Featured Five, Vol. 1 – Look Out World, Here I Come!

This blog is a part of The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers, found online at www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com

In preparing for the launch of www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com, Lorene and I became reacquainted with some our “old friends” – the over 360 songs currently in the Directory. Of course, we both have our favorites, but with so many songs, it can be overwhelming to take them all in.

We thought we’d give site subscribers and passersby a helping hand. Each month, we’ll highlight a “Featured Five” song based on a particular theme. The songwriters with give a brief description of or anecdote for the song, and we’ll provide you a link to the writer’s page so you can hear it and buy the sheet music. It’s that simple.

Emma, The Red from Yo Vikings!
Sam Willmott, music
Marcus Stevens, lyrics

“Emma the Red” comes from the musical Yo, Vikings!, based on the book of the same name by Judith Byron Schachner. The musical tells the story of Emma Katz, a girl with a vivid imagination, longing for a “real adventure.” When Emma is assigned Erik the Red for her World Discovery Day report, she begins to channel her inner Viking and sets off on a voyage of self-discovery. “Emma the Red” takes place early in the play when the mysterious librarian, Mr. Sigurd, introduces Emma to the world of Norse mythology. Enchanted, Emma decides then and there to become a modern day Viking Chieftain. The song is full of joyous energy and passion, making it a perfect up-tempo selection for any audition, cabaret or recital. It lends itself very well to singers with a strong belt/mix, and is a great acting exercise for honest, yet quirky young female actors.

To find out more about the song, click here.

Every Day/Super Secret Agent from Sympathy Jones
Masi Asare, Music & Lyrics

Sympathy Jones is a 1960s-era secret agent musical about an intelligence agency receptionist who dreams of being promoted to agent status. In this song, which takes place early in Act I, Sympathy laments being trapped behind a desk when she’d rather be out in the field going after the bad guys. The song moves from a light and laidback 60s pop groove to a driving, funky number for a powerful belt/mix (to a D), as Miss Jones imagines her life as a take-charge, tough-as-nails superspy.

To find out more about the song, click here.

Brad Alexander, music
Helen Chayefsky, lyricist

“Florida,” a soaring, contemporary uptempo for tenors, was written for the musical adaptation of White Pants Willie, a 1930s novel about a young man from Illinois. The year is 1923 and life in a small town is too constricting for a dreamer like Willie Bascomb. When he hears about the real estate boom in Florida, his imagination takes flight and he heads south in search of a brighter, more romantic life.

For more information, click here.

 Highway Miles from The Flood
Peter Mills, Music & Lyrics

This song is from The Flood, a musical based on the 1993 Missippi River floods.  17-year-old Raleigh Keller works in his father’s general store in the small town of Meyerville, Illinois.  Raleigh’s father, the town’s mayor, is forever trying to imbue his son with a sense of his heritage—telling Raleigh how his great-great-grandfather was one of the original settlers of Meyerville and started the store… which he will one day inherit.  Raleigh doesn’t pay too much attention to his father, but works diligently, saving up his money and making his own plans for his life.  He is hoping to buy a truck and put some highway miles between himself and Meyerville.  Over the course of the show, Raleigh gains a new appreciation for his hometown.  But here, when we first meet him, he dreams only of escape.

To find out more about the song, click here.

That’s What I See from Falling to Earth
David Sisco (left), music
Tom Gualtieri (right), lyrics

Falling to Earth is a re-telling of the Pygmalion myth, set in ancient Cyprus, but filtered through a skewed, contemporary lens.  In this song, which takes place in the first scene, Pygmalion – a brilliant but blocked artist commissioned by the local temple to create a statue of Venus – explains to his friend Paphos that he wishes to lead a more meaningful life.  The song, appropriate for a Broadway Baritone with a vibrant extension, requires a great deal of finesse, and a wonderfully expressive pianist.

To find out more about the song, click here.

So, you see, there’s no need to be overwhelmed with the growing number of songs on www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com (we’ll be adding new writers and songs regularly). The “Featured Five” is a perfect way to dip your toe into the fabulous pond that is contemporary musical theatre! If you’re anything like us, you’ll soon be blissfully swimming in great repertoire. Enjoy!


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Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 180 contemporary musical theatre writers and 550+ songs, all searchable by voice and song type.


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