Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hollywood Sheet Music

I'm assuming each of you has your own story of scouring for that one song that is a needle in a haystack. We heard a music track, it came up in a playlist, it is on some archived cast album from decades back... As cabaret artists, we are often trying to find material that is uniquely "us."

On line music is a great asset, with possibilities on MusicNotes and others sites to not only purchase individual charts, but have them transposed to a key that fits our range. Our connection in TCCAN allows us to also exchange pieces or share obscure tabs from old vintage books in our collections. Even our public library has a reserve shelf that can provide us an occasional treasure if we are willing to dig a bit through an archaic card catalogue. But I am here to praise a new find in Hollywood Sheet Music. Enough so, that I am adding it as a resource in our links here. Their by line is "if you can't find it here, you won't find it anywhere."

I am currently work shopping a new set of Cy Coleman material and choosing to really delve into some of his lost trunk songs. Through an adventure chase that began with his own publishing company, I was lucky enough to get a lead to them. Somewhere along the way, some of Cy's songs are still owned by his estate, others went over to the Hal Leonard company. And yet there is a third option of those straggling songs that were never deemed important enough to be published, but merely copyrighted. Somehow Hollywood Sheet Music has assembled many of those stray ducks in a massive strip mall warehouse in Burbank CA. So if anything you are seeking may have come from a musical score or a film soundtrack, chances are that you might have some luck here. 

Their website is hardly high tech. And the search engine there is deceiving and not always at face value. I was told to send a personal inquiry to Stephanie, the librarian there. And that is where I struck gold. Within a day, she responded back and had both rare tunes I was looking for; one from the original theater score and the other chart in Coleman's own notation. They were a bit more expensive than other on line sites - but far less than having someone arrange them by hand. Another great resource to remember!

Hollywood Sheet Music 
Hollywood Piano Warehouse 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Crossover Artists

Students MandaLeigh Blunt and David Mahoney and faculty Donna DiNovelli, Fred Carl, and Sarah Schlesinger at New York University’s graduate musical theatre writing program. (Photo by Josh Sanchez)

This feature come to us from Vicky - who spends much of her time working with young students and their vocal training. The article's main point (from American Theater) centers on new expectations for musical theater students in a conservatory setting.

Before I made the leap to the cabaret world, I was starting to feel a bit of dismay at the unreal assumptions put upon a working actor. A triple threat was no longer an ace. Directors now ALSO wanted you to play the tuba, juggle, do stand-up comedy and speak fluid Italian. Ridiculous! But what is sad, is that there always seemed to be that one person in the room who was able to deliver on all counts. I had a close friend stage managing the recent Sweeney Todd revival and he talked about how impossible it was to cast understudies for the show - it needed to be someone who could sing their own role and play a fiddle and also be able to step in for a totally different role playing the trombone - throughout the entire score. Add in the new Cirque element and we should all be doing trapeze work in addition to Fosse choreography. So I got out!

But the new element that many conservatory programs are offering up is a fourth track; creative writing. Everything from scene work, composition and full script collaboration. And this concept I like. If you aren't finding the right work out there in the real world - Create Your Own! I think this is where we, as cabaret artists tend to soar. We relish in the idea that we are going to tell our own unique stories with our own personal spin. From conversations with actors - many rely on hiding behind the skin of a role that someone else has created for them. Instead of being their authentic selves. And this is something we strive for in our world - trying to be singularly unique. Some of the programs noted are the Cincinnati Conservatory, Pace University, Baldwin University and the Eugene O'Neil Center. I think those students are getting far more bang for their buck.

Musical Theatre Students are becoming Quadruple-threats