by Joe Regan Jr.
As part of a series at Feinstein’s/54 Below showcasing young composers not yet presented on Broadway, May 11 featured Drew Brody and Lance Horne who have a EP Single entitled A Little Single. Brody is working on a new show entitledCurvy Widow with Bobby Goldman, widow of the award winning playwright James Goldman. The pair were dressed casually, with Horne in leather pants and boots, and Brody in jeans and slipper like shoes. What is unusual about their collaboration is that almost all of their songs are not written when they are together in person. They are composed via IPhones, sometimes with Horne lying on his kitchen floor and Brody in bed with his IPhone on his bed stand. When they sang in this show, Brody sang Horne’s songs and Horne sang Brody’s songs. Both men, openly gay, sang songs written for women without changing the gender nor the lyrics except in a few cases which made it more personal for the man singing. Many of the songs were performed in public for the first time and all of them were fascinating in their lyrics and rhymes. Sometimes when one of them sat at the piano the other would leave the stage.
If anyone is wondering where the new generation of songwriters for Broadway are, they need look no further than these two. They did have a special guest, Tony nominated Beth Malone, who had already done two shows that day, a matinee and an evening show of Fun Home in which she plays the older daughter.
Horne was at Julliard and Brody was in a rock/folk band when they met and were attracted by songs each had written with other collaborators.
I reviewed Horne on a show entitled “Live From Gramercy Park: Love,” a special Valentine’s Day show (when everyone was wearing red) and which featured the amazing Marti Stevens.
“The Grind’r Song” imagines what happens to the participant on a match site when he dies and matches still continue to contact you. One of the best songs is “A Little Single” which lists boys’ names and name drops the Mattachine Society, the Eastern Bloc, John Cameron Mitchell, Armistad Maupin – – everyone is a “A Little Single” when they are on the dance floor searching for a love mate.
The first song from Curvy Widow is how Bobby Goldman, suddenly widowed from her older husband, goes on a match site, describing herself as a curvy widow. She gets 99 responses from men who show her their anatomy and she sings “Whittle It Down” eliminating one after another until she finally finds one that she agrees to meet. Horne sang this funny, moving song, which is reminiscent of “One Hundred Easy Ways.”
Malone came on stage and sang “Haircut” about changing her hair style through the years. When she returned later she also sang a song from Bobby Goldman’s show, “Lying on the Bathroom Floor,” her head on the piano reminding us of Horne’s method of composing on his kitchen floor. It was sad, emotional, and heart-breaking.
Horne composed the theme song for the TV show “The Outs,” entitled “Before the RockStar” and was played during the Rockstar lead’s actions.
“Life Is A Diamond (Now That You Are Mine”) is a fun song both sang about how real love can be a diamond but there are consequences when they turn out to be rhinestones!
One song was played and sung for the first and last time. When Brody sawKinky Boots he realized the song had already been written. “The Wrong Guy” was about a drag performer looking for the right man but never finding him. It was sung as a duet.
The last number was a song they did not write. They love the DeJohn Sisters and it was Jeri Sullivan’s “He Loves Me,” one of the first uses of an echo chamber. As Horne sang the melody, Brody did the questioning echo. It was terrific. (Horne admitted later that he was channeling Marti Stevens when he was singing the melody.)
The NC Stage Company in Ashville, North Carolina is presenting the world premiere of Curvy Widow in November with a book by Bobby Goldman and music and lyrics by Drew Brody. You can find information about both at their websites: DrewBrody.com – LanceHorne.com and their EP “A Little Single” at yellowsoundlabel.com