The Bridges of Madison County

bridges setIt is always sad when a show closes, and this one was no different.  The Bridges of Madison County closes this evening after 37 previews, and only 100 performances.

I’ve musically directed two of the cast members previously: Aaron Ramey in The Night Of The Living Dead, and Whitney Bashor in Nevermore, so I definitely wanted to support them and all the hard work and intensity they bring to the stage.  I’ll also be in the chorus for a holiday concert this December at Carnegie Hall that Kelli O’Hara is headlining, alongside Matthew Morrison.

All I can say is that I am stunned that no one else will have the chance to see this beautifully moving production at The Schoenfeld Theatre.  This isn’t a review of the show, nor a criticism of the fact that for the first time, five shows could have been nominated for best musical, instead of four, and yet only four made the cut.

All I want to say is that from the second I stepped into the theatre, I was absolutely mesmerized; every detail was captivating.  The sets, the costumes, the score, the musicians, the actors’ voices and performances–it was an incredibly beautiful evening that I wish I could repeat.

I applaud everyone involved in bringing this production to Broadway, and am so thankful that I could be in the audience to share in the experience.  While this may be the end of Bridges Broadway run, I am certain the show will have many more lives on tour and in theatre across the globe!


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When Inspiration Knocks…

doorOpen the damn door!

This one’s going to be quick because I have got to get some sleep if I stand any chance of getting up in time for work tomorrow; the alarm is going off in just over four hours.  But I just needed to say that I am more excited than I have been in a long time.

Right before bed, I started thinking of parody lyrics for a song, just kind of a throw away idea I was having as I was willing myself to sleep.  I think I fell asleep around midnight, and at 1:15, woke up immediately with more lyrics going through my head.  Again, I tried to will myself to sleep, but my brain wouldn’t let it go.  So I decided to give in and see if I could write a couple quick verses.

Two hours later, I’m here on my fire escape, and I love what I’ve come up with!  It obviously needs a lot of work, but the basic outline is there with some really clever lines (if I do say so myself).  So now I think I can turn my brain off and get a few hours of sleep.  I wanted to write this post though, because it this turns out the way I want, I want to remember how it all started.

More later!



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Carrying The Banner with Newsies

newsies“It’s a fine life carrying the banner through it all.”

It’s no secret that Newsies is one of my favorite shows on Broadway, and it was also one of my favorite movies growing up.

Long before I knew Christian Bale as the naked guy running down the hallway with a chainsaw, I knew him as the guy riding a horse and singing about New Mexico.  Talk about versatility!

And now, thanks to Disney Theatricals, I get to work on Newsies.  We teach workshops for Aladdin, Newsies, and The Lion King.  While I absolutely love all of them, Newsies is my favorite.  I mean, how many get to wake up and say “today I’m gonna go to work and teach some excited tourists how to dance on newspapers while yelling ‘Strike! Strike! Strike!'”? (did I punctuate that correctly?)

This morning I was facilitating a workshop with my friend Steven, who is an incredible director, choreographer, and dancer.  After some introductory games and exercises, I teach them the music to Seize the Day, and then Steven teaches them the choreography.  And then for the big finish, we bring out the newspapers, adding that to the choreography.  I don’t know who’s more excited, me or the kids?  And if you’ve seen the show or at least a clip of the number online, it’s even more thrilling because that part of the dance is iconic!

To end the day, I was facilitating a talkback for Newsies after their evening show.  It was for a different group, and they loved the show.  And I love doing the talkbacks.  It’s always fun for me playing talk show host before the cast comes out because I get to ask them about their time in NYC, what their favorite moments were in the show, and get them all excited for the Newsies who are about to come out.  And then during the talkback, I always learn a lot, too.  Sometimes it’s something about the rehearsal process, or a cast member’s audition story, where they went to school, or a challenge they had to overcome.  Whatever is brought up during the talkback, it’s always inspiring.  There isn’t a single member of the cast that isn’t having the time of their life and it’s so infectious.  Seeing these guys living their dreams reminds you of all the reasons why you’re pursuing something similar, and it also pushes you to work a little harder.

And Tommy Bracco, who plays Spot Conlon in the show and is pictured above, is a friend of mine.  I musically directed him in High School Musical for Interlakes Theatre in Meredith, New Hampshire.  I had no idea at the time that it was his first ever musical.  And here he is, just a few years later, shining brighter than ever on Broadway!

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