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!
I had a wonderful week back at San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre working on a reading of Something Blue! Julia and I were so happy to return to the theatre that produced the world premiere of The Loneliest Girl in the World and to have the opportunity to work with Artistic Director Matt Morrow and music director Patrick Marion once again.
It was a productive and intensely rewarding week thanks to the three stellar actors in the cast – Bryan Banville, Michael Cusimano, and Natasha Harris – who brought so much heart and pathos and humor to such a quick process.
We were also incredibly lucky to have set designer Justin Humphries consulting on the project, as well, giving us the chance to imagine how the musical lives in the space of a few cars and a few hotel rooms (and a lot of beds.)
Thanks to NAMT’s Frank Young Fund for New Musicals grant for making this wonderful week possible! We can’t wait to come back to Diversionary again soon.
Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I know the exact day that I came up with an idea for the only jukebox musical I’d ever want to write:
And it’s only taken about six years, but I finally made the dream come true (only with a title change.) And thanks to the overwhelming talent and unmatched kindness of Karl Saint Lucy, Victoria Huston-Elem, Sam Heldt, and Ally Bonino I got to hear HAVISHAM: An Annie Lennox Playlist aloud for the first time this weekend!
The show is a through-sung 90 minutes that is purely Annie Lennox songs, with no dialogue and not a single word changed. It tracks Miss Havisham’s heartbreak and scheming to break Pip’s heart by using Estella, and in the end is a story of cycles of hurt and the power of forgiveness.
I have no idea what the next step could be – short of Annie herself loving the idea and giving me permission to use her catalogue, I don’t know how it works – but I’m very excited to have discovered what feels like a perfect match of songbook to story, and looking forward to seeing where this may lead!
I’m so excited to be sharing our draft of The Magnificent Seven in a free reading at Urban Stages next Monday, July 15 at 8pm. No reservations necessary, so come on up/down/over/in and hear what we’ve been working on!
Julia and I are so happy to be working once again with director Nikki DiLoreto (with whom we worked when we first developed the project with Fresh Ground Pepper and who has gone on to work on Kiss Me, Kate and the upcoming Soft Power), movement consultant Sunny Hitt (with whom we’re excited to work for the first time), stage manager Melissa Erickson (with whom we just worked on last month’s reading of REB+VoDKa+ME), and music director Rich Silverstein (with whom we work always)!
We’ve got a magnificent cast of new and returning faces, as well, including Kim Blanck (Octet, Alice By Heart), Ally Bonino (Elevator Heart), Nikita Burdein (UCB & The Magnet), Rachel Flynn (Ever After @ The Alliance, Heathers), Kendyl Ito (Soft Power, Wild Goose Dreams), Ellen Condon Macy (Elevator Heart), Madison Mullahey (Mary Poppins national tour), Allison Posner (The Last Song of Eddie Scourge), Lynne Marie Rosenberg (“Famous Cast Words” on All Arts), Ryan Speakman (Hunchback @ Argyle), and Tatiana Wechsler (Benny & Joon @ Paper Mill.)
If you can’t make it, the complete demo will be coming very soon to fulfill all your psycho-gymnastics fantasies!
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.