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About the Musical

So this is my very first blog entry for Brilliant.  I have been wanting to keep a journal about this experience for the last year and half so I’m glad I’m finally getting around to it.  I think this is actually perfect timing to begin writing this blog because last night I was at an event where a woman spoke about happiness.  She actually has a Masters degree in happiness if you can believe that.  Anyway, the audience was filled with woman ages 40 – 6o and for most woman this age, the speaker said happiness means finding a purpose.  I sat there listening to this woman speak and I thought to myself, “I got this. I’m there.”

This show is my purpose.  It is all I think about every waking moment (and many sleeping moments as well).  I work on it whenever I can.  I have no choice.  Writing a musical, I think, as always been my life’s purpose.  I clearly remember being about 6 years old, baseball and glove in hand, throwing a ball around on my front lawn while singing scenes from some made up story in my head.  Any time throughout my educational career, if a teacher was wiling to accept a song in place of an essay, I was on it.   Putting stories to music is what gives me the most joy, the most fulfillment.   Creating a full length musical for the stage is a daunting task, especially when you are a busy mother of three, but when you have no other choice but to create it, you make it happen.

For many, many years I did not have a minute to even look at a piano.  I had three young children, one of whom needed alot of extra care and attention.  There were many years that were extremely difficult and my personal happiness was put on the back burner.  Now what is so amazing is that unbeknownst to me, those years would prove to be my greatest gift.  The memories of all difficult times and those emotions, they were all being stored away until I finally would find the time to return to the piano and begin writing again.  What came out was, and is, what I feel, a beautiful story of a mother, father, and son. I have found how to make lemons out of lemonade.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  From here on out my entries will most likely keep you up to date on the business side of things.  There is so much happening, it’s very exciting!  I also will go back and tell you how I even got to this point for those of you who are interested.  But I think this is a good start.  Thanks for reading and for coming along on the ride of Brilliant the Musical!

 

 

Wow! What a reading, what a night

So last night was our third staged reading.  It was held at a wonderful music venue in Wayne, 118 North.  We had a five piece band (Alfred jumped in on cello) and everyone was mic’d so this certainly was a big step up from our other readings.  More importantly, the extremely talented Megan O’Brien joined our team as our director and the adorably talented Zach Chiero has joined to play Jake.

We performed the show for about 120 close family and friends and special invited guests.  The reaction of the audience was incredibly positive.  I’ve actually spent all of today trying to respond to all of the emails and posts that have come my way.  Overall the feedback from special need parents was that I captured exactly what they experience every day and the feedback from typical parents was that this story is totally universal and they could relate to all of the emotions.  So overall it appears the show is appealing to vast audience.

I am waiting to receive the video and photos from last night but I have posted some of my own video clips on our Video page and below I am posting some fun pics from the rehearsal before the show.  I wish I knew what comes next, but I’m really not sure. I’m going to guess that some rewriting will need to happen as well as continued networking.  Im looking forward to meeting up with Megan and to discuss the future of Brilliant.

But there you have it.  I surpassed my goal of performing in my basement for friends.  I feel a sort of satisfaction that I have never felt before with this show.  I was so proud of everyone last night.  Each actor and musician was wonderful.  They certainly stepped up their game last night.  The future of this show now is incredibly unknown to me.  I can’t wait to read future posts to see what happens!

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Readings and More Readings

So I think this is where it starts to get fun.  Well, I  mean, this entire experience has been incredible but now I get to put it out there and share it with people. Four years of work finally out of the privacy of my basement.  I am so fortunate that some organizations have put their trust in me and have allowed me to perform readings for members of their group.

The first reading we had was a few weeks ago on December 4, 2019 which was hosted by Women’s Philanthropy, a division of Jewish Federation.   I knew this would be a wonderfully supportive audience, and they were.  I was really happy with the entire evening.  People laughed where I weren’t sure if they would.  And people were moved and felt connected to the material.  I know this is touchy subject matter.  I have to do right by it- and we are still tweaking and rewriting and trying to get there. I am trying to create a specific story but with universal themes so all parents can relate no matter who their child is.  I don’t want to alienate anyone.

Anyway, that first reading was great and we learned alot.  So much so that I have made many changes for the next reading coming up on January 12.  We have three new songs and removed two old ones.  We will only have time to rehearse a few hours before the show.  But this audience will be extremely special because they will be members of the Philly Friendship Circle, an organization that works with children with special needs.  I am so looking forward to presenting this material to them.  I hope they like it.

And one month later I will be hosting a reading at a very cool music venue in Wayne – 118 North.  I just think this is a great intimate venue but a good step up from my basement!  I have many friends coming to that show so I think it will be loads of fun!

Okay- that’s it for now.  Readings, readings, and more readings!  Things could be worse.

MusicoLab Concert

So last night we had the opportunity to once again perform at a musicolab salon.  These salons provide a great opportunity to get our songs up in front of an audience.  Last night we performed “Pose” and “My Vice!”.  I’m so glad I chose to do these songs because for the last two salons we performed emotional ballads.  I do love a good emotional ballad, but I was just feeling that we had to show our fun side!  We happened to be the last show to go so closing then night out with Vice! was great and I think very well received by the audience.

This salon couldn’t have come at a better time either because in just two days we will be performing our first staged reading.  Ahh!  About time right?  Wish us luck!

Feeling good with it

So it appears to be a very long time since I have posted.  Let us catch up.

In May I had a concert in my house (conveniently on my birthday so it was a bit of a double celebration) and it was the most amazing night.  It was really the first time I performed many of the songs in front of a large group- and people who are important to me.   It was such a special night for me (My daughter even flew in from college to surprise me).  Everyone’s reactions to the music seemed extremely genuine and I felt good knowing I was on the right track.

SO I had had some other performances scheduled for last Spring but something wasn’t sitting entirely right with with the book.  I postponed those performances and took this summer to make some changes.  This obviously required composing a few more songs as well which have yet to be recorded.  I have to say I am now feeling much better about the book.  It’s also running a nice 85 minutes which is perfect for a straight run through with no intermission.  But the point is, I am happy with it and at this point we have to just start getting it in front of people.

Fortunately, Woman’s Philanthropy, a division of Jewish Federation of Philadelphia, will be hosting a performance on December 4.  All our welcome.  And on January 12, the Friendship circle will be hosting an event as well.  I am soo excited about both of these events because I think they will be the perfect audiences for this show.  I am also going to look to plan a reading in NY for early Spring.

I am still working with Kim, Rebecca, and Jason Neri will be music directing.  The three of them are so committed and wonderful and I look forward to finding the perfect JAKE!  Oh- and playing the role of Adam I have Jackson Preisser who is amazingly adorable (an my daughter’s best friend).

Below I will try to add videos from the concert.   Hope for more updates sooner than later.

 

 

Directors, Performances, Festivals, Oh My!

September 26, 2018

Okay.  so that title is a little premature, I know.  But I haven’t written in a while and I wanted to chime in.  I just re read my blog posts from the last 18 months.  18 months!  and I didn’t even start these blogs until I had already been working on the show for around a year and a half.  Well, here’s good news:  SOAR is back.  I always really liked that song.  I was sad to see it go and now very happy that it has found a home again.  We’ve really tried to have the story focus on the “Jake and Sarah” relationship  and that is really what that song embodied, so there you have it.  Kim will actually be performing “SOAR” on November 4 at the next musical theatre salon in Philadelphia.  I hope people like it!

So- the title of the blog, what’s up with that?  Well, I am in the process of interviewing a few directors.  And why, you may ask, am I interviewing directors?  Because we are scheduling performances!  That’s right, you read it here first.  It’s looking like we will be having a few performances in early 2019.  However, it is still a bit premature to list them here because dates and locations need to be finalized.  But that means it is time to finalize a cast and a director so we can begin rehearsing and tweaking and working out the kinks.   I am very excited to bring in a director because the show is now going to start a journey that I cannot do alone with Philip anymore.  We will need a musical director, a musical arranger (but that’s further down the line), a choreographer, a dramaturg, and of course the director to get this thing on its feet.

These performances will be like showcases.  What this means is, they will not be fully produced although performers will be off book and some minor movement and maybe even minor sets will be involved.  We need to see how the show will play to an audience. I am reaching out to local organizations who I feel have members that would make a great audience for this subject matter.  These organizations are also showing amazing support to me and I will be forever grateful to them for allowing me this opportunity.  But no!  I cannot reveal them just yet!  I promise, the next blog should have that info.

Why did I mention Festivals?  Because we are ready to start applying. I just received my big, fat, resource book from the Dramatists Guild and I will soon begin the process of sending the book and recordings out to the numerous festivals for musical theatre.  So hopefully next summer, perhaps we may have a festival or two to perform at.

And coming soon… like any day…. a new and improved logo!  Thank you Samantha Dion Baker!

Thanks for reading.   Oh yeah, and did I mention, amongst this craziness, I just dropped my daughter off at college and next week my son goes to boarding school?  Just wanted to add that in so when I read this post in a few years I’ll remember what was happening in my real life.

Thanks for reading!  (and if you haven’t seen the clip of Kim performing at the concert over the summer, please see the blog below with the video clips.  She was fantastic!)

Our First Live Appearance – in Concert!

So on Sunday, July 15 we were invited to the home of Barbara Bellman where she and Seth Rozin hosted a “musical theatre salon”.  Six musicals that are presently be developed in Philadelphia were invited to showcase a song or two from their show.  We had Kimberly Suskind perform “Just Wanna Be” and “To Fill This Home With Love”.  My daughter’s friend, Cole Henry, filled in to sing for Adam.  They were both fabulous.  It really was an incredible experience to finally hear the songs performed live in front of an audience.  It is amazing how having an audience in the room totally changes the emotional energy.  We got some really nice feedback. It was a great night.

Click here to see video of “Just Wanna Be”

Click here to see video of “To Fill This home With Love”

 

Getting Closer!

So, here we are, a little over a year that I began working with Philip and I am happy to report we finally have a finished script!  We have scheduled our first reading for Monday, April 30.  It will be a very small, casual event which will simply allow us to actually hear what we have so far.  I am very excited to hear everything (and can I say I am happy to take a break from having to write any more songs for a bit.)  I never thought we would get through the final scene but I really love what Philip did with it.

So the plan is to continue to have some readings and then continue to make changes until we feel really secure with what we have.  Then we will have a much larger reading where all will  be invited!  My house has been quite a buzz with lots of fantastic Philly actors coming over to practice and record with me.  Here are some pics of Kim Suskind and Cindy Chait during their recent recording sessions.   I love being able to work with great actors/actresses who come to my house fully prepared,excited ,and willing to work on an unknown piece of material.  Thanks to all of you guys!

 

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Exactly one year ago

So, exactly one year ago I finished the first draft of Brilliant.  I know this because it popped up on my Facebook page.  Really, how would we ever remember anything if it wasn’t for Facebook?  We certainly wouldn’t remember anybody’s birthdays.  Anyway, let see where we’ve come since a year ago.  Well, We’ve gotten rid of the following songs: YOU GOTTA PLAY A SPORT, BALLERINA, TELL ME ‘BOUT YOUR BOY, BRILLIANT, SOAR, I BELIEVE IN YOU, and, JUST A LITTLE BIT.  Wow- that’s 7 songs that have been written, scored, and recorded and may never be heard from again.  It’s a bummer about the song, BRILLIANT because I got the name for the show from that song- so I’m not even sure now if we should be calling the show BRILLIANT.  And I really liked the song SOAR. Oh well.

Here is the good news.  I have added the following songs: ME AND THE STICK, IF I HAD A SON, THE DOCTOR SONG, JAKE WELLINGTON, MY VICE, SOUND OF MY HEART, THE PROM, TOGETHER, FILL THIS HOME WITH LOVE.  That’s eight new songs, plus I fixed up the oldies.  Oh yeah- and what else has changed-?  Oh yeah, I have a writer!  Duh!

Now, unfortunately we have been on hold since Philip has put up four shows in four months (not kidding).  One of the shows he was director was the Shipley School’s HAIRSPRAY- choreographed by none other than my daughter, Sammi, who also had a featured role as Velma.  She was AMAZING!  I have never been so proud of her.  But the best part about hat show is that Phillip can hopefully get back to work on Brilliant with me.    I’ve learned not to put any deadlines or expectations on this project- but maybe a reading in the summer???  Maybe???

 

Happy Holidays and where are we?

So Happy holidays to anyone who is reading.  Chanukah just past and Christmas and New Years are on their way.  In our house however, the big focus is all about college.  We’ve started hearing back from colleges for my oldest daughter.  I can’t say anything more here until April. Sorry.

I realized on my last blog entry I didn’t say anything about what’s going on with the show.  Well, we are still moving forward and that’s a good thing.  Actually, our last few meetings have been amazing because we are really getting this second act in focus.  I just love where this story is going.  It is such a small story-but with so many big emotions.  It’s really just taking such a magnifying glass at a family’s struggle – really a couple’s struggle- on how best to help their child.  I mean- if this isn’t want every parent is dealing with on a day to day basis, I don’t know what is.  I was somewhere the other day when someone said something like, “Good art is art that needs to be shared because it will have an impact on the audience.  It can help them in some way”  I know this musical is just that and it is sooo frustrating because I wish we could just perform it today!  Yesterday even.  But that’s just not how this is going to go.

But for anyone following along on this journey, just know we are still busy at it.  Kim came over last week and laid down some more vocals which are now on the site.  I have been desperately looking for a male to sing the lead male role.  I can’t tell you how hard it is to find someone.  No one responds to any of my postings on the theatre sites.  However, I did get one good response and he is coming to record the end of January, so that’s good.  I need to hear these songs sung by a male!!!  And of course I like to have these demos in case I want to apply for a festival or show someone what I am working on.

Happy New Year!  Let’s see what 2018 brings:)