Dear readers, just a reminder that we are down to only 28 more days left in our Kickstarter fundraising and we still need $4500 to get the money we've raised.
I know, I know, I'm starting to sound like a broken record, or at the very least, those frustrating PBS pledge drive people that interrupt your programming. (I have a whole new respect for them.)
Drastic times call for drastic measures. Someone needed to take a leap out of their comfort zone today, and since I'm already mid-air, it had to be Robby. So, despite his fear of writing anything that doesn't have notes (as in Treble Clefs and Quarter Notes), Robby wrote the rest of this blog entry.
And, let me tell you, it's a beautiful as his music.
I was raised in a very musical home. We always had at least one piano and organ, and at least one of every string and wind instrument created my man. I started playing piano by ear when I was 5.
I hated piano lessons.
By the age of 8, I was performing professionally with my brothers. We were the Stamper Brothers Quartet. We recorded 5 records and traveled the country singing mostly in churches, small auditoriums and sports arenas. That was my childhood.
I love musical theater. I teach it. I write it. It is a part of my life….every day. I can remember writing musicals as a child by changing the lyrics to Burt Bacharach songs and creating original shows about monsters and zombies running loose in the city. One of my favorites was “Do You Know The Way To The Sewer” about a monster living underground who caused terror to the residents of Happy Town.
Strangely enough, I hadn’t seen a Broadway musical until just 10 years ago.
10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the names of Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gretchen Cryer or Nancy Ford.
But, recently, I had the privilege of being invited to the Dramatist Guild Awards Annual Gala. All the names I mentioned above and more were there…in the same small room as me…talking to me as fellow writer. These are the people who have shaped my voice as a composer in the theater. I relished the opportunity to tell them about my work on Helen On 86th Street. They shared my excitement while I bragged about her like a newborn child.
As I watched Mr. Sondheim present a lifetime achievement award to Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, I was moved by his sincere words of admiration to them. He cried as he read a lyric from She Loves Me. I cried too. I was moved by Mr. Sondheim’s vulnerability. I was moved by the way he talked about the friendship they had shared for over 50 years. I was moved by the fact that I was there…just a few feet away…listening to the words of one of my heroes.
Nicole and I have created our first musical. Helen on 86th St. will have her world premiere here in New York City just several months from today.
Thanks, Mom and Dad for the piano lessons.
Dreams do come true.
And thank you, Robby, for your music, your heart, your hard work, your passion and for being the best musical theatre collaborator a girl could ask for.
Show Robby your love by making a pledge today!