Video: Andy Mientus Performs 'Valentine's Day' The First Single From THE JONATHAN LARSON PROJECT
The album is currently available for pre-order and is scheduled for release in physical, digital, and streaming formats on Friday, April 5. Customers who pre-order the digital album will immediately receive a download of the new single "Valentine's Day" - a song cut from the original production of Rent - in addition to the previously released first single "Greene Street." Pre-order the album at ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/jonathanlarsonproject
"'Valentine's Day' was one of Jonathan Larson's favorite songs that he wrote," explains director Jennifer Ashley Tepper. "It first appeared in a show called Prostate of the Union that he created with collaborator Michael Lindsay. Larson loved the number so much that he later placed it in Rent. Jonathan was sad to cut it between the show's 1993 and 1994 readings, but it felt like the correct choice for the piece overall. His friends and collaborators told me that he was sure he'd find the right spot for the song someday. It was thrilling to record 'Valentine's Day' in the studio as Andy Mientus and the cast lent their glorious vocals to the electrifying arrangement by Charlie Rosen. We strove to channel the creative impulses Jonathan had while crafting each version of the song into our rendition, which we are excited to share now as a music video. It marks the first time that this extraordinary number has been commercially recorded."
The album features the music of the late Jonathan Larson, the generation-defining writer of Rent and tick, tick... BOOM!, the former an iconic Broadway landmark and the latter a beloved musical gem. The Jonathan Larson Project is an evening of Jonathan's unheard work featuring songs from never-produced shows like 1984 and Superbia; songs that were cut from Rent and tick, tick... BOOM!; songs written for both theatrical revues and for the radio; songs about politics, love and New York City; including many never before publicly performed or recorded.
The CD package is a 40-page hardbound book containing previously unreleased artist archival materials, including photos and images of original lyric and music sheets, scripts, notebook pages, and much more. Also included are song lyrics, song annotations, and production and recording studio photos, along with liner notes from director Jennifer Ashley Tepper, who conceived the project, and writer Joe Iconis (Be More Chill, Broadway Bounty Hunter, NBC's "Smash").
The cast features some of this generation's greatest musical theater talent, including Nick Blaemire (tick, tick... BOOM!, Found, Godspell), Lauren Marcus (Be More Chill, Beatsville, Company), Andy Mientus (NBC's "Smash," Spring Awakening, Les Misérables), Krysta Rodriguez (Spring Awakening, First Date, The Addams Family), and George Salazar (Be More Chill, The Lightning Thief, tick, tick... BOOM!).
The Jonathan Larson Project is based on a concert originally presented at Feinstein's/54 Below, directed and conceived by Jennifer Ashley Tepper (Be More Chill), and featuring music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Charlie Rosen (Be More Chill, Prince of Broadway, Honeymoon in Vegas, Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band). The five-piece band includes musical director Natalie Tenenbaum, Charlie Rosen, Cody Owen Stine, Megan Talay, and Marques Walls, with Danielle Gimbal as copyist. The album is produced by Jennifer Ashley Tepper, Charlie Rosen, and Kurt Deutsch.
Jonathan Larson was a brilliant, groundbreaking creator of musical theater who died tragically at the age of 35, before seeing the worldwide acclaim his work would receive. He posthumously received Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, and his songs have come to be treasured and performed in 25 languages, from Mexico to Japan to Italy, from summer camps to the silver screen to Broadway.
When The Jonathan Larson Project premiered at Feinstein's/54 Below, it was hailed as "a treasure trove of unperformed, unrecorded, and unheard material" by DC Metro Theater Arts and "One of the Top 10 Broadway special events of 2018" by Asbury Park Press. According to TheaterMania.com, "this show seems destined for a future life onstage and on disc. His songs simply deserve to be heard."
"Larson's work has always spoken to me deeply," continues Jennifer Ashley Tepper. "It was a theater historian's dream to spend several years researching his lesser-known songs at the Library of Congress in order to create a new song cycle. We presented The Jonathan Larson Project at Feinstein's/54 Below last year and the energy of both the collaboration and of the audiences at the 12 performances was like nothing I've ever experienced. Jonathan's lost songs, which had been sitting in boxes for decades, are relevant and fascinating and personal and political and fun and heartbreaking. Rehearsing them with some of the greatest theater artists of our new generation and then watching the way they influenced new audience members made me feel his legacy in a powerful way."
"Now we get to share that legacy with the world by recording it as an album," she continues. "A few years ago, most of these songs only existed as demo tapes in a library vault from the 1980s and 1990s, featuring Jonathan and his piano. Now they comprise a brand-new theater piece that has been fully realized musically and will be available for everyone to listen to. I could not be more excited for a wider audience to experience The Jonathan Larson Project."
"Jonathan Larson's Rent was a game changer for musical theater," adds label founder Kurt Deutsch. "It revolutionized a new breed of musical theater artists and the audience that loves musicals. Jonathan left us too soon. However, we are fortunate that Jen Tepper through her years of research and dedication has given us all the gift of unearthing songs that were left behind. It is my honor to preserve this recording so that Jonathan's legacy continues to live and sing on."