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October 26, 2016
Q&A: Brett Ryback on NAMT and His New Musical “Joe Schmoe Saves the World”

brett_ryback_commercial-2The National Alliance for Musical Theatre will hold its 28th annual Festival of New Musicals on October 27 and 28 at New World Stages. Joe Schmoe Saves the World, by Brett Ryback, is one of eight new musicals this year.

What was the first musical that made you want to make musicals?

Brett Ryback: Probably William Finn's Falsettos. I first heard the recording when I was 10, and it completely blew my mind open to the possibilities of what a musical could be.

Pitch the show in 3 sentences:

It tells the parallel stories of an American indie rock band and a pair of students in Tehran on the eve of The Day of Rage protest during the 2011 Arab Spring. The two young women at the center of the stories are both artists struggling to change their worlds through their work. The stories begin to weave together in unexpected ways until the very end when the women find out they've been speaking to each other the whole time without even knowing it.

Describe the sound of your musical, it's like _____ meets ______:

Cobra Starship meets K'naan.

Who is your favorite classic musical theater composer/writer? And your favorite composer /writer working today?

Too many to name. I'll say Frank Loesser and Michael R. Jackson.

What's one thing you would change about the current state of musical theater?

More diversity/parity in every aspect: writers, directors, producers, actors, etc.

Why is it important to bring your show to NAMT?

I think NAMT is an excellent platform to showcase this work and find it a home for its future life.

What's next for the show?

We'll see.

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