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2016.

What a year this has been! Two new musicals are well underway, while another had new life breathed into it. Three writers groups, a few writing retreats, some new songs… And a whole lot of wonderful people and collaborators who made this year possible:

Shaleah Adkisson, Delaney Amatrudo, Robert Ariza, Collin Batten, Michael Berresse, Ally Bonino, Jen Brissman, Michael Bush, Nikki DiLoreto, Hanako Greensmith, Sam Heldt, Ciera Iveson, Benjamin Kamine, Kelsey Lake, Amy Linden, Ellen Macy, Evan Maltby, Lauren Marcus, Megan McClain, Eric William Morris, Elexis Morton, Gillian Munsayac, Brynn O’Malley, Matthew Oster, Andrew Neisler, Allison Posner, Alex Ratner, Ned Riseley, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Keith Rubin, Sara Sahin, Jaclyn Scoville, Libby Servais, Johnny Shea, Rich Silverstein, Adam Stasiw, Dana Steingold, Dustin Sullivan, Pearl Sun, Nikola Tomic, Elinor Vanderburg, Emily Walton, Jeremy Yaddaw, and Andrew Zinsmeister… I’m so grateful to you all!!

And of course, I’m so grateful that I got to go through everything this year with my collaborator extraordinaire, Julia Meinwald.

I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds!

NAMT Thanks.

the_loneliest_girl-web-360x360I 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!

Until next time, Philly…

polyphone_news

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!

Cheering is life. And I live it.

I truly don’t think I could have asked for a better experience than the one I just had with CHEER WARS. There’s nothing quite like four years away from a piece to make you fall in love with it all over again, and there was no more wonderful way to get back into it than with the amazing team we had. And I have to name them all:

Director Hunter Foster and MD Vadim Feichtner, our (literally) fearless leaders, gave us the fullest vision of the show we could ever have hoped for in such a short amount of time – and Associate Director Greg Santos deserves a special shout-out for lending us some cheer authenticity in addition to his valuable input and warmth. SM Rebecca McBee and ASM Chris Flores kept us all sane and happy (and kept smiles every time I handed them new pages.)

Then there’s the cast. Oh, the cast. I still feel like I have to pinch myself that I get to work with Annie Golden and Mary Testa – two performers who did the impossible and somehow made me even bigger fans of theirs since I’ve gotten to work with them. And even after spending a week in the room with her, I can’t help but giggle in amazement that I got to work with Sally Struthers and experience her legendary kindness and generosity (and chops) firsthand. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to meet and work with Britney Coleman, Stephanie Hsu, and Michael Dean Morgan for the first time; and I feel extra lucky to have finally gotten to work in this setting with Alyse Alan Louis and Molly Hager (after years of jealously watching them onstage in concerts or in my friends’ shows.) It was beyond wonderful to have Robb Sapp back in the show, seven years after his first go as Randy at NYU, being just as heartwarmingly hilarious now as he was then. I was so happy to get to watch Dana Steingold back in the world of cheer (after coming with me to the worlds of pregnant teens and Anita Bryant over the last few years) as she brought Halle front and center. And, of course, I’m grateful that the streak continued with Amy Linden, who has been involved in more iterations of the show than anyone other than Karlan and me.

Thanks to Jim Morgan, Andrew Levine, Seth Christenfeld, Amber Wallace, and everyone at the York for taking us on.

Until next time!