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!
I’m so excited that Julia and I have joined the amazing roster of writers represented on Broadway On Demand’s new Composer + Lyricist channels with our very own page! Check out a selection of some of our favorite video performances and explore the work of some of our friends and favorite writers. Thanks, Broadway On Demand, for including us!
Julia and I were thrilled to be asked to participate in Weston Playhouse’s Songs for Today series and to kick off a weekly release of new songs (and fresh looks at old songs) by friends and heroes like Kirsten Childs, Joe Iconis, Tidtaya Sinutoke & Isabella Dawis, Jenny Giering & Sean Barry, Adam Gwon, and Adam Guettel. We were asked to perform the song ourselves, so you can hear Julia’s beautiful vocals along with my animation…
This song was written both in conversation with the present moment AND for a new show we’re just beginning to write (called These Familiar Spirits) and we’ll share more info and more songs and videos from it soon!
Thanks to Andy Zinsmeister for his audio engineering, and Susanna Gellert for including us in this project. There will be some public Zoom conversations in the next few weeks, and I’ll share more info (or at least a recap) once those are on the books!
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!