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BWW Interview: Miriam Pultro Talks New Brontë Family-Inspired Rock Musical GLASS TOWN, Streaming on CyberTank

Glass Town is a staged concept album, exploring family dynamics, isolation, musical expression, and more.

BWW Interview: Miriam Pultro Talks New Brontë Family-Inspired Rock Musical GLASS TOWN, Streaming on CyberTank

Glass Town is an exciting new rock musical featuring the famous Brontë siblings as band members: Anne as the modern, feminist neosoul star; Emily as the alt-rock prodigy; Branwell, singing the blues; and Charlotte, the passionate rocker frontwoman.

Written by Miriam Pultro and directed by Daniella Caggiano, with musical direction by Katrien Van Riel, Glass Town is a creative, non-traditional, staged concept album exploring family dynamics, isolation, grief, musical expression, and more.

Glass Town features Miriam Pultro as writer, "Charlotte," keys and vocals; Katrien Van Riel as music director, "Emily," bass and vocals; Eddy Marshall as "Branwell," guitar and vocals; and Emma Claye as "Anne" and vocals. Additional band members include Matt DeMaria (Drums, etc), Anthime Miller (Cello) and Laura Zawarski (Violin).

Presented in association with The Center at West Park, Glass Town will stream on CyberTank on Friday March 19, 2021 at 7:30PM ET, Saturday March 20 at 7:30pm ET and Sunday March 21 at 2:30pm ET.

Tickets are available on a pay-what-you-can scale beginning at $10 at thetanknyc.org/glasstown.

We spoke with Miriam Pultro about finding the sound for Glass Town, the process of bringing the show to the stage, and much more!


When did you start creating Glass Town?

I had the idea just before the pandemic started, but I didn't start writing until July of last year! I had waited to hear back from some writing co-horts and I didn't get into any of them, and I was like, "Well, great! I'll just make it by myself!"

How did you decide that having the Bronte sisters as band members was going to be the best storytelling vehicle for Glass Town?

BWW Interview: Miriam Pultro Talks New Brontë Family-Inspired Rock Musical GLASS TOWN, Streaming on CyberTank
Miriam Pultro

I listen to a lot of indie rock, and a lot of the bands I listen to are siblings and sisters and female trios. So, HAIM is a band, there's a band called Joseph, there's a band called Eisley that I listen to. And coupled with that concept of family members making music together, there's also this idea that still permeates the music world of, 'the girls have to be the front-people'. So, if there are boys in the band, they're the quote, 'real musicians', they're playing guitar and they're kind of backing up the pretty girls who stand in the front. Which I think is contrasted, interestingly, by these groups where they are playing all of the instruments, they are absolutely generating their own content. And it just kind of overlaid in my head with the Brontes because they had a brother, who is also artistic, and he is not nearly as successful as any of the three women. So, it was this really abstract idea of, "If they were alive today, they probably would be an indie rock band!"

How did you find the sound for Glass Town?

I thought pretty early on I wanted each of the siblings to have a different musical voice. Because even what they produced in literature was very different. They made their own imaginary worlds together as siblings, and then they all branched off and wrote their own stuff. I very much aligned myself with Charlotte early on. And I thought, "She's probably a rocker. She's very straightforward, she's very passionate." I've kind of got a mid-range belt voice and I love that kind of music.

BWW Interview: Miriam Pultro Talks New Brontë Family-Inspired Rock Musical GLASS TOWN, Streaming on CyberTank
Emma Claye

Branwell essentially drank himself to death, so I was like, "Well, he's obviously a blues musician. He plays guitar and he wails in the blues." Anne, for example, famously most overlooked of the sisters, but probably the most feminist and forward-thinking. So, I was like, "She probably is going to have a more modern sound. She's going to be a very contemporary, social justice type person, how do I find music for that? What's more popular right now? What's doing really well?" It's a lot of black-influenced music, it's a lot of soul and R&B, that kind of stuff.

What was the process like of putting this show together for The Tank?

I had decided to submit us to Adelaide Fringe Festival back in the autumn, you pay and then you produce your own show, so there's really no stakes, other than it gave me a deadline to get it done. And then Daniella [Caggiano] who is my director, had a relationship with The Center at West Park, and she insisted we submit for an artist residency. So, we got an artist residency through The Center at West Park, we got two weeks to rehearse it and develop it there, and then we shot for three days at The Tank. It was a challenging, short turnaround process. Wouldn't have gotten it done without Daniella though!

What was it like working with the cast and crew to be able to put Glass Town together during this time?

One of our crew members commented that there were no egos in the group,

BWW Interview: Miriam Pultro Talks New Brontë Family-Inspired Rock Musical GLASS TOWN, Streaming on CyberTank
Katrien Van Riel

everyone seemed thrilled to be there, everyone pitched in beyond what they were actually required to do. It helps that it was a small cast, so we were able to keep distant. There was no touching involved, there was no hugging or kissing or anything that would put us in danger, so we were able to keep distant while we were rehearsing. We did extensive contact tracing, we all got tested, we had to have a COVID rep, so our stage manager was our COVID rep, we made sure we were doing paperwork religiously. And then the four cast members, so we could perform unmasked, we went and got tested several times leading up to the actual shoot days. I think everyone was just really thrilled to be doing anything, it was amazing to be singing in a room with other people and not hearing it filtered through a computer.

What would you like to do with Glass Town in the future? Where would you like to take it next?

We'd love to a live run, safely, when it's possible. It's also, I think, a great piece that could be done outdoors or in a socially distanced setting, because it's not quiet music, it's designed to be like a rock show. You can perform it outside, like a festival setting or in a park.

The screening of Glass Town is happening on March 19, what are you most excited for the virtual audience members to see?

It's the one-year anniversary of quarantine starting, and everything closing down, and working on the show has given me personally a great deal of hope about the future of musical theatre, about the future of theatre. Those of us who worked on it are all people who stuck it out and stayed in New York, that's not to at all slander anyone who had to leave, we've all been in different places and had to fight for survival in different ways. But I hope that it gives everyone some hope that things are shifting and they are coming back and there is still new work being done.

Do you have any final thoughts, anything else you would like to share?

When I first had the idea for this, I didn't know what it was, and I mentioned it to a couple of people. I didn't know if it was going to be a play with music, I didn't have a very clear vision for it. And it was offbeat, but I knew it was a good idea and I didn't know where to start. But, I've made a lot of things, I've written a lot of music, I've written another musical, I've written a song cycle, I've been working as a singer-songwriter, I've written for the screen, and so, I would just encourage people to do it. If you've got a weird idea, start making it, start anywhere, anywhere you start is fine. Because eventually it's going to reveal itself to you!

Photo credit: Shani Hadjian



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