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My musicals

Five shows I've written, including one that ran Off-Broadway in 2006 and one currently in development

The Chagall Suite

A commissioned 8-movement piano piece inspired by Marc Chagall's artworks, and a tribute to Chagall and Elvis

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 My Musicals

How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes

A screwball musical comedy about a phobic U.N. bookstore clerk who develops the ability to read people’s minds. Played Off-Broadway at New World Stages in 2006.

The Magic Fishbone

An adaptation of the Dickens fairy tale about a princess who fights the good fight against all odds.

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

The adventures of Prince Jen told through a synthesis of American musical theatre and traditional Chinese opera.

Vanity Fair

Thackeray's Napoleonic-era novel transplanted to 1960s-1980s New York City.

Heart Throb

A romantic comedy about a professor who can make people fall in love when he sings the kind of sentimental songs he loathes.

How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes

Book and lyrics by Jonathan Karp
Music by Seth Weinstein

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Synopsis

How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes is the story of two days in the life of MILES MULDOON, a phobic bookstore clerk at the United Nations who, after an unfortunate incident with a barrage of Guatemalan melons, develops the ability to read people's minds.

Miles has never been one of life's overachievers. A rising young diplomat at the United Nations, VIOLET ZIPPER, informs him that he's a slacker. Violet is ambitious and sexy - she's even been featured on the cover of Disarmament Quarterly posing suggestively with a scud missile. Miles is determined to charm her into giving him a better job...and more.

For counsel, Miles finds solace in the company of his best friend, JULIE LEMMON, a fellow slacker at the bookstore. Beneath Julie's pierced nipples beats the heart of a spiritual seeker. Julie can cite Conversations With God chapter and verse. That book provides her with the chief lesson she is determined to teach Miles: There are only two emotions in life - love or fear.

When the melons change MIles's life forever and the very nature of the new world order is threatened, Miles must make a choice between love and fear. Helping him battle his inner coward is his personal Greek chorus (also known as the Pretentious Assholes), a versatile trio of players who help Miles re-enact events while occasionally singing in foreboding three-part harmonies.

Inspired in equal parts by Neil Simon and William Finn, The Daily Show and Danny Kaye, this is a contemporary musical comedy for a new generation.


The Magic Fishbone

Book and lyrics by Judith Zocchi
Music by Seth Weinstein
Based on the short story by Charles Dickens

An adaptation of the Dickens fairy tale about a princess who fights the good fight against all odds. Currently under development.


The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

Book and lyrics by Brian Vinero
Music by Seth Weinstein
Based on the novel by Lloyd Alexander

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Synopsis

Time: Tonight and Many Years Ago.
Place: This Theatre and the Kingdom of T'ang.

THE CONTROLLER steps forward and invites the audience to witness a blending of two great art forms: American musical comedy and Chinese opera. As the performance progresses, he and his multi-talented COMPANY of actors will use their considerable performance skills to bring a tale of powerful kings, far-off adventure, and ancient magic to life on a mostly bare stage, using song and dance, shadow puppets, mime, acrobatics, and other techniques.

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen follows the adventures of PRINCE JEN as he sets off on a quest to find the mythical kingdom of T'ien-kuo, where he hopes to learn the skills that will make him a great king. Accompanied by his loyal servant, MAFOO, and a full complement of warriors acting as bodyguards, he is instructed to carry six ordinary objects with him to present to the king of T'ien-kuo as a show of respect: a saddle, a flute, a sword, a kite, a box of paints, and a bowl. Jen is puzzled by the simplicity of the objects, but he sets off on his journey with high hopes.

A series of misfortunes soon befall him and he finds himself separated from his bodyguards and lost in the wilderness with no money or identification to prove that he is the prince. Still heading for his goal of reaching T'ien-kuo and on the run from a band of dangerous bandits led by the deadly NATHA YELLOW SCARF, Jen presses on through the outlands of China, far from the familiarity and safety of the castle walls that have always shielded him from the harsh lives of the subjects he has never known. He and the ever-present Mafoo are soon joined by MOXA, a mad robber with a talent for protection, and VOYAGING MOON, a flute-playing slave girl on the run from her wicked master, FAT-CHOY. Jen finds himself falling in love with the clever and resourceful Voyaging Moon just as they are all separated in a fierce storm.

Now truly alone, Jen forsakes his quest and searches for his missing friends. He soon finds that the simple gifts he carries turn magical in the hands of others, and as he passes these gifts on, the gift of great leadership comes to him. He reunites with his friends as they defend the kingdom against Natha and his bandits. And at long last Prince Jen becomes the great King Jen, having never set foot in T'ien-kuo - realizing that the journey is far more valuable than the destination.


Vanity Fair

Book and lyrics by Brian Vinero
Music by Seth Weinstein
Based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray

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Vanity Fair takes William Makepeace Thackeray's immortal, immoral heroine Becky Sharp and transplants her from London in the Napoleonic era to New York City during the years surrounding the Vietnam War. As the years pass from 1965 to 1985, Becky sees her fortunes rise and fall with the hemlines as she searches for wealth and social position. Becky’s cunning and guile are contrasted with the helpless innocence of her wealthy school chum, Amelia Sedley, who also sees her fortunes shift as she makes her way through the turbulent social upheaval of the times. In the end, both women manage to triumph and take their places among the rich, famous, and elite of New York’s high society: Vanity Fair.

Synopsis

Act One

May to June 1965   As a group of polished, privileged young ladies graduate from a convent school (Bless Your Path), the orphaned, impoverished BECKY SHARP finds herself free and eager to climb her way into New York Society. She sees her sweet, generous classmate AMELIA SEDLEY as her ticket to Park Avenue and finagles an invitation for an extended stay with her family and a brand-new wardrobe (The Legend of New York). Becky immediately ingratiates herself with Amelia's family, but the servants aren't fooled (The Master Doesn't Know). At a cocktail party, Becky meets Amelia's playboy fiance, GEORGE OSBORNE, his West Point classmate WILL DOBBIN, and Amelia's confirmed-bachelor brother JOSEPH SEDLEY. Becky makes a quick pass at Joseph, and they make plans to go out dancing. As Will - a member of the working class - gets a dance lesson from Amelia, it becomes clear that they are the ones who are actually meant for each other (A Little Romantic). At the dance hall, Becky gives Amelia a crash course on the birds and the bees and convinces her to go “all the way” with George, lest she lose him. George, alarmed at Joseph's plans to propose to Becky, gets Joseph drunk to keep him from popping the question to a girl of such a lowly station (The Kind of Girl (Quintet)). Her plot to snare Joseph thwarted, Becky is exiled to New Jersey to work as a nanny (OK, OK).

June to September 1965   Becky makes quick work of taking over the estate of her new employer while Amelia finds herself pregnant just as her family loses its fortune. Will forces George to take responsibility and marry her, despite his family's wish that he break the engagement (So Hard to Say Good-Bye (The Auction)). Becky celebrates her triumphs in New Jersey by throwing a party, where she meets her employer's dashing naval-officer son RAWDON CRAWLEY and wealthy sister AUNT TILDA, both of whom find her irresistible (The Lady Was Made for Dancing). Becky has finally met her match in Rawdon (Don't Call It Love), and she leaves the estate and returns to New York to be a companion to Aunt Tilda and to be nearer to Rawdon.

November 1965   Becky marries Rawdon, and a very pregnant Amelia marries George, as Will looks on. Both couples find themselves cut off from their families as the specter of the Vietnam War approaches.

March 1966   The newlyweds meet up at a U.S.O. dance in Atlantic City (Atlantic City, New Jersey) as the boys prepare to ship off. Becky, still vengeful toward George after he prevented her from marrying Joseph, seduces him as Will comforts a helpless Amelia (Say Farewell for Now). As the sounds of war drums are heard, Becky finds herself at the end of one era and the beginning of another and uses her ability to procure drugs for the wealthy and powerful to restart her climb to the top of New York society (This Is the Time).

Act Two

March 1969 to October 1971   One step ahead of fashion and two steps ahead of creditors, Becky is the queen of New York's young, hip and mod (The Legend of New York (Reprise)/She's the Life of the Party (And the Party Goes On and On)).  Rawdon, changed from his experiences in Vietnam and now a father to their young son, deals drugs to Becky's society friends to keep them afloat. Amelia lives in poverty, barely able to support her young son and (to Will's great frustration) unable to give up the ghost of George, who died in Vietnam (After the Day). Becky's all-too-frequent trysts with powerful men prove too much for Rawdon, and when she wickedly reveals that the son he adores is really the offspring of George, he shoots himself and her lover in a rage. The resulting scandal sets New York on its ear, and Becky is shunned from society and flees the city (Today Is the Day That the Circus Came to Town).

December 1979 to January 1980   Becky is discovered by Amelia to be working as a prostitute in much-changed Atlantic City (Atlantic City, New Jersey (Reprise)/Let the Dice Roll). Once again, Becky tries to use Amelia (now living comfortably, as her son has inherited a fortune) as her means of getting to New York. Both women look at how their disparate childhoods poorly prepared them for the world, and they come to an understanding (There Was You). Becky finally tells Amelia the truth about George's lecherous ways, leaving her at last free to marry the faithful Will (A Little Romantic (Reprise)). Becky finally snares Joseph, her joy cut short by his death immediately following the wedding. He leaves her with nothing, save for stock in a computer company...

May 1985   One of the richest and most famous women in America, Becky has written a tell-all book and muses about her success on a talk show (Just an American Fairy Tale).


Heart Throb

Book and Lyrics by Jonathan Karp
Music by Seth Weinstein

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Synopsis

Cast: 7 actors (4 men, 3 women)
Running time: 100 minutes (no intermission)

Heart Throb is a contemporary romantic comedy about a cerebral literature professor who, to his dread, discovers he can make people fall in love with each other when he sings the kind of sentimental songs he loathes.

Professor Anthony Jasper is beginning his first year as a professor of literature at a small liberal-arts college. He is a man of erudition and taste, a discriminating critic who sincerely believes that the root of all evil in modern society can be traced directly to Olivia Newton-John's 1974 recording of "I Honestly Love You."

Jasper can explain his aversion to all things romantic in precise academic terms, but his theories may also relate to his father, Teddy, who abandoned the family years ago to pursue a career as a lounge singer in Las Vegas. Teddy has recently returned home for a rapprochement with his son and is playing piano at the only hotel bar in town.

Jasper begins to teach an unruly class of students, including a particularly assertive blonde named Rachel Romero, who challenges his theories. On the home front, Jasper is also confronted by his long-time girlfriend, Margo, who has become frustrated with his denunciations of love. Margo wants to see some passion.

Forced to articulate why he believes love - and love songs - are pointless, Jasper cynically sings his father's favorite ditty, "(You Make My) Heart Throb." But as Jasper sings, strange things happen to the people around him - kissing, groping, unprovoked displays of public affection. Jasper is alarmed and nauseated. Meanwhile, two local music producers, Rocky Valentine and Herbie Stone, see an easy buck in Jasper's talent and offer the professor a record deal.

As Jasper begins to wield his power as a human aphrodisiac, he is forced to rethink his assumptions about love, particularly with regard to his father, his girlfriend, and his best student, whose interest in Jasper is not just intellectual.

At turns romantic and comically absurd, Heart Throb asks this question: Can life ever live up to the love songs? By the end of this musical journey, Professor Anthony Jasper finds his answer.