Through this crazy year of lockdowns and much-needed national conversations over democracy and racial injustice, I have developed a pilot for a TV series called “The Movement,” about a Black political operative who embarks on a quest to shift the balance of power in the Senate by moving urban liberals to a red state. Did a reading of the pilot over Zoom, which was thrilling and instructive — onward to the next draft!
My musical parody of Elizabeth of Knoxville, captured in a tearful post-Capitol-storming vid, gets 10K views on YouTube! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztm-7iKsZDg
And the original vid of our, um, heroine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqIdnYxm_WM
In this time of isolation, I stumbled across a beautiful story in the NYT about a European couple, separated by a national border, who visit each other every day at that border — staying dutifully six feet apart. I wrote this 15-minute musical, inspired by the couple, to be performed on Zoom: the actors are in their own frames (their own spaces), using their own piano tracks to sing — and no one sings at the same time, reducing the problems created by simultaneous audio on Zoom.
Synopsis: A German man and Danish woman, both in their 70s and known to us only as He and She, meet at the German-Danish border. They have met here every day for weeks to share a late lunch and wine. But the border between them is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so they sit six feet apart, on opposite sides of the invisible line separating their countries. In these moments together, they find what connection they can. They share stories from their past, of the other lines and boundaries that have kept them from people in their lives. As their evening together ends, they look forward to tomorrow’s encounter, both knowing that the invisible border remains, and the future is uncertain.
The Ars Musica Chorale of New Jersey, under the direction of Brian Mummert, premieres my brand new song “Welcome,” a tribute to the Statue of Liberty, inspired by the Statue and by the Emma Lazarus sonnet celebrating her, “The New Colossus.” The song is from the perspective of an immigrant sailing into port, seeing the Statue for the first time, imagining her words of welcome; and then turning to face back outward to the ocean, to welcome other new immigrants along with the Statue. Heather Jones, mezzo-soprano, sings the solo, accompanied by members of the Young Artist program and players from Ars Musica’s Festival Holiday Brass Ensemble.
Adam Szymkowicz’s hilarious play, for which I wrote several songs, runs for a week at Elon University. I love seeing this show get revived all over the country!
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