PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER with The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes Writers Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond

By Sophia Saifi
06 Jul 2013

Christopher Dimond

Question: Was the O'Neill this amazing back then as well?

Kooman: It was fun. It was crazy and it was fun to be in the process to see how these professionals were working, how the process evolved the piece. It was a lot of work. It was intense but we also left the O'Neill with a lot of respect.

Dimond: It was a great experience and came away from that summer with better connections and a better understanding of how things work.

Question: How did your album come about?

Kooman: We wanted to make an album. We had some time available and we had some money, which we raised on Kickstarter. It wasn't produced by a label, it was just us.

Question: So you're proponents of Kickstarter?

Dimond: Yeah. It really allowed us to do the album the way that we wanted to do it. Obviously we are incredibly grateful for the support that we got from the community. It's also a great way to kind of connect you to the people who are interested in your work and are interested in supporting you.

Question: The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes - How did that come about? 

Dimond: We have drawn on a lot of sources for inspiration. That kind of work is something that I have really loved. I grew up on Mel Brookes movies and things like "Airplane," and I have always loved referential humour. This gave us a chance to really pull from all of our different sources of inspiration, primarily obviously in musical theatre but also to weave some other things as well. I don't think I've written anything that doesn't have at least one "Star Wars" reference in it.

Question: Are you a big "Star Wars" buff? It's all over your website's blog!

Dimond: I've always been a big "Star Wars" fan. A lot of what I'm drawn to aligns with a lot of Joseph Campbell's work - the idea of the hero's journey which we reference throughout Howard Barnes - and "Star Wars" is the quintessential modern pop culture example of most of his ideas.

Question: How did you start work on Howard Barnes?

Dimond: It grew gradually for us. It started off as an idea of, "Wouldn't it be funny if somebody woke up in a musical?" and just added to that and played with it in different forms.

Then Michael was working on a "Stranger Than Fiction" project at BMI and gave us an idea on how, rather than someone realising that they are part of a novel, that they are part of a musical.

We struggled with what would it mean. What would the larger metaphor be? What would the need be for this characters life, for this metamorphosis to the musical? When we got the heart of the heart of that, we played around with the larger structure and versions of what happened along the way. We watched a lot of movies to look for examples.