Meet the Composers of MURDEROUS MUSICAL MONDAYS- Spotlight on Brett Ryback
The cast and creative team of the hit Off-Broadway musical Murder for Two are teaming up with some of New York's brightest up and coming composers and BroadwayWorld.com every Monday night for their spring concert series, Murderous Musical Mondays. Composers Brett Ryback and Alexander Sage Oyen contine the series on Monday, April 7, 2014, immediately following the 7pm performance of Murder for Two at New World Stages (Stage 5 - 340 West 50th Street).
Performers will include Kate Bailey, Todd Buonopane (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella), James Crichton (Jasper in Deadland), Jeremiah Ginn (Murder For Two), Sarah Girard, Jason Gotay (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Janet Krupin (If/Then), Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Julia Mattison (Godspell), Michael McCorry Rose (Wicked), Preston Sadleir (Next to Normal, US Tour), Justin Matthew Sargent (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Taylor Trensch (Matilda), Emily Walton (The Shaggs), and Elanna White.
Below, Ryback shares some details on the upcoming concert! Check back later this week to hear from Oyen!
What can you share about your Murderous Musical Mondays concert?
My concert will be a little different, because it will actually be a condensed presentation of my full-length musical THE TAVERN KEEPER'S DAUGHTER. So rather than a whole bunch of songs from various projects, they will all be from one project and we will attempt to tell the story in about 50 minutes. And I have an incredible group of singers!
Who were some of your early musical influences?
I was a musical theatre kid, so I my two biggest influences were Stephen Sondheim (duh) and William Finn. But I was also a pianist, and when I discovered the music of Ben Folds, my writing took on some new direction both lyrically and musically. He does this thing in his songs where you think the lyric has ended, but then he adds one more word or one more phrase and it completely changes the meaning of what just came before. I love that.
When did you realize that writing was for you?
I started composing at a young age, and I was always telling stories. I think it was until after college that I realized the craft behind story-telling and the different forms that it can take. I love to tinker with people's expectations and telling stories allows you that kind of manipulation. It's fun to work a musical phrase, or a lyric, or a line of dialogue over and over in your hand like clay, fine-tuning it to get exactly the reaction from the audience you want.
Are there any other theatre composers whose work you admire/have impacted your writing style?
Honestly, I would have to say that the number one theatre composer who has impacted my writing style would be my friend Ryan Scott Oliver. I feel that I am constantly being opened up to different possibilities when I hear his work. I'd never say that we write similarly, but he has an incredible gift, and he has taught me a lot about exploring the depths of my own voice.
Who in the theatrical/music community would you kill to work with?
Ugh, I'd kill so many people. Wait, did I read that question right? Oh! - I would kill to work with Sara Bareilles. I think she's gorgeous in every possible way - as a person, as a composer, as a lyricist. And now she's part of our community with her upcoming musical, so she counts! And there are countless Broadway singers I'd love to share my music with. I think Sutton Foster is on the top of that list.
Do you have any new projects in the works?
Yes. I'm currently writing a new musical called JOE SCHMOE SAVES THE WORLD, and I'm going to premiere some songs from it at a concert at 54 Below on Saturday, April 19th at 11pm. It's a political piece with a very urban dance-rock score that explores the role that art plays in a global context.
What are you most looking forward to in being a part of this concert series?
Sharing my writing with new and old audiences alike that have gotten to know me over the past few months as an actor in this very fun, fast-paced show. I also think THE TAVERN KEEPER'S DAUGHTER will be a good stylistic companion for MURDER FOR TWO. And I'm sharing the night with Alexander Sage Oyen, which is very exciting. Why would you miss out on a 3-for-1 deal like that?