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A New (Old) Character: Breseis

I may have have finally found a place to put my smattering of knowledge of Greek myth. There is a minor character in Homer’s Iliad named Breseis. You might remember her as the war prize of Achilles. She was later seized by Agamemnon, which led to Achilles sulking in his tent and allowing the Trojans to start winning the battle of Troy. Breseis is a pivotal character in the Iliad, but she does not utter a single word, and that struck me. I’m in the middle of writing a new play about her. I’m setting it at a college in upstate New York, and I’m giving her plenty to say.

Summer performance: The Spectre of Death

I’ve written a new comedy called The Spectre Of Death. [Sic.] It’s about a 60-year-old heavy-metal rocker living off the royalties from his one big hit who receives a letter from a 20-year-old woman claiming to be his daughter. Hijinks ensue. I’m pleased to say that Ara Barlieb, the artistic director of The Crowded Kitchen Players in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has committed to giving this show a three-week run this summer. I know they’ll do a great job with it. The same company premiered my comedy Him and Jim several years ago.

Staged reading: True North

My new-ish musical True North will have a staged reading at Catholic University in Washington, DC, on February 18 at 8 pm. The show, which is about two brothers who stumble upon an enchanted valley in Tennessee, will mostly be performed by singers who are new to me, but I’m pleased to be working with a few familiar faces, including the wonderful singer Alan Naylor, talented music director Josh Cleveland, and two admired colleagues I met through my women’s rights musical, 19: The Musical: singer/actor Meredith Eib and stage manager Elizabeth Dix. Catholic University dean Jay Brock will direct. The reading is open to the public, and I’d love to see you there. You should be able to find details closer to the date on my website or on Catholic’s events calendar.

‘Twas the Season

My jazz band, Chaise Lounge, may be on permanent hiatus, but our music is having an afterlife—especially around the holidays. In years past, our numbers have been featured in made-for-cable holiday movies, and recently, Etsy used an instrumental version of our song “Trimmin’ the Tree” in one of their TV spots. (I also had an instrumental of my own picked up by Brach’s Candies for a holiday ad.) So if your ears perked up last month when a familiar tune came on the TV, it might have been one of ours.

When We Get There: We’re Getting There

When We Get There: We’re Getting There

In December, after working together online for nearly two years, I finally met one of my two collaborators on the musical When We Get There, which tells the story of a road trip to the fateful 1965 voting rights march in Selma, Alabama. Richard Lasser of Seattle, who wrote the book for the show along with Robert P. Young of Detroit, joined me in New York to meet with two of our production partners. As I’ve mentioned before, this show will have its first reading in New York, with sponsorship from the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning in Queens. Richard and I had dinner with the show’s director, Pat Golden, and our producing partner, Leonard Jacobs. After all this time of working remotely, to meet with these partners face to face gave our show a new sense of reality. Since then, we’ve all been hard at work arranging for a venue and starting to cast this reading, which as of now is most likely to happen in April. Stay tuned for more.