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!
I have officially made it. There is a little girl in Korea singing and dancing along to one of my songs.
English EGG’s Drama Phonics series, for which I wrote this theme song (with Will Aronson) and a number of books, has been published! The series is meant to introduce all of the English-language phonemes with funny, alliterative stories. (The full collection is pictured below.) I wrote instant classics like “Cindy at the Circus,” “King Kangaroo,” “Mom’s Messy Milkshake,” and “Penny’s Perfect Painting.” Each book was set to music and comes with audio recordings of the text and the song, along with a dance. (I think that’s the dance that my new best friend is doing in this video.)
I can’t wait to get my copies!
In just three weeks, we get to see PIED! up on its feet for the very first time!
Julia and I have spent the last few weekends in Philly rehearsing, rewriting, and relishing (different re-, I know, but I like things in threes.) I’ve been completely blown away by the cast of UArts students. They’ve been working incredibly hard, engaging with the (admittedly challenging) material head on, making smart choices, asking smart questions, and showing us some brand new sides of the piece. (Now they just need to graduate so we can work with them in NYC.)
They are (clockwise above): Katie Markey (Kay, etc.), Elexis Morton (Koreen, etc.), Hannah Parke (Anita Bryant), Bianca Teresi (Sandra, etc.), Carrie Thorwarth (Mary Ann Mobley, etc.), Jackson Teeley (Dick Clark, etc.), Cody Swanson (Brother Bill, etc.), Matthew Oster (Kyle, etc.), Patrick Henkel (Tommy), Bryce Crandall (Bob Green), and Marcus Briddell (Johnny Carson, etc.)
(I’m equally amazed by our Assistant Director Chelsae Bazzel and our Stage Manager Alyse Hogan, but they don’t have fancy headshots.)
Tickets are now available for the performance. So come on down (or up, or over) to Philly on Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30pm and check us out!
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!