30 DAYS OF NYMF: Day 18 Greenwood
Day 18 Greenwood
By Tor Hyams and Adam Lebow
Book, Music and Lyrics
To say that high school is a psycho-emotional battlefield is nothing new. And in the world before Glee, High School Musical, and American Idol, it was particularly hard for those of us with more artistic sensibilities and aspirations. Even if we escaped being picked on, we were still relegated to the outskirts of the in-group culture.
So imagine what it must have felt like to discover a place where that whole hierarchy of high school cool was turned entirely on its head-that which before had made you lame now brought you fame! Artistry! Creative freedom! Acceptance!! That was French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, and for those of us who spent our teenage summers there, this humble hamlet on a lake in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York was paradise on earth. It is there that Greenwood authors Adam LeBow and Tor Hyams first met, and it was there that Greenwood has its origins.
Adam was Tor's CIT ("Counselor-in-Training") in Boys Bunk 2. They were never in the same plays together, but they had similar formative experiences there. After a career as a recording artist and music producer, Tor felt the need to return to his musical theater roots and so began to mine his French Woods memories to outline his vision for what became Greenwood. Meanwhile, the profound affect those summers had on fellow camper Lisa Reich prompted her not to write a musical, but to produce a revival of one she had been in back at camp: Steven Sondheim's masterpiece, Sweeney Todd, with Adam LeBow in the title role. Add Facebook to the mix and the convergence was all but inevitable. Lisa found Adam and the rest of the Sweeney cast and brought them back together to do the show again 28 years later; Tor was stunned to discover that Lisa was doing in real life what he was starting to script. Lisa, Adam, and the cast re-mounted Sweeney Todd, Tor approached Lisa who urged him to collaborate with Adam, and Greenwood was born.
Not merely an homage to the authors' childhood haven, Greenwood is about people-how a profound experience shared in youth continues to affect those involved long thereafter. It is the "what happened" of a generation, a search to find the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kids we once were and to dare to let ourselves be again. Who doesn't want that?
To buy tickets or to learn more about Greenwood go to www.nymf.org/greenwood or call 212-352-3101