We were lucky enough to spend the fall working on REB+VoDKa+ME with the senior class of Penn State’s Musical Theatre program over Zoom. Led by director John Simpkins and music director Jennifer Peacock, it was an exciting chance to dive deep into the show. It was lovely to hear the songs sung again, but it was also an amazing opportunity to talk through the story and the characters as we approach some new rewrites, especially without the pressure of polishing the work for a presentation. It’s so rare to get to listen and think and talk in these settings (29 hours doesn’t allow for much more than music learning on musicals) and it was such a gift to have the chance to do so with actors Aidan Cole, Amanda Drewes, Jasmine Forsberg, Elexa Hanner, Will Jewett, Jake Pedersen, Caitlin Stebelman, Becca Suskauer, and Kate Wild. I’m hopeful that someday we’ll get to be in the same room as all of these folks!
Over the summer, Julia and I had the chance to bring REB+VoDKa+ME online and make a series of videos of songs from the show! It felt like the perfect work to be doing at a time when we’re all longing for connection and (mostly) having to find it through a screen. You can see the videos and find out more about the show at www.rebvodka.me!
We were thrilled to collaborate with director Annie Tippe, video editor Ryan Mazer, audio engineer Andrew Zinsmeister, and performers Ally Bonino, Sam Heldt, MinJi Kim, Adam Lawrence, David Merino, Elexis Morton, Jeanna Phillips, Emily Walton, and Tatiana Wechsler to imagine our work in an online space (which thankfully is the setting of the show!) and bring our vision of this corner of the internet to life.
Special thanks to Iris Dart, Janis Purins, and the Dramatists Guild Foundation for awarding Julia with the 2020 Thom Thomas Award and funding this project!
Congratulations to Julia for receiving the 2020 Thom Thomas Award from the Dramatists Guild Foundation! The award winnings will go towards a very exciting, socially distanced REB+VoDKa+ME project to premiere later this summer. It’s been a decade since we were DG Fellows and it is wonderful to continue to have the Guild’s support!
The final piece of Julia’s Discovery Grant from OPERA America for REB+VoDKa+ME was the funding to record both the newest material written for the show and to record Julia’s beautiful new string orchestrations. I’m so excited to share this updated demo, especially on the fifth anniversary of the crazy day that inspired our show.
Thanks to engineer Chris Gilroy, violinist Saki Uetsuhara, cellist Brian Sanders and the phenomenal singers we’ve worked with over the past 3 years: Delaney Amatrudo, Matthew Berzon, 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, Jeanna Phillips, Allison Posner, Katie Rodgers, Daniel Saulle, Libby Servais, Rich Silverstein, and Emily Walton.
Come on down/up/over to the National Opera Center on Monday, June 10 at 3pm to hear the newest draft of REB+VoDKa+ME!
We’re so thrilled and grateful to be working with actors Renée Albulario, Delaney Amatrudo, Matthew Berzon, Mackenzie Dade, Manoel Felciano, Sam Heldt, MinJi Kim, Lily Lester, David Merino, Elexis Morton, Jeanna Phillips, and Tatiana Wechsler – we had our first rehearsal tonight and they are amazingly hardworking and talented and game to take on this sometimes crazy material!
If you’re interested in attending the reading, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.