EXCLUSIVE: Passing Through on BWW

For the next two weeks, Broadway World has invited bookwriter Eric Ulloa and I to take you behind the scenes as we develop our latest musical PASSING THROUGH at the Goodspeed’s Festival of New Work.

Follow our BWW Guest Blog to learn about our inspiration, our writing process, and the progress we make in real time. Not mention you’ll get a firsthand account of developing a brand new musical at one of the premiere regional theatres in the country. Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Passing Through on BWW

MURDER Receives OCC Nomination

2014-awards-season1MURDER FOR TWO was honored yesterday with a nomination for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical Off-Broadway.  This is in addition to my co-star Jeff Blumenkrantz’s recent Lucille Lortel nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

I’m very proud of our little show, and if you haven’t yet seen it – then what are you waiting for?

Yesterday was also an exciting day because we participated in the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Easter Bonnet Competition.  I was selected as the member of our cast to wear our bonnet.  Go figure.

photo 1Note: this is NOT the bonnet I wore, and also this is not how I felt wearing it.

photo 2 photo 3 Jeff and I had a fun time hanging around the Minskoff theatre with the, um, cast members of The Lion King.

But the really cool part of the evening was when I unexpectedly ended up on stage with Bryan Cranston, Idina Menzel, Fran Drescher, and Denzel Washington.

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And I just have to thank the cast of After Midnight, who was so nice to allow me to get into a pic with Bryan Cranston after they won some award for something or other.



Don’t Be the Dope

Songs I Wrote Title Bar02-in-piano

I’m THRILLED to announce my first non-Murder for Two-related appearance in New York City!

On Saturday April 19th at 11pm, join me for a late-night party at 54 Below as I share SONGS i WROTE – an evening of highlights from my songbook.

Here’s what you’ll get to see:

Alex Brightman, Janet Krupin, George Salazar, and Mary Kate Morrissey.

JSSW CastThis sexy foursome singing songs from my latest musical-in-progress JOE SCHMOE SAVES THE WORLD – including 4 Brand-new never-before-heard songs!

Melissa van der Schyff, Claybourne Elder, Lesli Margherita, Julia Mattison, and Justin Matthew Sargent.

TKD CastThis foxy fivesome rocking tunes from my musical THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER.

Dakin MatthewsAnd a guest appearance by the guy from True Grit, Gilmore Girls, ROCKY Broadway, and pretty much every other TV show you’ve ever seen: Dakin Matthews.

Don’t be the dope who missed outGRAB YOUR TICKETS HERE!


TAVERN KEEPER’S is a Winner!

EPSON MFP imageThis week, the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program’s summer production of my musical THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was voted Best Production by the readers of Pasadena Weekly – beating out works at both the highly regarded Boston Court Theatre and the major regional Pasadena Playhouse.

I’m very proud of everyone’s work on the production.  Congratulations!

Listen below to Lesli Margherita (Broadway’s Matilda) sing “Let Go!” from THE TAVERN KEEPER’S DAUGHTER.


Getting Away with Murder

I’m so freakin excited to share this with you guys.

This summer, I will be heading to New York City to make my Off-Broadway debut in Second Stage’s production of Murder for Two by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair. m42_center

Mixing classic musical comedy with a dash of Agatha Christie, everyone is a suspect in this house of eccentric characters unfazed by the dead body on the floor. But this whodunit comes with a killer twist: one actor investigates the crime, the other plays all thirteen suspects, and they both play the piano! This madcap mystery will tickle the ivories and your funny bone.

I will be playing the young investigator, and musical theatre/Broadway mainstay Jeff Blumenkrantz will play…everyone else.

murderfortwo If you don’t know, Jeff is an established songwriter as well as a Broadway actor.  One of his most famous pieces is “I Won’t Mind”, recorded by Audra McDonald.  Which begs the question…between Jeff, Joe, Kellen, and myself – how many songwriters does it take to mount a two-person show in New York City?  (Also – whoever at broadwayworld.com put Jeff and I shoulder-to-shoulder in that picture is a freaking genius.  Can anyone say Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen solving a murder on the UWS?)

The production will be directed by Scott Schwartz (which adds another songwriter to the mix if you count his father Stephen) and is scheduled to run from July 10 – August 10th.  So DO NOT miss this NYC.  I mean YOU.

For tickets and more info click here.

We Made It Home

Our little web parody – ARGO! The Musical – made it as a featured video on the Funny or Die homepage! 

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And the even better news is – we’re still there!  If you scroll down their homepage, we’re the number one video in the Archive!

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If you haven’t watched the video – watch it now and click FUNNY!

If you have – go watch it again and click FUNNY!  The more Funny votes we get the better.

Now, Argo be fabulous!

ARGO Be Fabulous

Check out this web parody I wrote/directed/played Ben Affleck in.

Click on the image to watch, and then click “Funny!”

And be sure to share it with all your friends!!

Major credit goes to:

Matt Abshire
Elijah Alexander
Jamison Jones
Joe Komara
Dan Kozlowski
Jayden Maddux
Lesli Margherita
Vanessa Mizzone
Lauren Rubin
Brett Ryback
Adam Shapiro

Writer/Director: Brett Ryback
Producer: Lauren Bass
Co-Producer: Christian Barillas
Editor: Jordan Bass
DP: Nick Barr
Asst. Camera Op: Joseph Schmitz
PAs: Edgar Solis, Christopher Solis

Cultural Swampland

My attention was drawn a while back to an LA Times article discussing a sort of cultural revolution occurring at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).  Longtime curator, Paul Schimmel – “an artist favorite, seen as a champion of ambitious, intensely researched exhibitions” – was recently fired and replaced by Jeffrey Deitch – “who gained his reputation by creating buzzed-about events that often drew on youth culture, [including recent exhibitions in LA] that revolved around high-recognition names, including Dennis Hopper and James Franco.”  The ousting led to the protest and resignation of many board member-artists, including Catherine Opie and John Baldessari.

The article goes on to include other realms of art interacting warily with celebrity and fashion.

MOCA is not the only artistic institution hosting celebrity versus significance face-off. Theater has been at it for years; Broadway not only remakes big, successful film musicals, now it takes on flops (“Newsies”) and indies (“Once”) while bemoaning the lack of original plays.

Now, there’s certainly nothing new about a clash between the “old guard” and the young, up-start newcomers.  “Established” and “safe” often mean the same, and the “language of the people” is constantly evolving (or perhaps “revolving” is a more apt term), so if one doesn’t at least keep an ear out, one will eventually become irrelevant.

If there are any hard and fast rules about art and fashion they are: Continue reading Cultural Swampland