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BWW Interview: Lance Horne Comes Home to Roost at Birdland
Lance Horne, Emmy-award-winning theater composer, performer and songwriter, has plenty of reasons to celebrate this spring. For one thing, he'll be previewing songs from several of his new musicals and secondly, he'll be performing tunes from his CD First Things Last, in his debut concert at Birdland on March 31. Guests that evening will also include Alan Cumming (Cabaret), Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) and Rachel Dratch (SNL).
Dratch will perform a comic song during the Birdland concert. "We did a four-hour musical event together and we just hit it off," Horne said. "She'll be doing a hilarious number on Downton Abbey, and that's all I'm going to say," he laughed.
Horne's CD is an amalgam of pop, rock, theater and jazz, and features the vocal talents of American stage and screen stars including Cumming, Ricki Lake (Hairspray, The Ricki Lake Show), Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock, Glee), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent) and Lea DeLaria (Orange Is The New Black) among other artists.
Horne has just returned from performing a concert in San Francisco and plans to cross the country again for another one in Los Angeles on April 15.
"We had amazing people performing-a real cross-section of wonderful artists," Horne said of the San Francisco concert, which featured San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus. That concert included Horne's movement in Tyler's Suite, a choral song-cycle dedicated to Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers University student who took his own life in 2010, a victim of cyber-bullying.
"Everybody got together to write for this project," Horne said. "The family created a foundation to turn bystanders into upstanders"-encouraging individuals to stand up to bullies-"and also help ease the pain of coming out and for those dealing with trauma.
"It was amazing to hear the teens cheer and scream from the balcony," Horne said. The suite is a passionate exploration of how bullying and intolerance resonates with every person, he added. "It's about what it means to be human and go through emotions and find family," he said of the libretto. "We're saying that it's O.K. to stand up to bullying. It's a nice, simple way to stand up for what we believe. What's more American than that?"
A collaboration with the English author Neil Gaiman resulted in The Night Before My Wedding. "Neil gave me his unpublished love poems to Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls). I was at their wedding and had done several concerts with the both of them and we all grew very close." he said. "He gave me the letters after their honeymoon and wanted to work on something together-something beautiful and earth-shattering. I know them both so well; it was like looking into their hearts. They've had a magic gothic realism kind of life," he added.