Tag Archives | Kevin Purcell

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,


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,


Exciting News And More On The Way


Kevin and Staś

I am in New York as I write this completing work on another project.

During this visit, I have been coordinating with our general managers and executive producers, Perry Street Theatricals, to coordinate the first workshop of Castle Gillian, in New York City in October 2020.

The planning and logistics for this enterprise is, to say the least, complex.  It’s not as we haven’t been through it before, so we’re ever more consciously aware of how much time we need to do all the things that have to be in place for a major three-week workshop of a new musical.

After a number of planning and pre-production meetings over the last ten days, I am delighted to announce the newest addition to the creative team of Castle Gillian is the outstanding New York-based choreographer & Musical Staging Dircetor – Staś Kmieć.

Staś’s credits include the much lauded production of Fiddler on the Roof (performed in Yiddish) that is a surprise hit on the New York theater scene.

Other works include: the LA premiere of My Antonia (music by Stephen Schwartz), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Ireland), Me and My Girl tour, Elephant Man, Don Giovanni,  L’elisir d’amore, Die Fledermaus, Nutcracker, Films – The Comedian, Trust the Man.  Artistic Director: Ballet Western-Reserve, Lubliniacy Folk Ensemble, Sarabande Repertory Ensemble.

Awards include: New York Musical Festival’s “Excellence in Choreography” for the Purcell-Kazan musical – The Mapmaker’s Opera (now titled The Stranger from Seville). Poland’s highest cultural honor – the Oskar Kolberg Award, 2019 Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Citation for “Best Musical Revival.”

He is a member of the professional theatrical unions: Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA, American Guild of Musical Artists.

We Have A Book!

cgcrop12It’s early September as I write this before heading off to Europe later this week for conducting engagements. Victor and I have been working throughout July and August to create the foundation of our work in efforts to complete the initial development work on Castle Gillian over the next 12 months.

OK. Drumrol! We have a complete first-draft of the book for Castle Gillian – and several new songs in the works with the first of these new songs to be released next month on this website.

We can also now announce the timeline for the first complete workshop of this new musical which will be held in September 2020 in New York where we will present the first version of the whole show to prospective investors and producers.

Over the next 12 months, we’ll be posting semi-regular updates on progress, posting new song videos and generally introducing you to our musical stage adaptation of Maurice Walsh’s captivating novel.

More soon,


Is There Anything Happening?

cgcrop3I originally began to write this update as to progress on our musical stage adaptation of Castle Gillian with a brief statement intimating that little progress has been made on this project for over a year but, without giving any informed reason as to why this is the case.

Then, I thought, this was a cop-out in terms of not providing an adequate explanation since we are aware that there is a growing level of interest in this work.

So, what is the cause of these incessant delays?

The issue is that we have, so far, failed to develop an adequate treatment of how the stage adaptation should be shaped to transfer a rich and complex narrative; as exists in the novel, to what invevitably has to be a leaner, less complex version for the stage.

In the case of musicals, one of the key questions that has to be answered at the outset is, “whose story is it that we are re-telling?”  We have gone back and forwards on this – over  and over again – trying to determine from which character perspective we will tell the story.

Straight forward you would think but, no, I’m afraid it isn’t. Continue Reading →