PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Annaleigh Ashford, Tamika Lawrence, Matt Doyle Pick Songs About Distance, Reconnecting and Chasing the Day

Playlist   PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Annaleigh Ashford, Tamika Lawrence, Matt Doyle Pick Songs About Distance, Reconnecting and Chasing the Day
Tony Award nominee Annaleigh Ashford and The Book of Mormon star Matt Doyle will headline Chasing The Day, a new song cycle by songwriter and Kinky Boots associate music director Will Van Dyke, Nov. 17 at 54 Below. In anticipation of the evening, Van Dyke and members of the cast pick songs about distance, reconnecting and relationships as part of's Playbill Playlist. 
Annaleigh Ashford
Annaleigh Ashford Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Concerts will be offered at 7 PM and 9:30 PM and also feature If/Then actress Tamika Sonja Lawrence and Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal).

Originally released as an album on Sh-K-Boom Records in October 2010, Van Dyke's "Chasing the Day" has been re-imagined as a song cycle about breaking up, breaking down and breaking through, and it will soon be available for theatrical licensing.

Directed by Kerry Whigham with musical direction by Dominick Amendum, Chasing the Day explores Van Dyke's collaboration with co-lyricist Josh Halloway ("Jimmy Kimmel Live!") as well as additional work with Randy Blair and Rick Elice. The evening will include all of the original tracks from the album as well as all-new, original material penned for the theatrical piece.

Here's how the song cycle is billed: "Written on the road, aboard planes, across time zones, between sets, in hotel lobbies, at 24-hour coffee shops, miles apart, when the thought of home is your only companion — Chasing the Day is about the places life takes us and the people who bring us back."

Van Dyke is the composer of Pages (CAP 21), Winnie The Pooh, Kids (Disney), The Lion King Jr. & Kids (Disney) and The Girls I've Like Liked (Ars Nova). His upcoming works include Magnificent Climb (with Elice), Imagine Harry (with Jeff Talbott) and Writing Kevin Taylor (with Halloway). Read more about his work in's Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know. Halloway is an Emmy-nominated writer whose work has been seen at Lincoln Center, The Duplex, Upright Citizens Brigade, Comedy Central Stage, The P.I.T. and Naked Angels. His stage shows include The Girls I've Like Liked (Ars Nova), LOST: How a Certain TV Mega-Hunk Stole My Identity (New York Fringe Festival) and The Gospel According to Stevie B (Ars Nova).

54 Below is located at 254 W. 54th Street. For more information and tickets, visit

 Will Van Dyke: So, for our playlist I thought it was good to do songs that encompassed the idea of "Chasing the Day." The lyric is a concept of what it's like to deal with relationships across time zones, whether they be friendships or romantic relationships. I think "Somewhere Out There" [from "An American Tail"] encompasses this idea perfectly. Even though it's sung by two mice who are in the same place…they feel REALLY far away, because they're mice!

Will Van Dyke: For my second song, I wanted to pick something ridiculous. And, nothing quite seems as ridiculous as the 2000 hit "Digital Get Down" from *N Sync's "No Strings Attached." I think the song speaks for itself and, to this day, makes me laugh out loud.

Annaleigh Ashford: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). The lyrics to this classic Motown tune are literally about how major landforms and geographical features can't keep love from finding its way. It also makes me visualize the majestic Rocky Mountains from where I grew up! And, it's Marvin Gaye.

 Annaleigh Ashford: "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" (Ella Fitzgerald). This Cole Porter classic has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. Somehow I got a copy of "Ella in London," [Ella Fitzgerald's live album] from 1974, and I listened to it over and over again. It was one of the first songs of the set, and it beautifully captures the sentiment of saying goodbye to your loved one. It's an oldie and a goodie.

Matt Doyle: "I Was Just Thinking" (Tietur). One of my absolute favorite songs about long distance that not too many people know. Tietur is a fantastic singer/songwriter. His album, "Poetry and Aeroplanes," was his biggest hit in the early 2000s. There are several tracks that have to do with a long distance relationship. This one is utterly heartbreaking. Simple. Honest. Straightforward.

Matt Doyle: "Christmas Eve" (Nickel Creek). A gorgeous song from Nickel Creek's most recent album. They are such brilliant musicians, it's absurd. The song is about two lovers reconnecting on Christmas Eve. The chorus is as simple as can be, but haunting and perfect.

Tamika Lawrence: I love the song "Cayman Islands" by Kings of Convenience. It's a beautiful, yet simple melody, which so perfectly describes being far away and traveling what seems like across the universe to find the one you love.

Tamika Lawrence: "Flight of the Navigator" by Childish Gambino is another peaceful tune about traveling through space and time. Finding your reflections in others and making the distance to be with the one you love.

Preston Sadleir: My go-to anthem for many, many years about looking for "the one" who is out there somewhere far away from you is: "Left of the Middle" by Natalie Imbruglia.

Preston Sadleir: Every time I've been in a relationship, and the time comes to be apart, it always endears me to them more. It makes me dream of all the memories I want to make with them. Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us" has the perfect lyrics for those times when distance makes the heart grow fonder.

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