Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Obligatory Top 10 Post for 2011

'Tis the season for the end-of-the year best lists, and I am no exception to this time-honored blogging tradition. However, rather than listing my favorite shows from 2011, I thought I would change it up a little bit and list my favorite 10 new musical theatre composers/works I've discovered and gotten to know this past year (in no particular order-- I promise!):

There is not a performance where she hasn't set the stage on fire with her wonderful voice, awesome band/crew, and smoky songs. While I wish it didn't take so long for me to discover her music, she has quickly become one of the musicians this past past year I have been an evangelist for. Next year, she'll be the resident artist at both Ars Nova and Rockwood Music Hall, so expect to see even more of her (lucky us!).

The Shaggs by Joy Gregory, Gunnar Madsen, and John Langs
This show made my top 10 theatre things list for Crazytown, and I think this show will be on every top 10 arts list I will write for a long time. Heartbreaking, funny, and endlessly surprising, this show inspired me in every way possible and is a wonderful example of what the future of musicals can be.

Placebo: A New Musical by Danny Abosch and Joshua Borths
Listening to the recording for this new musical, I was amazed at how complex a story (and entire world) was built within this surprisingly layered and fascinating show. It was also nice to see such a large cast represented in a new musical that still blended larger life questions and intimate relationships with big songs and a big concept.

Speaking of podcasts, an amazing source of behind-the-musical goodness is listening to Musical Theatre Talk with Trish Causey. A musical theatre writer herself, Trish talks to composers/writers/performers/producers to find out about the process of putting a new musical on its feet.

Since finding out about them at the beginning of the year, I have been a huge fan of this company that promotes creative writing in schools by taking kids' short stories and turning them into musical skits. I've had the pleasure of seeing what they do in person, both as a volunteer and a spectator, over the past year, and all their work only further reassures me of the future of musical theatre.

The Civilians' Let Me Ascertain You podcasts
One reason I started this blog was because I loved how accessible new music was becoming through the internet. Youtube videos are a huge forum for new musical works, but I've absolutely loved seeing other ways people are bringing their shows to new audiences. Heidi Heilig and Mike Pettry have their fantastic The Time Travelers Convention podcasts, and The Civilians' are revealing their works in podcast form through their Let Me Ascertain You series (which you can subscribe to through iTunes here). Here's to hoping for more of this in the new year!

I owe a huge thanks to everyone who did the 5-question Q&A for this year's NYMF. It was wonderful getting to know your new shows and to see some of them kicking ass on stage.

Organized by the ever-charming Kyle Ewalt and Michael I. Walker, this regular event at 92Y Tribeca showcases some of the best up-and-coming musical talent in a forum where they can share new songs and talk about their creative process. While I've only gotten to attend one of these so far, I'm looking forward to going to many more of these in 2012.

The guys at The Online Musical have been busy this year with their mini-musicals projects. From Where's Waldo? to Pokemon, there has been lots of hilarity and musical adventures this past year in the form of these musical shorts.

While I have been aware of Michael Kooman and Chritopher Dimond before this past year, I have loved getting to know more about them and their work through their CD, Out of Our Heads, and their performance at the NYMF/ASCAP Showcase. They also just were awarded the Lorenz Hart Award from the ASCAP Foundation, so I can only imagine what the new year will bring.

More than anything, I just want to send out my sincerest thanks to all you readers and writers who have participated in the blog this past year. Whether new artists who I have gotten to know or writers I have been a long-time fan of, I really appreciate all of your help and input over this past year. Here's to seeing what new discoveries 2012 will bring!


therealsephyr said...

Thank you for the roundup of the year. I will be checking these out. Happy New Year!!

Kimberly Lew said...

Thanks so much for reading! Really appreciate your comments! Happy new year to you and yours.