Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Christine Toy Johnson, Jason Collins, Sarah Corey, Piper Goodeve, Whitney Kam Lee, Mark Mozingo, Jose Restrepo and Darcy Yellin Set for SOUVENIR STORIES, 7/27-31 at the Clurman Theatre

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson Photo by Bruce Alan Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson, Jason Collins, Sarah Corey, Piper Goodeve, Whitney Kam Lee, Mark Mozingo, Jose Restrepo and Darcy Yellin will perform in SOUVENIR STORIES: Eight Original Short Works from Prospect’s 2011 Musical Theater Lab from July 27-31, 2011, in the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd St. in New York.

Helmed by Dev Bondarin, SOUVENIR STORIES: Eight Original Short Works has musical direction by Daniel Feyer, and is curated by Cara Reichel and Dev Bondarin.

The performance schedule for SOUVENIR STORIES is Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday @ 8pm and Sunday @ 3pm. For Tickets ($18 + $1.25 theater restoration fee) CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE or call 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250 or visit the Theatre Row Box Office – 12pm until 8pm daily.

Prospect’s 2011 Musical Theater Lab explores how simple objects can capture our memories and hold our meaningful experiences. During the month of June, eight writing teams were challenged to create short musicals inspired by randomly selected souvenirs, a watch, a margarita glass, a coin, a bar of soap… and more! The writing teams include Melanie Bean & Betsy Hulick, Jonathan Breit & Greg Edwards, Phillip Chernyak & Blake Hackler, David Finkle & Ned Paul Ginsburg, John Herin & Frederick Alden Terry, Eric March, Susan Murray & Clay Zambo, Jay Alan Zimmerman.

Souvenir Stories – Writer Biographies
Melanie Bean has composed for theater, film, modern dance and instrumental chamber groups, in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. With a background in acting, she is developing several musical theater projects. Member: Dramatists Guild and Actors’ Equity. Attended the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

Jonathan Breit is a composer and pianist living in New York City. Recent compositions include The Rivals (BMI, Lively Productions), written with Greg Edwards, The Senator and the Slave Girl (Yale University), and The Awkward Stage (Golden Fleece series), written with Leah Maddrie. Recent work as pianist and music director includes A Fine Romance (92nd Street Y), The Gay Ivy (Hot Fest at Dixon Place), BJ: A Musical Romp (Planet Connections Festivity), and Jurassic Parq: The Broadway Musical (Fringe Festival). He holds degrees from Yale College and Mannes College of Music.

Phillip Chernyak is a songwriter and filmmaker whose musical short films have been screened in Stockholm, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. By day Phil works as a television editor, cutting shows for MTV, Discovery Channel, History Channel and more. He is currently a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City.

Greg Edwards Book and Lyrics: The Rivals (Lively Productions), The Discontented Grasshopper (Center Theatre), Taking the Plunge (Samuel French OOB Festival, NYMF), songs with Marvin Hamlisch (White House, Mr. Hamlisch’s holiday tour). Plays: Crowded House (State Theatre of Chicago), Everaftering (78th Street Theatre Lab, Acting Out). Games: Jessica Plunkenstein and the Düsseldorf Conspiracy (PC Gamer UK, NYT Best Adventure Game), The Judgment of Quintus (in development). Ebb Award (2nd place 2010). Yale (Phi Beta Kappa), BMI.

David Finkle is a New York City-based lyricist. He began his Manhattan writing career contributing to Julius Monk’s Plaza-9 revues and Ron Warren’s Upstairs at the Downstairs revues.

Ned Paul Ginsburg has earned composing honors from the NEA, NARAS, IAJE, SGA, and Downbeat magazine. Commissioned theater pieces include They Chose Me and Fashion Statement for TADA!, A Talmud Tale for Maqom, and Arnie!, The TV Musical for Silver Burdett Ginn. With David Finkle: Kiss Me Guido and The Love Report. Recent collaboration: Boynton Beach Club (w/Colby & Seidelman). Musical theater workshops: BMI, ASCAP, and New Dramatists. Ned orchestrates other theater composers’ music, happily.

Blake Hackler Member of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop; 2010 participant of the Dramatist Guild Intensive; 2009 recipient of the Harrington Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre Writing. Plays and musicals have appeared in New York and Chicago. MFA, Yale School of Drama. He holds faculty positions at Yale University and the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU.

John Herin is a bookwriter, lyricist, and percussionist. He has frequently collaborated with composer Frederick Alden Terry. Their creations include an opera, Ethan Frome, and three short musicals for Prospect Theater Company, AVAC Memories, Improvisation, and CindeRelativity. Their rock musical, The Passion of George W. Bush, co-authored with Adam Mathias, premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2004. John attended Brown University and the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at N.Y.U./Tisch.
Betsy Huliick AEA actress, prize-wining translator, and writer with a strong interest in Russian language and literature. Her translations include Chekhov’s major plays and vaudevilles (Bantam World Classics), narrative poems by Alexander Pushkin (Fence, Cardinal Points), and Gogol’s Inspector General on Broadway. Fellowships at Yaddo, the VCCA, Ragdale, among others, and several residencies abroad. Past member of the BMI lyricists’ workshop. This is her second collaboration with Melanie Bean, with whom she worked last year on Bible Cabaret.

Eric March is a composer, lyricist, and playwright whose work has been performed at Ars Nova (Songs About Real Life), FringeNYC (Granola: The Musical) and many tiny bars (Many Other Things). He is a member of Youngblood, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s group for emerging professional playwrights and the BMI Musical Theater Writing Workshop. His latest musical, The Bone Wars (with Jeff Bienstock and Patrick Link,) was the recipient of an EST/Sloan commission in April, 2011.

Susan Murray is a member of the BMI Workshop, (Advanced and Librettists) and a two-time recipient of the BMI Jerry Harrington Award, Susan’s collaborating with Clay Zambo on Greenbrier Ghost, a new musical based on a little-known 1879 murder case which won ANMT’s Award for Best Emerging Musical (2009) and premiered at Spirit of Broadway (Norwich CT) in 2010. Susan co-wrote the song “My Thing” (with Martin Fernandi) which was recently published in the first BMI Workshop Songbook.

Frederick Alden Terry received an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. His music has been featured in theater, concert halls, dance, and film, including Prospect Theater Company, and FringeNYC. He has written several projects with John Herin, including their opera, Ethan Frome, and AVAC Memories, featured in Roosevelt Island ’s Fast Trash exhibit in 2010 at in Prospect’s Map Quest in 2009. He is also writing Divine Sarah with Robert Michael Morris, and contributing to The Unfortunate Squirrel by Sonya Sobieski.

Clay Zambo wrote music and lyrics for Greenbrier Ghost (Susan Murray, book, Spirit of Broadway Theatre, CT) and Post Modern Living (Richard Sheinmel, book, LaMaMa), included in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2011, as well as over a dozen musicals for family audiences. Lyrics: A Mother’s Carol (with Scott Ethier), winner American Composer’s Forum’s choral-writing competition, recorded by VocalEssence, and is published by Boosey & Hawkes; also Shlemiel Crooks, Merkin Hall NYC. Forthcoming: Windjammers, In the Minds of Olympians (Stages Festival 2011). Member: BMI, Dramatists Guild. Alumnus: Ohio University HTC.

Jay Alan Zimmerman is composer/author of several musicals including his Incredibly Deaf Musical (O’Neill Center finalist, The Duke on 42nd St./NYMF 2010), My Cafe Cinderella (Arts & Artists), Smokin’!, The Madness Channel, and the award-winning short film musicals Pawns and Love Burns. Other projects: Art/Song (chashama Times Square), the plays Booth and Our Brutus (Edinburgh Fringe Fest winners), JAZ @ The Zipper (Zipper Factory Theatre), and Roboticus, a musical started during a residency with LEMUR musical robots.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug! on View Through August 2
Photos: André De Shields leads the cast of Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss at The National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, 8/2-8/4
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway & John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Photos: Phylicia Rashad, Michael McElroy, Marva Hicks in Broadway Inspirational Voices “Wondrous Grace” Concert in NY
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo at Opening Night Party of Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon
Multimedia: Exclusive photos and video of Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas -In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist. As a photographer and videographer, Chang has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Chang currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”.

Chang’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post.

Selections of Chang’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Chang is the New York Bureau Chief for She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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