The text of the next Musical of the Month will be released around the middle of October. However, to tide you over until then, I have several exciting announcements.
First, we can now officially announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has generously funded some of the work of Musical of the Month! In August of 2010, while I was still working at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), musicologist William Everett from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and I applied for a small NEA grant to fund the transcription of music and texts of a set of pre-1923 musicals. We received the notice that we had been awarded the grant in May of this year. The grant is still based at MITH, and several procedural complications have meant we were not actually able to begin work on the grant until now, but very soon we will be hosting transcribed sheet music as well as libretti for many of the titles in this series.
Also, about a month ago, I received a very exciting email from Adam Roberts, a music director and arts critic from Austin volunteering to gather a group of singers and musicians together to play through some of the music I’ve posted on the blog. Needless to say, I excitedly agreed. I was so impressed by Adam’s team’s work, that I’ve asked him to be a music director for the project as a whole. The first tracks are available below and including (for, I believe, the first time ever) a recording of The Black Crook’s most popular comic song “You Naughty, Naughty Men” with sung lyrics. I think they are fantastic and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
These songs are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. This means you can download, share, and remix the files as long as you credit the original artists, do not use them for commercial purposes, and license any new work you make with the audio under a similar license.
Adam Roberts has served as musical director or choreographer for over ninety productions to date, with choreography credits including two European concert tours. Having taught and coached musical theatre voice and dance styles throughout the country, his students have appeared on and off-Broadway, in regional theatre and national tours, and on film and network television. In addition to his current role as Musical Director for Music Theatre Online: 1866-1923 with the New York Public Library and University of Maryland--College Park, Adam is a contributing writer and arts critic for The Austin Chronicle and is currently authoring a book focused on music analysis for practitioners of musical theatre. He is also highly active as an interpreter of sacred music and holds a Master's degree in Music from the Florida State University, with undergraduate degrees from Youngstown and Kent State universities.
Libby Dees is very excited to record for Music Theatre Online. She has lived and performed in Austin, Texas for the past seven years, where she graduated from St. Edwards University with a BA in Theatre Arts. Past credits include Company (Susan), Parade (Lucille), On the Town (Hildy), and Footloose (Betty), in addition to benefit performances for Zilker Productions and The Human Rights Campaign.
Eric Ferguson has established himself as a singer/actor in Central Texas with a wide array of performances spanning various genres. Recent regional productions include Hairspray (Link), High School Musical (Troy), The Music Man (Harold Hill), Assassins (Baladeer), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph), and I'll Be Seeing You. Other credits include gala performances for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign, in addition to numerous appearances at professional sporting events. He has served as Musical Director of The Ransom Notes, an Austin-based a cappella group, and as Associate Musical Director, pianist and vocal coach for several local productions. Eric's active commitment to the church lead him to serve as Assistant Director for two youth choirs and as a worship leader for numerous traditional and contemporary services. He is a proud graduate of the University of Texas.