Sweeney Todd & The Hairy Ape

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There is so much entertainment on offer everywhere these days; it is a pleasure to go to real theater. Nothing beats its authenticity. Last week I saw “Sweeney Todd” at the Barrow Theater. I did find the violence of the story a tad bit unsettling, as it was more in your face with this intimate production.  It was still–pure entertainment. Not only were the voices and the performances powerful and intense, particularly that of Norm Lewis who has just taken over the lead role, but the pies were tasty! Obama himself said it will be “the best pie you have ever eaten.” Having enjoyed the vegetable pie immensely, I concur.

On a more serious note, I also saw Eugene O’Neil’s “The Hairy Ape.”

Hairy ape

This play was also intense; with a human – animal comparison throughout the piece. I admired it, as “enjoyment” is not the right word to apply. Set in 1922, pre-Depression era New York, the main character Yank finds himself “at sea” in a life dominated by wealth and greed. He longs to be valued as an honest hard worker, skilled in the ways of sailing and coal slinging, yet his values are not prized in the world that employs him. When he sets his eyes on the President of the company’s daughter, his life is altered forever. I left the theater feeling a little bewildered, curious yet inspired. I can’t imagine anyone else other than Bobby Cannavale playing the lead role. The venue and the production were incredible; I thought holding it at the Park Avenue Armory really fit the material. PAA3

One of the sweet things to come out of my theater-going experience was meeting Elaina, (Sweeney) who runs Big Smile Entertainment out of Boston. Looks to me like she runs an outstanding organization!

Room for Me or The Pass & Workshops

Very odd I had posted a blog post a few days ago about my thinking about changing the name of  my one woman show and it seems to have disappeared.

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So the gist of the post, what do you think of the title ROOM FOR ME vs THE PASS? What do either titles conjure up?

Why you may ask am I considering a title change? Especially when I have been calling the show as it develops THE PASS and even have artwork for it? Good question and happy to share why.

I had 2 friends over at my apartment in West Hollywood the night before I flew out to Florida and we had an impromptu workshop aka read-thru.  They gave me some great feedback, suggestions. One friend I met in London and the other I know from NYC; around the same time. We have been friends for many years however we have all 3 rarely hung out together. Both are in the arts and I respect their opinion’s. Somehow a song from my Camden Town days came into the head of my friend (the one from the UK) -she is an actress and voice over artist) and now lives in California, in fact she is my neighbor with a home up the block. My other friend from NYC was in town working on past production for a new film, LET IT FALL. We had a great time hanging out. It was a great trip as a while and I plan to go back more often now. They both discussed the idea of a new title and called me separately. I am now considering their thoughts. I am also going to hold a handful of workshops before I film the show. Much work ahead!

In Florida to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday. Pretty damn cool. Lot’s of celebrating.

The Grammys 2017 Bring It Home!

After The Grammys I was inspired to bring this song out of the vault! I wrote it while in Los Angeles (my final year) and recorded it with my friend Eric Gorfain from The Section Quartet. It feels like songs with strong lyrics, melodies and hooks are back. and I’m in!

I loved the Grammys this year! There were so many songs that had powerful meanings and substance especially compared to other years. I thought the Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood song THE FIGHTER was really strong, classic pop with a hint of the 80’s and loved the way they use her voice in the one section and he was answering. http://www.rollingstone.com/country/news/see-keith-urban-carrie-underwoods-duet-at-2017-grammys-w466339

I also loved the arrangement of George Michael’s FAST LOVE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3mO6DSY4gU and the visuals behind Adele and she did her best, difficult song to sing live, especially that arrangement. Her humility was admirable and she is one of a kind. Adele kind of reminds me of the 50’s Peggy Lee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4hXyALR9vI 

Music is and will always be a force to reckon with. I am excited to have venues like this- where I can features songs, including my own. I hope you enjoy BRING ME HOME.

To Weave a Web of Song

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Spiders get a bad rap. Consider their fascinating origin according to Greek mythology: Arachne, a talented but mortal weaver, challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. When Athena, who rules over crafts as well as wisdom, won the content hands-down she decided to punish Arachne by turning her into nature’s first spider. So spiders spend their days weaving endless beautiful and intricate webs, but are not always appreciated for their artistry!

As a songwriter, I also weave webs–from music and words not thread. This week I have been crafting a new song for “The Pass”, LIFEBOAT. It will be the penultimate song in the show, the second-to-the-last, an important position. I have been playing it for friends, whose comments have helped me to take it to new levels. All of my life I have told stories, in words and music, bringing vocal shape to the world I experienced. At some point I gave this ability a practical application, by using it to write press releases, attract clients and create a PR firm. But the need to use it purely creatively always comes out; throughout my daily life I tend to burst into song. By patient and skillful crafting, I have taken my latest song to a new place, a heightened place of pain and love and soaring emotion. I can only hope that even the goddess Athena would approve!

Fun Fact: According to studies done at the University of Miami, spiders respond to music. They don’t like techno or hip hop but, when Bach was played, the spiders began to spin webs closer to the speakers.

Gretchen Cryer: She’s Getting My Act Together

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Last spring I went to a reading at the York Theater of “Call My Publicist!” written and performed by Joshua Ellis, the very well-known and accomplished Broadway publicist (“The Elephant Man”, “Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”). The show was directed by Gretchen Cryer. I was so impressed that I thought to myself that’s exactly who I need to direct my show, “The Pass”. I googled her, sent her an email with a link to my own website and told her I was working on a one woman show. She then got in touch; we arranged a meeting so we could assess how we might gel.

I was honored when Gretchen agreed to work one on one with me. It has been one of the most rewarding and invigorating projects of my career. She is an extraordinary force and I can understand why she is considered a theater legend.

Gretchen is well known for writing the book and lyrics and starring in “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road” (with music by Nancy Ford). The show, originally produced in NYC by Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, was followed by a 3 year run at the Circle in the Square. With Nancy Ford, Gretchen also wrote other shows, including “Now is the Time for All Good Men” and “Anne of Green Gables”. Gretchen has recorded two albums with Nancy for RCA and has starred on Broadway in her own cabaret act, in addition to performing off Broadway and on film. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and is President Emeritus of the Dramatists Guild Fund. In addition to these accomplishments, she has received various awards and degrees, among them a Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University and a MAT degree from Harvard.

Gretchen’s enthusiasm for “The Pass”, as well as her vast experience, have been a stellar inspiration. I wish to thank my friend Terry Castillo for suggesting I go to “Call My Publicist!”—not only did I meet a mentor, I also enjoyed Joshua Ellis’s play for its candor, humor and verve.

Here’s EYES WIDE OPEN, a song that we will be featuring in THE PASS and it is getting the most plays on KeyMedia Group Music  soundcloud page! Just recently added it to our player and glad we did.

 

Wild Stallions Must Be Free

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As America gets ready to celebrate the 4th of July, I am reflecting on my own independence. The rock n roll business can  take your individuality away, if one is not careful. I was always aware of this poignant fact.  I had to reach deep to remain true to myself while looking to forward my success and forge my own personal and musical identity.  As a young artist I was unable to keep my stride in the presence of all the struggle. In 1997 I became an independent artist and began recording my debut album SELF on my own terms and using my own money.  It was not until I decided to become totally independent that I began to understand the power of one’s own determination without conflict and turmoil from outside sources that are suppose to be on your side.

On this 4th of July I salute all independent thinkers. Some of us start there and some of us travel long and winding roads to get there. Now let me get started on my barbecue as this is the ideal time for me to devour one of my favorite holiday treats!

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