Musical Theater

New Mark Adamo Opera Commission Announced

January 26th, 2009|

San Francisco Opera has announced plans to commission a new work by Mark Adamo for a scheduled premiere in 2013. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, in Mark’s words, “draws on the Gnostic gospels, the canonical gospels and fifty years of new Biblical scholarship to reimagine the loves and conflicts of the New Testament through the eyes of its leading female character.” […]

Erling Wold’s MORDAKE

May 24th, 2008|

My congratulations to San Francisco composer colleague Erling Wold on the premiere of his new opera Mordake. This is not a review, and so I’ll stop short of providing a lot of detail. […]

Sondheim at Herbst Theater

March 11th, 2008|

This past Sunday was a date I’d been anticipating for months. As part of the City Arts and Lectures series here in San Francisco, Stephen Sondheim sat down with Frank Rich for a thoroughly spontaneous and entertaining hour-and-a-half discussion.

Now, I’ve read and heard so many interviews and similar Sondheim talks over the years, so there was very little new information for me, but this is my first opportunity to sit through one in person. Sondheim was upbeat, forthcoming and very funny; a true mensh. […]

Sondheim’s Favorite: “Someone in a Tree”

January 4th, 2008|

It is well known among Sondheim kooks such as myself that Stephen Sondheim’s favorite among his own songs is “Someone in a Tree” from the 1976 musical Pacific Overtures. I love this song too, but it’s never been clear to me exactly why it stands out in particular for Sondheim. […]

Sweeney Fatigue

December 31st, 2007|

Why am I so uninterested in the new Sweeney Todd movie? It’s as much a surprise to me as it is to anyone who knows me. I remember being excited about it about 15 years ago when there began to be noise about a Tim Burton adaptation, but in recent years I’ve lost interest.

The original stage version of Sweeney Todd is a masterpiece, and I’ve written before about how my first exposure to it put me on the path toward being a composer. Over many years I’ve studied the score so thoroughly and seen so many productions, some good and some bad, that I don’t think I can ever get excited about it again. It’s not just this film adaptation I’m down on; I’m normally loathe to go and see new stage productions as well. It’s also not that I don’t think the original 1979 Harold Prince production can’t be improved upon, but that happens so rarely. […]

Bay Area Announcement #1: D’Arc, Woman on Fire

October 11th, 2007|

It will be worth your while to see writer/performer Amanda Moody’s latest music theater piece D’Arc, Woman on Fire, music by Jay Cloidt, at Footloose & Shotwell Studios.

D’Arc offers a surreal inquiry into the costs of dreams, lived and unlived. Weaving the threads of the Dark […]

The Sweeney Effect

October 9th, 2007|

It had been years since I’ve looked at it, but I’ve had the vocal score of Sweeney Todd out for the past couple of weeks, having just seen the revival currently on at American Conservatory Theatre (extended for still one more week).

Sweeney Todd score

Revisiting the Trunk: “You Must Learn”

October 5th, 2007|

Throughout the year I’ve been occasionally posting recordings of songs from my earlier musical The Ghost of Wu. Today’s installment is the song “You Must Learn”, in which an ambitious mother lectures her naïve daughter, a concubine, in the ways of the Emperor’s court.

This song is probably the […]

Vintage Musical Theater Footage

August 28th, 2007|

Blue Gobo has an addictive collection of footage from original Broadway productions dating at least as far back as Rogers and Hart’s Jumbo (1935). Most of the footage that interests me is of scenes excerpted on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 50′s and 60′s. […]

Back to the Trunk: “Welcome Home”

June 8th, 2007|

Time to roll out another song from The Ghost of Wu.

Composed in the summer or fall of 2002, Welcome Home is probably my favorite song from Wu; certainly the one I’m most proud of for both music and lyrics. It’s an ensemble number for womens chorus.

Following a […]