Based on the children’s book of the same name, the musical version of Interstellar Cinderella blasts onto the stage of the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row beginning November 18. With a book by Barbara Zinn Krieger, the original musical features music and lyrics by acclaimed children’s songwriter Laurie Berkner (known as the “Adele of the preschool crowd”). The story follows a space engineer, Cinderella, who wants to use her new invention to change the ways of space travel. When a prince holds a space parade, Cinderella knows it’s her opportunity to get his attention and reach for the stars. We asked Berkner to give us a taste of what’s to come from the intergalactic musical and if we might hear her songs outside of the children’s zone:
You’re obviously an accomplished songwriter. What’s the biggest challenge of writing for a children’s musical as compared to writing children’s songs?
Laurie Berkner: It’s much more of a challenge to write songs where I have to also include the necessary elements of writing for a musical. For example, I have to be thinking about advancing the plot, devising lyrics that capture the voice of the character who is singing, and creating a melody or harmony within the range of whomever will be performing it. Luckily, I also enjoy having those parameters. It can be really fun to work within some kind of structure, rather than just having a completely blank slate in front of me when I start writing.
While Interstellar Cinderella is for older children (no longer toddlers), it is still geared towards a young audience. Why do you love writing for kids? What keeps bringing you back to writing for that audience?
I think it’s partly because I have a tendency to over-complicate things except when I write music for kids. That’s when I try to look at the world more like how I remember seeing it when I was younger—a little more simply, a little more directly, and with the excitement of experiencing things for the first time. I really love being in that kind of creative space, and I think I write better songs when I imagine hearing them through a child’s ears.
Tell me about the song you’re singing in this video. Was it the first song you wrote for the show? What inspired the melody?
It was not the first song I wrote for the show, but it is the title song about the main character, Interstellar Cinderella. It comes towards the beginning of the show and is when she and her best friend, Mergatoyd (who happens to be a robot), are talking about how she will find her way out of this situation she’s in, of living with her awful stepmother and stepsisters, and will someday get to fulfill her dreams of being a serious inventor, exploring space, and making space travel faster and safer for the rest of the world.
Do you hope to continue writing musicals?
I would love to continue writing musicals—for a children’s audience or for an adult audience. I really think I would enjoy doing it geared towards any age. (Having a teen daughter as of last week, I actually feel very tuned into the shows that speak to her.) When I was in school, my own dream was to be singing on Broadway when I grew up. In some ways, I find writing songs for musicals to be even more satisfying than performing, because I get to be part of the creation of the show AND I get to watch it!
For tickets and information to Interstellar Cinderella, click here.