Florida Festival of New Musicals

Karlan and I had a wonderful time at the Florida Festival of New Musicals seeing a reading of the first act of Cheer Wars. Over the last 15 years we’ve had some amazing opportunities with the show, and it was great to expand the squad of artists who have been a part of the journey!

Thank you to director Desiree Montes, music director Harrison Light, stage manager Hillary Humphries, and our wonderful cast: Jake Aboyoun, Lizzie Black, Lindsay Diaz, Mahalia Gronigan, Victoria Highsmith, Rachel Hope Ihasz, Brandon Roberts, Carly Simpson, Vanessa Sotomayer, Avianna Tato, Addison Ward, Kelly Wells, and Chase Williams. Thanks always to the wonderful staff at the Winter Park Playhouse – Roy Alan, Heather Alexander, Lisa Milello, Todd Allen Long, and festival coordinator Conny Williamson – for welcoming us to Florida and putting on such a wonderful event.

I’m hopeful that there will be more cheer in the future!

Twenty-twenty-three.

It was a year of fulfilling long-standing promises and wildest dreams before starting new ones!

After over three years of waiting and planning, Julia and I finally got to bring The Magnificent Seven to life at Flint Repertory Theatre. We released our very first original cast album featuring the 2022 Theatre Row cast of The Magnificent Seven. And we received our very first commission to write These Familiar Spirits with Flint Rep!

As always, the best part of the year was the community of artists – both longstanding and brand new – with whom, for whom, and because of whom I was able to create:

Kendra Babcock, Bret Beaudry, Ann Beyersdorfer, Ally Bonino, Taja Christine Calhoun, Catie Davis, Jake DeGroot, Adam Dill, LaRaisha Dionne, Sasha Dudock, Alex Finke, Emi Fishman, Jesse Glenn, Alex Grindey, Beth Guest, Bryana Hall, Miranda Hartman, Duane Lee Holland Jr, Scott Anthony Joy, Sukari Jones, MinJi Kim, Kimberly Koljat, Amanda Kuo, Allison Lian, Michael Lluberes, Jeremy Robin Lyons, Rebecca MacCreery, Ellen Condon Macy, Melissa A. Nathan, Terrence Newman, Emma Orr, Matt Otto, Lucas Perro, Allison Posner, Alvon Reed, Mary Paige Rieffel, Katie Rodgers, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Nicole Samsel, Russ Sauter, Libby Servais, Rich Silverstein, Hana Slevin, Monica Spencer, Rebecca Spiro, Phoebe Strole, Dave Thompson, and Abbey Wiker.

I’m excited for a year of new ideas and new victories and new experiences in 2024!

2023 Wilde Awards

Flint Repertory Theatre’s World Premiere production of The Magnificent Seven has received four 2023 Wilde Awards from Encore Michigan:

Best Teamwork (for the entire case)
Best Lighting Design (Jake DeGroot)
Best Costume Design (Adam Dill)

And Best Musical!

It’s so lovely to be recognized for all that went into the production (the only world premiere musical on the list!) And it’s especially lovely to see some terrific friends recognized for their work on other projects in Michigan: Michael Lluberes (twice!), Bryana Hall, Elexis Morton, and the powerhouse Flint Repertory Theatre with 25 awards for the season.

It’s all a wonderful cherry on top of the most wonderful experience this year!

A first table(t) reading!

As we quickly make our way through a first, rought draft of These Familiar Spirits, Julia and I wanted the chance to hear what we’ve written so far read outloud for the first time… mostly just to make sure it makes sense and we’re on the right track. So we enlisted some of our most trusted friends and collaborators (some stretching back over two decades!) to do a cold reading and see what we have!

Beyond being excited about what we’ve written, tonight was the best reminder that there’s nothing like longstanding collaborations with wonderful actors who know your work and know your heart to make you feel invincible (and not at all embarrassed, which is how I normally feel hearing anything for the first time.) I feel so lucky to have LaRaisha Dionne, Sukari Jones, Allison Lian, Ellen Macy, Allison Posner, Lynne Marie Rosenberg, Libby Servais, and Rich Silverstein as an integral part of my writing and my life!

(And the verdict from the read? These Familiar Spirits is a moooooood. Now back to writing!)