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Entries in Lyricist (18)

Friday
Oct132017

Call Answered: Michael Mott: Abandoned Heart

Michael Mott, Photo Credit: Michael Kushner PhotographyWhen I saw the list artists singing on Michael Mott's new album Abandoned Heart, I knew I had to take a listen. What I heard were songs filled with raw emotion in regards to love & relationships. From finding love to losing love, Michael has a voice all his own. And he's found a group of performers, including Brian Justin Crum, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Natalie Weiss, Shayna Steele, & Jenna Ushkowitz, who really knew how to help bring these songs to life!

Abandoned Heart is available now on iTunes and Broadway Records along with his new single "More Than Me," which benefits Puerto Rico.

For more on Michael be sure to visit http://www.michaelmott.net and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & YouTube!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a composer/lyricist? Honestly, the piano. I dreaded playing the rudimentary exercises my piano teacher required of me, so I'd go off and make up my own compositions. I've always written ever since I was a little kid, but didn't really explore this talent seriously until I applied to the BMI Musical Theatre Writer's Workshop in 2012 in NYC. Going through that program gave me the confidence and skill set to pursue writing full time.

2. You just released your new CD Abandoned Heart, a variety of feel good pop, anthemic soul and introspective ballads. How do you feel you struck "Gold" with this album? Haha. Well, as corny as this sounds, I truly wrote all of these songs from the heart. Over the past few years I've found my artistic voice as a songwriter and these songs are written from a place of truth. While this is stylistically very different from my first album, Where The Sky EndsAbandoned Heart explores the type of music I truly love creating and am inspired by as a fan of music.

3. You have stated that this album helped you find your own individual voice and point of view as a writer and singer. How do you feel this album did that? Not to discredit my first album, but I feel like I was trying very hard to say "Look! I can write in any style or genre!" with that record. I was trying to appeal to a more high brow audience and show everything I could do, which almost made that record feel like a sampler platter. Abandoned Heart is a much more cohesive album. It has a true beginning, middle and end. I honed in on the styles and genres that speak to me as a fan first and foremost and then wrote from my heart and soul.

4. Since the album is called Abandoned Heart, when have you abandoned your heart? This can get pretty deep, pretty quickly. Let's just say working on this album taught me A LOT about myself. Haha. When I was going through the process of naming this project I was listening to these songs over and over again and beginning to analyze lyrics. I don't know why I write what I write, I just write! When I was trying to dissect every phrase, I realized  that every song was written from a place of yearning or longing. Each song on this record deals with a heart crying for acceptance. Hence, Abandoned Heart.

5. Which songs were the easiest to write? Which ones gave you the most trouble? I wrote "Gold" in a matter of 15-20 minutes sitting in the park. "My Favorite Color" also came to me pretty quickly. It's funny because the rest of these songs are like the fourth or fifth versions of these songs. "So Relentless," "Minefield of Love" and "Breathless" all had completely different choruses. It was after I had demo'd them and listened back that I realized what I wanted to do to evolve them into what they are now. I would actually love to do a concert or workshop or something and show the earliest versions of these songs. It's very interesting to see just how different they were in their first draft stages. "Minefield of Love" was originally called "Ask Me To Stay" and had this interesting country/rock vibe. "Breathless" was called "My Man" and had a totally different hook. Listening back on those earlier versions now, they're extremely inferior to the current versions. Thankfully I had the common sense to know I could do better, haha. It's very important for artists to give themselves the time and space to allow the material to grow and evolve. You can not undermine the creative process.

Michael Mott6. How do you prepare for a day of writing? What is your writing process like? Do you say today I'm going to write my emotional songs and then I will tackle my more upbeat songs or vice versa? How do you decompress writing songs? I wish I knew. I've found that when I sit down with the intention to write is when I usually come up with the worst material that makes me feel like the most untalented human being on earth. It's funny because once I allow myself to be in this place, suddenly the flood gates open and I am receptive to inspiration; my subconscious opens and melodies, lyrical phrases and ideas start coming to me in the most inopportune times (see: showering, working out, walking to the park, etc).

7. Your song "Complicated" is about someone holding on to a relationship that seems to be ending. When you write a song like this, if it's based upon your own experience, how far out from this relationship were you when writing it? What do you feel as you write it? Freedom or the anger/frustration of the situation? This song is based on a relationship I was in last fall. I was head over heels for this guy, but he was scared of commitment. We fell for each other and then he pulled away. It's very therapeutic to be able to sit down at the piano and allow the music to do all of the work for me. That song encapsulates exactly how I felt in that relationship and Eric LaJuan Summers' vocal performance is exquisite. I couldn't ask for a better vocalist. He's such a star.

Michael Mott at the "Abandoned Heart" release concert8. I love the different styles of music on your album. How did you know they would all blend together so well? Thank you, I appreciate that. I honestly don't think about it. I just knew I was writing from a place of truth and wanted to write with a more fresh, contemporary pop sound and that was that. It also helped that I worked with one music producer on the entire album, so we were able to hone in on a certain tone that was all encompassing on the entire record. Rich Matthew produced and made everything sound like a million bucks.

9. Another song on the album is "My Favorite Color." So, what's your favorite color? I enjoy a dark blue or black. Let's go with black as the black heart emoji has been part of the branding experience of this new album.

10. If you had the opportunity to write songs for five of your favorite artists, who would you want to write for? Well, I have been lucky enough to have worked with most of my favorite artists from the Broadway and television worlds, including everyone on this album and my first album. That is something I do not take for granted at all! However, it would be an absolute dream come true to write with Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, Sia, John Mayer and P!nk. I love collaborating because I learn so much from the writers and artists I'm working with. You can not get any better than those legends and it would be a dream come true to be able to work with them in any capacity.

Michael Mott, Photo Credit: Cristin DownsMore on Michael:

Michael Mott  is a composer, lyricist, singer, actor and voice teacher living in NYC. Born and raised in New Hartford, New York, Michael graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre Performance. After graduating, he moved to New York City and enjoyed a successful career performing in numerous Off-Broadway, regional and national touring shows. In 2012 he decided to shift his focus to writing and was accepted into the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writer’s Workshop. He has since been named one of Playbill's "Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know."

Michael's debut album, Where The Sky Ends, is a compilation album of his original theatre, jazz and pop music performed by some of the best singers on Broadway, co-produced by Mott and legendary orchestrator/ producer, Kim Scharnberg. The LP has been referred to as "a masterpiece" by Broadway World and was released by Grammy Award Winning label, Broadway Records on June 17, 2014. Due to popular demand, Where The Sky Ends: The Dance Remixes was released by the same label on October 14, 2014 and spawned the popular dance track, "Gone" (Julian Marsh Ethereal Mix). In 2016 he composed a Christmas single for Broadway star, Laura Osnes, co-produced by Mott, Scharnberg and Jeremy Roberts. "Christmas, Will You Stay?" was released digitally on his own label, Motta Music, on December 6, 2016.

Michael has had the great fortune of working with some of the best singers in the business both in the recording studio and on stage in his touring show, Michael Mott & Friends. His collaborations include TONY Award Nominees Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Jennifer Damiano, Orfeh, Sierra Boggess, Zachary Levi, Jenna Ushkowitz, Andy Mientus, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Adrienne Warren, Justin Guarini, Brian Justin Crum, Shayna Steele, James Snyder, Jackie Burns, Mitch Jarvis, Michael Lanning, Marissa McGowan, Crystal Monee Hall, Loren Allred, Natalie Weiss, Teal Wicks, Jason Gotay, Ryan Silverman and countless others. As composer/ lyricist, Michael’s original musicals include In The Light (book by Nathan Wright and Justin Silvestri), The Don (book by Corey Skaggs) and Lucifer (co-lyricist, Mike Squillante, book by Corey Skaggs). He co-conceived and composed music to the original ten minute musical, Riding Out The Storm, written with lyricist and librettist, Christine Toy Johnson. Additionally, he has written and recorded several stand alone pop/ R&B/ top 40 songs.

Wednesday
Mar222017

Call Redialed: Facetime Interview: Bobby Cronin: Concerts, Theme Songs, & Winning New York

Call Me Adam and Bobby Cronin at The Algonquin Hotel's "New Yorker Suite"From inside The Algonquin Hotel's New Yorker Suite, what an absolute joy it was to catch-up with Bobby Cronin, award winning composer/lyricist (and creator/singer of the "Call Me Adam Theme Song")! It's been a few years since Bobby & I have sat down for an interview so needless to say, we had lots to talk about: from his upcoming concerts to creating the "Call Me Adam Theme Song" to Winning New York, we reveal it all!

Bobby has two upcoming concerts. One is Sunday 3/26 at 7pm at The W Hotel in Times Square, NYC (47th & Broadway) called #Love Is Love as part of the W's Broadway at The W series. Featuring Bobby's music, #Love Is Love will welcome Anne Brummel (Wicked), Bryan Terrell Clark (Hamilton & Motown), Lauren Elder (Hair & Side Show), Lora Lee Gayer (Holiday Inn & Follies), LaQuet Sharnell (Memphis & Lion King), Adam Kaplan (Kinky Boots & Newsies), Kyle Scatliffe (The Color Purple & Les Miserables), Marty Thomas (Grammy Nominee), Michael Williams (Charllie & The Chocolate Factory & On The Town), and Cortney Wolfson (Kinky Boots & The Addams Family). Click here for tickets!

Bobby's second concert, Bobby Cronin & Friends will be April 19 at 8pm at The Yotel's Green Room in NYC (42nd & 10th Ave). This will be a benefit for the Humane Society and feature a host of Bobby's New York friends and International talents. Click here for tickets!

For more on Bobby be sure to visit http://bobbycronin.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

"Call Me Adam's" Facetime video interview with Bobby Cronin:

Thursday
Aug132015

Call Answered: Adam Overett: Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy: 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival

Adam Overett and Call Me Adam at "Bound for Broadway with Liz Callaway"

Update: Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy has been selected to be part of the 2015 Fringe Encore Series at the SoHo Playhouse. If you did not get the chance to see Popesical: A Papal Musical this summer in the NYC International Fringe Festival, you have four more chances to confess your sin and see this show, through October 26! Click here for tickets! 

It's Adam x 2! Can you handle all this Adam?? I first came to know Adam Overett when I attended Bound for Broadway with Liz Callaway in 2013. I was so impressed by Adam's performance (okay and good looks), I knew, I just had to talk with him. Well, after two years of staying in touch, I am overjoyed that we finally get to do an interview together for his show Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy that is premiering in the 2015 NYC International Fringe Festival from August 20-29 at Theatre 80 in NYC's East Village (80 St. Marks Place), presented by Tilted Windmills Theatricals. 

In Popesical: A Papal Musical Comedy, The Pope is dead. The Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel, where they will compete in a series of grueling "Papal Challenges" to choose the new Pope. For whom will the white smoke rise?

For more on Adam be sure to visit http://adamoverett.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. Your show, Popesical, is playing in the NYC International Fringe Festival from August 20-29. What made you want to bring Popesical to the Fringe Festival as opposed to one of the other theatrical festivals in the city? This is my first show with the Fringe, but the producers of POPESICAL, Tilted Windmills Theatricals, have produced shows at the Fringe before, including SILENCE! THE MUSICAL and YEAST NATION, so they know the territory and thought Fringe was the best place to start this show off. They love the fun, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants scrappiness of this festival, and I've been having a blast myself. It's a great lesson in being flexible and economical, and I love theater that calls on those qualities.

2. Popesical is about a group of Cardinals who compete in top-secret "Papal Challenges" to succeed the Pope. What made you want to write this show? When Pope John Paul II died, I was fascinated by the idea of this conclave, this centuries-old tradition that is conducted entirely in secret in the Sistine Chapel, one of the most incredible rooms on earth. I found myself wondering, what could they possibly be doing and talking about in there? How does one prove that he is the best person to serve as the Vicar of Christ? Years later, I had the opportunity to write a 15-minute show in a week for a group of eight talented theater students from UC Irvine, and I wrote a short piece about the conclave, with all of them in Cardinal roles that showed off their particular talents. As I worked on it, I started to think it was also, in a way, a kind of metaphor for religion -- you don't know what happens in there, so you have to take it on faith. You are asked to trust what is hidden from you, what you can't see. And I think that faith and trust have their upsides and their downsides, and I'm very interested in that. So I expanded it into a full-length musical.

Cast of "Popesical: A Papal Musical"3. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing Popesical? I want them to laugh like crazy. And then I want them to be surprised to find themselves really moved. And I hope they leave thinking that maybe the real point of all this -- all these traditions, all this faith and trust -- is to learn to love each other and ourselves better.

4. If you could give people one reason as to why they should come see Popesical, what would that reason be? If you don't, you'll go to hell. It's definitely one of the Commandments.

5. What excites you about having this cast bring Popesical to life? What made you want to have Drew Geraci direct this show? In my first conversation with Drew, I knew he had both the humor and the heart that this show requires -- that he really got it, and that we were passionate about it in the same way. Same with the cast -- they're unbelievable. Watching them in rehearsals is a total delight. Each of them belongs in this crazy conclave. Being an actor myself, I find that the best part of creating a show is finding a synergy between the material and the cast, and the connection among the actors themselves. I want the cast of this show to feel like a family, a wacky family of Cardinals that love to play together, and with this group we've found them. It's incredibly rewarding.

The Cardinals of "Popesical; A Papal Musical"6. Who or what inspired you to become a writer/performer? I started writing new lyrics to songs we learned in first grade. I showed them to my teacher and she said, "You should be a lyricist. Do you know what is?" I didn't, but I was happy to find out. Not long after that, I started listening to cast albums, thinking, "I want to have made this, and to be in it." And off I went.

7. What's the best advice you've ever received? "People will try to pigeon-hole you. Don't let them. Be yourself." It can be very hard -- to trust yourself, love yourself, be yourself -- but it is always the best thing you can do. I got this from a producer I worked for shortly after graduating college. He turned out to be very right. (And a good producer -- he won the Tony for GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE).

Adam Overett composing8. What have you learned about yourself from being a writer/performer? I've learned a lot about the different sides I have. It may be sort of a given that a writer's main character will reflect the writer strongly, but I've found that every character, including the villains, expresses something I carry in me. I find myself surprised after writing something, like, "I didn't know I thought or felt that way."

After writing this show, I realized I have a much more complex relationship with religion than I thought I did. My stories tend to be about people who find in themselves a greater strength than they ever thought they had. So perhaps a lot of what I do as a writer is looking for my own inner strength.

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Flying. Cliche I know, but I think it would be freaking awesome.

10. Favorite way to stay in shape? Ice cream and pizza. They have never steered me wrong.

BONUS QUESTION:

11. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs, or boxer-briefs. Some compromise can be a good thing.

Adam OverettMore on Adam:

As a composer/lyricist/librettist, he is the creator of MY LIFE IS A MUSICAL (2014 world premiere production at Bay Street Theatre; 2013 developmental lab production at the Duke Theatre, produced by Martin Platt, David Elliott, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, Patrick Blake, Jhett Tolentino & Joan Raffe, 2013); POPESICAL (2012 developmental production at the Lyric Theatre in LA, 2013 concert performance at Joe’s Pub, NYC); CALL IT COURAGE (based on the Newbery Medal-winning book by Armstrong Sperry), which had its premiere youth production at the Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin, TX (2010), where it was nominated for five B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Production of Youth Theatre; and many other works. He also contributed music and additional lyrics to the current off-Broadway hit CLOWN BAR (The Box, summer 2014, NYC) by Adam Szymkowicz.

As an actor, Adam has appeared on Broadway and on national tour in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, understudying and performing the role of "Fabrizio." He played "Neil Kellerman" in the national tour of DIRTY DANCING, and is currently in the cast of MURDER FOR TWO at New World Stages, after appearing in productions of the show at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and the 42nd St. Moon Theatre in San Francisco. He originated the role of "Herb" in the off-Broadway show JUNIE B. JONES (by Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich, based on the bestselling book series) at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, and has performed in many other productions throughout New York City and the country.

He has been a Musical Theater Fellow at the Dramatists Guild (2010-2011), a Lucille Lortel Award nominee for his contribution to the score of the Off-Broadway musical WE THE PEOPLE (2011), and a two-time Harrington Award winner as a member of both the BMI Advanced Musical Theater Workshop and Librettists Workshop. He has also been a resident writer at the Goodspeed Mercer Colony and CAP21 (2013). His song "My Sky," performed by Stephanie J. Block, is featured on the album No More Revivals, released by Sh-K-Boom Records.

Adam is a member of the Lehman Engel Musical Theater Advanced Workshop at BMI, where he won the Jerry Harrington Award for Excellence. He has studied musical theater writing with Tony Award-winners Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty (RAGTIME), Adam Guettel (THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA), and with Andrew Lippa (THE ADDAMS FAMILY), and participated in the Nautilus Workshop on musical theatre collaboration at New Dramatists in 2010. Adam has also authored the short musical MAKING THE CALL; the screenplay The Swallow’s Nest; and several plays, including PASSPORT, STANDING GUARD, and THE BIRDBATH.

Adam is a graduate of Yale University, where he earned a B.A. in dramatic literature and music, and won the John Golden Prize for New Musicals. He is represented by Abrams Artists.

Friday
Jun262015

Call Redialed: NEW Facetime Interview with Sam Carner and Derek Gregor: Carner & Gregor One

Derek Gregor, Call Me Adam, and Sam CarnerLive from NYC, "Call Me Adam" catches up with award winning lyricist/composer Sam Carner and Derek Gregor to discuss the release of their debut album Carner & Gregor One featuring the talents of Tituss Burgess ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), Natalie Weiss, Jeremy Jordan, Eric Michael Krop, Brian Justin Crum, Danielle Wade, Gregory Haney, Sophie Moshofsky, Jackie Burns, Joe Chisholm, Shannon Molly Flynn, Holland Mariah Grossman, Renee Reinecke, Emma Hunton, Nat Zegree, Emily Schultheis, Briana Carlson-Goodman, and Stephen Christopher Anthony. Click here to purchase Carner & Gregor One!

For more on Carner and Gregor be sure to visit http://www.carnerandgregor.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube!

"Call Me Adam" interview with Carner and Gregor:

Derek Gregor and Sam CarnerMore on Carner and Gregor:

Sam Carner and Derek Gregor were included in Playbill.com’s 12 Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know, and their songs can be heard frequently in concerts around the country and world, having been performed on at least six continents–including Antarctica! They won the 2014 John Wallowitch Award for songwriters under 40 and were finalists for the 2014 Fred Ebb Award. Seven of their songs have been nominated for MAC Awards.

Their musical Unlock’d was produced Off-Broadway at the Duke Theater in the summer of 2013 ("gorgeous" –NYTimes "Astounding, enveloping" –Talkin’ Broadway). Previously Unlock’d won a Richard Rodgers Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was produced at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2007, where it won the "Best of the Fest" audience prize and received Talkin’ Broadway citations for "Outstanding New Musical" and "Outstanding Original Theatrical Score."

Their musical Island Song, which boasts five MAC-nominated songs, was workshopped in the summer of 2013 at the Balagan Theatre in Seattle and the Indiana Festival of Theatre, following fall 2012 concerts at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York and at Crawfish in Tokyo (in Japanese). The show was presented at the Bloomington Playwright’s project in February of 2014 ("mesmerizing… vibrant, supercharged" –Herald Times).

Other current projects include additional songs for Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (original songs by Michael Devon, book by Todd Graff, directed by Susan Stroman), a musical adaptation of Rex Rose’s novel Toast, and The Great Cookie Quest (a children’s musical with book by Jim Weitzer).

Sam and Derek’s short children’s musical Love, Splat has been touring the US since 2013 in the TheatreWorks USA revue The Teacher From the Black Lagoon and Other Stories. Their song "Sleep Song" was featured in Cait Doyle’s Hot Mess In Manhattan in its Araca Project production in 2012, and their song "Eleven O’Clock" was part of Unsung Musicals’ Passing Show in 2014. They wrote two songs for the popular web series My Gay Roommate. Their ten-minute musical Flash-Priest was presented by the Prospect Theatre Company in Rites of Passage in the spring of 2012.

In 2013, Sing, But Don’t Tell, an evening of Carner & Gregor songs sung by West End performers sold out London’s Matcham Room, and Sam and Derek returned to London in 2014 for a series of concerts at the St. James Studio. Notable New York concerts include Sing, But Don’t Tell at the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival, Buzzed: Tribe Members from Hair Sing Carner & Gregor (2010), and The Songs of Carner & Gregor at 54 Below (2014). They also created the Barely Legal Showtune Extravaganza series, which brings some of the country’s most talented college performers to New York every summer for a blow-out concert.

Friday
Jan162015

Call Answered: DISENCHANTED! Conference Call with Dennis T. Giacino and Fiely A. Matias

Dennis T. GiacinoFiely A. Matias"Call Me Adam" chats with Fiely A. Matias and Dennis T. Giacino, the director and book/composer/lyricist of the new Off-Broadway musical comedy DISENCHANTED! which is currently playing a limited run in NYC at the Theatre at St. Clements (423 West 46th Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through January 25 only! 

UPDATE: After a successful run at St. Clements, DISENCHANTED is now playing an open-end run at NYC's Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenue)! So you have a second chance to this hilariously fun show! Click here for my review and link to tickets!

DISENCHANTED! tells the story of the original fairytale princesses and how they are none too happy with the exploitation they’ve suffered in today’s films, books and dolls. 

For more on DISENCHANTED! be sure to visit http://www.disenchantedmusical.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

1. Your newest show, DISENCHANTED! is currently running Off-Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clements through January 25. DISENCHANTED! What made you want to write and direct a musical comedy from the point of view of the Disney Princesses?

Fiely A. Matias: The idea for DISENCHANTED! popped into Dennis' mind several years ago while the two of us were performing Asian Sings The Blues on an international tour.

Dennis T. Giacino: I used to be a history teacher in the 80s and would, each year, tell the story of Pocahontas to 7th and 8th graders. I loved regaling the students with stories of this rough-and-tumble, 10 year old, Powhatan tyke from the pretty pinewoods of Appalachia. When the Disney animated film, Pocahontas, was released in 1995, and I saw their rendition of a more adult, deer pelt lingerie-wearing, somewhat voluptuous woman with long flowing hair, make-up, and leaves following her everywhere, the thought occurred to me:  What would the 10-year-old tomboy from history think of today's sexier, more adult pop culture version?! And a song was born! The show, featuring a band of pissed-off princesses singing out against today's obsession with dainty royals, wasn't far behind!

Fiely A. Matias: DISENCHANTED! is written from the point of view of the original fairytale princesses - the same public domain well that Disney went to for their films. Our princesses are portrayed as strong, real women commenting on today's helpless damsel in distress princesses with big saucer-like eyes and waistlines smaller than their own necks! It's a loving poke, a friendly skewering of the Princess Complex perpetuated by Disney, Toddlers & Tiaras, Barbie dolls, MTV, etc. We wanted to write and direct the show because there's so much gold to mine in real women telling the truth about living supposedly happily ever after! In our show, happily ever after ain't it's cracked up to be!

Cast of "DISENCHANTED!"2. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing DISENCHANTED!?

Dennis T. Giacino: Laughter!

Fiely A. Matias: And some truth. Audiences love the ribald comedy, the improvisation, the belting-their-faces-off funny women, and the message of DISENCHANTED!

Dennis T. Giacino: In DISENCHANTED!, every comedy song re-tells, in a riotous, hilarious way, each of the princess stories while hinting at a bigger picture. The message hidden in each of the songs is that happily ever after is self-acceptance; being perfectly you - not what today's entertainment tells you how to be.

Fiely A. Matias: Audiences are enjoying both the comedy and the message!  We've been sold out the entire run!  It's been an amazing NYC experience for us and the show!

Lulu Picart, Becky Gulsvig, Michelle Knight, Jen Bechter, Soara-Joye Ross and Alison Burns in "DISENCHANTED!"3. What has been the best part about having this cast bring DISENCHANTED! to life? 

Fiely A. Matias: Well, you really need six Carol Burnetts up on that stage in DISENCHANTED! They need to have great comic timing and sing their faces off. This cast does not disappoint!

Dennis T. Giacino: It's also been a treat to have two of our original Orlando actors in this Off Broadway production. Along with Lulu Picart (Mulan, Pocahontas, Princess Badroulbadour), it's been so great to have Michelle Knight (Snow White) continue her journey with the show. She brings amazing vocals, great leadership, and a keen sense of wonderful 'straight-man' comedy to the show. We're having such fun watching the NYC audiences love these performances!

4. What have you enjoyed most about this run of DISENCHANTED! and what are your plans for the show after this run is over?

Fiely A. Matias: We are loving watching an audience lose themselves in laughter! Having an Off-Broadway show has been a dream of ours since our Asian Sings The Blues days back in the 90s. It's been great realizing that dream! We went from a one-man cabaret act in Asian to a full-on Off-Broadway musical comedy with DISENCHANTED! - it makes all those years in which I rolled around the stage in a skimpy 12-year-old's one-piece bathing suit singing love-songs-gone-wrong worth it! :)

Dennis T. Giacino: We're in a limited engagement with DISENCHANTED! now. Our hope, due to the sold out houses, raves, and such positive audience reaction, is that the show transfers to a larger Off-Broadway space this year. That would be very exciting!

Cast of "DISENCHANTED!"5. Since DISENCHANTED! is from the point of view of the Disney princesses, which Disney princess have you always wanted to be and why?

Dennis T. Giacino: I'm totally Snow White! I could make fun, off-color jokes about 7 men and waiting for my prince to come but suffice it to say, I just love the idea of dying and coming back to life! Who doesn't want that?!

Fiely A. Matias: I'm all about Pocahontas! I've always been a "just around the river bend" kinda guy plus, come on, she has hair great hair! For a balding 40-something, that's a dream come true!

Dennis T. Giacino: I definitely prefer our empowered princesses, though. There's really nothing like a strong, belting actress who can be mega-funny while she sings her face off!

Fiely A. Matias: Amen. Now that's a super-power!

6. Let's go back in time for a moment. In 2001, I saw your NYC Fringe show Asian Sings The Blues. I still remember the fun I had at that show from Fiely's performance to Dennis' songs. Looking back, what did you like about performing/working on that show? How did you first come to work together and what has made you want to continue this collaboration?

Fiely A. Matias: We've been collaborating for 23 years now! We started a small theater company in Corvallis, Oregon low those many years ago. We were having troubles affording the licensing fees for Neil Simon plays and Sondheim musicals so we started writing our own shows.

Dennis T. Giacino: Wait - hold up! Let's be clear here. Fiely came to me 23 years ago and said, "Licensing fees and actors are expensive. Write me a one-man show." My reaction was, "Okay - you sing a little off-key, all you do is chat about yourself, and you always wish to be the center of attention. You're a cabaret act!" And I wrote Asian Sings The Blues!

Fiely A. Matias: Okay, okay. That's all true! I dream that we will end up in some dive bar in our old age singing songs from Asian - those really were such fun times! What a great way to retire - as a cheesy lounge act!

7. What's the best advice you've ever received? 

Dennis T. Giacino: That's easy. As a young teenager, I played a song I wrote for Tommy West, a country music singer/producer - I think he worked with Jim Croce. When I finished the song, Tommy imparted this nugget of wisdom: "I love the melody and the lyrics. Make sure that every song you ever write tells a compelling story. It's got to have a beginning, middle and end."

Many of today's pop songs (and some theater songs) have forgotten that. I'm forever grateful to Tommy West for that advice! It has informed every song I've written since - Asian Sings The Blues and DISENCHANTED! Best advice ever.

Dennis T. Giacino and Fiely A. Matias8. How do you want to be remembered?

Dennis T. Giacino: I feel like my purpose in life is to skewer different genres of entertainment - to show how silly live performance can be. Whether it's the Disney princess films, game shows, sitcoms, or the self-centered, semi-talented cabaret performer. I love to lampoon them all. My fave, of course, is spoofing the put-upon accompanist in a lounge act. I'm known as "Scary Manilow" in Asian Sings The Blues. That'd be cool to be remembered for that. Or being the "Princess Whisperer." The guy who brought to life all these strong fairy tale women who gave our ol' buddy Walt the what for!

9. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

Dennis T. Giacino: I've often thought that I'd like to be able to read minds. But I can already kind of do that - I'm a bit psychic, y'know.

Fiely A. Matias: Okay, what am I thinking right now?

Dennis T. Giacino: That you don't have an answer to the super-power question.

Fiely A. Matias: Wow! You're like Kreskin at the keys!

Dennis T. Giacino: I knew you were going to say that.

Dennis T. GiacinoMore on Dennis:

Dennis T. Giacino,  a New York City native, has created musicals that have toured throughout the USA, Canada and internationally. Giacino’s works have been featured in prestigious by-invitation-only festivals in NYC, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Orlando, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver BC, Halifax, Montreal, Sydney AUS, Singapore, and Prague. His musicals have received numerous awards including: NJ Playwrights Contest (2010 Winner! -DISENCHANTED!); "Best National Show" (DailyCityNews - DISENCHANTED!); "Best of Orlando 2011" (Orlando Weekly, Orlando Sentinel, Watermark - DISENCHANTED!); "Best Comedy" (Ottawa Fringe Festival); "Best Musical" & "Best Comedy" (USA National GLBT Theater Festival); "Best of Fest" awards (San Francisco, Saskatoon AB and Orlando International Fringe Theater Festivals).

Fiely A. MatiasMore on Fiely:

Fiely A. Matias has directed productions of DISENCHANTED! in Orlando (2011, 2012, 2013), Los Angeles (2012), San Francisco Bay Area (2013), Missouri (2012), Tampa (2014) as well as the original New York City workshop (2009) and staged reading (2012). He has directed musical works by Dennis T. Giacino (author/composer, DISENCHANTED!) for over 20 years, including over 20 International Fringe Theater Festival productions. His awards include "Best National Show" (DailyCityNews - DISENCHANTED!); "Best Musical" & "Best Comedy" (USA National GLBT Theatre Festival), "Best Comedy" (Ottawa Fringe Theatre Festival), "Producer’s Award" (Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival) and "Best of Fest" at the Orlando, San Francisco, and Saskatoon Fringe Theater festivals. Fiely is a proud member of AEA and SDC.