It’s mid-November and I am taking advantage of yet another cross-country plane ride to send out a little update. I’d like to make a crack about how my family is single handedly keeping the airline industry in the skies, but, you know, perhaps it’s not the greatest time to be making jokes about the airline industry. Or for that matter, any industry. The show biz is not immune to the woes of our economy, either. Like all of you, I’m just happy to be working.
And, politics aside (YAY OBAMA!), I’m working. This flight right now brings me home from a short teaching tour of Ohio. (Ooh, the glamour!) This week I taught master classes at Bowling Green State University (thanks to professors Marc Sherrell, Michael Ellison, Marilyn Shrude and Geoff Stehenson) and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music (thanks to Vicki Bussert and Scott Plate). It was a fantastic whirlwind of colleges. I taught master classes in audition technique and understanding musical styles, I coached a group of students working on duets, I gave a talk about form and structure in the musical theater to a gathering of music composition majors, I led a Q & A about the realities of the musical theater business, and I sold exactly four CDs. Woo-hoo! Next week: master class at Cal State Fullerton just outside of LA, assuming the entire state does not burn to the ground.
Also coming up next week, I’m music directing a tribute to Stephen Schwartz at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles starring Jason Alexander, Michael Arden, Susan Egan, Eden Espinosa, Tyrone Giordano, Jason Graae, Debbie Gravitte, Megan Hilty, Karen Morrow, Philos, Hila Plitmann, Eric Whitacre and me at the piano. Concert is Monday the 24th at 7:30 pm. (Tickets and information: 323-933-9244 ext. 54). In addition to having written WICKED and PIPPIN and GODSPELL (maybe the key to success is having one-word show titles?), Stephen is a generous supporter of new musicals and a mentor to numerous young writers. I wouldn’t mind being him when I grow up.
Other than that, I’m writing, recording new demos, starting work on my second album, and beginning a very very brand new project with playwright Jamie Pachino (my new favorite writer).
As Thanksgiving approaches, I always get kind of sentimental and nostalgic. So indulge me one more moment as I thank you for continuing to be interested in the work that I do. Unlike more disciplined artists I am certain that if you were not paying attention I would not be creating music, so thank you very much for giving me a reason to write.
And if you’re still reading — here are some GIFT IDEAS for the holiday season:
Two of my sorority sisters from Vanderbilt started this yummy bread company based in Atlanta. They ship loaves of delicious bread anywhere in the world. Send some to your mom.
New children’s book to be released in December written by my husband, Jason Robert Brown and illustrated by Mary GrandPré (of the HARRY POTTER books!). If you are familiar with his musical “The Last Five Years,” you will recognize the story of Schmuel, the tailor from Klimovich, which was the foundation for this story. Ages 4-8.
Donate to your favorite charity. Mine is ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty).