Opening Doors: The Music of Maglione & Ruiz, Lyons & Pakchar, and Rosser & Sohne
Working as a lyricist has been one of the biggest challenges of my life. How can you find the strength to change your life for the better of your friends, your family, and your community? My name is Tomas Ruiz (@andruiz_ on the Twitter) and I serve as the lyricist half of Maglione and Ruiz, a songwriting team specializing in new musical theatre. I was first a fan of musical theatre before I became a fan of new musical theatre. It wasn't until I listened to Scott Alan in college that my world was opened to this scary, exciting place where artists were making their own decisions. For me, new musical theatre should never be about Broadway. My writing partner, Dave, has taught me that new musical theatre is about being your own producer, being your own badass boss, and losing the need for money to create art.
And so with that in mind, on December 14th at 7:30 PM, Dave and I will be #LiveAtLPR featuring the ups and downs of collaboration in our new concert series Opening Doors: The Music of Maglione and Ruiz, Lyons & Pakchar, and Rosser & Sohne. This is a night to celebrate rockstars, a kick-ass eight piece band, and the power of family, friends, and great tunes. And this is also the first time in the history of my career that I have been fortunate enough to have one of my concerts produced on a Monday. Our first concert, “The Music of Maglione & Ruiz… Wait, Who?” premiered in January of 2014 to a sold-out crowd. We've been fortunate enough to be featured at 54 Below (#Hellert), The Laurie Beechman (#thestruggle, for real), and Toshi's Living Room. Our first full-length musical, Wendy's Shadow, was featured in Playbill.com's “Top 10 Shows To See At NYMF” this past summer before we sold out and then had to be extended. We spent over a year and a half developing this musical, which will be featured as part of Mystic Vision Players’ season this spring.
And now here we are. I am sitting on my couch, watching The Wild with my nieces and my older brother while my mother is strutting around the kitchen before we're about to head out to a carnival. Is this fabulous? Not too sure. I'd rather be strutting around New York but with so much uncertainty in the world, watching Paris burn on my TV screen, I'd rather be fabulous with my family. My family is the new musical theatre community. Maybe one day I'll get to Broadway, but for right now, hanging out with my family, writing an article, and going on a ferris wheel with my two nieces (#ratchetry) is my favorite way to spend my Saturday.
Just remember (yes, #composrrs or #compossnrss) that lyricists always have the hardest job. We spend hours listening to music — on the radio, contemporary musical theatre, classical musical theatre, opera, operetta — in order to understand the form of musicals. But in the immortal words of Sondheim… it takes two (#intothewoods). And so to celebrate the lyrics you’ll hear on December 14 (#becauseyoullbethere #right?), get to know lyricists who made them up and wrote them down and the composers who helped make it happen.
Writing With David Maglione… (Maglione & Ruiz)
David Maglione has a great fashion sense and that's because anytime we go out to something, I always take him shopping with me. He gets a great haircut and he steals my clothes. Well, not steal, because I always take his lighters. Before he can get pissed at me, I say, “Just wanted to take a piece of you with me.” And then I owe him another lighter. (#lighterthief #wigardiumleviostra!) Our writing sessions are often intense, filled with laughter and a little bit of argument. One time, David told me that he wouldn't let me recycle a lyric that I had already written if I couldn't remember it. So what did I do? I went back into one of my “ratchet” notebooks and found that lyric. Guess what? We used it anyway. (#antytway)
Writing With Ethan Pakchar… (Lyons & Pakchar)
Douglas (#Doug) Lyons is a man of many hats. Working in Broadway's Beautiful in all of the tracks, dancing his butt off, and making the money to produce his own work with Ethan Pakchar (#guitariiist). Recently, I watched their reading of Five Points and got to sit two seats away from Jessie Mueller (#mueltress) and she was beautiful. I was so moved by their creating a story about the birth of tap through a dance competition between the Irish and the African American communities. It reminded me of a musical that I loved so much and learned every word to when I was a kid by watching the movie first. (#savethelyricist) For me, it was West Side Story. (I love him, I'm his, and everything he is, I am too…) I watched a three-person band create some of the most beautiful music that not only reminded me of music that I had learned in church but also a style that I only watched on PBS. Riverdahhnce. Yahhs. If that doesn't make the move to Broadway, I have no more hope. Children should be learning about racism, music, and community. Well played, my friends. Well played. I was almost speaking in tongues. It was that good. (#amberimahhhn. #comeonnn)
Writing With Rosser… (Rosser & Sohne) (#hellrt)
These are my boys. I first met Tim Rosser at Putting The Pieces Together… Volume 1 and I watched my girlfriend, Morgan Assante, SLAYYYY “Simply Because…” which totally turned me on to their music. I couldn't even believe their knack for writing only musical theatre. Yes, I was jealous. In a way, I hope that they realize there is a lot of space for contemporary in our world. They taught me patience, which is a virtue, and also they taught me that you should be able to talk all the smack (#dahhhm) with your friends at a bar. They are the snippiest, they are the cattiest, and they love all the theatre talk. To be honest, I wish that Dave and I could be more like them. They appreciate the power of friendship as well as relationship in the new musical theatre community. I don't feel like they are my friends – in a way, they are also my family. <3
Make sure you check out our concert. Opening Doors: The Music of Maglione & Ruiz, Lyons & Pakchar, and Rosser & Sohne, December 14th, Le Poisson Rouge, #LiveAtLPR. Let's get real turnt. Move our way to New York Beer Company, link up with the BIV kids and party freakin' hardy. Yes, I am a producetress and I understand the struggle of getting your own work off the ground.
Hey Dave, I think we made it kid. (#arewefamousyet?)
And all of the other theatre geeks that knew that they were on fleek, you're welcome to come through, too.
PS. Ratchetry is a great word to use. #trieditttt
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