Stephen has been generous enough to honor This Is Not A Theatre Company with his talent in not one, but two productions. He first sang his way into my life (gosh, shouldn’t all sentences start like that?) playing a gregarious, enticing Andre Salmon in A Serious Banquet, turning what would otherwise have been an enigmatic, inaccessible historical figure into a warm, complex, interesting character. I mean, come on – look at this guy:
He’s a hell of an actor, no questions there. But what I learned about Stephen soon after meeting him is that no only is he a hell of an actor, he’s also a composer.
Uh oh. Pro tip, guys: don’t ever, ever tell me you are a composer. Or I will never let you out of my life.
Stephen lent his composing talent to Ferry Play, This Is Not A Theatre Company’s most recent production. It’s a pod play for the Staten Island Ferry – that means, it’s an app that you download, and you listen to the recording while you ride the ferry. Everything that you see and hear (both on the recording and in the world around you) becomes the play.
For those of you who have listened to Ferry Play, Stephen is responsible for the song that we hear during Act 2, a song that, when I first heard it, almost made me cry, I thought it was so darn beautiful.
Much like my singleminded obsession with getting Sebastian to do the graphics for Type What Now, I knew from the moment I decided to do this play that I wanted Stephen to compose for it. In fact, I have plenty of memories of conversations with Stefan early on, when I nervously talked about how badly I wanted Stephen for it. When Stefan asked what my back up plan was should Stephen be unavailable, I grimaced and announced I “didn’t want to think about it.” (I’m a really good producer).
So imagine my dismay, then, when I asked Stephen to compose for the show, and he gently responded that this summer he was actually moving to Colorado, and would be gone as of July.
I truly almost considered calling the whole play off.
Fortunately for me, Stephen is amazing. Despite a major life-changing move, and all the stress (packing! moving! job hunting!) that goes along with it, he still signed on to compose for Type What Now, and has literally created dozens of songs for the piece, incorporating notes, feedback and suggestions from hundreds of miles away.
I am in awe.
And you guys: his stuff is so damn good. They lend this show a credibility I am desperate for it to have – a level of professionalism, polish and emotion that I only hope my words can achieve. Good music is like a balm for everything that’s bad about theatre – it turns sentimentalism into poignancy, and can make you cry, laugh, and feel. The thing about Type What Now is that if you’re watching it and not feeling, I have failed. And thanks to Stephen, I just don’t know that it’s possible.
Everything about Stephen is so awesome. Starting with this picture of him macking it with Max Jacob in ASB:
He writes, he composes, he performs. He’s a great, loyal, friend. He’s deftly talented and far more than I deserve for Type What Now. For those of you who are as devastated as me that he moved (but we can’t even resent him for that! For he and his wonderful girlfriend Ariela are going to kill it in CO – and don’t even get me started on how awesome she is…), I encourage you to come to Type What Now.
You can hear his music!
It’ll be like he never left!!