Musical Theatre Radio presents "Be Our Guest"
By Jean Paul Yovanoff
Produced in conjunction with the internet radio station www.musicaltheatreradio.com
Musical Theatre Radio presents "Be Our Guest"Jul 05, 2021
Be Our Guest with Robert Bannon (Album: Rewind)
Robert Bannon has been dazzling audiences on the stage and screen for years, his emotive and powerful vocals and knack for comedy bringing people by turns to tears of emotion, laughter and elation, and always to their feet.
Now, the accomplished and lauded cabaret singer and "Saturday Night Live" actor is about to release "Unfinished Business," his debut album set for release in 2021. The highly anticipated album features Bannon's versatile vocal talents and includes duets with Grammy Nominee Jane Monheit and recording star Loren Smith. "Unfinished Business" consists of two originals and 11 classic songs by a variety of American Songbook crowd pleasers running the gamut from Frank Sinatra to Johnny Mercer to Whitney Houston. Bannon recorded the album in his home studio with all musicians adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The album's first single, a powerful rendition of the Bette Midler song, "From a Distance," is a highly emotional and inspiring performance that sums up 2020 perfectly, providing an unforgettable, uplifting soundtrack to a tumultuous year. The track spotlights Bannon's unforgettable and emotive rich, soaring voice and vocal flourishes as he signs of a hopeful, peaceful and prosperous future.
The album was produced by international cabaret superstar Lee Lassack. In 2020, Bannon and Lassack co-hosted the virtual sensation, “Quarantine, Cabaret, and Cocktails," a weekly live stream on Facebook and YouTube that has reunited the Broadway casts of “Frozen,” “Aladdin” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” and featured Broadway legends like Lea Salonga, Chita Rivera, Shoshana Bean and many more. They have also hosted the applauded "Best of Broadway and Music" on Facebook Live and YouTube.
Bannon, a tireless performer, brings a wealth of experience and rave reviews to listeners. In addition to his work on "Saturday Night Live" the past three years, Bannon has performed with a number of rhythm-and-blues, jazz and comedy icons including Patti LaBelle, George Benson and Whoopi Goldberg at legendary venues like Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Bannon also sang for Bill and Hillary Clinton during for Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center and for Hillary Clinton at a Martin Luther King Day event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Bannon has also traveled the country performing his hit one-man show, "Unfinished Business," including at New York's famed Feinstein's/54 Below cabaret. The autobiographical performance traces Bannon's journey from his time at the prestigious Juilliard Prep School to giving up music to become a teacher and finding his way back to the stage. He's also performed in national touring and regional productions of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding," “Rent,” “We Will Rock You,” “My Way” and many more.
Robert Bannon has been singing since he was 12. He is a graduate of the William Esper Conservatory and Juilliard Prep, both in Manhattan. Bannon was admitted into the very first Juilliard Prep class for musical theater under the direction of Broadway icon Bertin Roswer at Lincoln Center. A Fort Lee, New Jersey, resident and native of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, Bannon spends his "downtime" from singing and performing in the classroom as a 5th grade history teacher in North Bergen, New Jersey.
Be Our Guest with Leslie Sharp (Two Elizabeths America)
Her present focus, mind-imagination sessions with individuals, has proven to be quite remarkable. Because of her life's dedication to music, she most enjoys working with people in the music world. She understands fears of Plateau-ing, limited genres, resistance to practicing, the illusion of limited creativity, issues with technique, loneliness in touring, loneliness in practicing, anxiety of auditioning, trauma and limitations from childhood experiences. For these, she offers Exponential Performance Breakthroughs. I invite you to peruse https://thwackch.com
Her work as composer, recording artist, and musician, continues. Degree in Music Composition from the University of Redlands; Coursework in Electronic Music from Los Angeles Harbor College and USC. Certifications in Transformational Hypnosis (Master Level), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (Master Level), Knowledge of Powerful Esoteric Breathwork and more.
Has original music including two complete musicals, an album of original inspirational music, a second album with Flutist which includes The Hindemith Sonata for Flute and Piano as well as other classical pieces and serious original work -- And a most recent jazz album featuring fresh and original arrangements of select standards: The Leslie Sharp Trio plus son on trumpet, and daughter singing on one track.
With her Transformational work with clients, she has over a thousand hours of experience, bringing them to their Exponential Breakthroughs in Life. All remarkable sessions.
Ms. Sharp is a member of MTAC, with a double certification. Presently teaching privately; She teaches piano for ages ranging from 3 to 70, incorporating classical, jazz, rock, improvisation, musicianship, theory and music composition. She is particularly effective teaching young beginners and advancing them impressively, quickly and with ability. In addition, she teaches voice using a unique approach that is proven dramatically effective. She is equally effective on the advanced level for analyzing and solving specific problems with technique.
Specialties: Albums, Trio, Compositions, Performances, Teaching:
Be Our Guest with Carmel Dean (Places, Please Travel)
Places Please Travel is a bespoke travel service for people who love theatre, seeing the world. and making memories Carmel's depth of theatre knowledge and connections within the industry, combined with her experience and passion for travel, make her the perfect curator for your one-of-a-kind vacation.
Born and raised in Perth, Australia, Carmel now resides in New York City, where she has been a respected member of the Broadway industry for over two decades. A multi-hyphenate theatre musician, her Broadway credits include Funny Girl, If/Then, American Idiot, Hands on a Hardbody and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She has worked with luminaries such as Idina Menzel, Chita Rivera, Betty Buckley, and more, as well as with the rock bands Green Day and Phish, and pop singer Ingrid Michaelson. She sits on the Tony Award Nominating Committee and is a Tony voter.
She has also worked (and traveled) extensively in regional America, London and Australia.
Carmel is a Certified Travel Advisor with Fora Travel.
Be Our Guest with James A Rocco
JAMES A. ROCCO is the visionary CEO of Thirty Saints Productions, creators of the Songbook Series and Broadway Songbook®. Thirty Saints Productions is a dynamic and innovative company that excels in creating original theatrical works for a diverse range of venues across the globe. In 2022, the company expanded its horizons, venturing into negotiating, consulting, and acquiring music licenses for popular jukebox musicals, solidifying its position as an industry leaders.
With Broadway Asia, Thirty Saints toured Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat® to Tokyo and led the artistic team for the US Air Force's 9/11 tribute video, There Are No Words, seen by millions of viewers. Thirty Saints is an investor in the current Broadway, National Tour, and Toronto productions of Come from Away and Magic Mike in London.
From 2005-2017, Rocco was the VP of Programming and Producing Artistic Director of Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, where he presented and booked the best of touring Broadway (August, Osage County, An American In Paris, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables) and produced or co-produced award-winning theatricals (In The Heights, Love, Janis, Cabaret, West Side Story.) As the Ordway's representative and member of the Broadway League and the IPN (Independent Producer's Network), he was a producing partner and investor in Fun Home, Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, Monty Python's Spamalot, and others, as well as serving on the IPN's Governance Committee.
In 2019, he was recognized by The Broadway League and The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds for "30 years of dedication, craft, and contribution to the theater" at their annual Broadway Salutes ceremony.
A longtime member of NAMT (National Alliance for Musical Theatre), he served on the Alliance's New Works committee. Rocco commissioned the holiday musical A Country Christmas Carol and was part of the creative teams behind the off-Broadway cult hits Nite Club Confidential and Hooked on the 70s. His re-versioned stage production of Singin' in the Rain has been seen worldwide. Rocco was Producing Artistic Director of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma and Interim Artistic Director of Stage One, a theatre dedicated to new musical development.
On Video, he was the Executive Producer and Co-Director of the Regional Emmy Nominated Documentary, The World We Create, and directed the television musical, Born of A Dream. For Mitsubishi/ArtSphere, he created the stage and television spectacular Galaxy Express 999.
Rocco's theatrical career started at three years old, as the youngest member of the (Art) Linkletter Totten Tots! He appeared in Oliver! with Ray Walston and Jules Munschin; Carousel as Enoch Snow Jr, with John Raitt; and as Sheppard in Sidney Lumet & David Merrick's Paramount motion picture thriller, Child's Play.
James directed and produced his first show in New York at 16 (Henry, Sweet Henry, at the Mercer Arts Center and the Lamb Theatre). As a performer, he appeared in the original Broadway production of Cats(as the Rum Tum Tugger), the International and TV Ashai Productions of Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies; sang back up for Frank Sinatra and was featured singer for Herbie Hancock and the Super Sounds. He played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, The Witch in Into The Woods, appears on 10 Ben Bagley albums, and his CD, It's Between Us, produced the FMQB Top 40 hit, And The Night Stood Stillby Diane Warren. In 2021, Broadway World Minneapolis cited him as Vocalist of the Decade.
Be Our Guest with Kara Tremel (Tremfit)
TremFit is attainable for all body types and ages. We get to know you and your body, so we can build workouts and meal plans based on your goals. Every workout is unique—nothing is pre-programmed! From weightlifting to dancing, all programs are focused on making fitness and nutrition enjoyable, while getting you the results you want! Kara Tremel was born and raised a Canadian Prairie girl, Kara has always had a desire to expand her horizons. She graduated from College, with the triple threat award, in Theatre. She has been fortunate enough to work for twenty years, in a business that took her from Moose Jaw (her hometown) to Broadway (Jersey Boys). Along the road she found a passion for fitness and more importantly, helping others find their way to strength and wellness. Sculpting minds and bodies is a pure joy. Kara loves every aspect of being a fitness trainer, from choosing playlists and creating programs, to getting to know clients and their individual needs.
Be Our Guest with Darryl Reuben Hall (The Little Mermaid JR)
Darryl, a native of Jacksonville, FL, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Florida. Mr. Hall is a member of the following professional acting unions: Actor’s Equity Association, Screen Actor’s Guild, American Guild of Variety Artists, and American Guild of Musical Artists. He is also the founder of Stage Aurora and director of the upcoming presentation of The Little Mermaid jr.
Be Our Guest with S.C. Lucier, Meghan Rose, Jessie MacBeth, Jenn Colella L. Morgan Lee (Xena Warrior Musical The Lost Scrolls)
XENA WARRIOR MUSICAL: THE LOST SCROLL is a full length musical with more than 20 well-crafted original and eclectic songs —plus a few epic battle scores!— that pay tribute to the show you know and love. This action-packed production is an exciting new way to experience the timeless characters of the Xenaverse.
Be Our Guest with James Rich (James Rich Salutes Nat King Cole)
James Rich got a BFA in musical theater from Syracuse University. His performing credits include touring with Harry Belafonte (Backup Singer), the First National Tour of Rent (Benny), Saturday Night Fever on Broadway (Booth Singer), Off-Broadway, Regional Theater, Tokyo Disney Resort (Lead Singer/Vocal Captain), lead singer for numerous bands/orchestras in New York and Los Angeles, featured roles in national commercials as well as guest star roles on Everybody Loves Raymond and As the World Turns, as well as his one-man concert, When I Think About Love.
Prior to Syracuse, he studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC), and got to put that training to use as an Assistant Costume Designer on the Emmy Award winning Season 2 of Dancing with the Stars, and Artistic Director for Randall Designs as well as the Costume Designer for That's Dancin' (Crystal Cruises) as well as numerous regional theater productions.
Be Our Guest with Jesse J. Sanchez, Linedy Genao & Kris Carrasco (SUEÑOS: Our American Musical)
JESSE J. SANCHEZ is an award-winning composer-lyricist, writer, and music director. He is a highly sought-after collaborator in theatre, opera, TV, and film.
As composer, lyricist, arranger and librettist, his works include: musical arrangement, "Musicals Based on Shakespeare" (Broadway League's Jimmy Awards on Broadway), original music for W. Fran Astorga's Exhaustion Arroyo: Dancin' Trees In The Ravine (Cutting Ball Theater), co-librettist for desert in (Boston Lyric Opera, Long Beach Opera; finalist for 2022 Opera America's Digital Excellence in Opera Award), book, music, and lyrics for Black Friday! (Prospect Theater Company's Musical Theater Lab), music and co-lyricist for The Fezziwig Promise (The 24 Hour Plays), book for Clopening (Prop Thtr Small Hours Festival), and book, music, and lyrics for SUEÑOS: Our American Musical, which has been developed at The Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, Barn on Fire Musical Residency (produced by Fire Island Pine Arts, Nicole La Fountaine, and NYTB), New York Theatre Barn, 2021 Frank Young NAMT Development Grant, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, and The Choreography Lab.
Linedy Genao - After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Connecticut, she began a career in banking. However, after receiving a message encouraging her to audition for the first open call of Gloria & Emilio Estefan’s On Your Feet, her life changed forever. With only high school theater experience, Linedy landed her first Broadway-bound show, On Your Feet, and hasn’t stopped since!
Linedy has continued to rise through the ranks, most recently as the Alana/Zoe understudy on Dear Evan Hansen prior to its Broadway closing and on its first national tour. She was also recently named in Variety’s “10 Broadway Stars to Watch” list. Additional credits include Passing Through, West Side Story, Havana Music Hall, A Taste of Things to Come, and In the Heights. She is honored to be the first Latina/Dominican-American to originate an Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway-bound musical.
Kris Carrasco is a genderqueer, Latino-American artist hailing from the Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina. Born to immigrant parents, his first taste of the stage was seeing Jennifer Lopez star in the hit movie Selena, and through the incredible power of representation, a flame was lit.
Kris' love of storytelling stems from the belief that as artists, we are the storytellers of the human experience and that it is our duty to record humanity (and our experiences with it) as diversely and specifically as possible with a 21st-century anti-racist lens on everything. Kris' greatest hope is that anyone that comes to a performance of theirs leaves with a greater sense of empathy for themselves, their community, and most importantly those who've lived experience is different. SUEÑOS tells the untold story of three generations of a Mexican-American family and their pursuit of the American Dream. The story primarily focuses on the viewpoint of protagonist, Ali Viramontes, and his journey to becoming a world renown composer. Juilliard is his one-way ticket and he won't let anything stop him, even if he has to sacrifice those close to him. Obstacles become too challenging to overcome and seems there's no other way, but to continue the cycle that tore down his family's dreams. This original, contemporary musical celebrates Latiné/Latinx people and cultures, and weaves their stories into the fabric of the American Musical Theatre.
Be Our Guest with Joe Barros & Hector Flores Jr ( Theatre Barn Records)
Joe Barros is a New York-based stage director and award-winning choreographer working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally.
Joe recently directed and choreographed two national tours of A Charlie Brown Christmas (Gershwin Entertainment), the new musical Love and Yogurt in New York, the musical Aida in Singapore, and A New Brain at Five Towns College on Long Island.
New York credits include the Broadway revival of Gigi (associate director, directed by Eric Schaeffer) starring Vanessa Hudgens and Victoria Clark, Cagney (associate director, directed by Bill Castellino), the New York premiere of Dan Elish and Douglas Cohen’s The Evolution of Mann Off-Broadway (starring Max Crumm and Allie Trimm, cast recording on iTunes and Spotify), the world premiere of Marc Acito and Amy Engelhardt’s critically acclaimed rock musical Bastard Jones Off-Broadway, Nine at CAP21/Molloy College, Out of the Box Theatrics’ Alice in Alice’s (Alice in Wonderland at Alice’s Tea Cup with a company of actors with disabilities, co-writer, world premiere at Weathervane Theatre), I Married Wyatt Earp at 59E59 Theatres (Prospect Theater Co./NY Theatre Barn), Hard Times (NY Innovative Theatre Award Nominee for Best Choreography, NY Times Critics’ Pick), Debra Barsha and Hollye Levin's A Taste of Things to Come (associate director, directed by Lorin Latarro, York Theatre Company, Bucks County Playhouse, Broadway in Chicago), and the world premiere of Cheryl Stern's Shoes & Baggage (The Cell). With New York Theatre Barn, Joe produced the new musical Sam's Room, inspired by real stories of nonverbal teens who find a way to communicate.
Héctor Flores Jr. is a multi-hyphenate Latino theatre professional whose work meets at the intersection of art and advocacy. Héctor was born in New Jersey and raised by his Puerto Rican grandmother and his single mom. Luckily his mother believes in cultural enrichment & education which instilled a hunger for knowledge, art and change within him. The artform that chose him, however, wasn’t made in his image. After being a first-generation college graduate Flores embarked on a career in musical theatre that continues to inspire him to find new ways to break barriers for Latinx people. Hector is the president of Theatre Barn Records.
Theatre Barn Records is a new imprint of Broadway Records and is dedicated to original musicals in development. New York Theatre Barn, which has served as a home for new culture shifting musicals during incubation since 2007, has been evolving its unique development-based programming since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a new program of New York Theatre Barn, Theatre Barn Records will support writers in recording and releasing concept recordings of new musicals in development on global streaming platforms. Theatre Barn Records offers a worldwide marketing platform for musical theatre writers and has the potential to create revenue for writers while their show is still in development.
The focus of Theatre Barn Records is to continue to incubate and elevate projects that we are already developing while evolving our storytelling systems. In this critical digital age that we now live in, EP's and concept albums of original musicals in development are potentially the fastest and most lucrative ways that musical theatre writers can now be noticed, supported, and advanced while their shows are in development.
Be Our Guest with Gabriel Barre, Tricia Paoluccio & Bruce Vilanch (Here You Come Again)
Gabriel Barre is an American director and actor. Best known for creating original musicals, his work has been seen on Broadway, throughout the United States, and across four continents internationally.
Gabriel directed the Broadway production of Amazing Grace, which also toured the country and was a sit-down production at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC in 2019. In New York City, he is known for his off-Broadway work: he directed the original production of Andrew Lippa’s, The Wild Party at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Brian Darcy James and Julia Murney. He was awarded the Calloway Award for Best Direction, and was nominated for five Outer Critics Circle Awards and thirteen Drama Desk Awards, both including Best Direction of a Musical. He directed the original production of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine at the Daryl Roth Theatre, which has become one of the most frequently produced plays in the United States with over 4000 productions to date. It has been translated into a dozen languages and recently unseated Shakespeare as the most produced play in North American high schools. Other Off-Broadway productions include a new adaptation of Cyrano De Bergerac at the St. Clement’s Theatre, using the Anthony Burgess translation, brought to life by a cast of only eight actors and featuring direction by Barre (who also appeared in the leading role), action direction by Rick Sordelet and an original musical score by Alexander Sovronsky, performed live, by the actor/musician cast. He also directed the original productions of Summer of ’42 at the Variety Arts Theatre, Honky Tonk Highway at Don’t Tell Mama (winner of a MAC Award and Bistro Award for Best Review), Stars in Your Eyes at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Andrew Lippa’s, john & jen at the Lamb’s Theatre and Son Of A Gun at the Samuel Beckett Theater.
Tricia Paoluccio is a multi talented actor, unique visual artist, and creator. Growing up on an almond farm in Modesto, CA, with an inventor as a father and school teacher mother, Tricia moved to NYC and sold her art on the street before she could make a living as an actor. Since making her Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, she has worked consistently in NY theatre on Broadway and off, in television and film. As a visual artist, Tricia has been commissioned to create botanical designs for luminaries in the fashion, publishing, and music industries. As a creator she has created and produced an optioned web-series, and, during the pandemic, cowrote a show in which she will star, premiering this Fall of 2022, where she gets to play her lifelong idol: Dolly Parton. This show, entitled Here You Come Again, was approved by Dolly, who has given Tricia permission to play her and given the creative team the world wide grand rights to all of her music. She divides her time between her California farm and NYC, where she lives with her two sons and husband, director Gabriel Barre. She is passionate about prison reform, having spent a dozen years serving as a volunteer chaplain at Manhattan Detention Center. Bruce Vilanch is an American comedy writer, songwriter and actor. He is a two-time Emmy Award-winner. Vilanch is best known to the public for his four-year stint on Hollywood Squares, as a celebrity participant; behind the scenes he was head writer for the show. In 2000, he performed off-Broadway in his self-penned one-man show, Bruce Vilanch: Almost Famous.
Be Our Guest with Laura Nobili (Gatsby)
Laura Nobili is a young Canadian composer. From solo music to large ensembles, Nobili has written a wide array of instrumentations for professional and student musicians across the country. She is the composer of the piano book The Rainbow of Music, as well as, a co-author of A Journey Through Canada and has won several competitions for solo and large ensemble composition. In July 2022, she composed 'Macbeth the Musical'. The show, which she produced and directed, premiered in May 2023. Currently, she is producing and directing 'Gatsby', her second original musical, which is premiering on October 18, 2023 at the City Playhouse Theatre. Nobili also teaches piano and flute, in addition to performing classical voice, flute and piano.
Be Our Guest with Cheri Steinkellner (Summer Stock)
Cheri Steinkellner has won four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, The People s Choice, BAFTA, Writers Guild Award, Parents Choice and TV-Land Legend Awards, for writing and producing Cheers (recently named one of the Top 10 Best Written Comedies in TV history), and The Jeffersons, Facts of Life, Family Ties and Who's The Boss, and for creating the acclaimed Disney animated Saturday morning TV series and feature film, Teacher s Pet. A 2011 Tony-nominee for Sister Act (with husband Bill Steinkellner, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater); Cheri has also written Princesses (with Bill, David Zippel and Matthew Wilder); and book and lyrics for Mosaic (with Georgia Stitt), and Jailbirds on Broadway (with Bill and Jeff Rizzo). Other stage includes Our Place, and Instaplay - L.A. s original - and longest-running - improvised musical-comedy. An Indy Award winner and Ovation nominee for Hello! My Baby, Cheri currently teaches writing at Stanford and UCSB and directs youth theatre in beautiful Santa Barbara, where she and Bill raised their three favorite children/writers/ artists: Kit, Teddy, and Emma.
Be Our Guest with Mimika
Mimika is a singer, songwriter, musician and, vocal arranger whose cuts total over a million streams on Spotify.
Since attending and graduating from Berklee College of Music with a degree in songwriting she's lent her skills to multiple artists around the world. (NY, LA, Nashville, Malaysia, Toronto...)
Be Our Guest with Micheal Shaw Fisher (Exorcistic The Unauthorized Rock Musical Parody of The Exorcist)
Michael Shaw Fisher is an actor, producer and writer of musicals, films, and novels in Los Angeles. His original musical DOCTOR NYMPHO VS THE SEX ZOMBIES won Best Musical at the Hollywood Fringe in 2018. His show SKULLDUGGERY: THE MUSICAL PREQUEL TO HAMLET premiered at Sacred Fools Theatre Company in 2016 and earned him an Ovation Award for Best Lyrics and Music. His solo show, SHAKESPEARE’S LAST NIGHT OUT won an Ovation Award for “Best Book of an Original Musical” after winning “Top of Fringe” at the Hollywood Fringe 2015 and "Best Solo Show.” As Artistic Director of Orgasmico Theatre Company, Michael penned and performed in the Ovation-nominated DOOMSDAY CABARET (2012), Best Fringe Musical-winning EXORCISTIC: THE ROCK MUSICAL PARODY EXPERIMENT (2013) and THE WEREWOLVES OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD. (2014). As an actor he has appeared in the Ovation nominated and Top of Fringe-winning SHAKESLESQUE with Cherry Poppins. He’s also appeared in Ben Moroski’s TILT also appeared in Theatricum Botanicum’s RICHARD III and ROSE COTTAGES in 2011.
Michael has performed a variety of other plays as well as written, produced and directed others. He has a passion for storytelling in all forms and can’t wait to bring more exciting and original theatre projects to life in Hollywood. He is in love with his wife and son.
Exorcistic: The Unauthorized Rock Musical Parody of The Exorcist is the must-see rock musical experience of 2023. Come celebrate "the scariest film of all time" with a demon-themed drink, clutch your crucifixes tight and say your prayers. Your Salvation may depend on it!
Be Our Guest with David Serero (Anne Frank a Musical)
DAVID SERERO (Otto Frank/Director/Producer)
David Serero, has received international recognition and critical acclaim from all over the world. At 38 years old, he has already performed more than 2,000 concerts and performances throughout the world, played in over 100 films and recorded 20 albums. He entered the prestigious Who's Who America for demonstrating outstanding achievements in the entertainment world and for the betterment of contemporary society. In 2019, he received the Morocco Day Distinguished Achievement Award, and the Trophy of the Culture of Morocco and has been honored by Royal Air Maroc as one of the 15 most influential moroccans worldwide. That same year, he received the 2019 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, David Serero was Awarded by the Trophy for Diversity by the UNESCO. David Serero is a member of the Recording Academy and of the Television Academy and a voting member both of the Grammys and Emmys. He has given concerts in Paris at the Opera Garnier, Olympia, Eiffel Tower; in New York at the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Times Square; in London at the Royal College of Music, Wembley Stadium; and in Moscow at the Tchaikovsky Hall; in Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw, the Budapest Opera conducted by Placido Domingo and more. He made his sold out West End debuts at the Dominion Theatre. He has sung more than 30 lead roles in Opera, Operetta and Musical Theater. In his extensive discography, he has recorded Cast Album Recording of iconic roles such as Shakespeare's Richard III and world Premiere adaptations. He is also the founder and producer of several music and film festivals.
During the 2017/2018 season in New York, David Serero starred as Cyrano De Bergerac (Rostand), Don Giovanni (Mozart), Barabas (Marlowe's Jew of Malta), King Ahasuerus (from musical Queen Esther's Dilemma), King Lear (Jacob Gordin's The Yiddish King Lear), Napoleon's title role from Napoleon by Stanley Kubrick.
For the 2018/19 season in New York, David starred as Nabucco's title role, Romeo (Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in a Jewish adaptation), Figaro (Mozart's Marriage of Figaro) which he directed and adapted. He opened his 2019/20 season with « Anne Frank, a musical », starring as Otto Frank, which he directed and produced, and the world premiere of "Lost in the Disco" with Lisa Azuelos. Upcoming engagements are Shylock (Merchant of Venice), his own theatrical adaptation of Carmen, Anne Frank a musical, "Lost in the Disco" at the Public Arts Hotel, Rodrigo in The Cid among others.
Anne Frank A Musical Written by Jean-Pierre Hadida, adapted in English by Dylan Hadida, this musical was highly recognized in France for the last ten years. David Serero directed and produced of this premiere and received critical acclaim for his 2019 Off-Broadway production, also starring as Otto Frank. Anne Frank, a Musical features 12 artists on stage to bring the poetry and music of Jean-Pierre Hadida.
Be Our Guest with Joaquina Kalukango
Joaquina Kalukango received the 2022 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her performance as Nelly O’Brien in Paradise Square. She received a 2020 Tony Award nomination for her performance in the critically acclaimed Broadway production of Slave Play. For that production she also received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, and Broadway.com listed her as one of the top five performers (male or female) of the year. Kalukango is a 2021 SAG Award nominee for Cast in a Motion Picture for her role as Betty X opposite Kingsley Ben-Adir in Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night in Miami. She had a recurring role on the HBO series Lovecraft Country. Other TV credits include Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series When They See Us and Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia, directed by Kenny Leon. Additional Broadway credits include The Color Purple, Holler If Ya Hear Me, and Godspell.
Be Our Guest with Chilina Kennedy (Wild About You)
Chilina is known for playing Carole King in the musical Beautiful on Broadway for over 1,200 performances. She also recently originated the Tony-award winning role of Dina on the First Broadway National Tour of The Band’s Visit. Chilina’s first appearance on Broadway was in 2012 when she played Mary Magdalene in Des McAnuff’s Jesus Christ Superstar, which also had successful runs at the Stratford Festival of Canada and the La Jolla Playhouse. Other US credits include the world premiere of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, in which she originated the role of Phoebe at Hartford Stage and The Old Globe in San Diego (San Diego and Connecticut Outer Critics nominations), the world premiere of A Sign Of The Times as Cindy (Delaware Theatre Company), Binky in the Off-Broadway world premiere of This Ain’t No Disco (Dir. Darko Tresnjak/Chor. Camille A. Brown) and Sophie in the 1st US National Tour of Mamma Mia!. Selected Canadian credits include the title role in Ted Dykstra’s Evangeline (Charlottetown Festival and original recording), the title role in Ross Petty’s Pantomime The Little Mermaid (Toronto Critic’s Award), three seasons at the Stratford Festival (three Broadways World Awards) including Maria in Gary Griffin’s West Side Story, Eva Peròn in Evita, Lois Lane in Kiss Me Kate, three seasons at the Shaw Festival, the World Premiere of The Lord of the Rings (Mirvish), Philia in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (Stratford/Toronto), Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest (Neptune) and the title role in Mary Poppins (Theatre Aquarius).
Chilina is also a singer/songwriter with a debut album “What You Find In A Bottle”, released in 2015. Chilina has written a new musical Call It Love with Eric Holmes, who is known for being a writer for The Good Fight on CBS. Featuring music and lyrics by Chilina, book co-written by Eric and Chilina, and musical arrangements by Rick Fox, Call It Love has been developed in the New York City area by Eclipse Theatre Company with the first Canadian workshop planned for May 2020. Chilina has worked with Burt Bacharach, guest starred in concert with the TSO, Colm Wilkinson and Jason Robert Brown. You can hear Chilina’s voice on CBC’s Celebrate The Seasons and Carols For A Cure. Chilina is a graduate of Sheridan College and the Birmingham Conservatory for classical theatre in Stratford. WILD ABOUT YOU is a new musical in development, with music and lyrics by Chilina Kennedy and book by Eric Holmes, and directed by Lorin Latarro. Following a well-received industry presentation in March 2023, an album was immediately greenlit, and a first developmental production will be staged in 2024-2025. The album will be produced by Brian Spector, Daniel Edmonds and Michael J. Moritz Jr., and will be released on Broadway Records later this year. Arrangements, orchestrations and music production are by Daniel Edmonds. Additional production and mixing will be by Emmy and Tony-winner producer Michael J. Moritz Jr. The score is infused with original, lyrical pop-folk songs that are memorable, elevated and timeless. The musical was originally developed at Eclipse Theatre Company and was part of the New York Theater Barn New Works Series.
Be Our Guest with Sam Carner (Musical Creators' Institue)
SAM CARNER is a New York bookwriter / lyricist. He won the $100,000 Kleban Prize for librettists, the Richard Rodgers Award, and the John Wallowitch Award for songwriters under 40. He and Derek Gregor were among Playbill.com’s 12 “Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know,” and 13 of their songs have been nominated for MAC Awards. Their musical UNLOCK’D played and extended Off-Broadway run at the Duke Theater and was produced at Houston’s Queensbury Theatre. His musical ISLAND SONG has had over 50 productions internationally, including at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, London’s Stratford Circus, Vanderbilt University, etc. His show SECOND LINE was the 2020 Pace New Musical, having had readings at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, NC State, and more. Sam taught musical theater writing and analysis courses at Yale, NYU, and Temple University.
Musical Creators’ Institute is on a mission to empower early-career musical theater creators. We work to provide unique tools and insights into musical theater form from highly-experienced, top-level musical theater professionals. We aim to do this with a program size that is large enough to provide ample collaborative opportunities and small enough to provide individual attention and at a price-point that will not saddle our students with years of debt.
We believe in fostering a shared language between artists with diverse areas of specialization. This involves supporting the development of multi-disciplinary artists and offering all artists opportunities to expand their areas of knowledge.
The philosophy of program founder, Kleban-Award-winning lyricist-librettist Sam Carner considers all ideas and concepts as viable and views the role of a training program as helping students to express their ideas with greater clarity and to build greater drama around their themes. This leads to a supportive, non-judgmental environment that encourages exploration and artistic passion.
Develop your own unique artistic voice, explore new collaborations and artistic communities, and gain a solid framework in musical theater structure and style.
Be Our Guest with Rachel Wagstaff (Flowers for Mrs. Harris)
Rachel Wagstaff wrote the book for multi-award winning musical, Flowers for Mrs Harris (Best Musical, UK Theatre Awards 2016) which transferred to Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Daniel Evans, in September 2018 after a run at the Sheffield Crucible. Her critically acclaimed adaptation of Birdsong opened in the West End, directed by Trevor Nunn, and enjoyed four UK tours with the Original Theatre Company and Birdsong Productions.
With Duncan Abel, she adapted Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, which had a record-breaking UK tour and West End run in 2019 and her new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d toured the UK produced by the Wales Millennium Centre and Wiltshire Creative, followed by a tour of India.
For radio, Rachel adapted Sebastian Faulks’ novel The Girl at the Lion d’Or for a five part series for Woman's Hour on Radio Four, transmitted in 2009. Her Afternoon Play When I Lost You, also co-written with Duncan Abel, was transmitted on Radio Four in July 2013.
Moonshadow, the musical she co-wrote with Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), opened at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010, and then was produced at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne in June 2012. That Girl, was produced at the Soho Theatre in June 2012, by DryWrite. Rachel also wrote the book for the original musical Only the Brave, which opened at the Wales Millennium Centre in March 2016 with music composed by Matthew Brind.
Be Our Guest with Mauricio Martínez (511, Based in NYC)
Emmy Award Winner and Mexican star of theatre, music, and television Mauricio Martínez, will perform at 54 Below on October 5th and 6th. In his new show 5’11, Based in NYC, Martínez will sort through songs of what might have been from his musical, “What If”.
The show will be recorded and released as Mauricio's first live album.
Be Our Guest with Adrian Saldanha & Aly Slominski (Be More Chill)
Michael Radi (The King's Legacy, Musical Theatre Writing Collective)
COMPOSER / LYRICIST / LIBRETTIST / PERFORMER / VOCAL COACH / MUSICAL DIRECTOR / MUSICAL WRITING EDUCATOR / CONTENT CREATOR / FOUNDER OF MTWC
THE KING’S LEGACY is a celebration of remarkable women in history told through the stories of Anne Boleyn - the second wife of King Henry VIII - and their daughter Queen Elizabeth I. The show portrays how Henry’s obsession for a son tore his country apart, and how his and Anne’s daughter unexpectedly saved them all. The musical is performed by a small troupe of Players in honor of the fortieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I’s celebrated reign (London, 1598) and spans thirty-three years between two story lines: Anne’s ascension and fall the present, as she forges her own path amidst Henry’s desperate attempts to obtain a son; And the future, in which a young Elizabeth grows up learning how to become a great monarch from Henry’s later wives and through her mother’s legacy. The Musical Theatre Writing Collective
The Musical Theatre Writing Collective is built upon the idea that anyone who writes for the musical theatre or collaborates with those writers should have access to a welcoming, affirmative, and supportive community environment in which to continuously learn, connect, and develop as both artists and individuals.
Be Our Guest with Mark Brown (This Is Tom Jones!)
Hi, I’m Mark Brown and I’m a playwright. For more than 20 years I was an actor but I made a mid-career switch to writing. My mom always said I should have something to fall back on. For the longest time I thought she meant a mattress.
The acting worked out okay. I did a lot of theatre, TV and film. I was blessed to work with some really great actors, from George Clooney to Philip Nolen. From Tom Hanks to the Rally Monkey. But I grew weary of the acting business as it became more and more last minute. I would get a lot of calls from my agent saying things like, “You need to be in Santa Monica in 45 minutes.” It wasn’t my agent’s fault. It was just the business.
So I heeded my mom’s advice and I fell back on the much more stable career of playwriting. What was I possibly thinking? But so far things have worked out. Excuse me while I go knock on the largest piece of wood I can find.
I’ve been fortunate to have my plays produced all over the world: Off-Broadway, across the U.S. (including the 50th state, Hawaii), Canada, England, India, Turkey, South Africa, Bangladesh and China. I consider myself very lucky.
http://markbrownwriter.com/ This Is Tom Jones! Henry Fielding’s heart-throbbing masterpiece meets the frenzied, mop-top sounds of the 1960s known as the British Invasion. Aristocrats, wenches and scalawags abound in this bawdy and rollicking romp through the back roads and bedchambers of England.
If you liked Austin Powers, The Full Monty, or Avenue Q, you’ll like THIS IS TOM JONES!
Be Our Guest with Mark Cabaniss (Miracle of the Music Man)
Mark Cabaniss is a music publisher, writer, producer, broadcaster, and speaker. He is President/CEO of Jubilate Music Group, a worldwide music publisher creating printed and digital music, recordings, and videos.
As an ASCAP composer and arranger, Mark’s published compositions have been performed nationally and abroad, and include choral anthems, musicals, cantatas, and instrumental pieces. His concert musical Triumph of Faith (co-written with Mark Blankenship) received its world premiere at Carnegie Hall. Other musicals include The Homework Machine, co-written with Tony-nominated composer Keith Herrmann and premiered by the Boston Children’s Theatre and The Stardust Supper Club (featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael) co-written with Alan Bailey and given an Off-Broadway workshop production by The York Theatre Company.
Mark is the author of three books: Confessions of a Shameless Name-Dropper; Music Business Essentials: A Guide for Aspiring Professionals; and Miracle of The Music Man: The Classic American Story of Meredith Willson.
Mark is a multiple recipient of ASCAP’s Popular Music Award, the NAMM Believe in Music Award, and is a Dove Award and Angel Award-winning producer. He is a member of The Recording Academy, The Dramatists Guild of America, and serves on the Board of Advisors for The Music Man Square, a museum and foundation in Mason City, Iowa, dedicated to furthering music education and honoring the legacy of Meredith Willson (creator of Broadway’s The Music Man). He also created and manages the official Meredith Willson website: www.meredithwillson.com. Mark was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus by Mars Hill University and serves on the University’s Board of Trustees. Governor Wallace Wilkinson of Kentucky commissioned Mark as an official Kentucky Colonel. Mark is also the founder/donor of The Helen Cole Krause Music Scholarship, awarded annually to a qualifying incoming or current Mars Hill University music major.
Mark serves as a correspondent for Hollywood 360, a weekly nationally-syndicated entertainment radio show based in Chicago.
Mark’s work in music business and broadcasting has led to collaborations with television icons Andy Griffith, Bob Barker, and Kathie Lee Gifford; Academy Award-winner Shirley Jones; legendary entertainer Steve Allen; composer Charles Strouse (Annie/Bye Bye Birdie); Broadway/pop platinum singer/songwriters Rupert Holmes and David Pomeranz; jazz pianist/composer Loonis McGlohon; gospel singer Cynthia Clawson; actor/singer Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger/“Mr. Grinch”), and others.
Mark holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education and Communications from Mars Hill University and The University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Mark resides in Nashville.
The Music Man stands as one of the greatest achievements in American musical theatre, but few know about its rocky beginnings and the against-all-odds success story of its creator Meredith Willson.
Mark Cabaniss steps back into the Golden Age of Broadway and brings to life the origins of this classic show, the music behind it, and the unlikely story of its creator. Interweaving behind-the-scenes accounts of people who worked with Willson, Cabaniss looks at his long and unusual career as a composer, conductor, radio personality, and flutist, which reached its pinnacle in The Music Man.
Be Our Guest with Aaron Netsky (366 Days/366 Musicals: A Musical Theatre Trivia Book and Diary)
My areas of expertise are writing and performing. They're what I studied, they're what I practiced, and they have many applications outside of the obvious. For one, when I speak or write, people know what I'm trying to say, they may even be convinced, and, importantly, they find it interesting. In addition to being an excellent communicator myself, I can help clear up the words and arguments of others, in speech or text, whether I agree with them or not. I have been building a social media profile on the strength of my writing and wit. I'm also entertaining. Experience working backstage in theatre and as a courier and organizer have built up many skills that would make me helpful around the office. There is a lot that I can do outside of my strengths. Critical thinking aids quick thinking. Performing enhances physical labor capabilities.
I like to find and explore things others miss in my writing, hence my musical theatre blog (http://366days366musicals.tumblr.com), mostly about overlooked musicals, which inspired one of my novels. Below, you'll find links to my assembled works for various websites that I have been published on, and those articles, plus many more on books, politics, and culture, can be found on Cantonaut (http://cantonaut.blogspot.com), my personal blog.
How long is 21 Chump Street? Who wrote Island of the Lost Coeds? What the heck is Cinderella Meets the Wolfman!? The answers to these musical theatre questions you never thought you'd ask and so many more are in this book. Learn about a different musical on the top every page and then use the bottom to keep track of important events or record your own experiences of each of these musicals. How many have you seen? Which ones may never be seen again?
Be Our Guest with Samuel Peña (One Shoe of Each Colour)
Sam is one of the first musicians in the world to have a Conservatoire Level Masters Course specially created for him, a ‘Piano Masters in Interpretation and Improvisation’ at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, bringing together his skills in jazz, composition and classical. Graduating with Distinction in 2019, he spent the following year as a Fellow with the Composition Department. He mainly studied the classical piano tradition and only recently in his career discovered his true passion: improvisation.
During lockdown Sam composed a musical, One Shoe of Each Colour, all about his journey as a transgender person. Championed by GSMD as a musical having ‘all the ingredients to be the next hit’ the piece is garnering much interest from the world of Musical Theatre and is due to be released in 2023. He also wrote the music for the new play Consecuencias de la Sed premiered in 2021, and was awarded the Oh! prize to the best new soundtrack.
Sam is the resident pianist for DEBUT at Shoreditch Treehouse in London (No. 1 Airbnb Music Experience Globally in 2018 – Forbes) where he was featured by Steinway & Sons, and he was also part of Yamaha’s ‘Live From Home’ Europe wide Live Stream series.
Be Our Guest with Steven Greenwood
Steven Greenwood is a Montreal-based writer & director, and the Artistic Director of Home Theatre Productions. He holds a PhD from McGill University with a focus on queer cultural history, and he teaches university courses in film, theatre, and popular culture. His work is influenced by his passion for queer history & culture, and he is a fan of all things geeky, pulpy, campy & queer.
Be Our Guest with Erin Murray Quinlan (Brain Hemingway)
Erin Murray Quinlan is a published Playwright, Poet, And Composer
with credits Off-Broadway and beyond.
Quinlan's latest show, Brain Hemingway, had its premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue Greenside @ Infirmary Street in August '22 and will be returning to the festival in 2023 to Greenside @ Nicholson Square.
God Save Queen Pam had its Off-Broadway debut in the summer of 2018, and critics raved about the tight script, witty lyrics, and catchy music. "How Can I Tell You", her contribution to the album 'The MS Songbook' (lyrics co-written by Rory Sherman) was chosen again and again by reviewers as the favorite of the song cycle, called 'the cream of a very talented crop'. EMQ's work has been performed at many venues around the US and UK, including the Players Theater, the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, and the Duplex Theater in NYC; the Playwright in Boston; the Tabard Theater in London; and the Actors Studio in LA. She has also written music for film and television, including 2021's comedy Bad Cupid starring John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lord of the Rings, The Living Daylights). For complete credits, check out the resume page.
EMQ studied composition and creative writing at Berklee College of Music, playwriting at the University of Oxford, and composition with professors from Juilliard at the EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. She is also an alumna composer/lyricist of the Tony Award-winning BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Advanced Workshop in NYC, and a protege of accomplished UK-based musical theater writer and director Paul Boyd.
She is inclued in Scott Pfitzinger's Composer Genealogies: A Compendium of Composers, Their Teachers, and Their Students. She is on the selection committee at NYC's the Players Theatre Off-Broadway, and is a very proud member of the Dramatist Guild.
Be Our Guest with Alexander S. Bermange (I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical) July 2023
Alexander S. Bermange is a composer and lyricist whose musicals and theatre productions have enjoyed successful runs in the West End, across the UK and around the world, whose comic writing has acquired a formidable following amongst millions of radio listeners, and whose songs have been performed, recorded and released by international stars including Cynthia Erivo, Kerry Ellis, Miriam Margolyes, Ramin Karimloo and Christopher Biggins.
Alexander’s work has won widespread international critical acclaim, and has garnered numerous honours including two Frank Wildhorn Awards, a West End Wilma Award and two Broadway World Award nominations. Alexander has also topped the iTunes comedy album chart with Wit & Whimsy, an album celebrating his comedic work featuring 23 popular personalities and West End stars.
Be Our Guest with Jaime Lozano (Songs By An Immigrant in Concert)
Jaime Lozano is a musical theatre composer who has been heralded as the “next big thing” on Broadway by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Jaime earned his BFA in Music and Composition from the School of Music at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and was the recipient of a full scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he has the distinction of being the first Mexican to be accepted to and earn an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Jaime is one of the five artists selected for the 2020-2022 Joe’s Pub Working Group residency and one of the artists selected as part as The Civilians R&D Group 2020-2021. https://www.jaimelozano.net/
Be Our Guest with Maz O'Connor (The Wife of Michael Cleary)
Described by The Observer as ‘a highly individual singer-songwriter’, Maz O’Connor is a truly unique artist.
Known for her haunting, emotive vocals and her poetic lyricism, her songs are most often short stories inspired by her love of literature, folklore and mythology. Her Irish roots, she suspects, inform her love of darker tales—those of heartbreak, longing and loss.
She wrote her first song aged four, whilst making a ‘radio show’ with a cassette player and her older brothers, and grew up singing old folk songs in her local Cumbrian venues. As a teenager, the songs of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell inspired her to learn the guitar, and listening to Regina Spektor inspired her to write her first songs on piano.
Winning a BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellowship in 2014 (once won by Adele) brought Maz to wider attention, and later that year she was nominated for a BBC Folk Award for her first album, ‘This Willowed Light’.
Maz has since released 3 further albums, toured the U.K., Europe and Eastern Canada, played live sessions on BBC Radio 2 and 3, and appeared at major U.K. festivals, including Glastonbury.
Her latest album, 'What I Wanted', was co-written and co-produced with composer Will Gardner and released in May 2022. It's an ambitious song-cycle set in the city at night and explores themes of anxiety, capitalism, sexuality, spirituality, and the search for connection in an age of consumerism.
'What I Wanted' has been widely praised, and called ‘an excellent thing’ by Mark Radcliffe of BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2.
‘I’m interested in connection,’ she says, ‘that’s what music is to me. Creating a moment between myself and an audience member, a moment that’s intimate and real. I’m always seeking that.’
The Wife of Michael Cleary
The Wife of Michael Cleary is a new folk musical inspired by the true story of Bridget Cleary. Bridget was a talented dressmaker from Co. Tipperary, Ireland, who in 1895 was burned to death by her husband and family because they believed her to be a fairy changeling. She was 26 years old. A trial ensued shortly afterwards and the story was widely covered in the press in Ireland and Great Britain. It has previously served as inspiration for music and literature, but this is the first time the story has been addressed in musical theatre.
The Wife of Michael Cleary explores faith and superstition at a decisive moment in Irish history, whilst also shining a light on the pressing contemporary issue of violence against women.
Be Our Guest with Mindi Dickstein ( Little Women, Benny & Joon)
MINDI DICKSTEIN is an award-winning writer of plays and musicals best known as the lyricist for Broadway's LITTLE WOMEN (licensed by MTI, Original Broadway Cast album released by Ghostlight/Sh-k-boom Records), which continues to be performed worldwide, including recent premieres in Tokyo and London. Current projects include book and lyrics for MAIDEN VOYAGE (New Works Provincetown), lyrics for WITNESSES (California Center for the Arts, 2022 San Diego Critics award for Best Production), lyrics for BEYOND WHAT CAN BE SEEN, based on The Little Prince and the life of Saint-Exupery, and lyrics for BENNY & JOON, based on the MGM film, which had its world premiere at The Old Globe (2017 San Diego Critics nominee for Best Musical), east coast premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse, and which has been developed at Transport Group, NAMT, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, and the Goodspeed Johnny Mercer and Rhinebeck retreats.
Her work has been commissioned, produced, and developed widely, including by Disney (book for TOY STORY, based on the animated film), Second Stage (lyrics for SNOW IN AUGUST, based on the novel by Pete Hamill), Playwrights Horizons (book and lyrics for TRIP, based on Rip Van Winkle; Harold & Mimi Steinberg Commission), Theatreworks USA, Two River Theater, and the ASCAP Workshop. Her songs have been performed at The Kennedy Center, 54 Below, The Cutting Room, Gotham Hall (The Dramatists Guild’s “Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars”) and Lincoln Center (“Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists”), among others. Honors include a Larson Foundation Award, New York Foundation for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Foundation Playwriting Fellowships, Jane Chambers Award (for her play, THE EXISTENTIAL GOURMET), and a Second Stage Constance Klinsky Award for Excellence in Musical Theater.
Education: MFA, Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program (where she was an Oscar Hammerstein Fellow); BFA, NYU’s Department of Undergraduate Drama. Member of ASCAP and The Dramatists Guild.
Be Our Guest with CHARLES VINCENT BURWELL & JAMES D. SASSER (Bottle Shock! The Musical)
James is a writer, producer, actor, theatremaker, singer, educator and a few other things. He made his Broadway debut as a singer for Riverdance, toured as Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, and my performance career has spanned Broadway and off, to voiceover, television, and concert halls all over the world. I've also been involved in the development of dozens of new works for the stage as an award-winning writer, director, and producer.
More Info: https://www.jamessasser.com/
Vince has long felt that diversity and creative identity were instrumental in the fashioning of a well-rounded artist. A San Francisco, CA native having been raised in Hampton Roads, Virginia, Vincent began his musical training with the piano at age seven. By the onset of his teenage years, he had learned to play most brass instruments and was beginning to work on compositions; currently, Vincent has an intermediate to professional level of proficiency on a vast array of instruments. A Congressional Scholar in Leadership, Vincent received a B.S. in Choral/Vocal Music Education from Florida A & M University. It was in college that he would nurture his studies in theater, dance, voice, and ethnomusicology. There he performed as a soloist with the FAMU Concert Choir, a dancer with Orchesis Contemporary Dance Theater as a well as an accompanist for the Florida State University Department of Dance.
More Info: https://www.charlesvincentburwell.com/
BOTTLE SHOCK! The Musical - 1976. Before Napa was Napa, a small group of California underdogs took on the establishment. The world of wine would never be the same. Based on the incredible true story of The Judgment of Paris, Bottle Shock is a tale about love, fermentation, and the spirit of rock ’n roll.
Be Our Guest with David Allen Dilsizian (Dear Mom, I'm Gay The Musical)
Dear Mom, I'm Gay! The Musical
Synopsis- Dan Sarkisian grew up in an evangelical home in a small town in Michigan. He moves to New York City to study fashion design, but quickly finds he has even more to learn about himself.
Dan begins to explore his identity and sexuality. He slowly learns to embrace who he truly is, a part of himself that he has always suppressed. Dan falls in love with himself and another man.
At Thanksgiving break, Dan finds himself back in Michigan visiting his mom. How will she respond to his newfound identity? Is a mother's love more powerful than culture or religion?
*Based on a true story.
Be Our Guest with Janet McMahan & David Huntsinger (Much Ado About Nothing)
Janet McMahan has been working as a professional pianist since the age of sixteen. She has also worked as a writer, performing artist and producer of music, audio books and dramatic works.
As a musician and singer, Janet has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, toured the United States and abroad as Roy Orbison's keyboard player and played for hundreds of society gigs, weddings, parties, etc. She has worked in the studio as a keyboard player, vocalist and vocal contractor/conductor on recordings for numerous artists including Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Steve Winwood, Shirley Jones, John Denver, Sandy Patti, Michael Crawford and others. She has performed on jingles for McDonald's, Target, General Tire and numerous other regional and local commercials and has written and produced for Jubilate Music Group, Simon and Schuster, LifeWay, McGraw-Hill, Word, Gibson Publishing, Thomas Nelson, Sparrow, Brentwood/Benson and Sesame Street Records. David Huntsinger is a pianist, composer, songwriter, and arranger who moved from his native California to Nashville, TN, in 1976 and played for the Rambos. He co-wrote the song, "Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome", with Dottie Rambo, as well as the children’s musical, Down By The Creek Bank. In 1979 he left the Rambos to pursue a career as a studio pianist. He wrote and arranged music for the 1989 Grammy-winning album A Child’s Gift of Lullabyes, and arranged for and co-produced Andy Griffith’s 1996 Grammy-winning album, I Love To Tell The Story: 25 Timeless Hymns.He has worked with many artists, such as Sandi Patti, Steve Green, Kathy Troccoli, Michael Crawford, Glen Campbell, Carman, Larnelle Harris, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. He toured with Vince Gill for a Christmas tour in 1999, and in 2001 for the Amy Grant/Vince Gill Christmas tour. He has also written a number of children’s musicals, as well as produced many albums of his own original works and arrangements.
Much Ado About Nothing is set in 1945 as soldiers return from the war in the Pacific, this contemporary setting of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is a unique combination of classic Shakespeare and modern Broadway. In the style of a 1940’s musical, this version of Much Ado About Nothing was a run-away hit for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s 2012 season. Shakespeare’s timeless humor combined with these expertly crafted original songs by two of Nashville’s premiere musical theater songwriters make this a slam-dunk audience pleaser.
Be Our Guest with Christy Stutzman (When Calls the Heart)
From original songs and lyrics for both church anthems and stage musicals, to mood and transition cues for theater productions and film scores, Christy Stutzman has a gift for interpreting and expressing deep emotions through music and poetry. Whatever musical score your creative project needs, Christy will listen carefully, study the project and will craft a musical style and approach that matches your exact vision. Janette Oke’s best-selling novel comes to life onstage in this brand new musical created by Christy Stutzman. A theatrical celebration of truth, adventure, faith and – above all – love, When Calls the Heart- The Musical is challenging and thrilling audiences as they take part in this riveting story, both on stage and off.
Be Our Guest with Kiki Moritsugu (A Woman Is...)
A Woman Is ... a cabaret about family, identity, and becoming who you are.
Triple-threat performer, Kiki Moritsugu, holds forth on her relationship with her larger-than-life mother. Sharing three generations of backstage stories from summer stock, Broadway, and shopping malls in Canada, Kiki reveals how one multi-racial woman defines herself in a world dominated by stereotypes.
Be Our Guest with Jim Betts (Dancer A Musical in Ten Furlongs)
Jim is not only a writer of Canadian Musical Theatre, but a teacher and advocate as well.
His advanced age gave him an opportunity to study The Craft Of Writing For The Musical Theatre with Broadway Conductor and Composer Lehman Engel, whose tradition of teaching young musical theatre writers is still being continued at New York’s BMI Lehman Engel Workshop. After Leman’s passing in 1982, Jim helped found The Guild Of Canadian Musical Theatre Writers, where he and other of Lehman’s Canadian students tried to continue Lehman’s mentorship of aspiring composers, lyricists and librettists with classes based in Toronto. Jim has taught similar classes for almost 30 years, for awhile with Toronto’s ScriptLab, and most recently through a partnership between Smile Theatre and The Playwright’s Guild Of Canada.
Jim is also interested in the history and development of the Musical Theatre in Canada, and founded the first college course in The History of The Canadian Musical Theatre at Sheridan College in Oakville.
Also well known as a dramaturge and director of new Canadian Musicals.
Dancer is the winner of the 2023 Adams Prize For Musical Theatre. The inspirational story of Northern Dancer, the 'too small, too awkward, too feisty' colt who defied all odds to become the first Canadian horse to win The Kentucky Derby. Part high-concept musical, part high-octane ballet, Dancer celebrates a Canadian legend. Taking inspiration from his name, Northern Dancer and all the other horses are played by dancers, who communicate only through dance and movement. With a cast of 20, and award-winning creators and performers, Dancer is the show to place your bets on. https://dancerthemusical.ca/
Be Our Guest with Dante Green and Ally Chozik (AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF ALL THE THINGS I'M GOING TO MISS WHEN THE WORLD IS NO LONGER)
Dante Green (they/he/she) is a Black, Queer, multi-hyphenate born and raised in rural Pennsylvania. They are an alumnus of The Headlong Performance Institute as well as The University of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing, Playwriting, and Production focused on writing and directing for Musical Theatre. Dante is the Founding Artistic Director of the evolving company The Makers' Ensemble, which recently acquired its own flex performance/rehearsal space in Bushwick. Dante is a Network of Ensemble Theaters member, a Princess Grace Award Finalist, and the inaugural New Directions Fellow at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Dante's work has been seen at Ars Nova, Pig Iron Theater Company, FringeArts, and other places. Dante has worked internationally with companies such as The Public Theater, Virgin Voyages, Lantern Theater Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Assembly, and others. When Dante isn't working professionally, they are an Instructor of Theater at Wesleyan University, New York University, and Sheridan College in Toronto, Canada.
Ally is a queer triple-threat performer and creator born and raised in Toronto, ON. They are a recent graduate of the Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College.
As a dramaturge and director, they are interested in cultivating new musical theatre works that feature dance and the ensemble in new and innovative ways.
As a performer, they are most interested in how we can use music and dance to amplify the extremes of the human experience.
https://www.allychozik.com/ This cutting-edge electro-synth pop musical takes audiences on an electrifying journey exploring life, death, and life after death. Following a global announcement of the exact time the Earth, as we know it, will cease to exist, a community of friends and lovers gather together for one last rager. We invite you into a glance at the last party on Earth --interweaved through a retrospective of cherished and tragic memories-- to celebrate and mourn the delights and deceptions of the human experience. We’ve all been through our own nightmare, so why not go out with a bang? This cutting-edge electro-synth pop musical takes audiences on an electrifying journey exploring life, death, and life after death. Following a global announcement of the exact time the Earth, as we know it, will cease to exist, a community of friends and lovers gather together for one last rager. We invite you into a glance at the last party on Earth --interweaved through a retrospective of cherished and tragic memories-- to celebrate and mourn the delights and deceptions of the human experience. We’ve all been through our own nightmare, so why not go out with a bang? AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF ALL THE THINGS I'M GOING TO MISS WHEN THE WORLD IS NO LONGER: is a cutting-edge electro-synth pop musical that takes audiences on an electrifying journey exploring life, death, and life after death. Following a global announcement of the exact time the Earth, as we know it, will cease to exist, a community of friends and lovers gather together for one last rager.
Be Our Guest with Jimmy Dowd, Kevin McCann & Nicole Vardon-Martin (Healter Skelter The Musical)
With music & lyrics by Jimmy Dowd & Kevin McCann and book by Nicole Judy Vardon, 'Healter Skelter' has Moon dissatisfied with her noughties life and facing rejection from her father, she drops acid and escapes back in time to 1960s California, to meet the ultimate rock n' roller Charles Manson. Moon meets the Family at the height of their popularity and is quickly immersed. Little does Moon know, but she's about to play a part in the infamous Manson Family murders and trial. As we move in and out of Moon’s trip, through Moon’s eyes, we see the cracks in the various systems that still govern us today. But as the trip wears off, Moon is forced to confront her own inner demons, and how she too plays a big part in how demons and monsters are created. We allow people to build walls around us; is it for protection, out of fear, perhaps protecting our sense of what OUR TRUTH is regardless of facts? And how do we separate "the legend" from "the facts"? Or do we crown someone we love to hate? We needed a scapegoat and Charles Manson was perfect.
Be Our Guest with Kenton Blythe & Lise Cormier (CURIOUS K EXPLORES THE PALEOZOIC)
Kenton Blythe is a Canadian actor, singer, musician and writer based in Toronto, ON. Kenton is most recognizable for his appearance with his wife Lise Cormier on season 2 of Canada's Got Talent. Together they performed a song Kenton wrote about the Permian Period.
Kenton's professional stage career began after graduating from Randolph College for the Performing Arts, when he joined the international revival tour of Evil Dead: The Musical, produced by Starvox Entertainment & Jeffrey Latimier Entertainment. This critically acclaimed revival featured members of the original cast. Following the tour he became a company member of The Shaw Festival, performing in the musical Cabaret, and the play Juno and the Payock. He is currently developing a musical for the 2023 Toronto Fringe Festival called Curious K Explores the Paleozoic. The musical features material he and his wife performed on Canada's Got Talent.
Lise Cormier is a Toronto-based Jewish and Acadian bilingual actor, voice actor, singer, dancer, and creator who hails from Halifax, where she performed with RAZZMATAZZ FOR KIDS, at Neptune Theatre, as well as in multiple movies of the week.
She is a two time Dora Award nominee for her performances in TALE OF A T-SHIRT with Fixt Point, as well as in ZINSPIRÉS 3D with Théâtre français de Toronto. She performed in the Dora-nominated THE BARBER OF SEVILLE at Soulpepper, in the award-winning CBC radio drama BACKBENCHER, in Netflix’s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, and on Season 2 of Canada's Got Talent as KENTON AND LISE.
CURIOUS K EXPLORES THE PALEOZOIC - When these best friends’ very friendship is on the rocks, a class trip to the museum finds Emma and Olivia in a hidden room with a ... robot that sings songs about the Paleozoic Era – the very topic of their homework! But can they work together to finish their assignment and get back to their class – in time? https://www.kentonblythe.com/curious-k
Be Our Guest with Ryan Peters, Russel Citron and Noam Tomaschoff (Our Little Secret: The 23 & Me Musical)
Noam Tomaschoff: Writer & Performer Noam’s love for musicals came at the tender age of twelve, with his unforgettable performance as “Sam” in Camp Wahanowin’s production of Mamma Mia. From there, he made his best friends through musicals at high school, including this show’s composer, Ryan Peters; Producer, Russell Citron, and music arranger, Ben Deverett! After a sold-out run of the musical they all wrote together in Grade 12, Just A Regular Day, Noam studied drama at NYU’s Tisch School, and after graduation, went on tour with TheatreWorks USA as “Farmer Brown” in the award-winning children’s classic, Click Clack Moo. After moving to Los Angeles in 2017, he wrote and directed the feature film Tankhouse, starring Richard Kind and Christopher Lloyd (from Back to the Future!), which was a semi-autobiographical love letter to theatre and theatre kids. Tankhouse was distributed by Vertical Entertainment and released in 2022.
Ryan Peters: Composer Ryan Peters is a High School Drama and English teacher living in Toronto. Although his days performing onstage are likely behind him, Ryan has performed in musicals such as Cabaret, Kiss of the SpiderWoman, Into the Woods, Company, and The Last Five Years. In his spare time, he enjoys team-building, song-leading, and composing musicals about his close friends’ life-altering genetic discoveries. Ryan is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with his childhood and extremely talented friends on this meaningful project — their first musical theatre collaboration since High School. He can’t wait to share it with all of you!
Russell Citron: Producer Russell Citron is an entrepreneur and Harvard MBA who is thrilled to be working with his high school friends to bring this musical to life. Russell’s theatrical history began (and peaked) in elementary school, with his performance as Simba in the Lion King and Thenardier in Les Miserables. It was mostly downhill from there, as his more talented friends Noam and Ryan took the lead roles and sent him to perform as secondary characters, like Benny in RENT, which he played (and loved) in three different shows. Russell has taken a few vocal lessons here and there and still somehow believes that he will perform on Broadway one day. Outside of theatre, Russell was the founder & CEO of CrowdChange, a fundraising technology company. He is also the co-founder of Feed the Deed, a viral social media campaign spreading 10,000+ acts of kindness across the world. Prior to CrowdChange, Russell was a management consultant at Monitor Group and Monitor Deloitte. He hasn’t produced a musical since their “five-pack” of high school friends co-produced their original musical, Just a Regular Day, but he has been dreaming of the day the group would get back together and is excited that it finally has come. He can’t wait for opening night and the journey ahead
OUR LITTLE SECRET: THE 23&ME MUSICAL is the hilarious, moving, and completely true story of Noam Tomaschoff's discovery that he wasn't an only child, and he actually had more than 35 siblings around the world.
With a deft blend of comedy, drama, and wide ranging musical styles, Noam takes the audience on the roller coaster ride of emotions and discovery that he experienced over this past year, ending with a message of optimism that is sure to make you hold your family just a little bit tighter.