What I Did on My Summer Vacation

It wasn’t really a vacation (aside from the three days I spent down the shore), but I did have a fun, productive summer. The biggest developments have been with the musical I am writing with composer and co-bookwriter Hyeyoung Kim, which is inspired by the activities of The Weathermen/Weather Underground Organization and The Black Panther Party in 1969 and the early 1970s. After our wonderful experience with 4@15 back in April where we presented a 15-minute version called “Days of Rage”, we have been working to complete a full-length version with the goal of having a first draft by the final weekend in October.


The song “Necessary Violence”at Hyeyoung Kim’s cabaret on August 21, 2014

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to spend six days at the beautiful Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ, as part of a writing retreat through our graduate program (the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts). We stayed in an adorable apartment overlooking one of the rivers and worked all day in the spaces at the theater, including the stage. We also met with the theater staff and received feedback on our work.

Two RiverOne evening, all the writers at the retreat presented a song for an audience of theater staff and friends of the theater. We presented a song we wrote in the past two days called “Tom,” in which one of our main characters, Jean, remembers her brother fighting in Vietnam. We then had a short Q&A with the audience, during which we talked about our show and why we are writing about this time period. The people who have lived through it are surprised that younger people are interested in it, but it’s hard not to be interested in this time in history. And there are so many parallels to today.


One of my other shows, Lightning Man, with book by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Jeffrey Dennis Smith, is also progressing, and I should have more news on that show in the coming months.

On the music front, my chorus, Essential Voices USA, was the featured chorus at the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks over the East River. The event was also broadcast on NBC, and I made my television debut (well, my voice did anyway). We made the recording back in January, so it was fun to finally hear the finished product. I also wrote an account of the process of putting together the fireworks show for The Huffington Post.

I also took an ear training course, made progress on my TV pilot script, conducted more interviews for Culturadar.com and the Dramatists Guild Fund, had my 10-year college reunion, and learned bass guitar. I’m sad to say goodbye to the summer heat, but I have much to look forward to in the fall. Check back here for more updates!

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