Hail Harbinger!

When my father ran the Masterworks division of Columbia Records, the company released
specialized projects under the “Legacy” label. They were boxed sets, elaborately and impeccably
produced, and packaged with style and class including extensive notes.

​If anyone is keeping the spirit of that series alive, it is Bill Rudman and Ken Bloom—and TMTP’s
Harbinger Records. Good on them to find a way to keep important recordings available for
those of us who love all aspects of musical theater and the Great American Songbook.

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The Most Beloved Stage-to-Screen Musicals

We’re all missing the live theatrical experience right now. Fortunately, Hollywood has adapted many of our favorite Broadway musicals for the silver screen! While some interpretations are more successful than others, here are TMTP’s Staff picks for their favorite classic stage-to-screen selections. Just click on the photo or title to stream on AmazonPrime while “sheltering in place.”

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TMTP Staff Picks Documentaries to Watch at Home

Since The Musical Theater Project’s mission is to educate as well a entertain, we thought we’d share our favorite Broadway-themed documentaries to catch up on while you’re spending time at home. Most of these are available for streaming, some even for free. Check out the trailers for all of them right here and add these to your Watch List!

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So Happy to Make His Acquaintance

No doubt there have been hundreds of us—men and women who found the confidence to make a career in musical theater thanks to Stephen Sondheim’s generosity of spirit and dedication to teaching.

I bet I’m typical. I wrote to him in 1969, when I was an 18-year-old living in a small town in Ohio. Topic: Anyone Can Whistle. I sent him a blank reel-to-reel tape, asking him (what chutzpah!) to respond to my questions. Lo and behold, he brought in Arthur Laurents so they could do it together, with Sondheim commenting that since I was writing “a master’s thesis” (!), he felt I deserved the “most pretentious possible reply.” (High praise indeed from Sondheim.)

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Spooktacular Singing Villains

Whether you love to hate them or hate to love them, musical theater is filled with delicious villains. From the comic (Miss Hannigan in Annie) to the misunderstood (Jud Fry in Oklahoma!) and the downright evil (Judge Turbin in Sweeney Todd), Halloween is the perfect time of year to celebrate them all! 

​Check out TMTP’s staff picks for favorite “bad guy” and let us know who makes YOU shiver in your seat.

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TMTP Unearths Original Cast Recording

For those of us who love classic musicals, there’s a thrill about what I like to call archaeology: finding things that hardly anyone knows about — even our friends who know a lot!

Here at Harbinger Records/The Musical Theater Project, we just released the 1975 Original Cast Recording of Philemon, written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, the guys who gave us The Fantasticks and I Do! I Do!

I worked on this project on and off for a year. How come it took so long? 

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TMTP Artists Shine in Cain Park’s RAGTIME

It’s not unusual to see TMTP artists on local stages. Frequent Song Is You! performers like Eric Fancher and Treva Offutt are staples of the Cleveland theater community. But when FOUR of our Kids Love Musicals!teaching artists are in one production together — directed by TMTP Associate Director Joanna May Cullinanno less — that’s something to sing about!

During the school year, Mariah BurksBridie CarrollWill Sanborn and Darian Wilson can be found in classrooms teaching students to fly to Neverland and reminding them “there’s no place like home” through classic American musicals. But this month they are teaming up at Cain Park to share another story from the great white way, Ragtime.

Here’s what they each had to say about the show and how their teaching experience from Kids Love Musicals!impacts their work on stage.


Why should someone go see Ragtime?
It is a musical for right now! The show takes place in the early 1900s, but everything on stage is still in 2019.

How does your work with Kids Love Musicals! carry over to Ragtime?
KLM fosters a lot of conversation and encourages students to discover elements of songs or dialogue that apply to their personal lives. The rehearsal process for this show has had that same atmosphere of open dialogue among the actors to discuss the themes and parallels to their own experience.


What makes Ragtime personal to you?
Ragtime was actually the first show I ever saw on Broadway! My dad took me when I was 17 years old so I couldn’t comprehend at that age how truly powerful the story was, but all the same I was mesmerized. It has been a dream of mine to play the role of Mother since then and I’m so honored to have the opportunity 20 years later.

What’s it like working with your fellow Teaching Artists in a different setting?
What’s interesting about Ragtime is we are all in different groups within the cast, some telling the story as immigrants, some telling the story from an African American perspective…at TMTP we are all about diversity and inclusion so telling a story where that isn’t the reality has been a challenge.


What do you love about Ragtime?
First of all, it has a phenomenal score. And the story feels like it was ripped from today’s headlines so it’s very powerful.

How has your experience with Kids Love Musicals! helped your work on this production?
In KLM! we often have students sing and dance in a circle while the teaching artist stands in the center. It allows us to move around and share moments with each member of the class while also playing to the entire group. This production of Ragtime is staged in the round so it gives each audience member a unique vantage point and encourages us as actors to give each person a story that is all their own.


Why should someone go see Ragtime?
The story, the music, the dancing…it’s all so rich and beautiful! Ragtime is timeless because it reveals a lot of the darkness and hatred that we still face in America, but it gives us so much hope and light at the same time. It has the power to change lives.

How does your work with Kids Love Musicals! carry over to Ragtime?
They both demonstrate the power of play and the importance of imagination.