NAMT Songwriters Showcase, 10.19.17

Today went really well! I know I should type more but I’m kinda overwhelmed so I’m just gonna post these pics of cast – Christiana Cole, Tanesha Gary, Rona Siddiqui (MD), Troy Anthony (Composer), Latoya Edwards, Larry Owens (my bf) and me!! Plus wonderful director Laura Brandel (in the rehearsal candids) 🙂IMG_4086IMG_4090 (1)IMG_4088Namt_2017-website-600-360x360

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Clips from THE RIVER IS ME – in concert!!

File_001.jpegSo my writing partner Troy Anthony and I had a fun great-learning-experience concert this past summer at Feinstein’s 54 Below. Even though it was summer, when ticket sales are usually slow and droopy, we sold out!! I know some friends and fam didn’t get to make it to see the show…but I’m still very proud of the cast and wonderful creative production team and everyone’s hard work….and wanted to post a clip!! 🙂

**Quick obligatory shout out to our wonderful performers featured in this clip: Latoya Edwards, Tanesha Gary, Larry Owens, Jason Veasey, Francesca Ferrari and Brett Macias!!**

“Too Soon (To Say Goodbye)” closes out Act I of The River Is Me. MA and BO have been split apart when they try to escape MA’s abusive boyfriend. In this number, MA senses something is wrong and makes a choice about defying her MAN and going down to Mississippi to get her baby before she fears it is too late. Tanesha Gary singing her little heart out as MA in this clip!

 

“Go Go Waterman” is a song moment where the hero BO teaches his new friends about his favorite superhero and pulls them into his story by pretending they’re all magic. The indomitable Larry Owens is BO for this song.

 

You’ll see “Ma At The Casket,” a song moment where the protagonist BO has been lynched and his MA has to come and identify the body. Friend and saint Tonya Pinkins is singing this one!

 

THE RIVER IS ME – at NATIONAL ALLIANCE for MUSICAL THEATRE Songwriters Showcase!!

Namt_2017-website-600-360x360I’m very excited to announce that The River Is Me will have a featured little presentation of sorts at NATIONAL ALLIANCE for MUSICAL THEATRE  this year in the Songwriters Showcase!!

It’s the 29th Annual NAMT conference, and it is a REALLY BIG DEAL that my wonderful writing partner Troy Anthony and I were asked to participate this time ’round with a few song selections from The River Is Me! As NAMT mentions on the website, “[t]he purpose of the Festival is to create a nurturing environment for discovery, development and advancement of the musical theatre art form. NAMT seeks to do this with a focus on quality, diversity and new voices.” NAMT is like Yale for musical theatre writers — you have to work hard to get there, and there is no coasting after you get in, but if you’ve done well enough to earn a spot in the conference, you’ve earned yourself a pedigree and chance for networking that really can shore up your chances of life happiness/success, which are the exact same thing for me 🙂

So there’s the conference conference and then there’s this little jewel of a “Special Event” called the Songwriters Showcase, where newbies and oldbies can showcase new songs.

This winter, Troy and I hope to find a theatre or agent who can formally endorse us so we can apply to be in the NAMT Conference proper.

Anyhoo, the industry-packed event is tomorrow at 2pm. Very nervous, but overall very proud of the work we get to share with the theater world and very excited!! Cross fingers for us!! 🙂

A “Summer Sell out” at Feinstein’s/54 Below!

We did it!! Thank you to the wonderful cast, production team, band and friends who made all this possible!!

CAST

Eddie Cooper

Latoya Edwards

Francesca Ferrari

Tanesha Gary

Brett Macias

Larry Owens

Tonya Pinkins

Jason Veasey

TEAM

Director: Shariffa Ali

Associate Director: Schuyler Girion

Music Director: Darius Smith

Producer: Marie Cisco

BAND

Darius Smith (MD/Piano)
Justin Rothberg (Guitar)
Joseph Wallace (Bass)
Hiroyuki Matsuura (Drums)

…and now for pics and teeny tiny video clips! These are from band rehearsal, step and repeat backstage of the concert and the event itself!  Enjoy 🙂

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CREO Emerging Writers Salon

So excited to be sharing work in a fancy Harlem-Renaissance-esque salon this evening! It’s called the Creo Emerging Writers Salon and will take place at SongSpace, located at 1841 Broadway. My partner and pal Troy Anthony and I will be sharing two new songs from our original musical, The River Is Me — a music theatre ghost memoir from the P.O.V. of Bo, a chubby funny, comic book-loving, 14 year old black kid murdered for whistling at a white woman in 1955, who, once murdered, is not destroyed, but rather returns to walk the earth to seek vengeance on his killer and check in with his Ma to make sure she’ll be alright as he becomes the hero he dreamed of when he was a living boy.

We’ll be sharing “You Dream” and “Bye Bye Baby.” In the former, we see Ma and Bo’s relationship as being a mixture of mother/child, brother/sister due to how close they are in age. In “You Dream,” coming at toward the top of the show, Ma has just allowed Bo to leave her in Chicago (with her less-than-kind-boyfriend) to spend the last week of his summer vacation with Uncle in Mississippi. Ma gets to missing her son, and calls him on the phone to try to get him to come home. Bo avoids the answer, distracting Ma with a game of make-believe. Ma doesn’t believe she can dream anymore, but Bo thinks otherwise.

In “Bye Bye Baby,” which falls midway after the act break, we have seen Baby Doll’s husband Roy torture and murder Bo, and then throw Bo into the river, then Bo transforms into a water-based super hero, then Ma mourns the loss of her son, nearly fainting at the casket. Then Baby Doll speaks. In this song, Baby Doll gives her “testimony,” stating, from her P.O.V. what happened the day the black kid whistled at her.

I will be in RED lipstick this evening, and SINGING the songs with my fabulous partner and homie Troy Anthony. Can’t wait! Also there was talk of delicious food so you know I’m pumped for that! 🙂

Award Winning Playwright! W.K. Rose 2017

I WON THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts

This Fellowship is made possible by a bequest from the estate of W.K. Rose, a distinguished scholar and teacher, who was a member of the Vassar English Department from 1953 until his untimely death in the fall of 1968.

Mr. Rose wrote:

My object in creating this fellowship is to provide a worthy young artist with a chance to be free after college to get on with his work as an artist. It is also my hope that this fellowship will attract to Vassar in greater number the kind of student that it proposes to aid.

My life is forever changed.

I totally picked the right college!!! Thanks VASSAR! 🙂 Thanks W.K. Rose.

MTF POC Roundtable kick-off!

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Today I really had my life changed by some wonderful people! Thanks to all who were able to make it to the inaugural meeting of the Musical Theatre Factory endeavor in partnership with Playwrights Downtown — Person of Color Roundtable #1 was filled with talent, fun surprises and a surprising, at least for me, feeling that I literally have never had before. It only took 30 years and Shakina Nayfack but I can now say I have been in a musical theater writer’s room where I wasn’t the only person of color