Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Recent Kleban Prize recipients, Adam Gwon (for lyricist) and Michelle Elliot (for librettist), were honored at a private ceremony last month. See performances of songs from Gwon's Ordinary Days and Elliot's Cloaked (written with Danny Larsen) from the reception in the below video courtesy of Broadwayworld.com:
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The names Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond shouldn't be foreign to this blog -- just in my post last week, I talked about their new album Out of Our Heads (Have you gotten that yet? What are you waiting for?!) but this musical theatre writing team is also behind shows like Dani Girl, Golden Gate, and Homemade Fusion -- to name a few. With a CD release concert coming up next week at The Birdland, they were generous to take the time to answer some questions about the upcoming album, writing less traditional musical stories, and connecting with their fans:
(Todd Buonopane singing "To Excess")
Me: How did you two meet? What about your collaboration process has made you guys so successful as a team?
Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond: We met in a lyric writing course at Carnegie Mellon University. Michael was an undergraduate studying composition, and I was in the graduate playwriting program.
It’s hard to define exactly what it is that makes us work as a team. We like to think that we complement each other pretty well. We have similar aesthetics and senses of humor, which is probably critical, and are also both drawn to clean, dynamic storytelling. At the same time, though, we’re very different people, and some of the contradicting aspects of our personalities, experiences, and worldviews probably adds an interesting element of contrast to our work.
Me: There are so many great themes of love and loss and general rationalizing/reasoning serving as a throughline in all of the songs. What was your underlying thread that you wanted to hold all these songs together?
Kooman and Dimond: When it comes down to it, we wanted the album to be a collection of our strongest songs. There wasn’t necessarily an overt thread that we were looking for to connect everything, we really tried to go about putting together a cohesive album that represented our best work.
That being said, it’s probably not a coincidence that there are a number of undercurrents running through many of the songs, particularly touching upon the themes that you mentioned. Love and loss aren’t exactly uncommon areas of exploration for songwriters, and a lot of what we set out to express can fall into one, if not both, of those categories.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Hey all! Just wanted to give a little round-up of some of the things I've been loving in the emerging musical theatre world as of late.
First of all, as a little plug, I'm going to be blogging with Ryan Scott Oliver's Crazytown for another two months, so keep tuning in on Thursdays for posts from me, Ryan Bogner (who is co-producing new Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis musical Yeast Nation playing as part of The Fringe in August), the hilarious Leah Bonnema, and Shoshana Greenberg (who provides your weekly new music fix with Rough and Ready).
Also, songwriting team Kooman and Dimond released their new album Out of Our Heads -- which, let me tell you now, is awesome. There are great voices on the recording (Heidi Blickenstaff, Kerry Butler, Natalie Weiss, Patina Miller, Anderson Davis, Matt Doyle, Phoebe Strole, Kyle Dean Massey, Chris Mann... look for an especially delightful track with Christopher Sieber), and all of the songs are beautifully recorded. There's a lot of love, pathos, and comedy in these songs, and I'm not only sure you'll be listening to them constantly but you'll want to be singing them too. You can purchase the CD from their website here and be on the lookout for their release concert at The Birdland on 7/18.
In speaking of cast recordings, if you want to help another album yet-to-be-made, support songwriting team Miller and Tysen's Kickstarter campaign to record their song cycle Fugitive Songs. Every song I've heard from this show is fantastic -- heartfelt and evocative, living up to the idea of being a fugitive in the way they just move musically. Even better? If you donate $150 or more, you get a recording of Burnt Part Boys, which is pretty good incentive, if you ask me.
Lastly, I just wanted to end with a couple of videos from recent concerts, the first being Nick Blaemire singing "Trouble" at his recent gig with band The Hustle as a part of Ars Nova's 54/10:
Then, from Good Clean Music: Another Michael R. Jackson Song Thing at The Beechman, Jeremy Morse singing "Girlfriend":
And, also from Good Clean Music, Molly Hager singing "Fairweather Friend":