Featured Five, Vol. 13 – It Takes A Woman

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

Last year I was honored to work with Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford when they headlined a concert I directed at 54 Below entitled: Binders Full of Womens’ Songs. The concert was presented by The Directory of Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers in conjunction with the City Center Encores: Off-Center performance of Cryer & Ford’s groundbreaking musical, I’m Getting My Act Together And Taking It On The Road. That show was a milestone musical for women’s empowerment, chronicling Ms. Cryer’s character’s struggle to be a strong woman who stands up for herself. In the spirit of that show, this month’s blog highlights five songs that feature strong women making strong decisions. Here’s hoping one of them can be your new “Strong Woman Number!”

The Lesson

Rona Siddiqui
Rona Siddiqui

Lyrics by: Rebekah Melocik
Music by: Rona Siddiqui
Perfect for: Belt Mezzo

Lyricist Rebekah Melocik and I wrote “The Lesson” as a stand alone piece for an all-female cabaret back when we were both in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program in 2010. It was inspired by a true experience Rebekah had had, and was now feeling quite “over it” in a tongue in cheek kind of way. I decided to musically give it an undercurrent of pain and anger. I think there is a lot for a performer to play with in terms of retaining a sort of icy sarcasm, but allowing a touch of vulnerability to creep in just below the surface. To be most effective, I think it should maintain a solid rock/disco groove. The second it gets cheeky or swingy, I feel it loses it’s power, so stay strong and rock hard!

For more information click here.

On A Good Day

Elliot & Larsen
Elliot & Larsen

From Cloaked

Music by: Danny Larsen
Lyrics by: Michelle Elliot
Perfect for: Belt Mezzo

“On a Good Day,” from our musical Cloaked, is a battle cry raised by November, a 14-year-old girl who is stuck in a foster home after being abused by a parent. During a therapy session, November is deriding her own looks and wondering if she can get an older guy interested in her because she thinks that to older guys, “being young makes up for not being beautiful.” The therapist tries to assure November that she is a pretty girl, which November outright rejects through the song.

We wanted to write a song that illuminated November’s frustration at not being the kind of girl who gets attention from boys at school. She knows that only a certain type of girl, one she calls “alluring,” has the boys following her down the hallway. She feels like a completely different species from those girls and doesn’t know how to fit in. She is angry and so this song pulses with her tension and self-hatred. November is young but she knows how the world works – the pretty girls get ahead and she’ll never be pretty, not even “On a Good Day.”

Although we wrote it with just the moment in the show and the character in mind, Molly Hager has torn it up as November in this moment and we loved the firepower she brought to it. As far as advice to any future singers of the song, imagine you’ve got a knife in both hands. You’re a cornered animal and you’re singing for your life.

For more information, click here.

Tin Can on a String

Erik Johnke
Erik Johnke
David Wolfson
David Wolfson

From All About The Kids

Lyrics by: Erik Johnke
Music by: David Wolfson
Perfect for: Legit Mezzo

“Tin Can on a String” was written for the forthcoming musical, All About the Kids, book and lyrics by Erik Johnke, music by David Wolfson, adapted from the play of the same name by Caytha Jentis. The show is a satire of the soccer mom world. The song is from Act II, sung by the protagonist, Kathy, who is sharing a painful experience in her teen years which led to the loss of her innocence. While it is specific to her in this moment, the song is really meant to speak to anyone who has suffered and wondered if they will ever heal from what has happened in the past.

For more information click here.

Take The Lead

From Pride and Sensibility

Selda Sahin
Selda Sahin
Carl Danielsen
Carl Danielsen

Lyrics by: Selda Sahin
Music by: Carl Danielsen
Perfect for: Mix/Belt or Legit Soprano

‘Take the Lead’ was originally written for Persuasion or Seven Years Bad Sex, a Jane Austen musical produced by Musical Mondays. Now it is part of the score for Pride and Sensibility, an unproduced mash up of several Austen novels in a contemporary setting for 3 actors. The character is a dance teacher and the song can be cut different ways for auditions to include a dance break.

For more information click here.

Through The Course of the Day

Micah Young
Micah Young

Music & Lyrics by: Micah William Young
Perfect for: Legit Soprano

This is a stand alone song. I wrote it after spending time in a new place. I wanted to capture the feeling of allowing a new place to have an impact on the way a character feels. In the song the singer is meeting someone for the first time and in the new place the exhilaration of this meeting causes the character to look at herself in a new way.

For more information click here.


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