This weekend, I participated in staged readings of three different new musicals at New Musicals Inc. (NMI). All three readings were the culmination of the writers' and composers' work in NMI's first draft curriculum. I loved the opportunity to collaborate on each project so early in their inception, and I look forward to seeing where the writers take each musical next!
First, I played the real-life character of Mary Grace Quackenbos, the titular role in Mrs. Sherlock, about a suffrage-era lawyer and investigator in New York City who fought against peonage, class prejudice, and misogyny using her brilliant mind and indomitable sprit to solve crimes and provide justice for women, immigrants, and underprivileged members of society.
Book and lyrics by Sissy Van Dyke
Music and lyrics by Benjamin Emory Larson
Next it was Mother’s Day at Cool Beans Coffee where Marco, the barista, was not really in the holiday spirit. His relationship with his mother had soured when his dad passed away. Yet, all the various quirky personalities in the coffee shop tried their best to convince Marco to make amends on this special day. Through an indie/folk score within the eccentric lifestyle of coffee culture, Call Your Mother showed how in challenging times of pain and grief, it is easier to get through them together instead of alone. I played Ericka (Marco's mother) and the comedic Joan.
Book, lyrics, and music by Morgan Hollingsworth
Finally, I played Patty Lee, the Kathie Lee Gifford-like TV host, in Redneck Superstar: A Surreality TV Musical. Voters have chosen Birdie Williams, a poor Arkansas teenager with the voice of a songbird, to be the first contestant on the show. But Birdie discovers that there’s more to having a voice than just singing notes. Will the TV team succeed, or discover they can’t, in fact, take the redneck out of the girl?
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Angela Parrish