It’s summertime at Making Books Sing, and a lot of people tend to ask me around this time of year if things are slower in the Artistic Department than usual. Like a lot of theater companies, Making Books Sing’s mainstage season runs from fall through spring, so we do get a short break from our regular schedule of workshops, production meetings, auditions, rehearsals and performances. That doesn’t mean we we’re taking a break, though! We have several projects in various stages of development, and the summer is a great time to plan ahead and brainstorm for the future. So while we don’t have a show running right now, our office is as busy as ever.
As a child, I was a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. Oftentimes I would carry the large hardcover books around with me from school, to the playground, from my mother’s house to my father’s house, I never put them down.
Hello! As you have probably noticed, the blog has come back and regained some steam by providing you, our lovely readers, with more content on a week to week basis.
At a recent event I attended for the NYC Arts and Education Roundtable, John Patrick Shanely, the guest of honor, gave an extremely inspiring speech about self-discovery. I’m paraphrasing, but the crux of his story centered around the idea that we are all born as fully-formed individuals, complete with likes, dislikes, passions, opinions, desires and fears….only we don’t know what they are yet because, as babies, we haven’t experienced anything. As we grow up, our exposure to the world, people, places and activities slowly reveal our preferences and we learn that we’re innately drawn to certain situations and repulsed by others. His point was that these experiences are not cultivating our opinions or preferences in the moment, but rather they are unlocking predetermined aspects of our personalities that were imprinted on our souls long before we were born. The more exposure we have to different experiences, the more we get to know ourselves. However, if we are not exposed to these experiences, these talents and passions remain locked. Shanley credited his successful career as a playwright to a chance encounter he had in his high school’s theatre. He never knew he had a talent for writing until it was revealed to him through this experience.
This past May, Making Books Sing awarded me another glorious opportunity: stage managing the workshop of The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess! I had never staged managed a performance before and found myself excited (albeit nervous) to tackle a new and thrilling challenge.
Welcome to the first installment of a new blog series spotlighting our wonderful teaching artists!
Making Books Sing employs over 20 highly professional teaching artists, all of whom lead extremely interesting, creative and artistic lives. This segment of the Making Books Sing blog will introduce you to several of our exceptional artists. We’ll learn a bit more about the craft of teaching artistry from the pros who spend their days traveling across the five boroughs of New York City, inspiring children to celebrate their imaginations!
One of the reasons I love writing for musical theater is the opportunity it affords to collaborate with amazing artists. As a librettist, (book, or book and lyrics), the initial work I do is solitary. Sitting at my computer agonizing over a rhyme, or reading and re-reading a scene to make sure I’ve said what I want to say in the clearest most concise way possible, is a lonely business.