Posted on January 7, 2013 at 2:21 am
Happy New Year, my wonderful fans, friends, family, followers and fellow frequent fliers! I’m looking forward to a very exciting 2013, and I hope to be able to share much of it with you!
This month’s insanely long newsletter is divided into five sections, so let me give you a quick précis so you can skip to the relevant paragraph. We’ve got the 13 West End cast album now available, then we’ve got the cast and dates for the Off-Broadway revival of The Last Five Years this spring, an announcement of a concert in February with the students at Orange County School of the Arts, a belated update on the Karaoke Competition, and finally a paragraph about all sorts of new stuff going on!
A lot of awesome things happened in 2012, but the unquestionable highlight was the West End premiere of 13, produced by the UK’s wonderful National Youth Music Theatre (and directed by me!). Thanks to the amazing support of Hilary and Stuart Williams, that incredible cast and band went into the studio in London and made a fantastic new cast album. Even setting aside the sensational performers, there are several reasons to pick up this new version: two never-before-recorded songs (“Good Enough” and “One Day In October”), some new lyrics and arrangements, and most importantly, this is the version of the show that will be licensed from here on out. I mean, here, listen to “Brand New You” and you’ll see how genius this cast is:
You can download the album directly at the iTunes Store, or you can get a limited-edition CD directly from the NYMT website in the UK and Sh-K-Boom’s website in the US. Once you listen to it, please take a minute to comment on iTunes or Amazon. I love this show and I love this CD!
I am so excited to bring The Last Five Years back to New York in a brand-new production at the highly-esteemed and wicked cool Second Stage Theatre off-Broadway. Not only do I have a great team of designers (Tony winners Derek McLane and Jeff Croiter, Emily Rebholz, Jon Weston and the invaluable Thomas Murray), but I can now announce my unbelievable cast, Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor! Two incredible young actors with extraordinary voices – I am very lucky to have found them, and thrilled to be able to share them with all of you in the audience! Here’s the quote I gave for the press release:
“It means so much to me to be able to bring THE LAST FIVE YEARS back to New York after eleven years, especially since New York is such an important character in it. In so many ways, it feels like coming home,” says composer/lyricist/director Jason Robert Brown. “When we did the show in 2002, we had two amazing young performers who were just then on the verge of explosive careers in the theater; I think that we’ve got the same situation with Adam and Betsy. I’ve been watching them for so long, and am so excited to get them at this amazing moment in their lives as artists. I’m looking forward to rehearsing with them and then watching them bring these two characters to a new and fresh life.”
The show starts performances on March 7 (tickets go on sale to the general public on January 19 at 2st.com), but if you can’t stand waiting that long, we’re doing a special preview presentation on February 11 at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process series, featuring me, the cast and the orchestra, talking about the show and performing excerpts. Tickets are available on the Works & Process website.
By now, I’m sure my Southern California contingent is feeling neglected, and that’s entirely fair. So I’m going to do two nights in Santa Ana, with a crack band of LA’s finest musicians and thirty-five superbly talented students from the Orange County School of the Arts! On February 1 and 2 at 7:30 pm, I’ll be the featured artist in this year’s Performing With The Pros concert. You can get more information by clicking here, and the box office opens to the general public on January 12. I’m looking forward to two fantastic nights in OCSA’s beautiful Margaret A. Webb Theatre, and I hope you SoCal folk will come down and support this vitally important school for young artists.
Okay, so first there was the 2012 Karaoke Competition announcement, and then the entries were all compiled, and then there were the semi-finalists, and then I said that in mid-November, we’d do the next step. And it’s now January, and that clearly didn’t happen. So I owe you an explanation. What you need to know is that I want to crown a winner (or several winners) in the competition, and I intend to do it, and soon. There are two problems.
The first problem was the judges. I had four, then one dropped out because he had a show opening on Broadway, which was fine, so then I had three. But then the three judges sent me their scores … and they did not agree on ANYONE. There were seventy people on the list, and there was not a single person of those seventy that got a unanimous winning vote. So I’m going to have another judge come in and do the tie-breaking. It’s a lot to ask of anyone because it means listening to seventy people sing the same songs over and over again, but I will find someone who is worthy of the challenge to go with the three other highly respected judges.
The second problem was the prize. What I said back in June was that I would do a concert with the winner of the competition. That would have been easy in 2012 when I had a lot of solo concerts coming up. But I don’t have any concerts planned for 2013 because of all the theatre pieces that I’m going to be rehearsing this year. So I have to find a date to do a concert, and then I have to make sure that the winner (or winners) can be there to be part of it! But again, I promise, I’m going to take care of it. I know you all put a lot of hard work and time into those entries, and I genuinely have loved working on the competition. Stay tuned for the next steps.
It’s going to be quite a year! The Last Five Years would, on its own, be plenty to celebrate, but as you can read in today’s New York Times, there’s also a lot going on with Honeymoon In Vegas, The Bridges of Madison County and Prince of Broadway, and that’s not even mentioning the new show I’m writing with Alfred Uhry and Charles Aznavour, the upcoming movie of The Last Five Years, finishing my long-gestating second album (which I think will happen this year, fingers crossed!), and, God willing, the PBS airing of the Abrons Arts Center concert I did two years ago with Anika Noni Rose! So keep your eye on the website and the Twitter page and your own mailboxes for more details as they come up. Meanwhile, have an amazing 2013, enjoy the new 13 cast album, and I’ll see you Off-Broadway in March!
Goodbye until tomorrow!
Jason Robert Brown