Monday, May 3, 2010

Making Highway Miles

Somehow in the hubbub of being on vacation and what not, I didn’t get a chance to talk about a truly phenomenal composer, Peter Mills, who was the latest winner of the 2010 Kleban Prize. I’ve been meaning to do a profile on Peter for a while now, but especially with the announcement of this award a few weeks ago, I figure now is as good a time as any.

I first heard Peter’s music at last year’s Composer Exposure as a part of the Public’s Summer Play Festival. Anthony Holds and Jaclyn Huberman performed the song “Breaking Up,” a hilarious twist on a couple whose relationship is on the brink of turmoil. You can listen to the SPF performance here, or watch this video from the Contemporary Classics concert series below:



Still, being introduced to Peter’s work last year, I was getting to know his stuff a little late in the game. He already has two musicals published (Illyria with Theatrical Rights Worldwide and The Taxi Cabaret with Samuel French), has won some prestigious awards, and has had a new show about every year for the last ten years. And with subject matters ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald to feudal Japan, to new twists on old classics, there is a wealth of cool material to peruse in this man’s catalog.

The last work that I got a sample of was the presentation of Iron Curtain (lyrics by Peter Mills, book by Susan DiLallo, and music by Stephen Weiner) at last year’s NAMT festival. To say that this show is really fun is an understatement, and there’s definitely an art to writing a swift-paced, old-fashioned, book musical comedy. The show centers around two musical writers who can’t catch a break on the Great White Way and end up on a whirlwind adventure when they answer a mysterious ad and find themselves whisked off to the USSR. The whole thing is just an absolute treat for anyone who loves the craft of musical theater, from the self-referential to just plain silly gags and outlandish characters. You can find out more about all of his shows here, and enjoy the clever, tightly woven lyrics and music of the latest Kleban winner.





Also, in speaking of awards, big congrats goes out to Michael Friedman, Alex Timbers, Joe Iconis, and Jeremy Morse for their Drama Desk noms today! Both of the shows are fantastic, and I HIGHLY recommend getting out there and seeing them while you still can.

Lastly, courtesy of Playwrights Horizons, be sure to check out The Burnt Part Boys and take advantage of the following discount:

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