Friday, October 26, 2012

The Musical Mood Ring

I have to admit it's been a busy last couple of weeks, with much busier ones on the horizon. I've been preparing for a reading of one of my own plays set for November, in addition to launching a new podcast on Crazytown (listen in-- we'll be sure to talk about musicals in future episodes). It's been so busy that I haven't had a chance to write out something more elaborate for Emerging Musical Theatre this week, but I do promise there's a ton of exciting things on the horizon (Look at the calendar! The next couple of months are going to be musical-filled for sure). In the meantime, I simply leave you with this gorgeous song from Todd Almond, which was recently featured in Sherie Rene Scott's 54 Below concert (and is performed below at a St. Mark's Church concert). "Oh, Sean" is a strangely cathartic tune, a wistful song for the realist lover:

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Speak (Musical Theatre) Geek

After having watched videos obsessively from New York Theatre Barn's D-Lounge series, I finally had the opportunity to attend one in person, thanks to an invite from Becca Anderson. Becca, along with Julian Blackmore and Dan Marshall, wrote the musical comedy Academia Nuts, the first of two sets in the concert presentation that night. Telling the story of a quiz bowl championship and plucky Maggie McCutter, a bright but sheltered champion hopeful, Academia Nuts is a story of star-crossed romance, family secrets, geek love, and all-around irreverent mayhem.

Here are some highlights from their presentation at NYTB's D-Lounge:

The Opening Sequence:

The incomparable Alyse Alan Louis singing "Pirate TV":

Alyse Alan Louis and Grasan Kingsberry singing "I Just Think of Favre":

Charissa Bertels singing a rousing "Sarge's Soliloquy":

And "I Speak Geek," a "La Vie Boheme"-esque tune I can definitely get behind:

Check out more videos from the evening at NYTB's Youtube channel here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

KISSLESS Goes From Stage to Screen: An Interview With Chance McClain

Last year, Chance McClain participated in our 5-question NYMF interview series for his show Kissless, and now, a year later, he contacted me with the exciting news that Kissless has been filmed with professional actors in Texas and will be released through Chance's Chat Productions as a movie. A natural progression from stage to screen? In the following interview, Chance talks more about his post-NYMF thoughts, decision to put the show on DVD, and what the film means for Kissless' future.

Me: What was your experience bringing Kissless to NYMF? Did it change your view of the show at all?

Chance McClain: Getting Kissless into NYMF was an enormous privilege and the most educational experience of my producing and writing career. I thought I had read everything there was to read about producing a musical. I thought I knew what to expect and felt prepared for the accelerated pace of a musical festival. I was dead wrong. It was a complete blur! I brought a wonderful cast from Houston so it wasn’t just the show but also the logistics of forty people traveling to and living in New York City for two weeks. Many of these young people had never been to NYC and some had never even been on a plane! I had a wonderful team of people with me to help but it was still hectic and crazy. It was an honor to participate and I hope to do it again. As far as my view of the show, I would say that the New York audiences taught me more about my writing and music than I could have learned anywhere else. The show got laughs and emotional responses at unexpected places. When I went back to the writing table after NYMF I felt more prepared to tell the story I had started out to tell.

Me: What were your goals for the show post-NYMF?

Chance McClain:
Sadly, I went into NYMF without goals or expectations. I was naively “along for the ride”. I don’t think I took advantage of the opportunities that were all conveniently gathered together in the city to celebrate and explore new musical theatre. I felt that Kissless was a show best suited for high schools, colleges, and community theatres but did not know how to let people know that it was out there.

Me: How did the idea for the movie come about?

Chance McClain: For years I have done freelance work as a video producer. I have made television commercials, promotional videos, and pretty much anything involving video. In 2009 I wrote and directed Horrible Turn, an unofficial musical prequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. We released it online (it is free at and won some awards. Through that experience I was introduced to an audience that was as comfortable watching videos on computers as on televisions. I learned a lot from Horrible Turn and met talented people that knew how to tell stories with cameras. After NYMF it dawned on me that there was another way for people to see new musical theatre works. While the dream for any writer is to have a show on Broadway, not every writer has access to the millions of dollars it takes to realize that dream. But for a fraction of that cost I could cast a show with professional actors and tell the story on film and then distribute it online.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting Excited for Matilda

Yes, I know it's still months away, and it's an award winning West End show coming to Broadway (hardly "emerging," I know). But if there is one show I'm excited about gracing the Bway in the near future, it's Matilda. With the fanciful flair and unexpectedly poignancy oozing from Tim Minchin's buoyant songs, not to mention the potential for some great roles for young stars, my heart could burst from the joy the few performances I've seen have given me. Because unbridled delight loves company, here are a few clips:

Original four Matilda actresses performing "Naughty" at the Olivier Awards:

Hayley Canham singing "Quiet" at a cultural event for the London Olympics: