I am gearing up to score a new PBS documentary about Admiral Hyman Rickover, the moving force behind the launch of America’s first nuclear-powered submarine. This is the long-term project of director Michael Pack, and it stars Tim Blake Nelson of O Brother, Where Art Thou? as Rickover. Clearly this will be an unusual film. Pack and I have been talking about this score for some time now. We both agree that Rickover was at the same time heroic and difficult and lonely. The score will feature alto sax, and there will be moments when the instrument is unaccompanied. I have already contracted the concert artist Rick Parrell to play for this.
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.