1. What's it like going from performing to being the husband of the performer?
It's more work. :-)
I will always consider myself a husband first. Jimmy is my first priority in everything. I knew he couldn't handle four weeks alone without me, so I decided to come along and be a husband. Or maybe I just didn't want four weeks alone at home without him. We are a married couple. Despite the rantings and ravings of the idiotic right wing religious fanatics who dominate the American political and religious environment, there is no difference between our marriage and the marriage of any straight couple except, of course, that we love each other more than they do, and we don't divorce each other at the drop of a hat. (How many marriages do the "Christian" Republican Presidential candidates have between them? So many I lost count.)
Actually, since we write together, we have ample opportunity to work on the new pieces we've been writing. And there's a piano down at the theatre. So, I can work on music while he's on stage.
Also, in Zero Hour, I do have 10 lines of dialogue. He needs me to save the show each night.
2. What lessons did you learn by doing TBV in New York that you'll take with you to SF?
I learned that in 100 performances, each one is different, and that if you keep looking, you can discover newer and better ways to perform each scene. We've been doing this show for four years now and it still feels like the first time. There was a woman who wrote me a note after seeing us in New York and she was astonished that we seemed so fresh in the roles. So, I think the main lesson is that if I continue looking for a better way of handling each scene, it will always be fresh and new.
3. What are your plans for June while you're here? Who are you going to work with?
I'll be coming to New York in June for 10 days to work with singers, arrangers and co-writers, all of whom have taken a very strong interest in my music. For too long now, I've kinda worked alone in my studio, making my own demos. But a couple of years ago, I realized that I had no chance of really making a mark as a writer unless I had other singers doing my material. So, that's why I made the recordings with the British singer, Petrina Johnson. But she's in England and too far away. I also made some demos with Alexandra Billings in Los Angeles. Thrilled with our results, I knew I could work more toward tailoring music for someone other than myself.
When we were in NY, you remember that I went to Mark Janas' salon every Sunday night and began (jokingly, but not jokingly) telling everyone, "SING MY SONGS!" And I waited to see who would respond. Mark had already become a strong supporter, but he's not a singer. However, he is a brilliant musician and, as I began writing material that was a little different from my usual thing, he excitedly offered to help me arrange. I loved his ideas and I feel like we're two sides of the same coin, musically. Well, actually, we're two sides of two different coins. He's classical. I'm church. He theatre. I'm bar band. We seem to meet in the middle in a very interesting and wonderful way. I'm in awe of him and, for some ungodly reason, he's in awe of what I do. So, I can't say enough about how much I'm looking forward to working with him again.
The second person to really get excited about my work is Devin Richards, the wonderful Broadway actor/singer currently in "110 In The Shade." We've been working long distance, communicating almost every day. I would send him a track and he would add a vocal. Then I'd rework the track. Like Mark, he comes from a different tradition than I do. But he brings soul and jazz to my sound. Plus, the fact that he's from the south, he "gets" my gospel, blues and country roots. The other thing about Devin is that he's a baritone/bass, completely different from me. But for some reason, we blend and we are excited about working together.
Another singer I'm looking forward to working with is a young singer from Manhattan School of Music named Maeve Hoaglund. If she's not in Italy studying opera, we're going to work in the recording studio together. She has this amazingly rich voice.
Also, I'll be working with Rhe De Ville. We made a video together in NY, but we need to finish the music track for it. She has a husky, low voice that just kills me. And, my god, is she beautiful. Her husband is a professional photographer, so who knows what kind of mischief we might get into. I love them both.
And other singers from the salon: Stephen Wild is one. He's a great singer. I can't name them all. It's a lot for 10 days, I know, but I'm looking forward to a very productive time.
4. Who is your favorite 27 year old lyricist?
AMY LYNN SHAPIRO!
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