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Standby

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Amy Baer
July 5, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Composer.

What is your show about?
A musical about making connections, finding love, and traveling on.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
Believe it or not, when I sat down with Alfred Solis, and my husband, Keith Robinson, and read the synopsis of STANDBY, I could not wait to write for the characters and the story, and to bring the production to the stage. I had composed several musical theatre pieces in the BMI Lehman Musical Theatre Workshop, sung countless songs growing up, and worked with vocalists for my concert pieces. But it was STANDBY'S characters, message and story; especially the realistic, unconventional, and imaginative elements, that triggered a desire to write for this genre.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Actually, I do compose for film and television, but nothing compares to musical theater. In film and tv, I am sitting at a desk, with one hand on a computer keyboard, and the other on a piano, and both eyes glued to a screen. It is solitary (but fun) work. Then there is theater, where I am working with actors and singers who are breathing life into my melodies, and an amazing lyricist (Mark-Eugene Garcia) who transforms my music into passionate storytelling. It is instant gratification! Also, in theater, the characters and action are real, and right in front of you. The dramatic experience more intimate than a film.

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
STANDBY is the type of show that you'll talk about for about hour with your friends, discussing the music and characters…but you will reflect on its story and subject matter for the rest of your life.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising! Even if you think you know what STANDBY is about, I can guarantee that our characters, songs, and plot twists will keep you guessing throughout the production.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
Not only theatre, but every art form can and has brought about societal change! Musicals such as Rent, Fiddler on the Roof, Bare, (and most recently Kinky Boots) have been a voice of underrepresented and misunderstood cultures and peoples, and I believe that we, as a society, have become more empathetic and supportive of these groups, because of the amazing characters and stories told through musical theatre. When an audience fills a theatre, their eyes, ears, and hearts are open to the amazing stories that are unfolding on the stage. Musical theatre is truly a genre where everyone is appreciated and respected.