The Public Theater's Music Theater Initiative presents its first Songwriter Showcase, featuring sneak previews of three musicals in development by today's hottest young writing teams, curated by MTI director, Ted Sperling, Tony Award winner for THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA.
The evening will feature Jonathan Groff and Betty Gilpin performing excerpts from KANSAS CITY CHOIRBOY by Todd Almond. The set will be directed by Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation).
Composer Scott Davenport Richards and Librettist Michele Lowe's one-act musical A THOUSAND WORDS COME TO MIND will be performed by Tony Award-Winner Barbara Walsh, accompanied on piano by John DiPinto. The piece was previously presented as part of "Inner Voices" at The Zipper Factory Theater.
Excerpts from LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE by Lila Downs, Paul Cohen, and Quiara Alegria Hugdes, based on the novel of the same title by Laura Esquivel, will round out the concert. Lila Downs will be joined onstage by fellow vocalist Martin Sola.
Todd Almond is a composer, lyricist and performer. His musicals include the award-winning People Like Us (dir: Gus Kaikkonen), Girlfriend (Berkeley Rep., dir: Les Waters), Ahraihsak (Theater Mitu, dir: Ruben Polendo), Kansas City Choirboy (dir: Sam Gold) and the upcoming shows We Have Always Lived in the Castle (with Adam Bock, Yale Rep, 2010), and On the Levee (with Marcus Gardley and Lear deBessonet). Almond served as Music Director for the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Tres Ninas, and he has written musicals for both Juilliard and NYU Grad as well as music-directed and reconceived classic works, most notably the "bald" Hair at the Skirball.
In addition to having some of the Theater World's top singers perform his music (Victoria Clark, Cheyenne Jackson, Jayne Houdyshell, Laura Benanti, Steven Pasquale and more) Almond regularly performs his own material in NYC's top venues and he recently released a CD of original songs entitled Mexico City. He has been an artist-in-residence at Sundance (both Utah and Ucross, Wyoming), Vassar (with New York Theatre Workshop), and The Orchard Project.
In collaboration with composer Ellen Mandel, Todd has recorded two albums of songs with music by Mandel and texts by E.E. Cummings, W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, and other great poets. Almond is currently writing a concert piece called Wyoming, and he is collaborating with Warren Leight and Stafford Arima on a musical adaptation of John Knowles' novel A Separate Peace.