Lisa Loeb and her alumni at Brown University musicalize 2020
NEW YORK (AP) – Group meetings on Zoom have seldom become the fuel of good art. But we made a musical – actually 10, to be precise.
Grammy Award-winning Lisa Loeb was inspired to capture the weirdness, wonder and horror of 2020 during a Brown University online meeting. So she called on dozens of her former comrades to help create “Together Apart”, a collection of 10 mini-musicals that explore times of the year. There are also songs by Grammy winner Gordon Chambers.
There are stories of speed dating during the pandemic, elementary school taught via Zoom, a pair of divorcees forced into roommates, moms struggling in their 40s, and a family game night getting out of hand. There are exasperated parents, longtime lovers, and a lot of alcohol – maybe even a drunken raccoon.
âPeople really had a passion to connect, to tell these stories and to work together. So it created a lot of goals during that time. And, for a lot of people, it created an opportunity to be creative, âsays Loeb.
âTogether Apartâ debuts Friday on the Broadway On Demand streaming platform. Tickets are free with a suggested donation to The Actors Fund.
Loeb, whose musical career began with the 1994 hit “Stay (I Missed You)”, connected to a Zoom of Brown’s former musical theater students and listened to people remembering shows and talking about. how COVID-19 had affected their plans and hopes. .
âAs everyone walked around the room, in my head I felt like I was almost in a musical already,â she says. So I said, ‘You know, instead of just talking about these musical theater memorabilia, we should write a show. “”
About nine months later, after about a hundred alumni offered their contributions as actors, songwriters, storytellers and singers, “Together Apart” was made, a collection that captures at both the absurdity of the pandemic and the impact of George Floyd’s death. Comedian Eric Kirchberger plays Dr.Anthony Fauci, appearing from time to time to act as a sort of narrator.
âIt’s a piece in time. This is what I felt. It’s a theatrical-sized version and it’s definitely fiction, but there are certainly so many different sides to the COVID era, âLoeb said. âWe hooked up, and then we did a show on the hook. ”
The original Zoom group grew – alumni from Germany, Italy, and across the United States contributed – and the final product featured showbiz enthusiasts and professionals, like Julie Bowen from ” Modern Family “, Josh Hamilton of” 13 Reasons Why “, Broadway veteran Ann Harada and Hollywood luminary JoBeth Williams.
Instead of just one movie, the group agreed that multiple musicals – each no longer than 10 minutes – would work best to cover the enormity of the year. They also embraced the idea that it should sound like Zoom and that authentic stories would be key.
âWe were able to touch a lot of different bases by giving a lot of different people the chance to tell their story – fictional, but to tell their story,â says Loeb.
âTogether Apartâ also serves as an advertisement for the skills of Brown University alumni, who overcame creative and technological hurdles to create a series of musical moments that represent a pandemic diary.
âIt was a really amazing way to be introspective and to appreciate the experience we had while we were in college and the friendships we made,â said Loeb, Ivy Institution graduate. League in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1990.
It was a project that came about because of Zoom but also transcended it. âWe are separate in these boxes and yet we are together in these windows and we are deliberately trying to connect both in the process and in the show itself,â says Loeb.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits