We just finished putting on a pair of shows. That’s why I finally have time to write. I figure that, if I don’t record our recent experiences now, it’s never getting done. So here goes with our first real blog:
The first show, on January 25th, was a benefit for the New York Theatre Barn. It was tremendous fun, and we got to hear some terrific songs by Will Van Dyke, who did the second set.
We mostly did cabaret songs that we’ve written over the last year. A couple premiers, including a new song called “After Hours,” which is about walking around the city at night and the strange sense of connection one has with all the other people who are up. We literally finished the draft the day of the show, but it went really well, and Nick sold the hell out of it. We also did a new number from Unlock’d, which hadn’t yet been performed in New York (we unveiled it for the first time at the Ravinia Festival, but none of the locals had heard it).
We had a dream cast, featuring:
Jackie Burns, who’s currently in HAIR, and whom we had worked with in 2007, when she brought down the house with her verse monologues as Clarissa in the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Unlock’d.
Nick Gaswirth, one of the best young tenors we know, who’s helped us develop a number of songs recently (Nick also takes gorgeous photos and does headshots, in case anyone is interested–check out his site)
Maria Couch, whom we’ve worked with many times over the years–Maria was in the very first reading of Unlock’d, back when it was our thesis project at NYU.
Jeremy Jordan, who just left Rock of Ages to play Tony a couple nights a week in West Side Story. Jeremy starred in our New York Musical Theatre Festival cabaret Sing, But Don’t Tell last fall and was kind enough to make time for us again.
Ashley Spencer, who also did our concert back in October. Ashley’s still really young, but she’s already been on Broadway twice; she closed out Hairspray, playing Amber, and played Sandy in the recent Grease revival.
* * *
The second show was February 1st at the Duplex, who treated us really well (even letting us come in to rehearse in the space five hours before the show!)
That show featured Maria and Jeremy returning, and we also got to work for the first time with:
Victoria Matlock, whom we had met and adored in Will’s set the week before. She’s a phenomenal singer and actress and is about to make her Broadway debut in a few months in Million Dollar Quartet.
Julie Reiber, who’s played Elphaba in Wicked and Brooklyn in Brooklyn on Broadway. But she is a wonderful comedienne as well!
Bobby Steggert, who just stole the show as Younger Brother in Ragtime, though we’ve been fans of his, ever since seeing him play Jimmy in 110 in the Shade. Bobby’s about to star in YANK at the York.
All three of them learned the material in less than a week and were such a pleasure to work with.
And it was a really productive week of rehearsals. Bobby patiently worked with us as we adjusted the melodic decorations and flow of “After Hours.” Julie helped us work through the final patter in “TMI,” and Maria made some really valuable suggestions to help give “So Far From Pennsylvania” a little more dramatic shape (we made the opening a little more hopeful, to give the singer’s realization that things are over a little more punch).
* * *
Next up is the HAIR castmembers benefit for the Brooklyn Free School’s Building Campaign on February 7th. John Moauro will be singing our song “Stay Awhile,” and there may be more of our numbers at the show. Looking forward to it!