Do They Really Just Start Singing? Creating Authentic Musical Voices
Chris Jeffries is a composer who has had a prolific and celebrated career in musical theater. 2011 Jack Straw Writer Harold Taw is a novelist and newbie to an art form in which characters burst out spontaneously in song. Together, they are collaborating on an original, one-act musical for the 5th Avenue Theatre entitled The Missed Connections Club. Please join Chris (music/lyrics) and Harold (book) for a lively performance and discussion about how a contemporary musical is developed. In an interview interspersed with song/scene selections, Harold will ask Chris questions that audiences frequently whisper: What drives a character to sing instead of speak? How does a songwriter create authentic musical voices from multiple points of view? How much of one's own musical vocabulary does a songwriter sacrifice to, or impose upon, the story? Guest vocalists: Amy Jones and Marissa Ryder.
Chris Jeffries has written the book, music and lyrics for many shows, including Vera Wilde and Moon of My Delight (Seattle’s Empty Space Theatre) and Kaleidoscope Eyes (Northwest Film Forum). Music/lyrics credits include Charles Ludlam's Corn (Seattle); Laura Comstock's Bag-Punching Dog (Los Angeles, Ovation and LA Weekly Awards, Best Musical); Punch in America (Minneapolis) and Horse Opera (Seattle, Minneapolis, Washington; NEA Consortium Grant). His music for Bunnicula (Kennedy Center/Seattle Children’s Theatre) has been heard in dozens of productions in the U.S. and Canada. He is currently under commission by ACT (A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle) in conjunction with the Estate of Jack Kerouac to write and compose a musical based on Maggie Cassidy – the first authorized stage adaptation of a Kerouac novel. Chris received The Stranger's first “Genius” Award in Theatre and was twice a finalist for CalArts’ Alpert Award in the Arts. A graduate of Yale University, he lives in Seattle, Washington.
Harold Taw is the author of the novel Adventures of the Karaoke King (2011). His writing has been featured on NPR, in a New York Times bestselling anthology and in The Seattle Times; his screenplay Dog Park has garnered recognition in domestic and international film festivals and competitions. Harold is currently completing a novel about a turbulent adolescence in Southeast Asia, collaborating on a musical with Seattle rock band Poland, and co-authoring a graphic-novel adaptation of his dark children’s fable “The Repository of Broken Dreams” (available in What to Read in the Rain 2013). A Yale Law School graduate and a Fulbright Scholar, Harold’s research and writing has been supported by, among others, 826 Seattle, Artist Trust, Centrum, the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center, Humanities Washington, Jack Straw Productions, and Wing Luke Museum.
In The Missed Connections Club, a young caregiver persuades a wistful retired teacher to cast a message in a bottle into the digital ocean of Craigslist “Missed Connections” ads in hopes of reuniting with a should-have-been lover from thirty years ago. Chris and Harold are one of three teams participating in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s two-year Seattle Writers Group. On February 1, 2014, as part of its annual Curtain Up weekend, the 5th Avenue Theatre will present staged readings of the Writers Group’s one-act musicals: The Missed Connections Club (Jeffries/Taw); You Saw It on TV (Rich Gray/Stephanie Timm); and Fixing Einstein (Ian Williams/Lauren Marshall).