The coolest night in New York.
By Jen Littlefield (Choreographer/Librettist)
On Wednesday May 8th, the youngest students of Pace University's Musical Theater program will take over 54 Below at 9:30 and 11:30pm. Pace's tradition of introducing its freshmen class has developed into a big cabaret produced and curated by none other than our fearless leader, RSO, and held at Joe's Pub (the last two years) and now Midtown's IT venue. And don't get me wrong, this is a big deal for these kids, to perform in a reputable NYC venue their first year of college. But some of our students come to Pace with Broadway, Off-Broadway and tour credits already in their pocket (Annie, 13, Spring Awakening, Shrek, A Chorus LIne, I'm sure I'm forgetting some…), and this is a cool show in their already really cool lives in this business.
So the real reason I'm completely in love with this night and concept is that RSO uses the songs and short musicals written by his Musical Theater Writing classes as the material the freshmen sing. Just think about that for a minute: brand new composers and lyricists, many of which are seriously talented, are presenting their work created in the last four months in the most talked-about cabaret space in NYC. How f*cking amazing is that?
At last year's Hatched: New Work in New York, the first MT Writing class presented songs and musicals in conjunction with other, more well-known composers such as Drew Gasparini, Carmel Dean, Zoe Sarnak, Shaina Taub, and of course RSO:
(This is the full show, one song after another. The link above will take you to the youtube page)
I will never forget how happy my students (and fellow writers) were. They were delirious watching something they thought up, created, wrote down, revised, orchestrated, revised, taught, and let go, now being performed and viewed by hundreds of people. It really is the best feeling to be able to step back and watch your work for the first time, the pride and joy you feel is like nothing else. And watching these 19 and 20-somethings experience that for themselves and each other was just perfect.
This year, the show is all Pace student writers. There are selections from the full-length musicals the Writing 3 class is working on, a complete 15-minute musical from the new Writing 1 class, and many great individual songs from Writing 1 as well. We had our band rehearsals this weekend and it's going to be a good night of music. I'm so excited for Wednesday night - to share this feeling with all these new writers. It really does make all the BS of academia worth it.
So get ready world, new writers from Pace University are coming for ya. And I guarantee you will be hearing more from them in the future, and that you will like what you hear.
JEN LITTLEFIELD is a freelance choreographer and writer with a few steady teaching gigs at Pace University and Concordia Conservatory. As she's come to discover, freelance is code for constantly working, so she is also a single gal who has moving to the Upper East Side and plans to meet all the straight men she can. They've been so rare in her life... www.jenlittlefield.com
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