Our week in San Diego came to a close with a reading of the show on Saturday afternoon. It was so wonderful to get to hear the new draft (with four new songs and a bunch of new pages) and to get to know the wonderful people of Diversionary!
Thanks to our cast (L-R in the photo) Lauren King Thompson, Susan Hammons, Allison Spratt Pearce, Sam Heldt, Chase Hauser, and Adam Cuppy; thanks to music director Patrick Marion, who guided these six wonderful actors through more than 20 songs in about that many hours; thanks to stage manager Kira Vine for keeping us together; thanks to the whole staff at Diversionary (Jenny, Sebastian, Skyler, David, and Anthony) for welcoming us and making us feel at home; and big thanks to Artistic Director Matt Morrow for bringing us out and guiding the show towards the spring. We can’t wait to head back and start rehearsals in six short months!
After almost a year of planning, we have finally arrived in San Diego to workshop The Loneliest Girl in the World with Diversionary Theatre!
Julia and I are spending the week here to hear the show, meet the team, and get the lay of the land before our production in the spring. Diversionary has put together such a great group for our week here, with Artistic Director Matt Morrow at the helm with music director Patrick Marion. Perennial favorite (and perennial Tommy) Sam Heldt has made the journey with us to join a cast that includes San Diegans Allison Spratt Pearce, Adam Cuppy, Susan Hammons, Chase Hauser, and Lauren King Thompson.
I’m so excited to spend the week putting the pieces together with these wonderful folks (and the palm trees, sunshine, and hummingbirds)!
With Diversionary’s Artistic Director Matt Morrow at the helm, the show will run May 24 through July 2, 2018. (Only 361 days until the first rehearsal, not that I’m counting.) Before the production, Julia and I will get to head out to San Diego later this year to do some work and meet some San Diegans.
Founded in 1986, Diversionary’s mission is to “provide an inspiring and thought provoking theatrical platform to explore complex and diverse LGBT stories, which influence the larger cultural discussion” and to “foster and amplify the next generation of LGBT voices by providing live entertainment in a dynamic, inclusive and provocative environment that celebrates and preserves our unique culture.”
To top it all off, the rest of the season is filled with West Coast premieres of work by some amazing playwrights and peers. Check out the rest of the season on their website!
I am still walking on air, more than two weeks later, after the wonderful experience that was the 2016 NAMT Festival of New Musicals. I could not have imagined a better way to share our show with so many people, and there are a bunch of wonderful people to thank:
Director Michael Berresse, always the calm in the many storms we encountered.
Music Director Rich Silverstein, who knows Julia and my art better than we do, at this point.
Our phenomenal cast – Robert Ariza, Sam Heldt, Eric William Morris, Brynn O’Malley, Dana Steingold, and Pearl Sun – for taking everything we threw their way (or, more appropriately, trimmed after they’d already learned it) in perfect stride. (That goes for our band, too – Jeremy Yaddaw and Nikola Tomic!)
Stage manager extraordinaire Sara Sahin, GM/constant resource Frankie Dailey, consultants Steve Stettler & Donna Lynn Hilton, Branden Huldeen, NAMT staff members Betsy King Militello, Adam Grosswirth, and Karin Nilo…
Ciera Iveson, for leading her first festival so unflappably.
And all of the other artists for all the other shows for building such a supportive pop-up community!
With all there has been to contend with in the world in the weeks after the festival, I’m so happy to be able to carry the joy of this experience with me right now. And I can only hope that NAMT will give us the chance to take our story out into a world that might find it a comfort or a conversation starter!
So much NAMT news to report before we start rehearsals on Monday!
In addition to the already announced director Michael Berresse, we’re excited to have music director Rich Silverstein back at the festival with us.
And we have a cast! (Look at those headshots!) We’re so excited to have Sam Heldt and Dana Steingold back as Tommy and Sandra/Mary Ann, respectively. And we’re beyond thrilled to have Brynn O’Malley playing Anita – she’s been on our dream casting list for a while now. After admiring them both in other shows for years, I can’t wait to finally work with Eric William Morris (as Bob) and Pearl Sun (as Kay.) And we’re so happy to get to know Robert Ariza and welcome him into the team as Kyle.
If that was enough to make you want to check out the show, you’ll have two chances: Thursday, October 27 at 4:50pm and Friday, October 28 at 1:30pm. Both performances will take place at New World Stages’ Stage 3 (on the set of Avenue Q!) There will be standby line for those not officially registered for the festival, and chances are very good that you’ll be able to see it. And, while you’re at it, check out some of the other shows in the festival! The full schedule is available on the NAMT website.
And if you want even more NAMT and The Loneliest Girl in the World, come on by The 46th Minute concert on Wednesday, October 26 at 6:30pm to hear songs from all of the festival shows that didn’t make the 45-minute cut. We’ll be sharing a song from the second act of TLGITW, and throwing back to our 2011 NAMT experience with a song from Pregnancy Pact, too!
In the lead-up to NAMT, festival writers have been asked to contribute blog posts about the whole process – from application to presentation. I contributed a post about that most daunting of tasks – finding the right 45 minutes. Give it a read, and be on the lookout for some casting announcements very soon!
Julia and I are thrilled to be working with Michael Berresse on the NAMT Festival presentation of The Loneliest Girl in the World!
After seeing him perform onstage in A Chorus Line and The Light in the Piazza, I first encountered Michael’s directing on Broadway with [title of show], but I was also lucky enough to travel up to Weston, VT to see his beautiful 2013 production of Next to Normal with Heidi Blickenstaff and Margo Seibert. The production was so sensitive and deeply felt, and a complete departure from the original. In addition to being the best sung version I’ve ever seen, it convinced me just how beautiful the color grey can be!
First it was PIED!. Then it was I Love You, Anita Bryant. And now it’s The Loneliest Girl in the World!
Mark your calendars for October 27 & 28, 2016. We’ll be sharing the first 45 minutes of the show! And we’re lucky to do it alongside so many wonderful friends like Mindi Dickstein & Kirsten Guenther (Benny & Joon), Brett Ryback (Joe Schmoe Saves the World), and Scotty Arnold & Alana Jacoby (Mortality Play.)
Be on the lookout for more information over the next few months!
Here they are! Huge thanks to our wonderful engineer Reed Taylor for all of these wonderful tracks. And thanks to all the talented folks who came into the studio with us: MD Rich Silverstein; musicians Ian Axness, Eric Day, Danny Jonokuchi, Jeremy Yaddaw, and Andrew Zinsmeister; and singers Ally Bonino, Liz Carbonell, Max Chernin, Charles Franklin, Sam Heldt, Brad Standley, and Lauren Worsham.
Hear all of the tracks in story order with the rest of our demos on their WORKS pages!
Julia and I are back in the studio to record some new tracks for I Love You, Anita Bryant and Something Blue. We’re recording 14 tracks with some of our very favorite people, and it’s been a blast so far! The new tracks should be available and posted in mid-September, so keep an eye (ear?) out.
(We’ve also got Sam Heldt, Lauren Worsham, Nick Blaemire, and Dustin Sullivan singing for us, but I’m bad about taking enough pictures…)
I couldn’t have been more happy to have seen PIED! come to life tonight at the Merriam Theater. We got to see the way it moves, the way it breathes – all brought to life by an amazing team of actors and collaborators at the University of the Arts.
Thanks to director Ben Kamine for leading the way and giving us a complete picture of the work we have. Thanks to music director Christopher Tolomeo for taking on this monumental task. Thanks to student assistant director Chelsae Bazzel and student stage managers Alyse Hogan and Stef Zamparelli for holding it all together. Thanks to actors Marcus Briddell, Bryce Crandall, Patrick Henkel, Katie Markey, Elexis Morton, Matthew Oster, Hannah Parke, Cody Swanson, Jackson Teeley, Bianca Teresi, and Carrie Thorwarth for jumping into this show so fearlessly and graciously. Thanks to Joanna Settle and Cesar Alvarez for founding the Polyphone Festival and bringing us along for the ride. And thanks to David Jenkins, Aziz Naouai, Catherine Logan, Joshua Campbell, and everyone at UArts for making us feel welcome and well taken care of.
We’re very excited about all that we learned in Philadelphia and can’t wait to get to work on the next draft!
In just three weeks, we get to see PIED! up on its feet for the very first time!
Julia and I have spent the last few weekends in Philly rehearsing, rewriting, and relishing (different re-, I know, but I like things in threes.) I’ve been completely blown away by the cast of UArts students. They’ve been working incredibly hard, engaging with the (admittedly challenging) material head on, making smart choices, asking smart questions, and showing us some brand new sides of the piece. (Now they just need to graduate so we can work with them in NYC.)
They are (clockwise above): Katie Markey (Kay, etc.), Elexis Morton (Koreen, etc.), Hannah Parke (Anita Bryant), Bianca Teresi (Sandra, etc.), Carrie Thorwarth (Mary Ann Mobley, etc.), Jackson Teeley (Dick Clark, etc.), Cody Swanson (Brother Bill, etc.), Matthew Oster (Kyle, etc.), Patrick Henkel (Tommy), Bryce Crandall (Bob Green), and Marcus Briddell (Johnny Carson, etc.)
(I’m equally amazed by our Assistant Director Chelsae Bazzel and our Stage Manager Alyse Hogan, but they don’t have fancy headshots.)
This spring, Julia and I get to head down to Philly on the weekends to work on PIED! at the University of the Arts. We’ve got a cast of 11 wonderful students working with director Ben Kamine and music director Christopher Tolomeo to bring the show to life.
And, if you’re in the Philly area, check out the Polyphone Festival at the Merriam Theatre in March! We’ll be kicking the festival off with PIED! on Tuesday, March 24 – but that week will also include performances of THE THREEPENNY OPERA, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Cesar Alvarez’s ELEMENTARY SPACETIME SHOW!, and Stew & Heidi Rodewald’s THE TOTAL BENT. 5 shows, 5 days, $5!