We got to talk to the creators of A Christmas Carol, Marc Goldsmith (Book & Lyrics) and A. Michael Tilford (Music) to find out how it all happened! The show is being presented now thru Dec 21st as a Play in Proces (PIP) developed at WorkShop Theater Company alongside Steve Petrillo (Artistic Associate, Musical Theater).
Q: How’d you guys meet?
MG: I met Adam (A. Michael) at Marie’s Crisis, a piano bar where he plays and I occasionally imbibe. I had already written straight plays, but was interested in trying my hand at a musical. I knew Adam was also a composer, so I approached him about collaborating, initially on a project I had already started writing. Some months after that, Adam suggested writing a (relatively) small-cast musical version of A Christmas Carol. Dickens is one of my favorite writes, so I jumped at the chance.
Q: So how’d you get involved with WorkShop?
AMT: We initially became involved with WorkShop through Steve Petrillo after sending a first draft of the show out to numerous theaters. We didn’t get many responses and the ones we did get were rejections. But the most thoughtful and insightful rejection came from Steve. It was clear that he had read the script and listened to our demo carefully, and he offered lots of helpful suggestions.
Q: We love these stories… so then what?
AMT: Okay, so he invited us to join his monthly meeting for musical theater writers, where we occasionally presented sections of the show. Steve and Natalie Mosco gave us more good ideas, and they both took an interest not only in providing us performance opportunities at WorkShop, but in helping us make the show tighter, more coherent and more engaging.
MG: Yeah, and as a director, Steve is very respectful of what Adam and I write, but he also pushes us to ensure that every line and piece of music serves the story. That has often meant more work for us, but it has been worth it.
Q: Tis the season! Any take-homes you’d like people to have after seeing the show?
AMT: For me, a key message of the show is the importance of self-reflection. Even without ghosts to guide us, we can try to see clearly who we are and how to become kinder to ourselves and to others. Also, at some point, many of us (myself included) need to see past failures or unhappiness as an impetus to craft a better future for ourselves and for those around us.
MG: Yes, and, even more broadly, Dickens was very concerned with poverty and social inequality and the horrible consequences of ignoring those who need our help. Personally, there have been times when I have been numb to the homeless and others who are far worse off than I am. In A Christmas Carol, and many of his other works, Dickens does his best to shake us out of our complacency.