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!
Julia and I are excited to be once again working with director Benjamin Kamine and music director Rich Silverstein on the project. And special thanks to GMTWP’s Sarah Schlesinger and NSB’s Kent Gash for the opportunity to work with students to bring the show to life!
Check back here for casting (after next week’s auditions) and ticket info in the coming weeks…
Videos from the Feinstein’s/54 Below concert are now online! Watch the whole 17 song playlist above (starting with the finale, of course.)
Thanks to all who came up/down/in/over to that midtown basement to share the evening with us. Thanks to Jennifer Ashley Tepper and the whole 54 Below staff for inviting us to kick off this wonderful (and ongoing!) series. And thanks, especially, to our 26 singers, actors, and musicians for bringing so much of our work to life!
T-minus 11 days! Rehearsals started this past weekend, and we’re so honored to have the 26 people listed & pictured above come along with us to share selections from REB + VoDKa + ME, Something Blue, and The Magnificent Seven.
Just kidding, it’s only 18 (and a 6-piece band.) But that’s a whole lot of our favorite singers joining us for our Feinstein’s/54 Below concert on Sunday, July 30 at 7pm!
Delaney Amatrudo, Ally Bonino, Sojourner Brown, Max Chernin, Molly Hager, Sam Heldt, Emily Jenda, Marina Kondo, Kelsey Lake, Amy Linden, Ellen Condon Macy, Evan Maltby, Allison Posner, Allie Sandler, Libby Servais, Johnny Shea, Phoebe Strole, and Allie Trimm are going to bring you tunes from REB+VoDKa+ME, Something Blue, and The Magnificent Seven!
We’re so excited to have so many faces we love (both new and familiar) on stage with us! Get your tickets now to celebrate their wonderfulness with us! (And use the code JMGL5 to get $5 off the cover for the main dining room…)
Julia and I had a wonderfully productive in our two week Alumni Residency at the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, and came back to New York with a full draft of REB+VoDKa+ME! (You can see the whole thing mapped on our apartment wall in this photo…) It’s such a great feeling to have a whole draft of the show and to have been able to flesh out all the work we accomplished with R&D Group and MTF. All we need to do now is share it with the world! (And then rewrite it, of course.)
Not only did we get a draft out of it, but we also got to know some of our new very favorite writers! I’m so impressed and amazed by the work that Annie Tippe, Molly Beach Murphy, Jeanna Phillips, Brett Macias, and Christina Quintana accomplished on Cowboy Bob and GUMBO. And getting to see actors I’ve always loved like Alison Fraser, Andrea Jones-Sojola, and Trent Armand Kendall (and new favorites like Eddie Cooper and Lizan Mitchell) put their all in these new works made me giddy.
Thanks to Mark Brokaw, Kay Perdue, and the whole Institute staff for giving us this opportunity!
Julia and I are so happy to have been invited back to Feinstein’s/54 Below to kick off their NEW WRITERS AT 54 summer series on Sunday, July 30 at 7pm. We’re thrilled to have the chance to share songs from REB + VoDKa + ME, Something Blue, and The Magnificent Seven all in one night!
Come down to the Musical Theatre Factory for the first chance to see a staged excerpt from REB + VoDKa + ME!
On Monday, February 13, we’ll be presenting the first 15 minutes of the show alongside excerpts from three other musicals. We can’t wait to get a little bit of this show up on its feet and in front of an audience!
Julia and I are thrilled to get back to work on REB + VoDKa + ME, this time with the Musical Theatre Factory! We’ll be spending the next ten months in their new writers group working our way to a full draft. We’re so happy to be back at the Factory after our wonderful experience in their 4×15 series a few years ago, and excited to be writing among so many friends and colleagues in the group! Stay tuned for more updates on the show…
We’ve got an amazing group of singers joining us to share the first material from REB + VoDKa + ME!
Come on up/down/over** on Friday, May 20 to see Ally Bonino, Hanako Greensmith, Sam Heldt, Kelsey Lake, Evan Maltby, Lauren Marcus, Elexis Morton, Matthew Oster, Allison Posner, Libby Servais, Rich Silverstein, and Emily Walton! (It means a lot to have all these people, from all along our writing journey, back with us to try out something new. And we’re thrilled to work with a few new folks at the same time!)
And if you can’t make it next Friday, fear not! This whole crew will head into the studio to record the new material, so be on the lookout for a link soon.
**Don’t be afraid of the waitlist! Once you’re confirmed, it’s first-come, first-served at the door.
Ben, Julia, and I are so excited to have our first chance to share material from our new show, REB + VoDKa + ME in The Civilians’ Findings Series. On Friday, May 20 at 7pm, we’ll share a dozen or so songs with a glorious, almost-finalized cast of 13! Read all about the other shows from the R&D Group and reserve your seats now.
Want to learn a little bit about the project that Julia and I are working on in this year’s R&D group? I wrote a blog post sharing some of our early research. We’ve got a lot more to uncover and a lot of interviews to conduct, but we’re thrilled with where we’re starting!