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Entries in Composer (35)


Call Answered: Conference Call: Tom Gualtieri & David Sisco: "Departures: The Songs of Gualtieri & Sisco" at Feinstein's/54 Below

David Sisco (left) and Tom Gualtieri (right), Photo Credit: Jonathan BellerI was so excited when I found out Tom Gualtieri & David Sisco were going to be presenting an evening of their music at Feinstein's/54 Below this coming January! I have known Tom for a few years, but have yet to experience Tom & David's work together, so when the opportunity came up to interview them, I was eager to hit every note & learn about this dynamic duo! After interviewing Tom & David, I'm really looking forward to hearing their music.

Departures: The Songs of Gualtieri & Sisco will play Feinstein's/54 Below on Wednesday, January 10 at 9:30pm. Click here for tickets! 

For more on Tom & David visit,, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

For more on Feinstein's/54 Below visit and follow them on FacebookTwitterYouTube, & Instagram!

1. Who or what inspired you to become composer/lyricist?

David Sisco: For me it was melding my love of classical music with the American Songbook and popular music. Our diverse interests made us oddly right for each other as a composer/lyricist team.

Tom Gualtieri: I’ve always been drawn to storytelling whether it was through acting, directing, or writing. And with my love of all kinds of music – classical, pop, opera, standards and contemporary - the addition of lyric-writing seemed a natural progression.

2. How did you come to work together?

David Sisco: We met in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in 2003. The first two years of the Workshop are driven by exercises designed to expose theatre writers to all the facets of dramatic songwriting: structure, storytelling etc. Through each assignment, writers meet potential collaborators.

Tom Gualtieri: David and I were paired for one of the oldest exercises in the Workshop: we had to write a song for Willy Loman in an imagined, musical version of DEATH OF A SALESMAN - a notoriously difficult exercise because parody was not allowed. The songs had to be legit.

David Sisco: There were some beautiful songs written by the writers of the Workshop, but it is a daunting exercise.

Tom Gualtieri: We discovered that we had a similar musical sensibility and loved the same types of music and drama. We favor innovative and intellectually stimulating musicals but also appreciate what would have been called "musical comedy" back in the day.

3. On January 10, you are returning to Feinstien's/54 Below with a new collection of music, Departures: The Songs of Gualtieri & Sisco. What excites you about this upcoming concert?

Tom Gualtieri: We've set aside two projects in the last couple of years and we didn't want to go an entire year without working as we search for a new one. We decided to put our energy into practicing the most important part of our collaboration: the actual writing of songs. We made it a goal this year to examine contemporary and pop forms and filter them through dramatic storytelling. So, the songs in Departures are a hybrid.

David Sisco: Also different from our previous concert is that many of these songs were initiated by talking about our personal experiences. Because of that, I think the audience will get to know us even better as writers and individuals. 

Tom Gualtieri: I should add that we are also excited to be working with Laura Josepher again. She’s directed all of our past projects and she seems to understand our work. She asks the right questions. She holds our feet to the fire when necessary and praises us when - IF - it’s appropriate.

David Sisco: Any opportunity to work with Laura is a blessing. We think she's one of the best unsung directors in the business so we're lucky to have her.

David SIsco (left) and Tom Gualtieri (right), Photo Credit: Jonathan Beller4. What do you think will surprise fans about these new songs?

Tom Gualtieri: The people who are familiar with our work know us best for traditional theatre songs. We've been bringing our voice to traditional styles and forms since we started our collaboration, but now we've had a great shift toward contemporary, musical landscapes.

David Sisco: We're not giving up our classical and traditional influences, but we're also trying find this new facet of our voice.

Tom Gualtieri: In "the old days" - that is, the golden age of musical theatre - popular music and theatre music were the same. Some of the great standards come from musical theatre. After a long dry spell, musical theatre has entered a new golden age - and we think that's partly due to the crossover appeal of contemporary musical theatre.

David Sisco: Our fans may be surprised that many of the songs in Departures are heavily influenced by pop structure.

5. Since this concert celebrates and skewers contemporary life & relationships, what has been the best part about working together and the most challenging part?

Tom Gualtieri: David and I work well together - we've got a shorthand after 14 years of collaboration - but no matter how at ease we are as a team, it's still tricky to tell your collaborator, "I'm not crazy about this or that idea."

David Sisco: We are mindful of the effort we each put into our work, but we haven't got time to get married to anything we've written…

Tom Gualtieri: If it needs to change, we change it. Writing is a process of rewriting, after all.

David Sisco: And because of that, we are pretty merciless self-editors. The most important thing is the work itself. There's a 'just do it' attitude that helps us as we look toward the ultimate goal: writing good songs.

Tom Gualtieri: We're tremendous fans of each other's work so that makes it easy - most of the time. Haha!

Tom Gualtieri (left) and David Sisco (right) at Feinstein's/54 Below6. Press notes also state these songs in the January 10 concert explore the intersection between compelling storytelling & exciting musical form to create a dynamic cycle of songs/ What do you feel makes a song compelling & exciting?

Tom Gualtieri: All genres have unique qualities that are compelling in one way or another. With pop music, many people don't listen to the lyrics but for me, a song is most exciting when it reveals something through a combination of music AND lyrics. An exceptionally "hooky" song might be spoiled by rotten lyrics and on the opposite side, great lyrics can go unnoticed if the song isn't musically compelling. Artists like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor write gorgeous lyrics but more current writers like Ed Sheeran and Sara Bareilles also bring tremendous intelligence to the table and still create hook-driven, emotionally rich work.

David Sisco: For me, it's the specificity of the lyric and music, which Tom is hinting at, that make me want to listen to a song more than once. Songs (in any genre) than can walk the tightrope of neither being overly poetic or too on-the-nose - that make the listener fill in the blanks, getting them emotionally invested in the storytelling - excite me the most.

7. I love that you are collaborating with book writer Michael Zam (FX Feud) on a project. What, if anything, can you tell us about this piece?

David Sisco: We are adapting Henry James' THE WINGS OF THE DOVE. Tom brought this to me years ago but we kept getting distracted by other ideas. Most recently we decided, after setting aside two projects, that it was time for us to let someone else do the adaptation. Tom and Michael have known each other for years and we proposed it to him. He's a brilliant guy and he came up with a thrilling concept for this.

Tom Gualtieri: Something that's not been done before in a musical.

David Sisco: We are excited and even a little impatient to get started. There's a tremendous amount of research involved and late James is challenging....

Tom Gualtieri: It ain't beach reading. But THE WINGS OF THE DOVE is a beautiful story with fascinating characters and gorgeous settings - London and Venice at the turn of the century - so it will transport us to another world.

Call Me Adam and "Feud" writer Michael Zam8. Since Michael was a writer on the hit FX series Feud, if you had to write one original song to sum up the series, what would you call it and what would be just a few lyrics?

Tom Gualtieri: Haha - we are SO INSANE right now that trying to answer this question is like putting a straw on the back of a camel that has walked through the Sahara without water. But off the top of my head, I'd write a song based on something Bette once said, "Old Age Ain't No Place for Sissies."

9. What do you hope this new year brings for you with regards to your music?

Tom Gualtieri: We love writing something that makes a singer WANT to sing and we hope that continues to happen. We're also incredibly excited to get started on THE WINGS OF THE DOVE.

David Sisco: Writing for this concert has also challenged us to write faster and, we think, helped our actual writing process evolve, which is a pretty neat trick after all these years. We look forward to continuing that conversation as we work on new projects.

Tom Gualtieri: More than anything, we want to share our work. All of the songs from this concert will be available online when the sheet music is finished and proofed. So we hope people will use our work for auditions, cabaret, and concerts.

David Sisco, Photo Credit: Roberto AraujoTom Gualtieri, Photo Credit: Rob Sutton10. If you had to select one of your songs to describe today's climate, which song would best represent where we are at politically & socially? Then, which of your songs would you say provides hope?

Tom Gualtieri: So, there are two pieces here: the social and the political. The political climate today is detrimental to everyone's health.

David Sisco: And we’re not just talking about the news coming out of Washington, but also the social messages we are getting from elected leaders.

Tom Gualtieri: One of the ways artists can affect change is by taking up the issue of diversity in our industry.

David Sisco: We get frustrated when theatre pieces, which are not specifically about issues of race, sexual identity, or those with perceived disabilities, are cast in ways that do not reflect diversity nor draw from the enormous pools of talent which remain underrepresented.

Tom Gualtieri: Those are huge subjects to tackle and our writing tends to focus in on individuals and their personal experiences. There are two songs in our upcoming concert which capture small aspects of the anger and anxiety that buzzes through our culture right now: "My Call to Fly" is about finding your inner strength in the face of cynicism, and "Compared to You Blues" is a comic song about the negative effects of social media.

David Sisco: We think our most hopeful song is a non-political one called "Morning, Love." It's a deeply personal song about looking for love - looking for that one person you know is out there waiting for you and feels the same way. In these most-troubled times, we need love. Maybe now more than ever.

Tom Gualtieri (left) and David Sisco (right), Photo Credit: Jonathan BellerMore on Tom & David:

Tom Gualtieri and David Sisco began their collaboration at the BMI Musical Theater Workshop in 2003. Their first musical Falling to Earth, has been developed through the Syracuse University New Play Workshop and The York Theatre Developmental Reading Series. They have provided material for We Are the Song, sponsored by the After The Storm Foundation, which offers assistance to the youth of post-Katrina New Orleans. Currently, they're working on a new musical entitled I'm Afraid, You're Afraid: 448 Reasons to Fear And Why. Tom and David are the recipients of a grant from the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust and their songs have been featured in various cabarets and concerts. In addition to their writing partnership, they appear on stage together in David’s multi-award-winning comedies BAIT n’ SWISH. They have also led seminars and workshops on a variety of topics, and were featured lecturers and performers at the 2011 MTNA/NATS Conference.



Call Answered: Michael Harren: "The Animal Show" at Dixon Place

Michael Harren at Tamerlaine Animal SanctuaryWho doesn't love a good cat or dog video? I love animals...well, not all animals. I hate rats and mice, but other than that, I love animals. When I read about Michael Harren's residency at Tamerlaine Animal Sanctuary, where he created his show The Animal Show, I knew this is an interview I needed to do.

The Animal Show, blends humor with candor to convey the importance of keeping all animals safe from harm. Through stories, music, and video from his residency at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary and activism on the road, The Animal Show is a thoughtful exploration of humans’ relationships with non-human animals.

The Animal Show returns to Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street) on November 8 & 9 at 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!

For more on Michael be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube!

Michael Harren and his orange organ1. Who or what inspired you to become a composer and performer? I wanted to be a performer for as long as I can remember. As a kid in the '70s I used to put on little performances for my family, playing songs I learned by ear on this florescent orange horrible sounding chord organ I got for Christmas. My mom always encouraged me to pursue my musical dreams, but it took me many years to develop the courage to start creating and performing my own work. There are so many messages we get in our culture that being an artist isn’t a "real job" or should just be a hobby. It was especially hard for me to get over that, but I am so glad I did!

2. When did you become an animal activist? I went vegan in November of 2010 when I realized that eating and otherwise exploiting animals didn’t fit with my desire to live a non-violent life. I learned so much about what we humans do to animals, I realized that being vegan wasn’t enough and I needed to hit the streets if I wanted to be able to live with myself.

3. This November you return to Dixon Place with The Animal Show, a multi-media experience of your time living and volunteering at the Tamerlaine Animal Sanctuary. First, what made you want to go live/volunteer at Tamerlaine? How long after you were there did you go, "Hey, this experience could be turned into a show? It actually worked in the reverse of that. I had the idea to do the residency because I wanted to create an experience that I could potentially turn into a show about animals. I had just wrapped up the album and book based on my previous show, Tentative Armor, and in the midst of my wondering "what next" I visited Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, and had the idea of doing a residency at a sanctuary. Soon after I met Tamerlaine co-founder Peter Nussbaum on my vegan running team, and the rest is history!

4. What are you most looking forward to about this return engagement? What do you hope audiences come away with from seeing this show? I’ve been wanting to add a video component to the show since I first conceived of the idea, but I just didn’t have the skills to get it together. Finally (after hours of YouTube study), I have some new pieces in the show that feature video, most of which I shot myself at a Los Angeles Animal Save vigil and a dairy farm I visited while on tour this summer. I’ve expanded the ensemble to a full string quartet, which really makes a huge difference in the sound of the show.

I hope people come away from the show with a different understanding about how we all relate to animals. The biggest thing I realized during my time at Tamerlaine was that every animal is an individual who wants to live. It’s such a simple concept, but even as a long time vegan activist, I didn’t internalize that understanding like I do now. Really, though, I’d like for everyone who sees the show to instantaneously go vegan, but I’ll settle for the "animals as individuals” thing. For now.

Michael Harren and his siblings with their pup Corky5. What did you learn about yourself from your time at Tamerlaine Animal Sanctuary? I’m way more resilient than I thought. Part of the "fun" of this project was that I pretty much hate the outdoors, and I knew by putting myself in a situation that made me very uncomfortable, I would have some interesting experiences to write about. It turns out that I liked doing the outdoor work way more than I thought I would. Even tasks like deep cleaning a chicken coop can become a meditative practice during which I have time to think. I don’t get a lot of that time in my regular life. I toured this summer and wound up in some pretty…rustic settings. One of the sanctuaries where I volunteered had me in a tent, with no electricity or plumbing nearby, I literally had to poop in a bucket and cover it with peat moss each time. One morning as I unzipped my tent I had a strange realiziation - "holy shit. I’m enjoying this." I never knew I was outdoorsy…sometimes.

6. Which animals were your favorite to be with? Which ones were you most afraid of? I love chickens way more than I thought I would. In fact, when I realized Tamerlaine Farm would be the best place for my project, I hesitated because most of the animals they had there at the time were chickens. I mean, what would I write about dumb 'ol chickens?? To my surprise, the stories about chickens are the heart of the show, especially one chicken I had the opportunity to rescue. Chickens are so social and cuddly. YES, cuddly! If you sit down in a yard of chickens, they will gather around you, hop in your lap, nuzzle under your arm. They are lovely and loving beings. I adore them now. Roosters, are a little bit scary though when they get all territorial, and I am especially terrified of a pig at the farm named Clara. There’s a story about her in the show.

Michael Harren at Tamerlaine Animal Sanctuary7. Did you encounter any moments similar to the show When Animals Attack and if so, what happened and how did you handle yourself? I don’t want to tell too much because this particular story is in the show, but let’s just say that even though I don't want to eat animals, that doesn’t mean that animals don’t want to eat me.

8. Which animal do you consider to be your spirit animal? Oh I don’t know, maybe a cat? A sloth? Yeah, that’s it. A sloth.

9. There are so many songs out about the welfare of animals. Off the top of my head, Olivia Newton-John has "The Dolphin Song" and "Pony Ride", two songs about the preservation of dolphins and horses. If you were to write a song about saving one kind of animal, which animal would you write about and what would you name the song? That would be a tough one, and forgive me for getting all vegan-y but the song would have to be about encouraging a consciousness of compassion for all animals. It would be called "We Are Us" and I think you just gave me an idea for a song to add to the show. I wonder if I can write it in just a week?!

Michael Harren and Sandra Bernhard10. My last question, is going to deviate from this specific show because I just love this artist so much that you play with. When not creating your own work, you tour with the one and only Sandra Bernhard as her pianist. What have you learned from working with Sandra and what is one hilarious story you can share about your time on the road with her? Working with Sandra transformed me as an artist tremendously. When I first started working with her I had these beliefs about myself as a pianist, and really as a human, that I had to let go of FAST if I wanted the gig. I was really intimidated when I first started playing with her because I came from more of a classical/theatre background where music was rehearsed and perfected, and I was expected to show up at sound check, ready to go and just do it. Working like that really loosened me up as a musician, and it has changed dramatically how I show up in my own work. I’m not so married to things being perfect, or a big deal, it’s performing and fun and we all, audience and performer, are supposed to have a good time and connect.

I think my favorite moment ever with her was not only getting to play "Me and Mrs. Jones" with her in Provincetown, but the moment she changed her iconic line to " and my vegan piano player. You know how we people get along so well…"

Michael Harren, Photo Credit: Diana BezanskiMore on Michael:

Brooklyn-based composer and performer Michael Harren combines elements of classical composition with experimental electronics and storytelling to create hypnotic, bold, and intimate work. He is an artist-in-residence at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary where he created The Animal Show. Michael Harren tours as a pianist with Sandra Bernhard and serves as the musical director for Cabaret for a Cause. Michael has performed at Dixon Place, (le) poisson rouge, Joe’s Pub, Judson Memorial Church, The Laurie Beechman Theater and numerous venues around the country.


Call Answered: Michael Mott: Abandoned Heart

Michael Mott, Photo Credit: Michael Kushner PhotographyWhen I saw the list artists singing on Michael Mott's new album Abandoned Heart, I knew I had to take a listen. What I heard were songs filled with raw emotion in regards to love & relationships. From finding love to losing love, Michael has a voice all his own. And he's found a group of performers, including Brian Justin Crum, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Natalie Weiss, Shayna Steele, & Jenna Ushkowitz, who really knew how to help bring these songs to life!

Abandoned Heart is available now on iTunes and Broadway Records along with his new single "More Than Me," which benefits Puerto Rico.

For more on Michael be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a composer/lyricist? Honestly, the piano. I dreaded playing the rudimentary exercises my piano teacher required of me, so I'd go off and make up my own compositions. I've always written ever since I was a little kid, but didn't really explore this talent seriously until I applied to the BMI Musical Theatre Writer's Workshop in 2012 in NYC. Going through that program gave me the confidence and skill set to pursue writing full time.

2. You just released your new CD Abandoned Heart, a variety of feel good pop, anthemic soul and introspective ballads. How do you feel you struck "Gold" with this album? Haha. Well, as corny as this sounds, I truly wrote all of these songs from the heart. Over the past few years I've found my artistic voice as a songwriter and these songs are written from a place of truth. While this is stylistically very different from my first album, Where The Sky EndsAbandoned Heart explores the type of music I truly love creating and am inspired by as a fan of music.

3. You have stated that this album helped you find your own individual voice and point of view as a writer and singer. How do you feel this album did that? Not to discredit my first album, but I feel like I was trying very hard to say "Look! I can write in any style or genre!" with that record. I was trying to appeal to a more high brow audience and show everything I could do, which almost made that record feel like a sampler platter. Abandoned Heart is a much more cohesive album. It has a true beginning, middle and end. I honed in on the styles and genres that speak to me as a fan first and foremost and then wrote from my heart and soul.

4. Since the album is called Abandoned Heart, when have you abandoned your heart? This can get pretty deep, pretty quickly. Let's just say working on this album taught me A LOT about myself. Haha. When I was going through the process of naming this project I was listening to these songs over and over again and beginning to analyze lyrics. I don't know why I write what I write, I just write! When I was trying to dissect every phrase, I realized  that every song was written from a place of yearning or longing. Each song on this record deals with a heart crying for acceptance. Hence, Abandoned Heart.

5. Which songs were the easiest to write? Which ones gave you the most trouble? I wrote "Gold" in a matter of 15-20 minutes sitting in the park. "My Favorite Color" also came to me pretty quickly. It's funny because the rest of these songs are like the fourth or fifth versions of these songs. "So Relentless," "Minefield of Love" and "Breathless" all had completely different choruses. It was after I had demo'd them and listened back that I realized what I wanted to do to evolve them into what they are now. I would actually love to do a concert or workshop or something and show the earliest versions of these songs. It's very interesting to see just how different they were in their first draft stages. "Minefield of Love" was originally called "Ask Me To Stay" and had this interesting country/rock vibe. "Breathless" was called "My Man" and had a totally different hook. Listening back on those earlier versions now, they're extremely inferior to the current versions. Thankfully I had the common sense to know I could do better, haha. It's very important for artists to give themselves the time and space to allow the material to grow and evolve. You can not undermine the creative process.

Michael Mott6. How do you prepare for a day of writing? What is your writing process like? Do you say today I'm going to write my emotional songs and then I will tackle my more upbeat songs or vice versa? How do you decompress writing songs? I wish I knew. I've found that when I sit down with the intention to write is when I usually come up with the worst material that makes me feel like the most untalented human being on earth. It's funny because once I allow myself to be in this place, suddenly the flood gates open and I am receptive to inspiration; my subconscious opens and melodies, lyrical phrases and ideas start coming to me in the most inopportune times (see: showering, working out, walking to the park, etc).

7. Your song "Complicated" is about someone holding on to a relationship that seems to be ending. When you write a song like this, if it's based upon your own experience, how far out from this relationship were you when writing it? What do you feel as you write it? Freedom or the anger/frustration of the situation? This song is based on a relationship I was in last fall. I was head over heels for this guy, but he was scared of commitment. We fell for each other and then he pulled away. It's very therapeutic to be able to sit down at the piano and allow the music to do all of the work for me. That song encapsulates exactly how I felt in that relationship and Eric LaJuan Summers' vocal performance is exquisite. I couldn't ask for a better vocalist. He's such a star.

Michael Mott at the "Abandoned Heart" release concert8. I love the different styles of music on your album. How did you know they would all blend together so well? Thank you, I appreciate that. I honestly don't think about it. I just knew I was writing from a place of truth and wanted to write with a more fresh, contemporary pop sound and that was that. It also helped that I worked with one music producer on the entire album, so we were able to hone in on a certain tone that was all encompassing on the entire record. Rich Matthew produced and made everything sound like a million bucks.

9. Another song on the album is "My Favorite Color." So, what's your favorite color? I enjoy a dark blue or black. Let's go with black as the black heart emoji has been part of the branding experience of this new album.

10. If you had the opportunity to write songs for five of your favorite artists, who would you want to write for? Well, I have been lucky enough to have worked with most of my favorite artists from the Broadway and television worlds, including everyone on this album and my first album. That is something I do not take for granted at all! However, it would be an absolute dream come true to write with Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, Sia, John Mayer and P!nk. I love collaborating because I learn so much from the writers and artists I'm working with. You can not get any better than those legends and it would be a dream come true to be able to work with them in any capacity.

Michael Mott, Photo Credit: Cristin DownsMore on Michael:

Michael Mott  is a composer, lyricist, singer, actor and voice teacher living in NYC. Born and raised in New Hartford, New York, Michael graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre Performance. After graduating, he moved to New York City and enjoyed a successful career performing in numerous Off-Broadway, regional and national touring shows. In 2012 he decided to shift his focus to writing and was accepted into the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writer’s Workshop. He has since been named one of Playbill's "Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know."

Michael's debut album, Where The Sky Ends, is a compilation album of his original theatre, jazz and pop music performed by some of the best singers on Broadway, co-produced by Mott and legendary orchestrator/ producer, Kim Scharnberg. The LP has been referred to as "a masterpiece" by Broadway World and was released by Grammy Award Winning label, Broadway Records on June 17, 2014. Due to popular demand, Where The Sky Ends: The Dance Remixes was released by the same label on October 14, 2014 and spawned the popular dance track, "Gone" (Julian Marsh Ethereal Mix). In 2016 he composed a Christmas single for Broadway star, Laura Osnes, co-produced by Mott, Scharnberg and Jeremy Roberts. "Christmas, Will You Stay?" was released digitally on his own label, Motta Music, on December 6, 2016.

Michael has had the great fortune of working with some of the best singers in the business both in the recording studio and on stage in his touring show, Michael Mott & Friends. His collaborations include TONY Award Nominees Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Jennifer Damiano, Orfeh, Sierra Boggess, Zachary Levi, Jenna Ushkowitz, Andy Mientus, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Adrienne Warren, Justin Guarini, Brian Justin Crum, Shayna Steele, James Snyder, Jackie Burns, Mitch Jarvis, Michael Lanning, Marissa McGowan, Crystal Monee Hall, Loren Allred, Natalie Weiss, Teal Wicks, Jason Gotay, Ryan Silverman and countless others. As composer/ lyricist, Michael’s original musicals include In The Light (book by Nathan Wright and Justin Silvestri), The Don (book by Corey Skaggs) and Lucifer (co-lyricist, Mike Squillante, book by Corey Skaggs). He co-conceived and composed music to the original ten minute musical, Riding Out The Storm, written with lyricist and librettist, Christine Toy Johnson. Additionally, he has written and recorded several stand alone pop/ R&B/ top 40 songs.


Call Redialed: Facetime Interview: Bobby Cronin: Concerts, Theme Songs, & Winning New York

Call Me Adam and Bobby Cronin at The Algonquin Hotel's "New Yorker Suite"From inside The Algonquin Hotel's New Yorker Suite, what an absolute joy it was to catch-up with Bobby Cronin, award winning composer/lyricist (and creator/singer of the "Call Me Adam Theme Song")! It's been a few years since Bobby & I have sat down for an interview so needless to say, we had lots to talk about: from his upcoming concerts to creating the "Call Me Adam Theme Song" to Winning New York, we reveal it all!

Bobby has two upcoming concerts. One is Sunday 3/26 at 7pm at The W Hotel in Times Square, NYC (47th & Broadway) called #Love Is Love as part of the W's Broadway at The W series. Featuring Bobby's music, #Love Is Love will welcome Anne Brummel (Wicked), Bryan Terrell Clark (Hamilton & Motown), Lauren Elder (Hair & Side Show), Lora Lee Gayer (Holiday Inn & Follies), LaQuet Sharnell (Memphis & Lion King), Adam Kaplan (Kinky Boots & Newsies), Kyle Scatliffe (The Color Purple & Les Miserables), Marty Thomas (Grammy Nominee), Michael Williams (Charllie & The Chocolate Factory & On The Town), and Cortney Wolfson (Kinky Boots & The Addams Family). Click here for tickets!

Bobby's second concert, Bobby Cronin & Friends will be April 19 at 8pm at The Yotel's Green Room in NYC (42nd & 10th Ave). This will be a benefit for the Humane Society and feature a host of Bobby's New York friends and International talents. Click here for tickets!

For more on Bobby be sure to visit and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

"Call Me Adam's" Facetime video interview with Bobby Cronin:


Call Answered: Assaf Gleizner: 90210! The Musical! at Theatre 80

Assaf Gleizner, Photo Credit: Amy KerwinEver since I saw Bob and Tobly McSmith's Bayside! The Musical! I have been a fan of their unauthorized musical parodies! They have a great way to capturing the essence of the shows they are paying tribute to. I was/am a huge Beverly Hills 90210 fan! In the 90s, every Wednesday night I was in front of my TV watching the latest episode of the hit show. 

Needless to say, when I heard 90210! The Musical! was coming to Theatre 80, I knew I had to get the inside scoop. I was thrilled, Assaf Gleizner, 90210! The Musical! musical composer, answered my call to talk about the creation of this show. It was great going back to school and getting an education in everything 90210! 

90210! The Musical! is currently playing at Theatre 80 in NYC's East Village (80 St. Marks Place, between 1st and 2nd Avenue). Click here for tickets!

For more on 90210! The Musical! be sure to visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

1. This fall you are part of the creative team for 90210! The Musical! You worked with Bob and Tobly McSmith on Full House! The Musical!. What made you want to work with them again on this show? Bob and Tobly are great writers and really easy to work with! They also seem to share the same vision I have when it comes to musical theatre, which is on one hand to appreciate the characteristics that make musical theatre so great, yet on the other hand to not take ourselves so seriously. I am personally most inspired by shows like Avenue Q, Book of Mormon, Spelling Bee, etc. which in my opinion focuses more on the lighthearted parts of this genre and I feel that Bob and Tobly share the same approach to writing a musical.

2. What did you enjoy about writing the music/lyrics for this show? What challenges were presented before you? Well first of all, I love everything about the 90s and writing music with Bob and Tobly's lyrics that perfectly captured the dramatic flare of that era was super fun. 

As for the challenges, there is something thrilling yet nerve wracking when you stare at a blank piece of paper (or finale file when you compose on your computer). Endless possibilities may come to mind, but it can also be very difficult when making decisions. Bob and Tobly's lyrics are very sarcastic with quite a lot of subtext, so I need make sure I compose a melody that serves all of these qualities.

Cast of "90210! The Musical!", Photo Credit: Chad WagnerCast of "90210! The Musical!", Photo Credit: Chad Wagner3. Who was your favorite character or scene to write music for? My favorite scene to write music for was the finale "Drama Never Ends." By that point all the characters are fully developed and I need to make sure all their quirks are expressed in the music. At the same time, it's the conclusive moment in the show so it needs to have a unified, usually "happy ever after" type of sound. This gives me a chance to reprise all the individual musical motifs of each character and other important melodies for one epic closing number!

4. What song was the easiest to write and what song gave you the most trouble? Surprisingly, I find finales and openers the easiest even though they are usually the biggest and most complicated numbers to write. I think the purpose of each of those songs is very clear which keeps me focused through the writing process.

One song we were struggling a bit with was Brenda's "I'm a Bitch." Having "Brenda" and the other characters sing about how big of a bitch she is could be extremely offensive, but we decided this should be more of an empowerment song. We wanted "Brenda" to kind of "own" the fact that others see her as a "bitch" which is what we thought Shannon Doherty did as well.

Alan Trinca and Ana Marcu as "Dylan McKay" and "Brenda Walsh" in "90210! The Musical!", Photo Credit: Chad WagnerSeth Blum and Alexis Kelley as "Steve Sanders" and "Kelly Taylor" in "90210! The Musical!", Photo Credit: Chad Wagner5. What do you think die-hard fans of 90210 will love about this show? To be honest, every single actor is playing their characters so well and that's already something fans would appreciate. While some parodies may lose track of what they're based on as the show develops. I think Bob and Tobly made a great effort to keep everything in the 90210 world and remain authentic to the show!

6. What are your top five favorite episodes of 90210? I watched them when I was in elementary school, so it's hard to remember. Haha! 

  1. But of course the first episode is a classic where "Steve's" car rolls down the hill.
  2. The one where "Emily Valentine" just moves to the school and both "Dylan" and "Brandon" take her on a date to the same place and the same song is playing on the radio both times (I think it was Chris Isaak, "Wicked Game").
  3. The one where "Steve" is doing community service and assigned to help an old guy with Alzheimers. That was actually a really touching episode.
  4. The one where "Dylan's" wife, "Toni," is killed by her own father, while trying to get to "Dylan." Kinda had a West Side Story vibe to it :).
  5. The one where "David" was robbed so he buys a gun, then accidentally shoots "Donna." It's just the most dramatic.

7. If you had to live by 90210, what are the top 5 lessons you learned from watching the show or working on this musical?  

  1. That apparently there is life after high school, yet it's just as overly dramatic sometimes.
  2. That real friends will be there, even if it's been a few episodes since you've seen them last.
  3. That being rich doesn't always mean being happy.
  4. That everyone has a story and is going through issues.
  5. That high schools in America are HUGE. My high school had about 400 students.

Thaddeus Kolwicz and Caleb Dehne as "David Silver" and "Donna Martin" in "90210! The Musical!", Photo Credit: Chad Wagner8. Which 90210 character are you most like? I'd probably say "Steve." He starts as being a big tool, but really develops a kind heart! Plus his curls are everything!

9. You were born in Tel Aviv, Israel. What made you want to move to NYC to pursue your career? Was the move what you had hoped for or has the reality been a bit more difficult than you expected? NYC has been everything I imagined it to be. Israel has a lot of talented people but not enough artistic outlets. My hopes were that moving to NYC would allow me to pursue my career as a musician to its full extent, and it has! I love the fact that so many people are always looking to create new projects and so far I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with some very talented people, including the creative team for 90210!, of course!

10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Great question! Living in NYC as a musician you can't help but spread yourself too thin sometimes. This is because the city has SO MUCH to offer, you can't resist taking every opportunity that comes your way. However, it does mean you have to figure out how to divide your time and prioritize to make each deadline. So personally, something in my life I would like to improve everyday is being comfortable with saying no, as well as being able to give 100% to all the projects I'm committed to!

Assaf GleiznerMore on Assaf:

Assaf was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2007, moved to the United States, where he graduated from SUNY Purchase with a degree in Jazz Performance. Since graduating Assaf has been consistently working as a music director, orchestrator, arranger and performer all over the world, but primarily in the tri-state area. Favorite credits include: Off-Broadway: THE ASTONISHING TIMES OF TIMOTHY CRATCHIT - (Workshop Theatre) Orchestrations, Full House (Randolph Theater Canada & Theater 80) MD & Orchestrations. Flak House (Actors Temple) orchestrations and vocal arrangements. The Travels (NYMF) orchestrations, vocal arrangements, MD. I Battled Lenny Ross (Ensemble Studio Theater) MD.