The Railway Children is a musical adaptation of the Edith Nesbit children's story of the same name. Directors Carol Dunne & Eric Love changed the location from outside of London to the home of their theater in Vermont - White River Junction. Mark Hartman and I wrote music and lyrics for songs ranging from a lullaby to Santa's Takin' the Train this Christmas. So much fun! The cast includes not only singers but also multi-instrumentalist Tommy Crawford, Billy Finn on guitar, Rachel Mulcahy on violin, and Jayne McLendon on piano.
The Wolves, directed by Nell Bang-Jensen at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, was produced during the pandemic of 2020. We sent actors mics and green screens and rehearsed over zoom. Each actor starred in their own movie - the size of a zoom square - which in many ways paralleled my memory of high school! The cast was ferocious and indefatigable. Collaborators included Josh Samuels on the sound team,, Costume Design by Maiko Matsushima, and Video Editing by Chris Swetcky.
Steel Magnolias, directed by Lisa Rothe at the Guthrie. I'd enjoyed doing this play at Cleveland Play House a few years before - but it was great to revisit it, and this time write original music for this story about supportive strong women who never lose their sense of humor. I truly enjoyed my recording sessions with Steve Millhouse, Justin Smith, and Scott Kuney.
Sally Wingert and Melissa Maxwell.
Photo by Dan Norman.
Sets: Narelle Sissons, Costumes: Kara Harmon, LIghts: Cat Tate Starmer.
The Engagement Party, directed by Darko Tresnjak at Hartford Stage, was a departure from the Shakespeare canon we have explored since meeting on Theatre for a New Audience's 2007 Merchant of Venice. A conversation with writer Samuel Baum about New York led to a recording session in Columbus Circle, the results of which led the compositions you hear below.
Zach Appelman and Conrad Bekins.
Photo by T. Charles Erickson.
Sets: Alexander Dodge, Costumes: Joshua Pearson, Lights; Matthew Richards.
Jane Eyre, directed by KJ Sanchez, was performed at both Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Milwaukee Rep. We worked cajons into the set, sang songs, and then I was lucky enough to record cellist David Eggar, who features in the selections below. The entire ensemble was generous with their time, energy and humor; the cast included Rin Allen, Margaret Ivey, Michael Sharon, Andy Patterson, Damian Baldet, Christine Toy Johnson, Tina Stafford and Rebecca Hirota.
Margaret Ivey and Michael Sharon in Jane Eyre.
Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
Sets: Kris Stone, Costumes: Rachel Healy, Lights: Brian J. Lilienthal.
Food and Fadwa, by Lameece Issaq and Jacob Kader and directed by Shana Gold, was a co-production between New York Theatre Workshop and Noor Theatre. Set in present-day Bethlehem, the play celebrated the resilience and humor of those living in a war zone. I was extraordinarily blessed to be advised by and work with my co-composers Amir ElSaffar (trumpet, santur) and George Ziadeh (oud). A recording session with them at Second Story Sound resulted in the following pieces.
Lameece Issaq and Haaz Sleiman
Photo by Joan Marcus.
Sets: Andromache Chalfant, Costumes: Gabriel Berry, Lights: Japhy Weideman
House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende was adapted by Caridad Svich and directed by José Zayas. I was lucky enough to work on three productions, two of them in Spanish: The Denver Center, Gala Hispanic in Washington DC, and Teatro Espressivo, a theater in Costa Rica. The recordings included live performers recorded in Denver.
Natalia Guzman and Monica Steuer
Photo by Lonnie Tague
Sets: Elizabeth Jenkins McFadden, Projections: Alex Koch, Lights: Joseph Walls