As usual, I find myself apologizing for not updating this website sooner, and as usual my excuse is that I am too busy to do so... Without further ado, then, a quick update on activities of the past year or so! Thanks for visiting!
The new musical A SIGN OF THE TIMES had a wonderful debut production at Goodspeed last summer. Producer Richard Robin and writer Bruce Vilanch have crafted an ingenious story set in 1965, the coming-of-age of various engaging characters and an emergent culture. The songs are from the pop charts of the mid-sixties, many from the catalogue of Petula Clark, but encompassing a variety of styles from that era. (You can hear some clips on the music page!) My dear friends and longtime colleagues Rick Fox and Gabriel Barre are the Music Director and Director; Joann Hunter is our fabulous choreographer. A dream team! Look for the show's website, debuting shortly. Next up is a 60-hour developmental workshop in NYC this December.
Occupying a good deal of my time and energy at present is my work on a new musical, whose working title is 161ST STREET. I am collaborating with bookwriter/lyricist Richard Alfredo to create this inspiring story from scratch, and it is truly an exciting journey. With the backing of producers Rick Sostre and Karen Dresbach, we are on the fast track to a first reading early in 2018.
Two ongoing collaborations with the legendary Sheldon Harnick came to fruition this year.
In May 2017, the NYU Symphony Orchestra and seven student and professional singers premiered our latest fable, THE TORTOISE AND THE TWO DUCKS, in celebration of Sheldon's 93rd birthday (see Photos page). Thanks to the NYU Orchestral Studies programs, the wonderful musicians and management of the NYU Symphony, and especially Maestro Eduardo Leandro (http://eduardoleandro.com/Musician/Home.html) for his brilliant leadership of this challenging orchestral/vocal work. (Excerpts from the piece are on the Music page.)
In July 2017, the Utah Festival of Opera and Musical Theatre revived the musical REX, with Sheldon's lyrics, a revised book by Sherman Yellen, and music by Richard Rodgers. I was honored to re-orchestrate the show for a period-style orchestra (okay, I used a synthesizer for the keyboards...). The team, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Library, are eager to find more production opportunities for the show. This was the second Harnick musical I had re-orchestrated; last year was the York Theater's remounted ROTHSCHILD & SONS.
I recently returned from a thrilling week in Beijing, China, where I was a guest artist/lecturer at the fourth annual PEKING UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON MUSIC. It was a great honor to work with the remarkably talented faculty and artists in China, and learn some very valuable lessons about cross-cultural issue in music, musical theatre, and beyond. (See pictures on the photos page.) I also spent a few days guest lecturing and holding master classes at SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY, having been invited by my original cast Lion King friend, Mark Allan Davis, who now heads up the musical theatre program at SFSU. Thanks, Mark, and bravo on your superb training program! (I of course welcome any opportunity to visit San Francisco, where I can visit my daughter, Susannah, who works for Google in Mountain View.)
My book, MUSIC DIRECTION FOR THE STAGE: A VIEW FROM THE PODIUM is now in its fourth printing from Oxford University Press. I am hard at work on a second book for Oxford-- stay tuned!
That’s the news for now. Please stay in touch, and check out my periodic blogs on viewfromthepodium.com.
Good wishes to all-- please keep the faith and keep walking the high road during these troubling political and social times... maybe someday, we shall overcome...