PASSING THROUGH Plays Goodspeed Festival

My newest musical, Passing Through, with a book by Eric Ulloa and based on the memoir “Walking to Listen” by Andrew Forsthoefel will be presented at Goodspeed’s 13th Annual Festival of New Musicals in January.

We’re super excited to hear the piece aloud with a cast of actors and have it play in front of audiences. It’s a big opportunity, and we couldn’t be happier.

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Michael Gennaro, Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development and advancement of musical theatre and is the first theatre in the nation to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement). Passing Through was developed over the course of two years at Goodspeed’s Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, and the Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat.

Tickets are available here and are very cheap if you’re interested in coming up for the weekend or even the day. Our presentation is on Sunday January 14th at 1pm.

Click below to listen to “Cut You Out” – a song from the show.

The Drugstoppers – a new DARE-ody

DAREleadRemember the DARE program from the 90’s? Remember how it stopped y’all from drinking and smoking pot?

Probably not.

The DARE program was part of a wildly ineffective craze in the 80’s and 90’s to get kids to “just say no” to drugs, which included over-the-top PSA’s including this turkey from 1993:

Well, now there is a brand new stage parody celebrating the nostalgic anti-drug hysteria of our childhood, and you can help us produce it in New York City!

Introducing The Drugstoppers – a new DARE-ody.

Druggstoppers_Final

The Drugstoppers is a new comedy, written by Gili Malinsky, wherein the audience plays the role of classroom, and the play itself is an over-the-top anti-drug program (complete with our own hilarious PSA’s.) Continue reading The Drugstoppers – a new DARE-ody

The Most Underutilized Resource in Theater

1.212409
PC: Caitlin McNaney

Rajiv Joseph is one of my favorite contemporary playwrights. I remember seeing his play A Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo in Los Angeles and being blown away. It was political, yet personal. Surreal, yet plainspoken. It captured a place and a wonderment that I seek to find in my own writing.

In this Broadway.com interview on the occasion of his latest play Guards at the Taj, he describes a lesson he learned about collaboration: Continue reading The Most Underutilized Resource in Theater

See what the Tonys Inspire

6a012876c6c7fb970c01bb08264d7a970d-300wiThe Tony Awards always leave me inspired. I didn’t get to watch this years broadcast, but even just seeing the names of nominees and winners that are close to my heart fuels me to keep pushing ahead in this crazy business of show.

I’m especially inspired by the win of FUN HOME – a story we’ve never seen before on the musical stage – as it further widens the breadth of what stories a musical can tell. As it has for centuries, the theatre continues to have the power to give voice to all sorts of populations whose stories deserve to be told.

That’s why I’m so excited to premiere some brand new songs from JOE SHMOE SAVES THE WORLD as part of The Festival of New American Musical’s Musi-CAL series, celebrating new musicals written by SoCal writers.

The show is hosted by Rockwell Table & Stages in Los Feliz. It begins at 8pm and tickets start at only $15.

Come have a bite to eat and support new musical theatre performed by my incredible cast featuring Jonah Hill (American Idiot, Hair at the Hollywood Bowl), Alex Wyse (Masters of Sex, Broadway’s Lysistrata Jones), Ashley Argota (The Fosters), and Nicole Farnoush, as well as Kat Hennessey, Chris Meissner, Lyle Mackston, and Holly Howell.

Grab your tickets ahead of time – and I’ll see you there!

Finishing the Draft!

It’s a difficult thing to balance two “careers” at once. For me, acting has always taken precedence because it’s my “bread-and-butter,” which I say while making a very ironic face.

But I love writing with the same passion as I love acting, so I can’t just do one and not the other. It just means I’ve had to accept that sometimes the writing is just gonna take longer. A looooot longer.
But this week I was able to finish the first draft of my musical Joe Shmoe Saves the World. Which thrills me to itty bitty little pieces.
Granted – it’s incomplete. That’s right. It’s an incomplete first draft. But it’s cohesive! And now that the first draft is written it means that the rewriting can begin. And so the cycle never ends.
Here’s a paragraph I’m particularly proud of. This comes from my own personal inspiration for writing this piece:
Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 4.15.03 PM

TKD in Pasadena

999354_10102468071421906_1529618435_nThis week the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program (PMTP) is producing my musical THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre @ Pasadena Playhouse!

PMTP is a unique performing arts training organization where students are encouraged to embrace musical theatre as a method of self-exploration to enhance their personal growth and professionalism.  I have been associated with them for many years as a director, writer, and musician.  They are a fantastic organization, with an incredibly talented group of students, and run by my good friend Ryan Scott Oliver – who also directs this production!

Go see the show and support local arts education!

THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER plays Thursday July 25th at 7pm | Friday July 26th at 7pm | Saturday July 27th at 1pm & 6pm | Sunday July 28th at 12 noon & 6pm at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre @ The Pasadena Playhouse (39 S. El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101)

Get tickets here or by calling 323-250-3150.

Extended!

Great news from Burbank!  Falling for Make Believe is a critical and audience success and so the show is extending by popular demand!

Falling Extension

“[Playwright Mark] Saltzman illuminates the self-loathing Hart (Ben D. Goldberg, marvelously invested, if too handsome by half), pulling vintage items from his output with Rodgers (ever-stalwart Brett Ryback) into commentary.”LA Times

“What Brett Ryback as Rodgers and Ben D. Goldberg as Hart lack in comparable vocal power they make up for in melodic, resonant stylings. And Ryback is so convincing at the onstage piano, that it’s nearly impossible to tell if he’s faking it.”Burbank Leader

The singing all by itself is worth the price of admission…It falls to the cast, as brilliant in their character portrayals as they are in their singing, to show us what the party line has withheld.”My Burbank

The play is set to continue to run through the end of June…however, I will only be in it through June 9th!  So before I step out of Richard Rodgers’s shoes, come see Falling for Make Believe at the Colony Theatre!

For tickets call 818-558-7000 ext.15 or visit www.colonytheatre.org.  But Hurry – they are seriously going fast!

Falling Video

Rodgers And Me

Richard RodgersThis April I am stepping into the skin of one of the founding fathers of the musical theatre genre – my genre.  The Colony Theatre in Burbank presents the world premiere of Falling For Make Believe, about Lorenz Hart.  I will play Richard Rodgers.

As iconic as the man’s music is, the man himself almost disappears behind his work – and it certainly was his intention to do so.  He and his estate did (until very recently) their very best to fiercely protect the “Rodgers and…” legacy.

Exactly what he may have been protecting it from is the subject of the play, which opens up a fascinating window to the relationship between two partners who created magic, loved each other dearly, but ultimately couldn’t help the other in the ways they needed.

Come see Falling for Make Believe, by Emmy-Winner Mark Saltzman, directed by Jim Fall (Trick), at the Colony Theatre in BurbankApril 27 – May19th.  For more information and tickets, call (818) 558-7000 ext. 15 or visit ColonyTheatre.org

DARLING wins New Musical Award

Emily Walton as Ursula
Emily Walton as Ursula

The Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is pleased to announce Darling as the winner of its seventh annual New Musical Award.

Written by Ryan Scott Oliver and Brett Ryback, Darling is a coming-of-age story about teenager Ursula Morgan, who leaves behind her upper-class family and finds herself in the seedy underground of Depression-era Boston — a world of sex, jazz and a mysterious drug called….fairy dust.

The piece, which was featured on the “Bound for Broadway” episode of NBC’s The Apprentice, was nominated for Weston’s prestigious national award by Director of Music at Pace New Musicals Robert Meffe who said of Darling: “The rock score is dark, edgy and contagious… The lyrics are intelligent, surprising and original…The book is a wildly different take on the Peter Pan story that will have audiences trying to uncover the allusions every night.”

The Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, the only one of its kind in the country, has become a highly sought-after prize. It supports new work by writers and composers of notable promise, chosen from a group of national nominations. Winners rehearse their work in Vermont under professional musical direction with a cast of exceptional actor/singers. After performing selections from Darling in concert on the Weston stage on March 2, Oliver, Ryback and their cast return to New York to perform at an invited concert and then to record a demo cd under the supervision of Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom Records.

Derek Klena as Peter
Derek Klena as Peter

The Vermont and New York concerts will be led under the musical direction of Chris Fenwick (Giant). The cast of rising Broadway talent includes Derek Klena (Dogfight) as Peter, Emily Walton (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Ursula, Julia Mattison (Godspell), Justin Keyes (How to Succeed…) and Max Chernin (NYMF’s Really Bad Things).

Continue reading DARLING wins New Musical Award

Joe Schmoe Sings

I just finished recording this song from my new musical Joe Schmoe Saves the World.

Singer-songwriter Kelsey Jessup and singer/actress Ana Nogueira lend their kick-ass voices to “Say Something.”

I can’t wait to share more as the show comes together.

What do you think?