So I just returned from a week long vacation with my oldest daughter. We were visiting different cities looking at colleges. We had an amazing time together; and honestly, I was so enjoying each day with her and what we were doing that I didn’t have much time to think about Brilliant. That was until our visit to NYC which included a night out to see Dear Evan Hanson. Now I have known about this show for quite some time and would have seen it earlier but I wanted to wait and take my daughter during this college tour week. I was always concerned that there would be to many similarities between DEH and Brilliant and therefore there would be no need for me to continue working on my show. After seeing DEH, I can say there certainly are similarities. The stories are similar in the fact that they both take a close, personal look at a family’s struggle. Now, this is not only seen in DEH, but also recently in The Case of the Incident of the Dog in the Night, Fun Home and Next to Normal. I really see this type of storytelling in musical theatre as a trend. The similarities don’t stop. In DEH and in Brilliant the story resolves around an atypical boy. However, in DEH, the story really focuses on the boy’s struggle and in Brilliant, it is the paren’t struggle that is the center focus.
Okay- so where in the world do I have the audacity to even compare my show with a show that will certainly be up for a Tony? I know- I really don’t. That’s what is so frustrating. I had some issues with the show, but there is no doubt that the music was fantastic. I had enjoyed listening to the soundtrack before but now after seeing the show, I am enjoying it so much more. So where does that leave me? Kind of depressed in a way because it’s like, “Shit- if this show is going to make it onto any stage it needs to be THAT good- and can I really make it that good? Can I even make it half that good?” Well – I could just give up now, or I can use that experience to motivate me to keep working. After a week’s hiatus I revisited my songs and I thought- well- that one is okay- but that one has to go. So I will now get back to work at the piano while the writer continues his work on the book. I can’t really complain- any reason for me to have to spend hours at the piano is actually a gift. So round two – here we go!
ps- I ran into Charles Strouse (composer of Annie/Bye Bye Birdie) AGAIN at a store in NYC. That’s two times in 3 months! And I’m not even from NY. It could be a sign…but for what?