My Musicals

dan@musicaldan.com

Composer, Lyricist, Playwright, Musical Director

Back to top

Original Musicals

My musical, Words and Music performed in New York (2016) and listed in “Broadway World”.




 
My musical, A Casual Gathering in New York (2015)
A CASUAL GATHERING Set for TNC's Dream Up Festival, 9/12-20




 

These are just a few written in the last few years (since 2007), one of which (Checking In) was performed in 2008 by The Tel Aviv Community Theatre. Happy Hour was performed in November of 2011 in Tel Aviv and was a great hit! Audiences loved it!

Checking In (2008)

Checking In takes place in a retirement home on the Upper West Side of New York City. Frieda is an aging resident who harbors an obsessive, decades-old hatred against Harry, her ex-husband. Many years ago he went out to buy the Sunday newspaper and was never heard from since, leaving Frieda traumatized and pregnant as well. Now Harry reappears, a new resident at the same home where Frieda resides. A nasty series of encounters erupts as she vents years of pent up venom. Then surprising information is revealed by Harry and authenticated by Danny, a resident ex-NYPD detective. This forces Frieda to re-examine her long held perceptions, as well as her way of viewing Harry.

We meet an array of other people who live and work at the retirement home, such as Sadie the social director, who has a severe attitude problem concerning senior citizens. Also a resident named Ben, a wise-cracking ex-Broadway producer with bitter regrets about his failed ambitions to be on the stage. But Ben will receive a second chance in the form of an in-house musical production which makes for an upbeat finale to Checking In.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Exit Singing (2009)

Laura Curtis is an old woman, bound to a wheelchair. In her glory days she sang in the 1940 musical revue “Exit Singing” on Broadway. Through a series of flashbacks we discover the source of her life-long regret.

The producer of that revue, blue-blooded Frederick Finster, harbors a romantic obsession for Laura. He has long-term plans for her on the stage... and off. However, Laura falls in love with the young songwriter of “Exit Singing”, German born David Brightman. Frederick sees through Laura’s denials of loving David and feels threatened.

David’s sister remained in Germany. Helga is Jewish and like thousands of others cannot escape the Nazis. David impetuously travels to Berlin to try and save his sister. Frederick, professing pity, enlists the assistance of his father, former Ambassador to Germany, to help David.

Only months later, after David fails to return, and Laura has married Frederick, does she discover the horrific truth: her husband has made sure that David would never return. A shocked Laura then leaves both Frederick and career behind in atonement for the wrong she believes she was an accomplice to out of denial. Laura’s confrontation with Frederick makes him fully realize the extent of his wrong doing, leading him to commit suicide.

She becomes a recluse. Moments before Laura’s demise her failing mind conjures up the image of David, coming back to forgive her. Laura exits singing the song that he once wrote for her.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Happy Hour (2010)

An intimate reunion of friends from the High School of Music and Art is held in a Manhattan bar in 2003. The six graduates from the class of 1972 have not met in decades. Though joyously reunited, the years have opened up chasms between them that break through the surface.

Highlighted is the relationship between Will and Andrea, lovers in youth, meeting for the first time since their stormy breakup. The presence of their spouses (Bob and Lindsay) complicates matters. In attendance as well is Vincent, a trumpet prodigy whose dreams of glory failed. Also Celia and Sue who are pleasantly surprised by a mutual sexual attraction.

Bewitched by the magic of the moment, Will and Andrea contemplate a reunion of a more permanent nature that will remain unrealized. A blizzard that rages outside offsets the warm return to sunnier days. The drama ends on a bittersweet note of resignation, renewal and hope, reignited by the past.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Oh Baby! (2011)

Steve and Sue, a happily married couple in their late 30s, finally decide to take the plunge and make a baby, spurred on by friends who recently have produced a child.  But biology and fate are unkind to them and two years go by without results.  The relationship becomes strained by the mandatory sex at inconvenient times, a blame game over who is the defective party, doctors who are perverts and lab workers who are sadists.  Add to this Sue’s mother who constantly punishes her for not providing grandchildren and the result is a marital meltdown.

Sue moves out and the marriage looks likely to be aborted.  But, away from the insanity of the reproduction game, Sue regains her balance and has time to think.  Her conclusion is that perhaps she could live without a baby, but not without the man she truly loves.

And with that revelation, biology and fate smile upon them.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Finnish Finale (2012)

The Helsinki English Amateur Theater (or HEAT) is rehearsing a fictional Broadway musical by Noel Potter.  "A Penthouse View" was first performed in 1935 and is receiving its Scandinavian premiere some eighty years later.  The stage director, expatriate Roger Norris, valiantly attempts to hold things together amidst the egos, rivalry, tension and hysterics that occur during rehearsals.  The characters and action in "A Penthouse View" dovetail with the drama of its real life participants, art and reality being intertwined. 

For instance, Jim and Jackie develop a romance in the course of the rehearsals, as do the characters they portray.  And Claudia attempts to seduce Jim both onstage and off with a comic femme fatale-ness.  In the upbeat finale, "A Fantasy World," the cast sings of the reasons why they endure the insanity of rehearsals, and a childlike enchantment with theater in general. 

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Off Season (2013)

The musical Off Season revolves around a woman whose life is based upon deceiving the people she loves, and what occurs when she can no longer evade the truth.

Allen and Samantha were young lovers who lived together in New York City.  When Allen was offered an acting job in a TV series on the West Coast he had to choose between his girlfriend and the job.  His career won out.  Little did Allen realize that he left something behind with Samantha, namely a fetus, about which she chose to never inform him.

The musical opens twenty years later.  Allen, now an actor in a New York City-based TV series, is married to Dianne.  They have a problematic teenage daughter, Janet.  Samantha on the other hand is now married to Fred, a deputy mayor of New York City.  Jake is their son, but the biological father is actually Allen.  Jake's parents have him falsely believe his real dad is Fred.

A fateful coincidence now puts both families at the same time and place for the weekend:  "Lost Mountain Bed and Breakfast" in Vermont.  They are the only guests during the off season.  The place is owned and run by George and Grace, a couple in their 60s.  Allen and Samantha recognize each other while jogging in the woods, and agree to keep their past a secret from the others.  But Samantha will still not tell Allen about the son they made together.  The situation becomes critical when young Jake and Janet, half-siblings, start a romantic relationship.  Samantha is alarmed, and her attempt to quash it only makes matters worse.

Having no choice, she first drops the bombshell of Allen's paternity on her husband (who thought that a sperm bank had been involved) and then everyone is told the unwelcome news.  Meanwhile, a thunderstorm rages outside.  Then, with Grace's wisdom and guidance they all sift through the debris, and gradually discover an upside to this unusual, life changing experience.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Synopsis – Words and Music (2015)

Ed is a composer/piano tuner, and Howie a lyricist/literature professor.  They are two middle-aged friends who, for twenty years, have attempted with little success to achieve that most elusive of goals: a Broadway hit.  After a particularly humiliating rejection by a famous theater producer, Howie (with a newly discovered heart condition) breaks it to Ed that he wants to terminate their collaboration.

This triggers an explosion of abuse from his partner.  Ed then undergoes a severe life crisis, in addition to his feelings of guilt when Howie suffers a nearly fatal heart attack.  Ed self-pityingly declares his intention to give up altogether on composing.  With gentle support from the "ghost" of his wife, who floats in and out of the scenes, Ed apologizes to Howard.  They remain good friends, though their working relationship is over. 

Then, in a cathartic hymn, Ed decides to keep composing even if success eludes him, because "This is who I am; this is what I do."  And the "ghost," satisfied that her husband is on the right path, goes off to where ghosts go when their mission on earth is accomplished.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!

Synopsis - Letters (2016)

Frida is a middle-aged writer of children’s books who began life in a loving home. However, at age ten she suffered a major trauma when her adored younger brother drowned during a family outing at the beach. This event triggered off a downward spiral of intense bitterness between Frida and her parents, whom she never forgave. It also exacerbated tensions between Brad and Pam, her parents, who increasingly became a workaholic and alcoholic respectively. Frida was deeply scarred by this toxic home environment and set out on her own at age seventeen, cutting off all physical contact with her parents for good. Now at age forty-six we find Frida by the sea, re-reading the letters sent to her by her father and mother. They were written over a period of three decades and discovered at her father’s home after both parents had passed away. Each letter had been “returned to sender” with no reply, a sign of their daughter’s undying hostility. Frida reflects on these letters, inviting back into her life images and voices of an earlier existence in a series of emotionally charged flashbacks. It triggers off a tentative start down the road of forgiveness and acceptance.

Click here to listen to selections from the CD!