Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

It may have just ended its run at the Yale Repertory Theatre, but that doesn't lessen my enthusiasm about the recently mounted production of Adam Bock and Todd Almond's adaptation of We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Based on the book by Shirley Jackson, this twisted classic was just waiting to have the musical treatment like the upcoming Matilda adapted from Roald Dahl's awesome novel. Adam Bock is already a well recognized playwright in his own right, but Todd Almond is definitely up-and-coming, having worked on the music for Marcus Gardley's On the Levee and having written the book for the musical Girlfriend, which had its world premiere Berkeley Rep this past spring. Below are the trailers for the Yale Rep productions, along with a video of Jonathan Groff singing "At Sixteen" from Todd's Kansas City Choir Boy:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Concerts and Clips

It's definitely my bed time after a long week, but I happened upon these freshly uploaded videos from Michael R. Jackson's concert at Joe's Pub this past Monday (which I would have given anything to go to, were I not stuck on a plane) titled So Fucking Gay: A Michael R. Jackson Song Thing.

These videos are really striking to me for a few reasons. First of all, it reminds me that I should really mention some of the amazing concerts coming up in the next month in New York from some composers who I have mentioned on the blog and am absolutely loving discovering their music right now. Some of the old favorites are doing shows (Joe Iconis is having his Halloween Special on 10/31 at the Laurie Beechman and a performance of his musical ReWrite will be at Joe's Pub on 11/6; The Civilians are doing their Let Us Ascertain You at Joe's Pub on 11/4), but I'm especially excited to see some live performances for the first time from some other writers. The three shows in particular I'm hoping to get out to are: Astronauts, Bedbugs & Other Killers, the music of Paul Leschen and Fred Sauter at the Laurie Beechman on 10/27, Peter Lerman's New York debut concert at the Laurie Beechman on 11/1, and
Tommy Newman and Gaby Alter's 29 at Joe's Pub on 11/8. I highly recommend any of these and will definitely be trying to get out to as many as I can.

The other reason these Michael R. Jackson videos are also keeping me up is that I'm just so captivated by his style and the intricacies of his work. Not only does he create a uniquely personal snapshot in every song, but I also find it amazing that the more detailed and complicated the characters in his songs get, the more universal their experiences seem. He's not afraid to shock or pit characters against each other, themselves, or the music, which occasionally gets messy but always pulses of something true.

Anyway, please enjoy two of my favorites and keep up with new songs through his youtube channel found

"Memory Song" sung by James Jackson:

"Secretly Hoping" sung by Molly Hager (when this song transcends words, it takes things to another level):

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Subway Songs

...In speaking of New York-centric song cycles, here's another that has snuck its way into my head via youtube videos. The Subway Songs is the first musical collaboration of Canadian-based writing team The Collabos, also known as Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal. Familiar subject matter ranges from the walk of shame to spotty cell phone reception, but all the songs are quite tuneful and find small pockets of meaning and charm in familiar scenarios. Check them out for yourself below and be sure to visit their youtube channel here for more.

"Walk of Shame" performed by Sara Farb:

"It's Been a While" performed by Sara Farb and Evan Alexander Smith:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wall Lovin'

Can I just say how much I've been ADORING the song "Wall Lovin'" (performed below by Jeremy Jordan) by musical theatre writing duo Sam Carner and Derek Gregor? It's a part of their song cycle Sing, But Don't Tell, a revue of songs about the isolation of living in New York City, and I think this song is a perfect example of the humor, confessional quirkiness, and ultimately liberating interpretation of that theme. Check out other songs from Sing, But Don't Tell at their website, as well as music Carner and Gregor's show Unlock'd, which was "Best of the Fest" at NYMF in 2007.