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New Musicals Inc. had intended to produce several short musicals at the 2020 Hollywood Fringe Festival – the global pandemic shut down that event. So we pivoted this show to take place entirely in a Zoom meeting. Enjoy the hysterical but chillingly resonant antics of this literal clown of a President as he attempts to win control over the country through a game of Paper/Rock/Scissors, as the hapless Margaret Palmer desparately tries to argue for sanity. Book and lyrics by B.K. Wells; music by Jane Wong. Directed by Johnny Coppola. Starring Elise Dewsberry, Casey Hunter, Mindy Montavon, and John David Wallis.
Mother’s Mothers Day
“Mother’s Mothers’ Day” is a one-woman musical about Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mothers’ Day, who spent the rest of her life trying to destroy the holiday because of its over-commercialization. She spent her last days in an asylum. The music is by beloved American composer Amy Beach, with book and lyrics by Scott Guy, written as a tour-de-force for NMI’s Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry.
This video was recorded at a performance in June, 2019, at the Broadwater Mainstage as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
(Because this is a live recording, the sound is not great – so please view with your sound turned way UP.)
The Learned Ladies
“The Learned Ladies” is a new musical internet series featuring stories, songs, poems and essays from obscure women composers and forgotten women authors of the past. Award-winning actress Elise Dewsberry plays southern belle Ann Reeves Jarvis as she welcomes us into her pre-Civil-War music room, introducing us to women authors and composers, like an antebellum “Masterpiece Theatre.” Mrs. Jarvis first tells us a little about the featured woman author’s background and literary bent, and then regales us with a reading, followed by a song.
In the first episode, we meet Mary Virginia Terhune, who shocked her friends and family by publishing secretly under a pseudonym. Then we hear Amy Beach’s moving song which tells the story of Anita, jilted by the man she trusted with her life and heart.
To hear more of the episodes, visit the Learned Ladies page.
At New Musicals Inc., we’ve been messing around with the short musical format on the internet – and I’ve been the beneficiary of this experimenting because I’ve had the chance to record lots of fun stuff.
The samples here (and below) include:
Khassandra the Psychic
A Message from Mother Nature
The Bad Old Lady in Black (from “Tales From A Darkening Wood”)
Edna Fervor Sings Second Verses
To celebrate her 60th birthday, Elise invited a dozen of her favorite writing teams to write new songs for her to sing at a concert at Rockwell Table and Stage on March 19, 2017. This is the opening number, “Rocking Chair”, written by Ron Barnett.
To hear all of the songs, visit the Singing Sixty page.
Aunt Evelyn’s Inspirational Advice
In June, 2014, Elise was honored to perform at the A LITTLE NEW MUSIC cabaret at Rockwell Table and Stage. The song was “Aunt Evelyn’s Inspirational Advice”, by Sammy Buck and Daniel S. Acquisto.
Frogs In the Living Room
A two person musical for the of patroness Aline Barnsdall and architect Frank Lloyd Wright, written by Scott Guy. Elise and Scott have performed the show various times – including in 2012 and 2014 at the NoHo Arts Center.
I Shall Be Beautiful
Queen Mab’s Alarmingly Mandatory Bridal Shower
The first part of the evening called Spellcasters, this one-woman show chronicles the 29th engagement of the feisty Queen Mab; with libretto by Scott Guy and music by Jacques Offenbach, Ken Neufeld, Michele Esposito, and Max Bruch. This audio excerpt is from the song “I Shall Be Beautiful.”
The Last Words of Sycorax
This one-woman show follows Sycorax – the mother of Shakespeare’s Caliban – while she tells her life story to her son. On her deathbed – she must make him aware of his legacy so he can survive on the island without him. This audio excerpt is from the song “Necromancy”, in which Sycorax explains how she turned to the ways of Magick to take her vengeance on the men who killed her husband by sorcerizing against their boats on the ocean.
For many years (basically from 1994 through 2003), Elise toured Canada (and a bit of the US) with the one-woman show Nine Months and the sequel, Nine Months 2, with book and lyrics by Carl Ritchie and music by Stephen Woodjetts. The first 10 minutes of this video is a “sneak preview” trailer of Nine Months – featuring Jennie, Margot, and Dawn – three woman going through nine months of pregnancy with the same doctor. The next 10 minutes is a trailer for Nine Months 2 – reuniting the ladies as they watch their children go through the first year of life.
Be Glad Life Isn’t a Musical…
New Musicals Inc. has experimented with creating short musicals for the internet – using green screen in our own rehearsal hall. This one is titled “Be glad life isn’t a musical, or CVS clerks would sing…”
As a 50th birthday present for Elise, Scott Guy wrote the 2-hander “Der Strunkenwhitenlieder” in which Elise plays the role of “Apostrophe”.
15 Minute Musicals
Elise was part of the cast of the 2008 15 Minute Musicals. This is the song “Bone Appetit” from the finale of one of the musicals in which the characters were all dogs.
e-$cape: a cybermusical
Elise played “mom” in a workshop reading of excerpts from the musical “e-$cape” by Scott Guy and Clifford Tasner.
NOTE: The song “Kroger’s” begins at about 8 1/2 minutes.
While working at Fern’s Garden from 2001-2003, Elise created the character Lady Hilda Von Wimbleshot – and shot this pilot video for a half-hour crafting series.
Professor Marian Snoopnoodle
For John Spark’s 65th birthday Tribute celebration, Elise created a video in which she “interviewed” John as the character Professor Marian Snoopnoodle.