Director/producer/choreographer, two-time TONY Award nominee, Joey McKneely, has assembled a gifted group of musicians to bring award-winning playwright, Randall David Cook’s memorizing Gothic romance, SHADOWS, to life. Edison Woods, Maxim Moston, and Karen Bishko transport their audiences into an hypnotic world where lovers – living and otherwise – tell their tales in soaring song and elaborate dance.
SHADOWS follows the secret romance of Claire and Alex. Well, secret to those on this plane. In the afterworld, behind the chiming clock and shuddered windows, another romance between Woman in Red (Claire’s Grandmother) and Man in Blue weave gracefully between the passions of Claire and her young lover. The other spirits, Man in Black and Woman in Silver, unhappy about this affair, torment the lovers. It isn’t until the last few minutes of this stirring piece that we see how the lovers of this world are the salvation for the ones beyond the grave.
SHADOWS was born between a collaboration of playwright and choreographer, using dance as an equal form of narrative to the book. The dances either tell of past encounters, reveal parallel emotions with the main characters, or foreshadow events. In addition, there are two female composer/lyricists who give this musical a unique voice by alternating from hauntingly poetic, alternative dance music to emotional, character driven songs. Along with the third composer, the score creates a modern complexity by using music to set the mood of the characters inner selves. Also, Kabuki style staging was utilized to create the world of the supernatural.
Words4Music will follow the production now that its begun rehearsals and continue through coverage of opening night … and beyond.
So let’s meet some of the composers.
Karen Bishko: I write very honest songs swaying from melancholy to amusing(I hope!)!
Composer Karen Bishko was originally a portrait painter, but began pursuing song writing in 2005, In 2007, she opened for Take That on their Beautiful World tour at London’s O2 Arena and Manchester MEN Arena. Her first album Singles for Singles, was substantially turned into the show Therapy Rocks. It premiered at the Urban Stages Theater as part of the NYMF. A concert of the songs, entitled Singles, was performed at 54 Below and also at Soho House NY. She has worked with music producers Gary Kemp and Jess Bailey (Spandau Ballet), Yoad Nevo (Jem, Golfrapp) and Steven Loroni (Jon Bon Jovi, Hansen). She recently wrote the English lyrics for Neapolitan-Austrian, multi-million album selling singer, Patrizio Buanne.
I’m a singer songwriter from the UK. Probably the highlight of my career was opening for the UK boy band, Take That, in front of 18,000 people in London. Sometimes my songs are stories and sometimes more an internal world.
When Joey and Randall decided to make Shadows into a musical, they got me on board to write songs that had a pop feel. Also, I had written my own musical about being a single woman, so they knew – lyrically – I would be able to get into the minds of Alex and Claire, the lead characters of Shadows.
If there’s one thing I can write lyrics about, it’s relationships! Also, Claire is such a fantastic character. She’s funny and daring with an inner sadness. I relate to her. And Alex, well, I’ve known a few Alex’s!
Joey and Randall have very much embraced my style and the songs I’ve written, and it’s been a great journey with them. Joey knows exactly what he wants and I’m learning an enormous amount from him.
Maxim Moston: I gravitate towards melancholy music and towards hazy dream-like textures so writing music for ghosts to dance and act to seems like a natural fit.
Composer Maxim Moston is a multi-faceted musician working in New York City. He has performed around the world as violinist and music director for Antony and the Johnsons. He worked extensively with Edison Woods and has appeared with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Belle and Sebastian, Mary J Blige, and Jay-Z among others. His arrangements/orchestrations can be heard on numerous albums including worldwide releases from Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Keren Ann and Josh Groban. Performances of his orchestral re-imaginings of William Basinski’s seminal Disintegration Loops 1 and 2 have been warmly received on three continents. More information can be found at maximmoston.com
Primarily I’m a violinist working around New York City where I grew up. I play classical music, commercial music, on Broadway and with bands and non-classical ensembles. I also write music and orchestrate and produce music for others.
One of the bands I was playing with about ten years ago was Edison Woods. Joey McP likes our music and reached out to Julia Frodhal, the main creative force behind the band to contribute music to a dance play he was working on and Julia brought me on as a writing partner. We contributed the songs that are not sung live by the two actors as well as music for the dance numbers and incidental music.
SHADOWS: A DANCE MUSICAL
November 29 – December 15
The Connelly Theater
220 E 4th St, New York City
November 29 & 30 @ 8:00 p.m. ٠ December 1 @ 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.
December 4 – 7 @ 8:00 p.m. ٠ December 8 @ 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.
December 11 – 14 @ 8:00 p.m. ٠ December 15 @ 3:00 & 8:00 p.m.