The Oct. 20 and 27 presentations in the new series will include selections from works in progress.
After attending the Second Avenue Songbook series (representing works by NYU alumni), Thomas Cott, artistic director of Musical Theatre Works, approached NYU musical theatre chair Sarah Schlesinger about how the groups might partner to promote new voices. It's hoped the partnership will continue and expand, said series producer Sean Patrick Flahaven, himself a composer, music director and NYU alum.
The goal of the shows is to expose the range or body of work of a writer, rather than offer songs from one project.
Flahaven said the hope of the continuing Second Avenue series and the new evenings is that they provide "some kind of springboard for our writers," perhaps with a producer coming in and hearing them and wanting to continue a relationship.
The first Fresh Voices concert, 7-10 PM Oct. 20, features a variety of singers and work of two musical-theatre songwriters: Rob Hartmann 7-8 PM and Len Schiff 8:30 9:30 PM. On Oct. 27 expect songs by Nathan Tysen and Chris Miller (7-8 PM) and Amy Kohn (8:30-9:30 PM).
Performances are free and open to the public, at Musical Theatre Works, 436 Lafayette St., 4th Floor, across from The Public Theater. Seating is limited. Call (212) 992-9321 for reservations.
For more information about Musical Theatre Works, visit www.mtwnyc.org.
Rob Hartmann (composer/lyricist) is a 1993 graduate of New York University's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where he is currently a member of the adjunct faculty. His work has been produced around the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Minneapolis. He is a recipient of a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award; he received a 2002 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a new musical with director Peter Rothstein. His last production premiered in June: Wild Blue, written with Scott Keys and Liv Cummins, was commissioned by the Human Race Theatre Company as part of the centennial celebration of the Wright Brothers' flight. His next project is Vanishing Point a musical fantasy which brings Amelia Earhart, Agatha Christie and Aimee Semple McPherson together on a desert island (also written with Keys and Cummins.) Previously produced in Chicago and Los Angeles, Vanishing Point is scheduled to open in Minneapolis in February 2004.
Len Schiff (lyricist/book writer) has written Zach in Progress with composer Georgia Stitt, Aethernity with composer Chris Sidorfsky, and Usher Falling with composer Randall Eng. He is currently working with composer Joel Derfner and bookwriter Peter Ullian on Terezin, a musical drama about the Czech concentration camp.
Nathan Tysen (lyricist/book writer) is the recipient of the 2003 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant, and the ASCAP Max Dreyfus Award for outstanding new voice in musical theatre. Nathan wrote the book and lyrics to the original children's musical Noah's Art with composer Ryan McCall. With Chris Miller, he has written an album of folk/cabaret songs entitled Point A, and the musical The Burnt Part Boys. His songs have been performed internationally, as well as at New York venues such as Lincoln Center, Joe's Pub, The York Theatre and The Triad. Tysen has worked for over a decade writing and directing with the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts, helping to create over a dozen new musicals written and performed by young adults.
Chris Miller (composer) studied piano and voice at Elon University and Musical Theatre Writing at New York University. He penned the music and text for the musical, Three (not to be confused with 3hree), the folk oratorio, The Prodigal Son, and the one act musical, Incident at Brighton Dam. With Nathan Tysen he has written an album of folk/cabaret songs entitled Point A, and the musical, The Burnt Part Boys. He was recently awarded a 2003 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant.
Amy Kohn (composer/lyricist) is known for work that incorporates her training in both classical contemporary composition and music-theatre writing, combining complex harmonies and rhythmic structures with dramatic storylines and performance. Her music-theatre works include 1 Plum Sq. and Sister's Bathtub. She also leads the Amy Kohn Band, which has performed at Joe's Pub, the BAM Harvey Theater, MAKOR, the Cutting Room, Cornelia Street Cafe and elsewhere. Her debut CD is "The Glass Laughs Back." She is recording her second album and performing with the Main Squeeze All Female Accordion Orchestra. Kohn holds a BA in composition from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music and an MFA from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.