On Thin Ice

Sometime late in 1980 I was asked to write a song for a TV movie: "Thin Ice," starring Kate Jackson and the song was to be sung by Jane Olivor. Being a prolific 20-something with two musicals heading to Broadway.(another story), I didn't think it up my alley, but I had always wanted to do a song for a film, so I gave it a shot.  Read more ...

Bring Your Own Musical

Once upon a time deep in the heart of Greenwich Village, off the square but hard to miss, there was a piano bar, famed and faded. Eldorado. A perpetual green room, visited nightly by Broadway stars and showbiz wannabes. They dally and drink, chatter and sing, side by side with mere patrons that gawk and applaud, taking musical turns as secrets play out and the songs play on.  Read more...

Memory as Entertainment

"How fast can you write a show?" he bluntly asked after shaking my hand. "When do you need it?" Lee and I joked in chorus without thinking. The very serious question came from producer Don Gregory on a hot summer Manhattan day as we stood in the doorway of a plush suite in the Waldorf Towers. So began the longest hurry-up-and-wait musical ever conceived.  Read more ...

The Success Story of a Nation

When does an author let go?  In the case of musicals, ain't never gonna happen. Something in the universe demands it, like atomic bonding, or gravity itself.  Lousy or fine, grand or not, you and your musical are parent and child; logic and time become as deceptive and complex as string theory. In the case of Shine, its example could be Chapter 1 in The Road to Broadway manual: "Don't Let This Happen to You" or "Who the Heck is Horatio Alger?"  Read more ...

Another Neverland

As I've spent the last months re-working Shine! for a new life, I constantly return in my mind to the odd journey of Quality Street, the so very different show that came soon after. Lee wrote lyrics and book and originally called it Period Piece. But somehow that betrayed the unpretentious fun of the script I first read while on a visit to Miami in 1982.  Read more...

30 Years in 17 Minutes

In September of 2002, a unique and knowing play premiered at The Bank Street Theatre. Structured in three acts, it followed the lives of two boys who meet in New York City on the night of the Stonewall riots and chronicled the men they become over the next three decades. Starting in 1969, Chuck Blasius' script follows Douglas and Jean over the course of a 30-year relationship from the beginnings of the gay rights movement, through the age of AIDS, to the Matthew Shepard Vigil in 1999.  Read more...

Playing with Trains

"So much music, I'm writing a ballet!" I was thinking that when working on Of Lives and Leaves in 1998.  It was a beautiful evening of one-acts based on Chekhov stories, developed by John Alban Coughlan and brought to life by director Chuck Blasius and a wonderful cast. They asked me to create incidental music to underscore the five plays in an attempt to apply an illusion of symmetry to the collection.  Read more...

30 Days of NYMF

Happy endings are frequent in tuners, but rare when writing them.

Shine! began life (without the exclamation mark) glamorously in 1980. Yet while speeding to its scheduled Broadway premiere, producers talked, directors balked, movie stars walked, and the authors -- Well, that would take more than the 300 words allowed here.  Read more...