Shape a new Show in Seattle!
Deborah's Story: You
got a theater? I got a show!.
Tix for the show online
right - for
"In the Wings" workshop production – 3-and-a-half
minute video trailer by Lynn Andersen - click it
more about the show online
of you know how important stories are to me, and
they infuse my concerts, but many people don't know
that my goal, from childhood, was to write Broadway
month I'm working on a special project that combines
that life-long love with a lifetime of performance
-- the development of a musical with me in the lead!
month's performance is the
second phase of a project that began in summer of
2008 as a one-woman musical - and the new version
includes a singing, dancing, harp-plucking chorus.
you're in the Seattle area, join us for the show
and informal talk-back session afterwards. Check
out the trailer and jukebox below! And read
on for more about the birth of a new musical.
got a theater? I got a show!
..The Birth of a new Musical
was so excited! Would
I remember my
lines? Would the audience like my new
show? I strode onto stage and began
the first number. This was my theater debut!
I'd written every line of the script, every note
of the music – and the auditorium was packed!!
But I wasn't nervous – after all, they were
4th graders – and I was already in the 6th grade.
began my passion for writing musical-theater.
my mid-20's, I'd completed and produced 3 musicals
and four song cycles. I'd
also started playing the harp professionally.
My "Grand Plan" was to use harp-playing
income to subsidize my musicals. And
my "Grand Plan" was working!
came a bolt out of the blue: Charlie
Rose invited me on his show – not
as a composer, but as a harpist. Two weeks
later I got offered a major record contract. Boom! In
the space of a month, the trajectory of my
life turned like
a weather vane in a shifting wind. I became
immersed in the life of a touring musician, and the
and romance of pioneering a new field – but
each success was both sweet and bitter
– watching my life as a musical theater writer
recede as my success as a performer increased.
had its advantages. Self-defining
as a composer gave me distance from worrying about
myself as a performer. Ironically, that helped
me become a better performer, since
neither success nor failure in that arena
cut to the deepest part of my artist-self – and since
the "real me," the composer, wasn't at
stake, it gave me freedom to worry less about failure
– and therefore reach further and just be myself
the quintessential fusion of story and music into
a full-length story – that art form that most
moved me – was
further away. And that really hurt. From
time to time I'd reach back, grab the hand of musical
theater, and try to pull it closer to me.
In the late 90's I wrote a one-woman narrated musical,
"The Frog Princess" - and premiered it with
the Buffalo Philharmonic. In 2006, my CD-DVD project "Invention
& Alchemy" fused story and music in a kind
of anthology of musical short-stories.
2007, I hit the crisis point. I'd just
come off of a huge success as a performer: a
and my own special on PBS stations around the country. I
that project intertwined music and story,
but it also highlighted for me that I wasn't really
producing musical theater in the way I'd imagined
it as a 12-year-old, when I first planned the trajectory
of my life.
knew I needed help. By myself,
I clearly wasn't getting where I wanted to go. I'd
heard there was a group in Boston called the "New
Opera and Musical Theater Initiative" (NOMTI). I
contacted them and discovered
they'd just started an "Advanced Writer's
I applied, got in, and at long last, turned to
face my true
love, though she was still a distant speck on the horizon.
NOMTI "Advanced Writer's Lab" is a group
of 12 people – composers, lyricists and book-writers
who meet once a month for 8 intense hours to present,
and critique our original works. Each one of us
is working on
at least one full-length musical or opera in addition
to our other jobs as musicians, teachers, theater-composers
and the like. When I joined, I planned to dust
off my abandoned projects, revise and produce them,
but somehow – and I can't remember how – I
got a "New Idea" – an
idea for a new musical that would combine my skills
as a performer, and my passion for full-length music-story
Idea" became a musical called "In the
(or: What the Hell are you doing in the
Waiting Room for Heaven??)" which is about an
After-Life Coach whose job is to mentor new recruits
for Heaven – only she's so distracted
by her own inner demons that SHE needs more coaching
her recruits do.
the help of NOMTI, I wrote the original script as
it last summer
for a two-week run in Cambridge, MA. In that
production, I discovered both strengths
of the show (the concept, the
weaknesses ("but.. where's the PLOT??") –
and I went back to the drawing board, reworking
the script, presenting it at NOMTI meetings again.
to March 2009. Enter Mark Andersen. Mark
is president of the American Harp Society in
Washington. During a stay at his house last March,
one night the conversation turned to musical theater.
turns out that Mark spent years in NYC as Head
Arranger for NBC, has written musicals,
and shares my passion for the art form. We talked
my new musical, I played him some of the music, and
was it him? Was it his husband, Lynn?) said: "Hey,
wouldn't it be funny if this musical had a kick-line
of singing, dancing harp-players? Hahaha!"
suddenly, we all stopped mid-laugh. "You
know," Mark said slowly, "we could ...
uh ... actually do that. I mean,
I have a theater," (no, I'm not joking,
he really said this, just like in the old movies!) "and
with all the harpists here in the Seattle area,
actually put together a singing, dancing, harp-slinging
one thing led to another ... and this coming Friday,
October 23 - at 8pm, we'll be mounting a "workshop
production" of that show on stage at a Mark's very
cool theater in downtown Seattle. A
polished product? No, this won't be a slick
Broadway production, this will be the first steps
of a new show – a chance
to be at the birth of a new musical. So if you
live near Seattle, or have friends out this way, tell
them not to miss this event – and make sure you
stay for the informal talk-back session where ... where,
YOUR insight could be the one that changes the play!
TIX NOW for "IN THE WINGS" Fri. Oct.
You can buy tix for yourself or
friends online for the new workshop production
of "In the Wings." Tix are
$15 for adults and $10 for anyone under 21. Daniels
Hall is at Marion Ave and 5th in downtown
Seattle, with three parking lots within a
block or two of the theater.
the tickets at left to buy online right now. If
you want more information about the show, visit the "In
the Wings" show page or call Mark Andersen
ON LAST-MONTH'S SHOWS:
To the 3000+ folks who came out to Pinehills
to see my show last month - it was great to see you
there!!! What a spectacular day! ** And for
the folks who couldn't get tix for the sold-out Silver
Center show in New Hampshire - I'll try to get back
your way soon!
next Friday's production of "In the Wings" I'm
hoping to finally have time to focus on getting more
of my music down in writing, and available for sale. My
hope is to be release a few more solo pieces by the
end of the year, and then focus on preparing music
for a series of pieces for harp and chamber ensemble,
for debut in Wales in April 2010. But
you can always check my Tour
Page for upcoming
got some wonderful photos of the Pinehills
show, but can't include them here because I
left the disc at home and I'm in Seattle right
now, rehearsing for the musical!