News 2017-04-05T16:47:58+00:00

Just Your Average Canadian Musical Theatre Writer- a Cabaret!

April 2nd, 2019|

I’ve watched as some friends have done Cabarets and always admired them and what they do, but I could never think of doing one of my own. I’ve never really felt that into the re-interpretation of songs to fit my life, or something I want to say. But… Using my own songs to tell my story? Sign me up! It’s so much fun to pinpoint the moment when you left home, made a decision, or had inspiration with the song that you associate (or was even conceived) in that moment.

Using my musical theatre songs, as well as my early folk and comedy songs, the show traced the story of what it is to be a Canadian Musical Theatre writer (which in the grand scheme of things is pretty similar to the stories of a lot of my friends). I traced the line from my first song in high school “Ben” about being a baritone in a tenor’s world, through moving to Toronto, Jersey Boys, meeting so many of my wonderful cousins from Newfoundland, and finally to the decision so many of us face everyday: whether to continue in this crazy business of the arts. 

And what a joy to have so many friends and even some family there.

Just You’re Average Canadian Musical Theatre Writer (Grant, you need to work on the length of some of your show titles) was a great time. And how great to have some of the friends I’ve met along the way join me on stage: Laura Caswell and Lisa Horner (both from the Ontario premiere of Bingo Ladies) and my friend and fellow composer Scott Christian on keys.

Thanks to Jenny Walls for inviting me to be a part of the ongoing Cabaret Series at the 120 Diner.

Neptune Theatre YOCo and Gander Musical Theatre Symposium

September 24th, 2019|

Instead of a direct flight back to Toronto from Newfoundland there were a few stops in between. First, to Halifax (where I weather Hurricane Dorian) to work with the Neptune Youth Performance Company. In 2017 they premiered my musical “My Side of the Country” and it was great to see them all two years later continuing in their learning. We wrote a song together, “You’ve only got your Future to Lose” inspired by the Climate Change protest happening the following week.

Then it was a quick stop in Charlottetown to see the hilarious Steven Guy-McGrath in his show “Spinning Yarns” about growing up in Newfoundland… before returning to Newfoundland for the Gander Musical Theatre Symposium!

It was great to attend the Symposium representing Rising Tide Theatre to get a sense of the musical theatre community in Newfoundland while also hearing stories about the development of Come From Away and learning from top professionals. And now… back to Toronto, to apply what I’ve learned.

The Naming of Port Rexton at Rising Tide

September 1st, 2019|

In 2015 Rising Tide premiered my full length musical “The Naming of Port Rexton”, this past fall the Artistic Director called and asked if I’d be able to reduce the size of the cast.

It was an interesting challenge, finding a way to maintain a story while cutting the cast size from 17 to 10, while also cutting about 45 minutes from the show.

I was so pleased with the results– a group of ten actors ( I mean, look at those beautiful people!) gave a performance that had laughs and tears and engaged locals ands tourists alike– and what a treat to have the first performance for residents of Port Rexton for their Come Home Year weekend (I bought the T-Shirt!). The next step will be part of what’s really fun as a musical theatre writer: figuring out what worked best from both versions and finding the best combination of them.

It was also a summer of performing and new experiences. For the dinner theatre I took on music direction and arranging duties for some of the songs, and was so pleased when some of our cast got up to sing “Out from St. Leonard’s” with Alan Doyle and his band for Mark Critch and Melissa Royle’s wedding that also took place this summer (side note: it’s so wonderful when you meet successful and famous folks and you find that they are such generous and kind people).

Add to that a summer of fishing with friends, picking live squid up from the shore, and leading a song session at Rocky’s in Trinity. It was one for the books. Thanks Trinity!

Best New Musical short list through the Playwrights Guild of Canada Tom Hendry Awards!

November 14th, 2018|

The Playwrights Guild of Canada annually gives out out the Tom Hendry Awards for new work, including the Stage West Best New musical in development, and I’m proud that one of the musicals I’ve been developing “A Jew, a Muslim, a Christian, and an Atheist, Stuck in a Room!” was among three works shortlisted for the prize. This four person musical is one that I’ve tinkering with on my own for the last little while, and as it has yet to be workshopped, I was so pleased to have it included among the works of some very talented people. Here’s what the jury had to say about the piece:

“I love that the meta set up has a contemporary feel and it has a broad appeal. The dialogue was funny and it was clever. I enjoyed this! I had fun with it and had laughs at parts that surprised me! I was not insulted, which I expected to be! The concept is topical and is not a typical form. I could easily see this produced as it has a lot of potential.”

You can hear learn more about the show and hear few demos here, or contact me for more information.

Bingo Ladies coming to Ottawa!

September 24th, 2018|

I was so happy to hear the news that the community theatre group Indie Women Productions will be doing a remount of the musical I’ve written “Bingo Ladies” in the new year at the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa. Indie Women Productions mounted the show in 2016 in Perth and all profits went to charity, which will also be the case for this upcoming production, with all proceeds going to Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre. There are currently no other productions planned for 2019, so if you have a craving to see some Bingo Ladies, come on down to Ottawa! The show runs from February 26th to March 2nd 2019, and you can get your tickets here, I will definitely be there to see this lovely group of people put it up at some point. And what a great poster!

On The Radio- A New Musical for Rising Tide

September 8th, 2018|

It was a busy summer for me at Rising Tide Theatre… So busy it seems I forgot to update my website?! Yup. I have never done five shows in Rep before, but between the Newfoundland classic “West Moon” by Al Pittman, to the premiere of “Rebel Time” by Ed Riche (a great two hander that where I shared the stage with Meghan Greeley), the Trinity Pageant, This Marvellous Terrible Place… and the musical that I wrote for Rising Tide this year, “On The Radio” (that I was also acting in), there was a lot going on!

Now, to be clear, “On the Radio” is actually a play with music, where the music accentuates or comments on the action of the play, instead of forwarding it. The play takes place at a radio station in St. John’s between 1946, and uses a variety of american music from the time contrasted with traditional Newfoundland music. I was also lucky to find the original scripts of the Newfoundland Radio Show “The Irene B Mellon” which I adapted and inserted in the script. It was quite the summer in Newfoundland, and I thank all the actors and creative folks involved, and Rising Tide Theatre for breathing life into this new script!

And now… Back to the mainland. Back to writing. Stay tuned!

Naughty… but Nice! With Forte Theatre in Calgary

January 3rd, 2018|

It has been a long time since I performed in Calgary… other than a quick Jersey Boys promo tour, over ten years! So how great was it when I auditioned for “Naughty… but Nice!” and got to come home and visit my dad and perform in a REALLY fun show over the holidays. This cast, and this production crew were a blast. I also got to sing “To the People That we Lost Last Year” the song that I wrote for the show that has been a part of the show in its previous three incarnations; singing a quartet you’ve written with three wonderful cast mates is something I won’t soon forget. And… I got to sing the below song, “Lait de Poule” written by Joe Slabe. Have I ever had this much fun onstage? I doubt it. Have a listen here!

 

Neptune YPCo – My Side of the Country!

November 20th, 2017|

Last year, my friend Laura Caswell called me up about a show that I had written almost a decade ago, “My Side of the County”, a musical for families about Canada’s history and people. Would I be able to update the show to be performed by the youth performance company at Neptune?
Fast forward to September, and I arrived fresh from a visit to P.E.I. to meet 19 incredible young performers, aged 13-18. It was clear after a few readings, that the show did in indeed need to be updated, but the teens were so giving, and honest about the show, that I left with some great ideas. I spent the next month and a half re-writing the script and composing three new songs for the show, and was lucky enough to attend the opening at Neptune.
Well, I have to say, I don’t think I’ve had a more rewarding theatrical experience. When young people love something and get behind it, they offer everything, and we ended up with a musical that they were totally invested in, which you could feel when you sat in the audience. Thank you to Neptune Theatre, those incredible young performers, and to Laura Caswell for remembering a show that I’d put up on the shelf!
For more information on the show, please visit its dedicated page on this site here.

Charlottetown Musical Theatre Conference

September 5th, 2017|

Left Trinity Newfoundland yesterday at 8 am, journeyed through all four Atlantic provinces, and now here I am in gorgeous PEI for the Charlottetown musical theatre conference. Really looking forward to seeing some new shows, talking about the craft of writing, and catching up with old friends. It’s worked out incredibly well to have this time here, as I’ve just finished up performing in Trinity for the summer, and next week will be heading to Halifax for the workshop of my musical for young audiences “My Side of the Country” with The Neptune Theatre Young Company. Very grateful to all involved for the opportunity to explore that piece!

New Musical: On the Radio!

August 23rd, 2017|

Been having another great summer here in Trinity, some highlights being performing again as the Nobleman in Pamela Morgan’s Folk/Opera “The Nobleman’s Wedding” (villains are fun!) and spending time with all the wonderful people I’ve met over my four years working out here. This summer has also had an extra challenge of writing a new show! So happy to have completed the first draft of the new musical “On The Radio” which will receive a reading with some of the actors from Rising Tide Theatre tomorrow. This piece takes place at a radio station in St. John’s Newfoundland from 1941- 1949, covering world war II, the American Invasion of troops, and the National Convention that led to Newfoundland becoming the 10th province of Canada, so… quite a lot of ground to cover! It’s been a great challenge, and I’ve enjoyed incorporating traditional Newfoundland tunes as well as 1940s songs into the script. Next stop, the Charlottetown Festival Musical Theatre Conference! Hope everyone’s having a great summer!