I’ve been listening to music a lot while doing my homework, and specifically I’ve been listening to Broadway musical songs a ton. I always go through phases with that, it’s not something I listen to consistently, not really (although I could listen to Spring Awakening any time). So I just thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve been listening to and whatnot.
I stumbled upon the work of composer/lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver. I don’t really know how I hadn’t heard of him before, but I found a few videos from a cabaret performance of his work, and I’m blown away. It’s right up my alley in terms of the way it sounds, and how each song unfolds. His newest project is called 35MM, and it’s described as “a musical exhibition where photographic images inspire songs and inversely, songs inspire photographs.” As an example of just how “up my alley” this all is, I’ve been trying to think of a theme for a chapbook I want (actually, was assigned) to write, and this was exactly my idea, except replace “songs” with “flash fiction stories” (although instead of the stories then inspiring another photograph, it would be a construction paper/pen and ink drawing kind of art piece that I like to do). But the idea of images becoming stories becoming another image? That’s the same. I’m a little disappointed because he technically got to it first, but it’s not like my wimpy chapbook would ever get this kind of recognition.
Anyway, rant over. I think the idea is totally cool, and the songs that came out of it are even cooler. Here’s two I love:
“The Ballad of Sara Berry”
I can’t stop listening to that. Amazing.
Ryan Scott Oliver’s has other projects, too, and the one I find most intriguing is Mrs. Sharp. It’s a musical about a woman who writes a popular self-help book, then is inspired to take a job teaching at a high school, where she gets caught up in an illicit affair with one of her students, and then things just go to pot. It’s loosely based on the real-life story of Pamela Smart. There was a staged reading of it done last year with Jane Krakowski in the title role, and now that I know about it, I think I would’ve killed to see it.
I also recommend checking out some of the songs from Darling. I think it could be a huge sensation if it ever were to hit Broadway.
ETA 2/9 – I just found this (because it just happened today, and they set up live-streaming on the website). Ryan Scott Oliver’s “Rated RSO” was performed at the Kennedy Center, and they filmed it. You can watch it HERE. I’m about 17 minutes into it, and it’s pretty good. I wish there were a wider array of singers, but the three that are there are great, so I’m not complaining too much.
ETA 2/19 – Now I stumbled upon the “Rated RSO” fan page on Facebook, and found a link to download some of the songs. Go and do it. They are crazy listenable. And more pictures can be found here at Ryan’s webpage and here at the Facebook fan page.
I’m also pretty excited about this new American Idiot musical Green Day has cooked up. Now, admittedly I’m not the biggest Green Day fan. In fact, during that period surrounding the original “American Idiot” album’s release, I was known to cry and complain and turn the station whenever one of the seemingly thousands of singles came on the radio. Remember that? There was “Holiday,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” and “American Idiot,” and they ran them into the ground. Those songs were everywhere I turned. But fast forward to 2010, and I’m eagerly anticipating a musical based on the same album! What happened? To the person who said that I’m a wishy washy idiot, you’d be correct. Mostly, I found out that John Gallagher, Jr., who won a Tony for his role as Moritz in Spring Awakening, would star in the show, and Michael Mayer, original director of Spring Awakening, would be directing American Idiot as well. The two shows also seem similar in tone. Either way, I’m inexplicably excited to at least hear the inevitable cast album for this show.
For now, here’s Green Day (ew) and the cast of American Idiot doing “21 Guns.”
The bad news about me going on these musical jags is that they always make me want to dump my 3/4 of a B.A. in English (I’m going places, girlfriend!) and switch to MUSICAL THEATAAAAH! (Jazz hands.) Clearly, this wouldn’t work (well, maybe not so clearly unless you’re one of the handful of people who’s heard my singing voice; it ain’t bad, but it ain’t great either). Meh, I’ll get over it after I walk around for a few days feeling like I’m Bernadette Peters trapped in a nightmare.