Archive for the Music Category

Extreme Script Make-Over

Posted in Music, NYMF, Writing on July 15, 2010 by darylfazio

Okay, maybe not that extreme. But after insight from our dramaturg and a few creative pow-wows with director, Chad Larabee, and composer, Aaron McAllister, we have a pretty different structure and a couple of new songs. Case in point: I have written a new Act Two opener called BREAKTHROUGH. We wrap up Act One with MELTDOWN in which Kitty, you guessed it, melts down while being serenaded by Homeless Man and Woman. In BREAKTHROUGH (which has no tune as of yet–stay tuned…heh-heh…it’s percussive, hard-edge lyrics though–I was inspired by some vintage Blood, Sweat, & Tears), Toni-O and Edward lead the other students in announcements of the wonderful discoveries they’ve all been making in their artwork. While Kitty. Has none. Brief excerpt:

EDWARD
(bad-ass-like)

WE GOT SOME TECHNIQUE.
WE BEEN STEERED AND CONSTRUCTED
‘TIL THE SISSIES WE WERE
HAVE BEEN AMBUSHED, ABDUCTED.
UH!

That’s the big-ticket item. BLOW-BY-BLOW has gone away, and there’s a SHINE, KITTY, SHINE reprise now, which I’m kind of loving.

And right this moment, as I type, Chad sits in the Equity Principle Auditions for nine hours finding us some dazzling talent to help the love flow even more freely. (insert song cue here)

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Wow

Posted in General, Music, Writing on October 1, 2008 by darylfazio

A lot to catch you up on.

We staged “Art is Your Rock” on Monday. I’m happy with the scene leading in—I wasn’t sure how the “silent talker” character of Miss St. Helen would work on stage. My fears were assuaged as I watched the students being directed to lean in as a group, in a carefully controlled synchronized movement, to try to catch her every unhearable word.

And it should make the all-out gospel choir direction of the song’s latter half that much more fun.

Getting choreographed (choreographer Barbara Hartwig out front) in "Art is Your Rock"

Getting choreographed (choreographer Barbara Hartwig out front) in "Art is Your Rock"

Miss St. Helen's "choir" of students flutter through sign-language like movements as they sing.

Miss St. Helen (in pink) leads the students in sign-language-inspired movements as they sing "Art is Your Rock...when life takes it all."

Tuesday night was a big one. We opened with work on Mr. Manne’s entré to art, “Ah, Oui!” It was the first time I’d seen it all the way through and in the big space. Some riotous staging–and brilliant actor playing (there are so many good things starting to happen with performances, I can’t even enumerate them; some of the kids are fearless, while others are more careful and calculated, but they’re all thoughtful about their characters and the choices they make)–as he makes his way completely inappropriately through the group of kids. The video here shows an excerpt–nope, it ain’t the whole thing–the more dance-oriented second half that goes for a no-holds-barred can-can (Mr. Manne is in the red shirt; on opening night, he’ll be wearing red, but not a shirt).

Then we ran about 25 pages of the show straight through (okay, we stopped a few times), and it was REALLY the first time I got to understand what this thing is. Timing, jokes, correlation between visuals and words, how well the songs are integrated, all the stuff that can’t, no way, not even close, be revealed simply by reading and listening to it.

It prompted me to understand some lines here and there needed to be cut. AND it made me question one of the songs in a big way. Something that had NEVER occurred to me until I saw it in context, from start to finish. Nothing’s been decided yet, so I won’t be much more specific than that until it is. But whether it stays in its current form or is changed drastically will be a joint decision.

Anyway, thank heavens for workshops.

Kitty (center) rides the subway for the first time and meets a couple of homeless.

Kitty (center) rides the subway for the first time and meets a couple of homeless.

The Ghetto Ballet

Posted in General, Music on September 22, 2008 by darylfazio

After design presentations, it was down to business. The heavily-ensemble-driven musical is proving to be a gargantuan staging undertaking. Thank goodness for the hard work, focus, and passion of everyone involved.

My newness to writing musicals at the time of this one’s birth led to a grand vision for the show (10 of the 14 numbers are ensemble-based), though since I can always count on Aaron to keep me grounded in the realities of production, I’ve never worried as long as he was on board. The almost constant flurry of onstage activity is important to the musical’s universe, and I certainly don’t regret it conceptually–it should be a thrill to watch. But it has been frustrating, at times, for actors and director, that so much of rehearsal thus far has been dedicated to the appearance of the show (again, very exciting, so far!) rather than characterization and overall journey. We’ll get there (big time, this week, in fact). And we all know it. I can feel us chomping at the proverbial bit.

Our one-week mark rehearsal was spent creating, before our very eyes, the so-called “Ghetto Ballet,” which was director, Monica Bell’s, inspired idea rather than one I had in the libretto. The kids love it and are really taking to the experiment. As Kitty Katz makes her transition from the all-American suburb of her first 18 years into the other-planet-like urban setting of the Ghetto Art School, the people of that new world, in this case gang members, hookers, and homeless, are the primary way of establishing counterpoint. So between the opening song “I Blend In” and Toni-O’s anthem to the street, “Smells Like Art,” we get a bit of “music” created by objects and bodies. See the video below as it comes to life for the first time.

POPart Sounds

Posted in Music with tags on June 10, 2008 by darylfazio

Hear the tunes (from the demo recorded at LoFish Studios, New York, NY / January 2008) :

  1. I BLEND IN
  2. SMELLS LIKE ART
  3. SHINE KITTY SHINE
  4. BE FREE
  5. AH, OUI
  6. ART IS YOUR ROCK
  7. CRITIQUE MYSTIQUE
  8. WATCH THE BIRDY
  9. CRIT THIS!
  10. COMMITTED
  11. BLOW-BY-BLOW
  12. WITHOUT US
  13. POP

featuring: Jared Bradshaw, Taylor Buice, Amanda Conlon, Jackie Dulong, Crista Johnson, Tommy Labanaris, Aaron McAllister, Michael Morch, Natalie Newman, Gregory Van Acker, Jamaal Wilson