October 23, 2020
THD’s traditional fall 2020 musical will be a newly conceived virtual musical revue titled “SAFER,” and includes new songs and poetic work by an exciting line-up of professional music theatre composers and lyricists, including selections from “The Ruminations and Reflections of an Armchair Philosopher,” by show director and associate professor Nathan R. Matthews and collaborators Terry Berliner (Book) and Peter Haslett Kelly (Poet). “SAFER” features a cast of UB performance students enrolled in Matthews’s creative research project course.
The show promises to be both fun and topical. In this restrictive time a unique group of music theatre creatives have been recruited to contribute to the UB student experience, including: Heath Saunders (Composer/Lyricist) and Kim Saunders (Book), Winners of the New York Musical Festival Best Musical award 2016; Andy Peterson (Composer) and Erik Ransom (Composer/Lyricist), winner of the 2019 OFFIES Award London for Best New Musical; Michelle Elliot (Lyricist, Book) and Danny Larson (Composer, Co-Lyricist), Winners of the Kleban Award, Jonathan Larson Grant, Richard Rodgers Development Award, and Daryl Roth Award; Buffalo’s Drew Fornarola (Composer, Lyricist), who works for Dreamworks and is a NYMF Award winner; and Kristen Rosenfeld (Composer) and Luanne Rosenfeld (Book, Lyricist), who have had commissions at Red Fern Theatre, Wooden O Theatre, American University and the Atlantic Acting School, with works performed at 54 Below, Joe's Pub, The Triad, and The Metropolitan Room.
In casting the show, students were asked to submit a self-taped video audition of a music theatre song and a reading of a 20th or 21st century poem. Students interested in a non-singing poetic performance role provided a sample poetic reading.
Nathan R. Matthews, associate professor and director of music theatre, has worked on Broadway and across North America. He is a contributing author to The Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies, and the founding Producing Artistic Director of New York’s Riverside Opera Ensemble. Terry Berliner, a New York-based director, writer and choreographer, specializes in developing and directing new plays and musicals. Her Broadway credits include “The Lion King” (Resident Director), as well as “Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” “The Sound of Music,” and “The Red Shoes.”