPERA America draws on resources and expertise from within and beyond the opera field to advance a mutually beneficial agenda that serves and strengthens the field through programs in the following categories: creation, presentation and enjoyment. The association provides members with an array of publications and online resources, regional workshops, an annual conference and network-specific services such as conference calls, listservs and direct contact with staff with expertise in opera production, administration and education. OPERA America provides members with tools to maximize the effectiveness of financial and human resources, expand the scope of repertoire and programs, and extend their reach to new and diverse audiences. Founded in 1970, OPERA America has an international membership that includes nearly 150 Professional Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and over 16,000 subscribers to its electronic news service.

OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program provides financial assistance to identify, support, and help develop the work of female composers writing for the operatic medium, raising their visibility and promoting awareness of their compositions to the field. Funding for this program is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Program for Commissioning Women in the Performing Arts.

While you wait for more information, you can always tide yourself over by listening to the new complete demo!

REB+VoDKa+DEMO, part 2!

The entirety of (the current draft of) REB+VoDKa+ME is now recorded. Give it a listen!

This combines our two sessions with 24 amazing singers:

Ally Bonino, Jack Brinsmaid, Jackie Colquitt, Jessica Fisher, Holly Gould, Hanako Greensmith, Sam Heldt, Angelina Kelly, Kelsey Lake, Adam Lawrence, Lily Lester, Allison Lian, Evan Maltby, Lauren Marcus, Elexis Morton, Matthew Oster, Sam Paley, Angela Pardini-Gomez, Allison Posner, Katie Rodgers, Daniel Saulle, Libby Servais, Rich Silverstein, and Emily Walton…

Plus our two amazing engineers, Chris Gilroy and Andrew Zinsmeister!

A Decade of Collaboration

Ten years ago today, I sent Julia an email.

We’d written a few songs together at warp speed after grad school that we both liked. So when my friend Jeremy Gold Kronenberg told me he was looking for a short musical to direct for Prospect Theater Company but only had 6 weeks to develop it, I asked Julia if she might want to apply our speed songwriting skills to a full project. We cranked out a 35 minute musical and loved what we wrote together. So when I read an article the next month about a group of high school girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts who were rumored to have made a pact to get pregnant together, I asked Julia if she thought it might be our first full-length musical.

Now we’re getting ready to start our seventh full-length musical next month while we’re out of town rehearsing for the world premiere of another show. And in the intervening decade we’ve been lucky enough to build a network of actors, singers, musicians, directors, designers, and friends to help us explore limitless empathy, terrible decision-making, building legacies, and growing up.

Here’s to what’s to come in the next 10 years of our collaboration!

2018 Interstate 73

Another year, another new project!

I’m proud to be a member of the 2018 Interstate 73 Writers Group and excited to get started on a new project with Julia. We get to join (clockwise from the top) Michael R. Jackson, Eleanor Burgess, Daniel K. Isaac, Emily Feldman, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Gary Winter, and Amina Henry for a year of creating! Read all about them here.

More details about the new project will be coming soon, but for now we’re just basking in the talent we get to observe for a whole year. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Page 73 for including us in this year’s group!

Something New, Something Fun, Something Blue is Something Done!

After a little over five years of off-and-on writing, we now have a first full draft of Something Blue! And we had the honor of hearing it outloud for the first time with some wonderful new friends – director Sash Bischoff and actors Robbie Collier Sublett, Rachel Flynn, and Ryan Everett Wood.

What started as a challenge to write the smallest show we could imagine became a three-person, hushed, complicated, human musical.

We’re already on to rewrites for the next draft, and we’re looking forward to sharing the show sometime very soon!

DGF Writers Alliance Grant

I’m so honored that the upcoming production of The Loneliest Girl In the World has been awarded one of the inaugural Dramatists Guild Foundation‘s Writers Alliance Grants. The grants provide “$5,000 to a nonprofit theatre’s production of a new work and another $5,000 directly to the writer being produced.” According to Playbill, “DGF selected writes whose work ‘pushes boundaries and shows tremendous promise’ and theatres with ‘superlative ethical standards in supporting the livelihoods and careers of writers.'” Julia and I started writing together thanks to our time in the Dramatists Guild Fellows program, and we’re thrilled for their continued support!

A peek at REB+VoDKa+ME!

If you didn’t get to see the NYU workshop of REB+VoDKa+ME in person, take a look at the wonderful production photos by Sub/Urban Photography.

Older Than You / HBD DK
Older Than You / HBD DK
Jackie Colquitt, Adam Lawrence, Katie Rodgers
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2017.

This year brought two back-to-back bicoastal workshops, an international production, a bunch of table readings, a few concerts (big and small), a new look at an old idea, an ultra-productive writing retreat (RIP YIMT), and a wonderful new agent. Best of all, it gave me the chance to work with so many artists I love and respect, including…

Delaney Amatrudo, Robert Ariza, Sash Bischoff, Ally Bonino, Jack Brinsmaid, Liz Lark Brown, Sojourner Brown, Liz Carbonell, Max Chernin, Jackie Colquitt, Adam Cuppy, Jessica Fisher, Tara Forseth, Chris Gilroy, Holly Gould, Lux Haac, Molly Hager, Sean Hagerty, Susan Hammons, Chase Hauser, Sam Heldt, BP Houle, Emily Jenda, Benjamin Kamine, Angelina Kelly, Lauren King Thompson, Tara King, Caitlin Kinnunen, Lindsay Kipnis, Marina Kondo, Kelsey Lake, Adam Lawrence, Lily Lester, Allison Lian, Carl Limbacher, Amy Linden, Ellen Macy, Evan Maltby, Lauren Marcus, Patrick Marion, Megan McClain, Eric William Morris, Matt Morrow, Elexis Morton, Sam Paley, Angela Pardini-Gomez, Allison Posner, Katie Rodgers, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Keith Rubin, Allie Sandler, Danny Saulle, Geremy Schulick, Charlotte Seelig, Libby Servais, Johnny Shea, Rich Silverstein, Allison Spratt Pearce, Phoebe Strole, Nicole Sumlin, Allie Trimm, Kira Vine, Emily Walton, Sally Wilfert, and Jeremy Yaddaw.

It also made me take a long, hard look at the work I do and be even more conscious of and conscientious about what I put into the world. More than anything, it forced me to re-up on my forever goal to be aggressively empathetic. In the midst of a difficult year culturally and politically, it was a thrilling year of creation.

Here’s to all the 2018 holds!

Back in the studio!

Holly Gould & Allison Lian

Julia and I went back into the studio with the cast of our REB+VoDKa+ME NYU workshop over the last few weeks to record the rest of the score! It was great to extend our time with these amazing students, and we’re so excited to have the whole score recorded. Thanks to Chris Gilroy and Mighty Toad Studios for having us back in Brooklyn. And thanks to Rich Silverstein for guiding us all through this epic score, as always. Be on the lookout for mixed tracks sometime in early 2018!

REB+VoDKa+LOVE!

Back row: Cast members Lily Lester, Jackie Colquitt, Adam Lawrence & Jack Brinsmaid, Lighting Designer Charlotte Seelig, Me, Dramaturg Megan McClain, Director Ben Kamine; Middle row: Cast members Sam Paley, Katie Rodgers, Jessica Fisher, Danny Saulle & Angelina Kelly, and Composer Julia Meinwald; Front row: Choreographer Tara Forseth, Cast members Allie Lian & Holly Gould, Music Director Rich Silverstein; Not pictured: Cast member Angela Pardini-Gomez, Set Designer BP Houle, Costume Designer Lux Haac, Stage Manager Lindsay Kipnis, ASM Tara King, Sound Designer Neal Goleta, and Production Coordinator Brandon Anderson.

The workshop of REB+VoDKa+ME at NYU that performed this past weekend was one of the most intensely rewarding experiences I’ve had as a writer.

It’s been a little over 3 years since I sent Julia links to these two related articles and was like “Don’t think I’m a scary person but could this be our next musical?” and she basically said “You’re not scary and yes.” Two years ago, we started writing the show with director Ben Kamine in R&D Group, led by dramaturg-extraordinaire Megan McClain. A year-and-a-half ago Rich Silverstein came on board when we shared our first 16 songs from the show in public. And five months ago we finished a first draft of the script.

And this weekend the show was given a fully designed and produced workshop staging with a cast of amazing juniors and seniors from the New Studio on Broadway at NYU/Tisch. To call this opportunity a gift is an understatement – we wrote a show that doesn’t exist in a physical space and by not being bound by music stands we were able to learn more than we ever could have imagined about our work.

Much credit for that goes to our amazing creative and design team (partially pictured here) for helping us to develop our own world and our own physical language to make the 90-minutes of the show a complete thought.

And we could never have seen our work as fully as we were able to without the willingness, openness, depth, and hard work of the twelve students in the cast. They navigated this technically, musically, and emotionally complex piece with the kind of grace and heart we couldn’t have imagined when we first had the idea three years ago.

Immense thanks are due to Kent Gash, Sarah Schlesinger, and Brandon Anderson for inviting us into this collaborative process. Be on the lookout for some production photos in the near future!

The Magnificent Seven Demos!

I’m so happy to get to share all 13 of the songs we’ve written so far for The Magnificent Seven as we dive back into finishing a full draft of the show with MTF this year!

Thanks to our magnificent singers (Ally Bonino, Emily Jenda, Caitlin Kinnunen, Marina Kondo, Amy Linden, Ellen Macy, and Emily Walton), our magnificent special guests (Lynne Marie Rosenberg and Keith Rubin), our magnificent band (Geremy Schulick, Carl Limbacher, and Jeremy Yaddaw), our magnificent engineer Chris Gilroy, and our perfect ten MD/collaborator Rich Silverstein for making this all happen.

We can wait to write and record the next batch!