Tag Archives | Castle Gillian Musical

Castle Gillian Interactive Media Page

cgcrop8We are delighted to announce that the Interactive Media page – shown in the second image panel on the home page on the Castle Gillian website –  is now up and running.

We have created a bespoke map of Ireland, courtesy of our colleague and illustrator on the Castle Gillian project – Laura Hallett. As long time fans of Laura’s beautuful illustrations, we reached out to her and asked whether she would make a special map of Ireland for us for just this purpose.

The result is a fun and interactive journey around the four corners of the Emerald Isle where you can learn about things with a tourism focus as well as places and people that are important to the creative team of this musical.

Not least of these are the music hotspots on the map. Eventually I am going to do a complete breakdown of all the best Trad. Irish music pubs and venues in Ireland that you can visit on your next vacation. There a few iconic places included on this map, but there are far too many of them to have ‘hotspotted’ them all on the limited space available. If you think you’ve been unfairly left out, don’t worry I will be writing about trad. music locations on a dedicated page of the website in the not too distant future.

For now visit our interactive Media page or simply click here .

Enjoy.

Kevin

We’re Casting For An Original Concept Album

cgcrop12We’re very pleased to announce that we have commenced casting to undertake a concept album recording of the 20 songs in Castle Gillian including all the dance instrumental music – and brilliantly – we get to record it with the Australian Discovery Orchestra and a group of Irish traditional musicians.  We’re casting the world over including our home-grown Australian musical theatre artists.

It’s not that common to proceed with an album of songs before 1st. class productions are mounted of a new musical, but in this case we have good reason to do so.  As some of our creative team are not based in Australia (where I am now too, rather than in New York due to COVid-19) it is entirely useful whilst productions are shutdown the world over to evaluate the music and lyrics as they stand.

Will all these songs make it to the stage production?  Not a chance, but that doesn’t make them bad songs. The reality is that songs get removed from shows because of inevitable changes to a musical’s Book, re-writes of lyrics or, we get a better idea for a better song in that moment!  All these scenarios happen – it’s just the evolution path of new musicals although, I admit, sometimes it is sad to see songs fall out of a show.

My favourite story about this is the efforts by the much revered, American theatrical producer, David Merrick, to remove ‘Meadowlark’ from the wonderful musical, The Baker’s Wife, with a score by Stephen Schwartz and Joseph Stein.  Fortunately this tour de force song was saved from being cut.

If you don’t know this tune, you can watch it below being sung by the incomparable Liz Callaway – in Australia – in 2010.

More news soon,

Kevin

We Have Crossed The Finishing Line

I rather like the title of this post as it is appropriate to the central racecourse scene in Act II of our show.

Before mentioning anything else, I think it might amuse many of the followers of this show to hear a bit about how we designed the ‘Logantown Races’ scene for Castle Gillian.

Firstly, a horse race is a notoriously difficult thing to stage in a theatre.  In fact, and of course, it really can’t be done with any degree of realism – where do you get all the horses!  In theatrical terms today, we now have the work of the brilliant South African company Handspring and its designers, Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones to thank for making the representation of a horse (in their case, ‘Joey’) a brilliant conceptual idea.  But, that said, it is unique solution for the production of ‘Warhorse’ as created by the National Theatre in London based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo.

How else can it be done?  Well the first way of course is not to show the horse race at all – as was the solution designed by the writers of My Fair Lady (lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe) and, in our humble opinion, still the best Musical ever written.  Today we have the luxury of back projections and other types of sophisticated puppetry as choices, so there are alternative options.  I’m not going to give away how we do it, other than to say the audience does get to see and watch our ‘Benbecula’ on-stage in our adaptation of Castle Gillian.

Moving on:

The first complete version of Castle Gillian is now complete.  We should be going into a first workshop in New York in September 2020 but, as mentioned in my last post, the global COVid-19 pandemic has put pay to any likelihood we will be able to do this until after April 2021 and, even then, we remain entirely unsure at to whether restrictions currently in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo  in New York City, will permit us to put actors together in a studio to do the work. It is a waiting game for everyone in the theatre industry.

In the interim we have commenced orchestrations for the show with the hope that we will be able to get into the recording studio in late November, pending the severe restrictions in Melbourne, Australia, being lifted by then.

More soon,

Kevin

Closing in on Act II Completion

cgcrop3So, we are now just over the mid-point in June and the progress report is very positive.

We are closing in on completing all the songs for Act II and this should be done by mid-July.  I am reminded right now however difficult it is to write the first act of a new musical, the second act throws up just as many, if not more, challenges. It’s not harder necessarily, but issues of character arc (I hate that term really), plot resolution, and the requirements to bring the story to its satisfying conclusion all start to stare unrelentingly back at you in the writing process.

Given the long gestation this project has endured with several false starts, roadblocks and the inevitable things that life just throws up in general, it is immensely satisfying to see the end of the road ahead for this first complete-draft book, lyrics and score.  We are indebted to the Estate of Maurice Walsh for their generous patience.

One of the most salutory experiences of working on this wonderful musical, particularly over the last six months, has been in reflecting on how the world has changed due to COVID-19.  Myself and the rest of the writing team have watched our beloved theatre industry come to a grinding halt worldwide with all the consequential impacts created both at a personal level and for an industry crippled. Friends and colleagues across the theatre world have lost their livelihoods and theatres are shut for an indeterminate period (because actors and musicians can’t work under social distancing protocols necessarily imposed).

The world is a much poorer place for the loss of live theatre and music in our lives. These essential art forms are not guaranteed to survive, so let us hope that respective political authorities will have the foresight and wisdom to ensure they are appropriately supported during this unprecedented time of challenge.

The recent protests too, centred around the Black Lives Matter movement, has also reinforced our collective personal belief that theatre should always be a place where stories are told wherein race and gender are excluded from any decision or choice pertaining to the telling of those stories.

More soon,

Kevin