LOOK: Photos and Reaction to JOE SCHMOE

Earlier this month, Indiana University presented four workshop performances of Joe Schmoe Saves the World. The piece was provocative, empowering, and very well-received by a diverse audience of different ages and backgrounds.

Here’s some press response from the show: Continue reading LOOK: Photos and Reaction to JOE SCHMOE

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!

JOE SHMOE @ Rockwell


This June, the Festival of New American Musicals will feature songs from my show Joe Shmoe Saves the World at Rockwell, during it’s bi-monthly showcase of new American musicals in the works Musi-CAL.

Joe Shmoe Saves the World tells the story of two young women worlds apart – one an American indie rocker, the other an Iranian street artist – who attempt to change the world through their art, and end up changing each other instead. During the concert, I will share 5 songs, 3 of which will be world premieres.

I’m very proud of this show and this music, and I’m looking forward to playing it for you all. The concert is Monday June 8th at 8pm at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz. Tickets just went online – click here to get ’em fast.

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?

Oh, The Academic and the Artist Can Be Friends

Or can they?

On Monday I had an interesting interaction with a Professor from Stanford.

I’ve recently begun moving forward on my latest musical project, Joe Schmoe Saves the World.  Part of the story in the show takes place in Iran, just prior to the 2011 “Day of Rage” protest.

Researching this aspect of the story has been difficult at the beginning because, frankly, I just have no clue where to look, where my focus ought to lie. There’s a LOT of complexity to the situation in Iran and there’s a lot to take in.

This lead me to want to speak to a person, a human being.  Personal interaction allows for shortcuts, tangents, anecdotes – things that BBC articles don’t have.

I was put in touch with a Professor at Stanford who totally fit the bill for who I was looking to talk to. He was Iranian, had been jailed in Iran for teaching Marxist theory through metaphor, had written about Iran’s modernity.  A perfect guy to get some answers from.

But I forgot one thing – he was an academic.

Now – I may not have “represented” myself well.  Meaning – I may have looked young, and sounded naive, asking him my questions.  Needless to say, I don’t think he took me very seriously.  Particularly when he began to lecture me on how difficult it was to get theatre produced these days.

Um.  Ya think?

Anyway.  He began most answers to my questions with “well, there’s no short answer to this question.”  I would ask him, for example, if there one piece of material in particular that he found useful in research on the aesthetics of dissent, and he would say, “I mean, there are hundreds of books written on this topic.”  Which made me feel like Katie Couric interviewing Sarah Palin about which newspapers she reads.  “If you could name just one.

I did get some useful information out of him, such as how they recently implemented a law forbidding the sale of neckties in Iran.  But most of his interaction with me felt like condescension.  How could I possibly know what I was doing, let alone know how to do it well?

Here was a man who was used to being the center of his own bubble.  He was used to there being a right and a wrong answer, something that is more or less antithetical to a creative process – a process the requires remaining open to all possibilities.

At the end of the meeting, he ushered me out in order to prepare for his next appointment – he was being skyped into a meeting in Iran.  He slipped a tie on as we walked out.  He looked at me, finally allowing himself to be a person and not an educator.  “I have to wear a tie.  Just to spite the fuckers.”