Call Answered: Conference Call: Barry Anderson & Lucia Spina: "WISH: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook" charity album/concert for Housing Works
I love the holiday season for so many reasons, but what makes this holiday time extra special is getting to catch up with Broadway's Lucia Spina & meeting composer/lyricist Barry Anderson. She is not only part of Barry Anderson & Mark Petty's new album WISH: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook, but she is directing their release concert as well as participating in it.
All profits from the album & concert will be donated to Housing Works, a local NYC organization supporting those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. WISH: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook concert will be on Monday, December 4 at 7pm & 9:30pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue, inside the basement of the West Bank Cafe). Click here for tickets!
The concert, hosted by MTV & VH1’s Amy Paffrath, features songs from the album sung by many of the original recording artists along with other performers from stage and screen. Scheduled to appear are (in alphabetical order): Christy Faber (Les Miserables, Kinky Boots), Katie Goffman (Ghost tour, Wisco Queens webseries), Ellen Harvey (Present Laughter, How To Succeed…), Leah Horowitz (Follies, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Natalie Joy Johnson (Legally Blonde, Kinky Boots), David LaMarr (Jersey Boys tour, La Mirada’s Dreamgirls), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory), Jonathan Rayson (Little Shop of Horrors, A Year With Frog & Toad), Brian Charles Rooney (Threepenny Opera, Bedbugs), Drew Seeley (Another Cinderella Story, The Little Mermaid), Lucia Spina (Legally Blonde, Silence! The Musical), and Allie Trimm (13, Bye Bye Birdie).
1. How did you come to work together on this project?
Barry Anderson: It just happened to come up casually in conversation. I had been talking to Lucia about the charity album while I was in the midst of recording it. She was the one who brought up the idea of an album release concert. I honestly hadn't even had time to think that far ahead. I'm so glad she offered to take the reins on it! It's a luxury to have someone as passionate and excited about putting the work in as Lucia has been.
Lucia Spina: One day, Barry & I were hanging out and we were talking about the new album and how it was going. I suggested he do a CD release concert to celebrate the album and let people hear the songs live, and I offered to direct/produce it. And that was that!
2. The album and subsequent concert is called Wish: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Songbook. What is your holiday wish this year?
Barry Anderson: My wish is for this country of ours to begin 2018 with a fresh, clean, LOVING slate. This year has been cray-cray, to say the least.
Lucia Spina: My holiday wish this year is that everyone comes to our shows on Monday 12/4 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre! Other than that, honestly and without any intended cheese-factor, I’d really like for everyone to be kinder to one another.
3. Out of all the charities out there, why did you want this concert to benefit Housing Works?
Barry Anderson: Aside from donating clothes to the location near my home every so often, I hadn't really done anything creatively for Housing Works before. Mark and I have enjoyed writing tunes for various charities and benefit concerts both here and in the U.K. for quite awhile. But we thought it would be fitting to reach out to Housing Works this time around, especially given the organization's focus on homelessness. The holidays seemed like a perfect time for doing it.
4. What do each of you like about the other's artistic vision as it lines up with your own - meaning, Barry what is about Lucia as a singer and director that made you go, I want to not only feature her on our album, but also have her direct this show? Lucia, what is about Barry & Mark's songs that made you want to sing them and help them put on this show?
Barry Anderson: I love Lucia's enthusiasm and ability to see the "down-the-road" big picture. It's been fun watching her brainstorm about casting ideas as well as how to best utilize and showcase the music. She's so well-established in the cabaret scene and Broadway community here she knows what works and what doesn't. She's also one of those singers who can handle just about anything you put in front of her. It's been great to have her record for us. And it's also been really fun to have her in a rehearsal studio and just workshop some of our things.
Lucia Spina: Well…I put them together, so I’m kind of invested in them. Barry & I were on tour with Legally Blonde and he mentioned he wanted someone to write with. I was Skype-ing with Mark and he mentioned he wanted someone to write with. So, I set up a facebook message introduction, and the rest is history. The first song of theirs I sang "Love Will Find Its Way" was featured on their first album You Are Home. I’m not sure if they wrote it specifically for me, but I was the first person to sing it and Barry and I wrote the back-up harmonies together. We’ll be featuring a few tracks from You Are Home in the concert and I’ll be singing "Love Will Find Its Way."
5. What will excite audiences about this concert & album?
Barry Anderson: I think the quality of the product is what I'm most excited about in terms of the album itself. Cameron Moncur did the album orchestrations and is music directing the concert. He's fantastic. Wait until you hear what he's done with some of these songs! And our engineer Matthias Winter has also made this album completely shine. I'm beyond proud of and humbled by the talented singers and musicians who have given their time and creativity to both the album and the live concert. I really feel like each tune aligns perfectly with the people performing it.
Lucia Spina: Barry and Mark write really great songs and these holiday songs showcase them at the top of their game. I can’t stop listening to the CD. It’s been on repeat all day. The tunes are easy to settle into—they remind you of your favorite Christmas pop tunes but with a fresh, new take. They’re going to become part of your permanent Christmas CD collection. Also, the lineup of singers on the album is fantastic! New York audiences especially will drool over performances by Broadway favorites Sean Allan Krill, Alexa Green, Kyle Taylor Parker, Graham Scott Fleming, Brynn Williams, Allie Trimm, Ellen Harvey, Nic Rouleau, and of course the incomparable Liz Callaway.
6. Lucia, what can you tell us about the song you will be performing? Barry, can you walk us through your writing process for this song? Did you write it with Lucia in mind?
Barry Anderson: "Love Will Find Its Way" was one of the very first songs I brought to Mark to collaborate with me on. He and I had a lot of fun with the idea of "self-love" and owning who you are. Not caring what other people think. It's not always the easiest thing to do. The vibe and feel of the tune was just kinda fun and hooky and a bit brass-y. Once we had the general song in place, we both knew Lucia could knock it out of the park. Hands down. It's the song she sings on our debut album, You Are Home. It'll be so much fun to have her do it live again!
7. Barry & Mark's debut CD, You Are Home: The Songs of Anderson & Petty came out in 2013 and Lucia, you sang on that album as well. When in your life, have you walked into a project or scenario that made you feel, "You Are Home"?
Lucia Spina: Barry & I have always had a great time collaborating and creating. I adore him as a friend and we have a fun, easy, midwestern rapport. But I also have come to treasure my long-time participation in Phil Geoffrey Bond’s Sondheim Unplugged. I’m in my 7th year of singing all sorts of Sondheim’s songs and I’ve been to so many wonderful artists, many of whom have become dear friends.
8. What's your favorite way to spend the holiday season in NYC?
Barry Anderson: My partner Rusty and I LOVE walking through the Christmas market they set up in Columbus Circle every year. It's charming. It's a bit of a tradition. I'm also a fan of a good holiday house party.
Lucia Spina: I usually return home to Chicago for Christmas, but I spend Thanksgiving with a small group of friends and it’s become a lovely new tradition. I religiously watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The National Dog Show, and hit up the Holiday markets across the city.
9. The holidays are a time when people come together (I mean, people should come together year round, but I digress). What do you think is one way this nation can come together this holiday season and bring that unity into the New Year (aside from impeaching that loser running our country)?
Barry Anderson: By fearing each other less and by looking into each others' eyes MORE. #FeelsSoMuchBetterToLove :)
Lucia Spina: I agree with you, I think we should do a lot more "coming together" throughout the year. It shouldn’t be reserved for the holidays. I think as we all gather with our families we should contemplate that this isn’t an insular thing—millions of people all over the world are doing the same thing. At the heart of everything, how can we all be that different? Also, as we treasure being surrounded by those we love, maybe we can think of all the people who aren’t so lucky and how we can extend that joy to others as 2018 rolls in.
More on Barry:
Barry Anderson is a native of rural Wisconsin and graduated with a music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He has lived in New York City for over a decade where he’s worked as an accompanist/vocal coach, musical director and Broadway actor. His Broadway credits include Legally Blonde & Jersey Boys.
More on Lucia:
Lucia Spina has appeared on Broadway five times, most recently as an original cast member of the Tony Award winning musical Kinky Boots. She has also graced regional and Off-Broadway stages originating roles in Winter Wonderettes, Fugitive Songs, as well as SILENCE! The Musical in which she appears on the original cast recording.