Have you ever worked hard for something... for a LONG time... and hit a brick wall realizing you might have gone as far as you can go?
That's exactly how I was feeling a few months ago. I've been writing songs for awhile now, put out two albums, had many concerts, etc.
But what I really wanted was to write a musical.
Back in 2009, long before I had written my first song, I knew I wanted to write a show called INDIGO and I wanted it to be about something important. Recently, I’ve been given the chance to tell the story I had always wanted to, in a way I never thought possible. But it didn’t happen overnight.
In 2012, I was hired to write a musical with a group of 10 children with autism at the P94 Spectrum School in Manhattan, and the experience completely changed my life. Working creatively with students who had a hard time communicating, or some who were completely non-verbal, was very powerful. I realized the importance of telling the world the story of the beautiful and intelligent people they are rather than focusing on what they can't do.
Indigo is a musical exploration of how one family attempts to break through autism's challenging veil and, in the process, learns how to listen to one another. It's about Emma, a young girl unable to communicate her thoughts in the usual ways who ends up teaching everyone around her how to communicate. It began with brainstorming, then character development, and then I wrote a few songs. A long time friend and writer, Debra Packard, came on board to help me structure the story and further develop the characters. She was and is an integral part of the process, considering she is not only a writer, but works as a social worker with a degree in psychology.
Over the years, we showcased and workshopped small pieces of it. I even included a few of the songs in my concerts to build excitement around it.
In 2016, I was asked to do a small reading of it for a theatre in midtown NYC called Urban Stages. After that... I didn't know what to do. I put it on the back burner, feeling discouraged because I didn't know how to develop it further on my own.
On a Sunday in July 2017, by complete chance, I met Jay Kuo. He was the composer/lyricist of Allegiance, which had recently been on Broadway. After hearing the concept for Indigo, he asked me to send him a few songs.
That night, he emailed me asking if I would meet him for brunch the next day. We talked more about the story and what I thought I needed in the process. A few days later, I met his business partner, Lorenzo Thione (also a producer of Allegiance) and talked about the possibility of their production company taking on Indigo as their next project.
Late September 2017, we formally announced the start of the process. Read about it here. Please join my email list if you want to keep up on the details!
Within a few months, we had a first draft and a table read set with the incomparable Sydney Lucas, from the Broadway musical Fun Home, reading the title role of Emma - a non-verbal girl with autism, who communicates through anagrams.
Now we are in the process of revising and working towards a staged reading in the Spring!
All because of one chance meeting (and some hard work), I get to tell a story that has been in my heart for years, and hopefully, bring a story of struggle, love and eventual acceptance to the stage.
Who knows what will happen, but right now... I still have to pinch myself. Just goes to show you... never give up. You never know when your life is about to change!
This has been such an emotional and exciting journey that I want to share every step as we work to bring this dream to life on the stage. To learn more about me, to hear more about how a musical concept develops into the fully realized show, and just to stay connected, please add your name to my email list below.
As always, I would love to hear your comments. Never give up.