Talking Story & Score with Top Librettists

Having lived in NY for 14 years, I knew my next move would need to be a city with a strong theatre scene. I found that in Seattle, where theatre — and musical theatre, in particular — is thriving. 

I had heard about the 5th Avenue Theatre's planned production of PAINT YOUR WAGON and was instantly intrigued by the idea of rewriting the book to a classic musical with a memorable score. While speaking to 5th Avenue Artistic Director David Armstrong, I got an idea to interview the production's librettist, Jon Marans, and pitched it later that day to The Dramatist Editor Joey Stocks via Twitter. Joey had the brilliant idea to make it a panel and bring Craig Lucas (AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA) on board. Then a colleague suggested I add GOOD NEWS! librettist Jeremy Desmon to the mix, and the panel was set. 

It was sheer joy talking shop with these brilliant writers and hearing their amusing and insightful anecdotes. Due to space, the magazine couldn't print the entire interview, but members of the Dramatists Guild can read the expanded version online. If you're not a member and you live in NYC, you can pick up a copy at Drama Book Shop; if you live in Boston, you can get it at Trident Booksellers and Cafe. You can also call the Guild to order a copy.

Chatting with some seriously funny storytellers.

Chatting with some seriously funny storytellers.

I, Broadway Lyricist

I'm thrilled to announce I have a new title to add to my bio: Broadway lyricist! A song for which I first wrote the lyrics in the BMI Workshop (and have rewritten many times since!) is in Broadway's new musical comedy IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.

Under the direction of David Hyde Pierce, the hilarious and heartwarming musical stars Tyne DalyHarriet HarrisSierra Boggess and Lisa Howard. The cast also features David BurtkaMontego GloverChip ZienJosh GrisettiAdam HellerMichael X. MartinAnne L. NathanNick Spangler and Edward Hibbert.

The show was written by composer Barbara Anselmi and lyricist/librettist Brian Hargrove. Four additional lyricists, including myself with the song "Perfect," have one song in the show: Jill Abramovitz ("What They Never Tell You"), Michael Cooper ("I Never Wanted This) and Will Randall ("It Shoulda Been You"). A fifth additional lyricist, Ernie Lijoi, has two songs in the show ("Beautiful" and "Love You Till the Day").

The song Anselmi and I wrote ("Perfect") is sung by the powerhouse voices of Howard and Boggess, who play sisters in the show. Watch them perform it on YouTube.

IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU was first conceived by Anselmi while enrolled in New York City's premier musical theatre training ground, the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, She asked a dozen or so of us BMI lyricists to contribute a song to her second-year project about a wedding. The five songs she wrote with the show's additional lyricists lasted through years of development, and, I have to say, there is nothing quite like seeing a long-term project through to its beautiful completion.

And now that our work has been nominated for both Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards, we're all award nominees!

The show is loads of fun. You know the acronym LMAO? I have never in my life seen an audience roar with laughter the way IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU audiences do. And the next thing you know, they're choking back tears, because the show is also beautifully moving.

Go see it. You'll have a wonderful time!

For tickets, info, pics and buzz, visit itshouldabeenyou.com.