Home for the Holidays Concert Reading!
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
This is an intersectional family friendly holiday musical that celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, and is about family growing pains, processing grief, and why we celebrate traditions every winter ❄️
To illuminate the writing process, here's how Kat and I started writing this show:
In September 2018, I met Kat Zimmerman in the New Musical Inc. CORE Curriculum musical theatre writing workshop! We clicked after working on a scene to song for the play RABBIT HOLE (we had to write a ballad for Howie) and after writing our song, I pitched writing a holiday show about Hanukkah to Kat.
We both felt as Jewish women who grew up celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas that there was much needed representation on stage with shows that celebrated Jewish holidays and also intersectional families who celebrated both.
We started writing songs (we were eligible for an award at NMI since I was under 25 years old) and I remember that the first songs we wrote for this show were "Home Alone" and "Monica's Prayer." Both these songs are still in the show! (They have gone through a lot of variation as we've evolved the concept and context of the songs, but it's cool that the ones we started with are still there)
"Home Alone" started as a joke - what do parents do when they're home alone for the holidays? And it's stayed a joke (and a nod to the movie too) for our reading!
"Monica's Prayer" started as our mother character missing the Hanukkah's she used to have and the importance of light as a theme in Winter holidays. Now, it's become her remembering the sayings her late father said and her call for action for how to get her kids to behave better. It's funny how this song has become an essential theme of the show - it's about the essential need for holidays, the complexity of processing grief, and the evolution of traditions.
We paused on writing this show for a bit - life got in the way!
The pandemic swept the globe and I found out I had a tumor in my femur. While Kat pivoted to being a full time mom, teacher, and home school queen for her twins, I recovered from knee surgery and got my mobility back.
I also wrote, wrote, and wrote, while taking virtual classes through the Musical Theatre Writer's Collective (led by phenomenal musical theatre writer Sam Carner).
As I started graduate school at Chapman University in Fall 2021, Kat finally got a break as her kids went back to school full time.
Suddenly, we both had time and bandwidth to get to work again on this show.
We had both learned a lot and grown as writers (both of us loved classes through the Dramatists Guild Institute)
So, out with the old draft, and in with the new! We started revising the show and began the painstaking process of writing an original musical.
I had applied for the Alliance for Jewish Theatre's Macher Lab and pitched them the musical on my application. Then, we got picked! We had a few months to get songs together to workshop through the lab.
Kat and I asked our friend (and my collaborator) Angela Parrish to give us musical dramaturgy on the show. We had two zooms and got copious amounts of notes! Thank you Angela for picking apart our show!
Around then, Kat and I decided to do a staged reading of our show during Hanukkah 2022, through General Workshop at New Musicals Inc. We signed up and felt motivated to get. shit. done!
Kat and I presented an excerpt from Home for the Holidays in the Alliance for Jewish Theatre's Macher Lab and got wonderful notes from the cohort! Thank you to all who gave us such great feedback! Then we presented an excerpt in the AJT Theatre Macher Showcase as part of their 2022 Conference!
Right around this time, we started working with our dramaturg Elise Dewsberry at NMI to revise our book, music, and lyrics. This was a really intensive process as we basically had a month to revise each act, get notes, and revise again.
We literally revised up until the submission deadline to get the scripts to the singers. This just shows you how the work is NEVER DONE! You just stop.
Last night, December 5th, we finally stopped revising. Our wonderful friend Joely Zuker finished copying and arranging the music for Kat, and then I got the final score.
Then, I had to make the thing I dread the most with NMI - an integrated libretto.
But wait, you think, that can't be that bad? OH. It is that bad.
(actual footage of me looking at the PDF in preview & the spinnning rainbow wheel of doom)
WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED LIBRETTO?
A libretto is the book and lyrics of a musical
An integrated libretto is the book, music, and lyrics of a musical - where the SCORE to the music is inserted into the libretto after every song's lyric sheet.
This means my 125 page script ballooned up to 377 pages because of the music!!!
NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED
At midnight last night, I finished integrating the libretto, PDF'd it and sent it off to the printers.
There was a point where I may have cried and lost my mind, but luckily I found it again.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Elise at NMI picks up the integrated librettos and gives them to the actors!
Tonight is our first rehearsal - we get to hear the actors sing and read through the whole show, and listen to our fantastic MD Ron Barnett play through our music!
Then next week, we have our second and last rehearsal!
December 20th at 8 pm PST is the show!
So many exclamation points! But can you judge me for being excited?!
This show is being LIVE STREAMED as well as performed in person!
To catch the live stream of this show, tune into this link at 8 pm PST on DECEMBER 20th!
If you can’t make that time, the show is being recorded through the same link! 🥳
LA based people, ticket reservations are here if you want to come in person for FREE 😍 We would love to see you there! ✨
Before I end this blog post, there are a few people I want to thank! Kat and I could not have written this show without support from a multitude of fantastic people! 🙏🏻
Thank you to Joely Zuker for your amazing arranging of the score, Angela Parrish for your insightful early dramaturgy last summer, Illana Stein and Alix Rosenfeld for guiding this piece through the Alliance for Jewish Theatre Machers Lab with care, Ronda, Susan, and Daphna with The Braid for fostering our writing team from the NEXT Emerging Artists Fellowship Program and giving us such impactful notes, and to Elise Dewsberry for being our wonderful dramaturg the past three months and kicking this show into performance gear! 🤩 Also, thank you Kat for being a wonderful collaborator that has taught me so much about writing musical theatre!!! Love you! ❤️❤️❤️
A lot of people have touched this story and I feel so blessed to be in circles where people are so passionate about new musical theatre 🥰🎶🎵🎭
To learn more about the shows I'm working on, look at the "PLAYS AND MUSICALS" tab on my website or follow me @makenametz on IG, Twitter, Tiktok, FB, and Chillsubs, or subscribe to my blog or FOLLOW THE SHOW on Instagram to stay up to date! 🥳
Thanks for reading and happy holidays! Hope you can make it to our show!
And SHARE YOUR LIGHT! 🕯️✨
December 6th, 2022