From the Beginning Until Opening Night

There is more to a Broadway musical than just songs and dances. It’s the story that drives the production. Here, writer Brian Hill reviews a rehearsal. Photo courtesy of the Goodman Theatre.

There is more to a Broadway musical than just songs and dances. It’s the story that drives the production. Here, writer Brian Hill reviews a rehearsal. Photo courtesy of the Goodman Theatre.

Writer Brian Hill and his partner, composer and lyricist Neil Bartram, stick with a Broadway show from its conception (often in Brian’s brain) until the curtains part on opening night. “We’re at the top of the food chain,” Hill says. “We sit in on casting. We work with the set designers, the costumers.” We stay with the process from the beginning until the end.”

And they have stories about all the in-betweens. Sometimes, for example, the collaborators are approached by a producer who has an idea – but it’s just wrong for them. “I can’t do anything with rap,” said Bartram. “Even though I often include different song styling in my compositions, I just wouldn’t know how to do rap. It’s not the world I live in.” Ditto an adaptation of the film, Dancing with Wolves. Said Hill, “We were asked to work on a Broadway show based on the movie. But we couldn’t come up with a concept that worked. Someone else might  think immediately of fifteen ways to put the storyline on stage. But for us, it was not inspirational.”

The pair will be sharing backstage stories with the audience along with tunes that ended up in Broadway shows (and some that didn’t) on Sunday, October 9 at 6pm in the library’s Community Room. Tickets to the performance are $35.00 each and can be purchased by clicking here. A dinner with the composer and writer will be held following the performance in a beautiful private home in Hudson. Tickets for the dinner are $100.00 per person and must be purchased in advance.

“This evening is a wonderful way for us to recount some of our experiences,” said Bartram. “It’s kind of interesting to layout the thought process of which words work the best and fit the characters. All these details really shape the final production.” The two also will show video clips from rehearsals and performances to give the audience a sense of how a concept grows from the keyboard to the stage.

Hill and Bartram each were nominated for Drama Desk Awards for their work on The Story of My Life. Hill’s resume includes work as an associate director of Disney’s The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. He is currently working on an adaptation of the Universal film, October Sky. With Hill, composer Bartram currently is working on Gene Roddenberry’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks and a one-woman musical called You are Here. Together, they are in early talks to co-produce with a group in China.

Making Musicals – A Concert with Conversation is a benefit for the Hudson Area Library. The concert begins at 6pm on Sunday, October 9,  Columbus Day Weekend at the Library. Reserve your ticket today!

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