Wednesday, May 19, 2010

La La Land

Sam Willmott has already been mentioned on this blog before with footage of his 15 minute musical, Scarlet Takes a Tumble. And if that hilarious musicalized account of the youtube sensation didn’t make you immediately look him up, then I’m hoping that some of these other clips will help convince you (although come on… a kind of chorus serving as Scarlet’s conscience as she ascends to the infamous table? Gold, I tell you!).

I first heard Sam’s music in connection with Standardized Testing—The Musical!!!!, a fun, spirited take on the time-honored high school rite of passage. The structure of the musical is surprisingly intricate, following the format of the SATs themselves, originating with individual songs, moving to a break, and eventually culminating in overlapping parts. Songs are kind of anthems, full of teen issues from dealing with the opposite sex to just trying to focus on the task at hand.

One of my favorite songs (if not by title alone) is this “Mantet”:

Though “I’m Sitting Next to Estella” is also an essential tune:

You can listen to many of the songs from a reading at this youtube channel, but just last week he presented some songs from his new musical Yo Vikings! with lyrics and books by Marcus Stevens last week at Songs You've Never Heard and Shows You've Never Heard Of, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. A show based on a popular children’s book, all of these songs are bursting with imagination, wonder, and a delightful energy that is uplifting and infectious. This is only highlighted by the awesome talent of Alyse Alan Louis as she goes to town on “You Gotta Believe”:

And the incredible “Emma The Red”:

Yo Vikings! will have a production at Upper Darby Summer Stage this summer. If you're in Pennsylvania, grab yourself a ticket. If these videos are any indication, I think you'd be in for a treat.

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