Actor/director Paolo Costanzo, who plays Evan R. Lawson on the USA Network series Royal Pains, needed a collaborator to bring to life his vision: a musical production number to cap a five-episode summer 2013 series on the show’s website. Working with composer/arranger/producer Charlie Barnett, Costanzo wrote and filmed “Shine,” a Disney-style musical daydream about a hotly contested village council election.
Last Christmas, the pop star Beck blew me away by releasing an album on sheet music only. His stunning Song Reader inspired professional and amateur musicians all over the world to record their own renditions of his songs…and it inspired me to publish a sheet music collection of my own. Chaise Lounge fans have made a few transcriptions in years past (notably, an all-female barbershop version of “A Man Who Can Cook”) but this is the first time I’ve published official charts. The new collection contains 20 songs arranged for piano-vocal, with guitar symbols above the vocal line. The work includes some of Chaise Lounge’s most-requested tunes, of course, along with numbers such as “I Know Him,” a stoical torch song from my off-off-Broadway show, The Last Days of Cleopatra; a song of longing and heartbreak called “Internal Bleeding”; and a gospel-inspired road tune called “Brick and Mortar.” The cover folder was beautifully designed by Adriana Cordero of DesignCordero.
I recently wrote some cues for an upcoming episode of Archer. Have you seen this? It is a cartoon on the FX network–but calling it “a cartoon” is like calling Neil Gaiman “a comic-book author.” Archer is dark and funny, and its humor bounces back and forth between urbane, fully adult humor full of current arty references and equally funny, but absolutely puerile and downright raunchy jokes. The music is a combination of faux-spy-thriller and Mad Men. Of course, since I live in my own delusional world of a perpetual 1962, replete with narrow lapels and Sammy Davis Jr. arrangements, this was not a problem for me.
I’ve been arranging three arias for San Francisco soprano Andrea Plamondon, an artist in many genres whose voice has been called “both atmospheric and entrancing.” In December, we’ll record these three operatic works with full orchestra as part of her forthcoming album. The best musical surprise for me has been Andrea’s choice of the song “Nella Fantasia.” It is actually a film cue written by the famous composer Ennio Morricone for the 1986 drama The Mission. Chiara Ferraù wrote lyrics to it, and it is beautiful. I can’t thank Andrea enough for introducing me to this wonderful piece of music.