Nadav interviewed for the Directory of Contemporary Musical Theater Writers
January 23, 2014
David Sisco’s remarkable project “The Contemporary Directory of Musical Theater Writers” is really taking off. They recently launched a new website that includes a searchable catalog of all the directory’s 300+ songs. This is great news for contemporary musical writers, whose work can now be easily accessible for singers, actors and voice teachers in search of original material.
Tell us about your song. If it’s from a musical, set the song up for us.
“Please, Belize” was written as an assignment for the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop in NY. The assignment was to write a comedy song based on “Angels in America”.I chose Millenium Approaches.Act 3, Scene 2. Louis and Prior have been life partners for years, but when Prior becomes ill with the mysterious virus spreading among gay men in the 1980’s Louis finds it too hard to handle. As Prior becomes sicker and hospitalized, Louis retreats and abandons his lover. The song takes place when Louis meets Belize, a mutual friend who’s been nursing and caring for Prior in Louis’ absence. Louis, consumed with guilt, but ever analytical and sharp, tries to persuade Belize, as well as himself, that HE is the real victim in the situation.
Did you write it for anyone in mind?
I did not write the song with any particular performer in mind, but was vastly influenced by Ben Shenkman’s powerful performance as Louis in the “Angels in America” mini-series.
What are you most proud of with this song?
I am most proud of capturing the character of Louis. He is complex and doesn’t lend himself to song very easily. But I believe the song manages to capture the lovable quirky jerk he is- with his over-complication, self-indulgence, intelligence and charm, while the music conveys his frantic pace and agitation.
What was the most difficult thing about writing this song?
Writing a comedy song for a character in distress is tricky, particularly when the distress is so justified. The key to comedy in this song is not Louis’ sad state but his self-pity and his unashamed comparison to his off-stage lover. Realizing this was crucial to treading the fine line between comedy and tragedy.
What else would you like us to know about this song?
I never want anyone to know how ridiculous I looked writing the song in my studio. I was working myself up into a catatonic state of mind, half crying, to try and nail Louis’ state of mind. It was pretty sad.
Tell us what excites you most about contemporary musical theatre.
Between loud colorful entertainment and subtle artsy theater- musical theater today can be anything!
What do you find to be most challenging about this business?
It’s quite challenging to emerge as a new voice, and get your show produced. Particularly, at a time when producers utilize their kitchen-sink dramas’ sets to host cooking shows in the afternoon.
What are you currently working on?
THE FEMME FATALE SHOW – a revue of history’s evil women – is gearing up for an off-Broadway production. I am currently writing two other shows – a children’s musical based on a famous book, and a classic musical comedy based on a film. Details soon.
How can we keep track of what you’re up to (website, etc…)?