This is my first blog ever. And how appropriate that it would be written smack in the middle of one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
What started out as a trickle of an idea and a moment of inspired songwriting eight years ago, is now on a crazy journey to who knows where. On the way to our festival in NY where we will be presenting our show off-Broadway for the first time to fickle critics and (hopefully) adoring fans, we have landed in Washington DC, at Catholic University of America (CUA).
The amazingly talented students and faculty of CUA have invited us here to do a workshop of our musical ‘RIO’.
Producer Charlie Fink and CUA Faculty musical director, Denise Puricelli, organized this theatre workshop program as a testing ground for new and emerging musicals. What a great idea by two equally great people.
Now just do the math…a Catholic University in the USA is doing a workshop of a musical about Brazil written by two Jewish writers from Canada. But I get it. ‘Music is the international language’. The old adage proven here.
Besides Denise and Charlie, it was director Jay Brock whose insightful vision for the show really connected with all the students and completely psyched them up for the challenge. Special thanks and mentions must also go out to the tech-saavy and quite talented Kyle English, and whose glass-smashing belting voice has been great accompaniment during piano/percussion rehearsals, and Caroline and Jason, our stage managers who kept everything organized for everyone. And that was no easy feat with Joey and I bombarding the cast of 13, Denise and Jay with constant re-writes every few hours.
But above all of us are the students. Each one of them giving so generously of their time and talent. With the passion and drive that they’ve displayed so far, there is no reason why audiences will not be scrambling for tickets to see them on Broadway in the next few years. Truly, an outstanding group of great people!
So with all of this that we’ve been blessed with, Joey and I have left our families for a week to come here and be involved in the presentation of the very first incarnation of our vision to the students, faculty and the invited guests who include our director Scott Faris, our creative consultant and dramaturg Jack DePalma, our general manager Eve Rybnick, our casting director Jason Najjoum and of course, the soul who has made this all possible, our producer Pinny Gniwisch.
This week, ’RIO’ comes to life in front of our team and the students and faculty of Catholic University of America.
April 25, A performance of our opening song ‘My Carnaval’ to the Patrons and Donors of the NYMF Festival at their special annual event.
April 27 – casting in NY.
And this is all just the introduction to events that are about to unfold that may be even more dramatic, intense, surprising and bizarre than anything in our show.
We will keep you posted soon with this and more, including the amazing minds of all those in our inner creative circle including Scott Faris, Jack DePalma, Eve, Jason and the rest of the team.