Well, here we are.  Opening night at Studio Tisch.

(Lighting by Kate Ashton, Set by Damon Pelletier, Photos ©2010 Michael Heck)

Tonight I’ll perform We Outran the Sun for the first time in front of an audience.  I wrote the first song almost a year ago, long before I had any idea of the larger framework.  While I was writing the second song, I began to think that it would become part of a song cycle in the somewhat archaic tradition of Schumann and Schubert, a series of portraits.  In February I brought in the first seven songs to the Grad Acting Alumni Writer’s Forum.  I invited some friends to come listen to what I’d been working on, and help give me some feedback as to what exactly I was creating.  I didn’t know if it was a concert or an album or maybe, just maybe, an evening of theater.  Freddy and Stacey were there that night, and someone else mentioned how interesting it was to know the songs were about actual people. The spark of the idea behind the interviews began that night, as a way to incorporate the people in the portraits more tangibly in the performance itself.  Ben Graney also mentioned that the songs made him want to shoot music videos for all of them, and looking back on it, that’s exactly what we ended up doing.

Before I left for Vermont to do My Ohio, I met with my friend – the filmmaker Michael Heck – and asked him to be a part of this somewhat undefined project (a project I didn’t yet completely understand myself).  We brainstormed ideas at a cafe in Chinatown, and then I left to do a musical in Burlington.  I did the first interview in Vermont, on a Flip Video in my hotel room at the Green Mountain Suites, with my good friend Dave Beck.  When I returned to New York, Mike and I began an intensive two months of filming and editing.  We also received DVDs from my friends who lived outside of New York: from Michigan, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Germany.  I met with Kate Ashton and Damon Pelletier, who agreed to design the lights and set.  The last few weeks included many hours of editing footage, both interviews and projections.  Now suddenly, I’m in a theater again, sitting at the piano.  I started this project at the piano, and now I find myself there again.

If you’re in New York, I hope you can make it this weekend.  If you’re not in New York, thanks for following along.  Know that you’re just as much a part of the project and the process as those who will sit in the theater tonight.  Also, another look at the multimedia: the James Bond sequence we shot with Chris Grant, to accompany the song the closes the show, You Only Live Twice.  Enjoy.