Today's (Feb. 16) session of the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles features Jason Alexander on the panel with moderator Stephen Schwartz in a second review of Paris Barclay's new musical, Letters From Nam.
This marks the second pass on Barclay's work, which is being developed in the ASCAP program. Emmy Award-winner Barclay is best known for his work on "NYPD Blue" and "City of Angels." This new piece, Letters From Nam has generated special attention in the workshop.
As reported earlier, the workshop is held on the Disney lot, the ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop kicked off its new season in Los Angeles on Jan. 24. The core of the eight session musical theatre series is a panel comprising moderator and award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, ASCAP's director of musical theatre Michael A. Kerker, Disney's president of feature animation and theatrical productions Thomas Schumacher and ASCAP president Marilyn Bergman.
As reported earlier, participants in the workshop were determined after a mail-in application process. They will have the chance to present selections from their original works for professional critique. These selections are made from the four-song cassette tapes and lyric sheets that participants submitted during the application process.
ASCAP's Kerker, the workshop's developer, has said that several successful projects could be traced to the program. "Lynn Ahrens and Stephen C. Flaherty [ASCAP/Disney workshop participants] went on to compose Ragtime," Kerker said in a prepared statement. A summary of activity related to the ASCAP/Disney workshop points to the value of programs like these, while offering a glimpse at what to expect from rising musical theatre talents. According to ASCAP, the following composers have had success with the workshop (see brackets) and are expected to release new material soon: Glenn Slater (Lost In America) is currently working for Disney on two animated musicals as well as one stage musical in collaboration with Alan Menken; James McBride (Bobos) is just completing Quincy Jones' biography; and Chris Curtis (Chaplin) is doing an animated musical for Disney based on the story of Rapunzel.
Stephen Schwartz has been directing the ASCAP East Coast Musical Theater Workshop for the past eight years. Grammy winner Schwartz' credits include GodspellPippin, and the Disney animated films Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop will take place at Walt Disney Studio Lot -- the Buena Vista Gate, at 500 S. Buena Vista Street, in Burbank. For information about the ongoing program contact ASCAP at (212) 621-6000.
-- By Murdoch McBride