And The Winner Is...

And The Winner Is...

This week, the Tony Award Nominations will be announced, and the Tonys will be presented on Sunday June 10.  All the articles and hoopla of “awards season” has reminded me of other awards given out for theater, awards that while not in the same echelon as the Tonys, are nevertheless important. I’m talking about

Still Doin' Fine, 75 Years Later

Still Doin' Fine, 75 Years Later

This past weekend was the 75th Anniversary of the Broadway opening of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, and I can’t let the milestone go by without comment.

Much has been written over the years of the impact the show had on the American musical theater; there are important lessons to be learned in studying the show, lessons for today’s creators of musical theater. But I’ll leave that to

Writer's Block, or Why I Need A Shower

Writer's Block, or Why I Need A Shower

I’m writing a lyric for a new song. Or, rather, I’m not writing a lyric for a new song. I’m trying to. I’m working on it. I’m thinking about it. I’ve written pages and pages of ideas for the song, but nothing that even begins to resemble a lyric.

I have been self-diagnosed with a severe case of

Flying With Elephants, Part Two

Flying With Elephants, Part Two

Disneyland was not only a fun place to visit with my Dad; it became an inspiration to me as I found my way into a career as a storyteller. Walt Disney told stories with his movies and in the three-dimensional environmental story of a theme park; my chosen medium is musical theater, but the concepts of telling a story are similar. On one trip to Disneyland – as an adult, long after my childhood visits with my Dad – my best friend Annie introduced me to a little detail in Disneyland’s storytelling that impressed me, perhaps, more than any other.

So there we were, Annie and I,

Flying With Elephants, Part One

Flying With Elephants, Part One

I live in Orlando now, and spent seven magical years working at Walt Disney World. But my childhood was also spent at a Disney theme park. Every summer, I would go on a road trip with my Dad from my Northern California home, all the way south to Anaheim. We would spend an entire day at Disneyland, Dad and I, from park opening until

Loving Broadway From Afar

Loving Broadway From Afar

I was listening to SiriusXM, enjoying an interview with Greta Gerwig, the Oscar-nominated Writer/Director of Lady Bird. I was feeling a connection to Ms. Gerwig because, while I don’t actually know her, I feel as if I do because she and I share the city of Sacramento as a mutual treasured friend. I was imagining how I’d love to compare notes with Greta, who

Workshopping a Song - Part Two

Workshopping a Song - Part Two

A week or two later, Eric and I presented a re-write of our song, "Full Of Life," after considering the comments from our colleagues in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. We had made the changes suggested, added a verse at the beginning to get us into the song, and took Maury's suggestion about the

Workshopping a Song - Part One

Workshopping a Song - Part One

Eric and I had had decided to write a musical based on the story of the Donner Party. We knew we wanted to treat the historical subject with respect, in contrast to some previous adaptations of the event which ventured into the realm of parody and gruesome gory humor. We knew that we had to decide how to handle the subject of

That Voice, Though

That Voice, Though

When I was sixteen years old, I fell in love with a sailor named Gabey. He was charming, idealistic, and about the handsomest man I had ever seen. And oh boy, could he sing. He had two loveable sidekicks with him, equally handsome and charming, and they were singing and dancing their way through

Dirty Shoes and Other Traditions

Dirty Shoes and Other Traditions

As a special holiday celebration, my family recently spent a day at EPCOT, enjoying some of our favorite attractions and hearing Trace Adkins narrate the glorious Christmas concert, “Candlelight Processional.” During the day, we had lunch at the Biergarten, enjoying

Julie Andrews On My Lawn

Julie Andrews On My Lawn

I’ve been thinking a lot about what made me fall in love with musical theater in the first place. I have a flood of memories from my childhood, and I think each of them played a part in sparking my passion. This was one of the earliest.  Our family was dressed in our Sunday best – it was probably a Sunday afternoon after church – we went with Grandma and Grandpa to

Stealing From The Best

Stealing From The Best

Which comes first, Music or Lyrics? For us, it’s generally the Book. Eric, Bill, and I are storytellers, and before we start writing songs, we need to agree on what the story is. This usually begins as a conversation  – to get all three of us on the same page, knowing our goal for a given scene. Then, Bill disappears for awhile. Eric and I go out for pizza, take in a show, tend to real world issues like paying bills and getting on with life. We don’t hear anything from Bill as he