"Erica Save Me" @ 54 Below!

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Excited that "Erica Save Me" from Starblasters was performed at 54 Below on September 7th as part of the 3rd Annual Harvard/Yale Cantata, with alums from Columbia and Princeton partnering up with Harvard/Yale respectively this year to showcase wonderful songwriting work from alums of all four schools! I'm lucky to have Harvard grads Yasmeen Audi and Ben Moss performing the song and they absolutely knocked it out of the park! Thank you to Fernanda Douglas for music directing and accompanying.

Check out the video below!

One Night Stand Concert @ Ars Nova!

It was truly an honor to get to have my first full concert last month at Ars Nova, showcasing music from 2 Original Musicals I'm writing with Katie Hathaway, Afterland & Starblasters, and accompanied by a remarkable slew of talented musicians and performers. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible, including Music Director David Gardos, Producer Susan Griffin, Associate Producer Lilla Goettler, & Orchestrator Solomon Hoffman.

Please check out some of the videos below!

BAND:
David Gardos (Piano), Joe Nero (Drums), Ben Gallina (Bass), Hideaki Aomori (Reeds), Monica Davis (Violin), Adrian Aiello (Guitar)

PERFORMERS:
Alysha Umphress, Emily Skeggs, Arielle Jacobs, Lilli Cooper, Van Hughes, Robert Ariza, Benjamin Velez, Katie Hathaway, Joey Goldberg, Chris Silverberg, Jenny Rose Baker, Shannon Mullen, Yasmeen Audi, & Emma Hathaway

Thank You Sundance & UCROSS!

I had an incredible three weeks at the UCROSS foundation thanks to Sundance and met a group of inspiring artists while getting a lot done on my new Einstein musical. Thank you to Mame Hunt, and Philip Himberg for their wisdom! Here's the gang all together:

From left to right, Philip Himberg, Benjamin Velez, Billy Porter, Jumana Al-Yasiri, Mame Hunt, Kamal Khalladi, Kurt Carr, Theresa Rebeck and Leah Nanako Winkler

From left to right, Philip Himberg, Benjamin Velez, Billy Porter, Jumana Al-Yasiri, Mame Hunt, Kamal Khalladi, Kurt Carr, Theresa Rebeck and Leah Nanako Winkler

Artist in Residence at Sundance UCROSS!

I'm excited to be invited as an artist in residence at the Sundance Institute Retreat at UCROSS Foundation in Wyoming from January 23rd to February 10th!

I'll be there with 5 other artists:  Tony Award winner Billy Porter, Theresa Rebeck, Leah Nanako Winkler, Kurt Carr, and Kamal Khalladi. 

Couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to write and get to know these incredible people! Check out the write up on Playbill.com.

Happy to be featured on Latinos@Sundance, by Cesar Arredondo. 

"Prom Was a Promise" performed at the BMI Smoker!

I was honored to have "Prom Was a Promise" featured at the latest BMI Smoker concert November 17th, 2016! Thanks to David Gardos, Emily Kaplan, Joey Goldberg, Molly Heller, and of course Katie Hathaway for bringing it to life!

Check out the video below and listen to the demo along with other songs from Starblasters here.


STAR BLASTERS follows 5 friends in their late twenties who are spending the summer working at the same local theme park where they spent their summers in high school. Neil has just returned to work at the park for the first time since leaving for college and is immediately confronted by his ten-year-old feud with his ex-concessions colleague and former best friend, Freddie. Neil and Freddie were inseparable growing up, but after Senior Prom, the two stopped speaking and haven’t spoken since. What was all the bad blood about? Listen as each shares their side of the story…
 

New 15-Minute Musical "Anyone But Gio" with 4@15

I'm excited to partner up again with 4@15, this time working with students from the University of California, Irvine. Written with the talented Tim Duncheon in the course of a week, it's been a whirlwind and a blast to get this piece up so quickly.

A satire of the current republican primary, we couldn't have timed it better seeing as the New York Primary is coinciding with this premiere. You can reserve your tickets here and check out the write up in Broadway World!

Check out the video below or click through to read more about the piece here!

New Song for Civilians "Let Me Ascertain You" at Joe's Pub

I had the honor of working with the Civilians Theater Company on their concert series "Let Me Ascertain You" where they take interviews and use them to create new songs and monologues around a certain theme.

This concert was all about ANARCHY, and I had the privilege of writing a song about a man named Kerry (Weishin) who emigrated from China at the age of 9 after the Tiananmen Square riots in 1989. In his interview he compares the police brutality he witnessed as a child with what he saw happen in Ferguson, and raised questions about how Democracy and Communism can look so similar despite their core fundamental differences.

I had the honor of having Cindy Cheung perform the song with me. Video is on it's way!

CenterStage Boulder performs 8 Velez/Hathaway Songs in "40 Degrees North"

This past Friday the CenterStage Theater Company in Boulder, Colorado performed 6 songs from Afterland and 2 more from other projects as part of their show 40 Degrees North: A Cabaret of New Work and Great Talent, Directed by Jeanie Balch and Music Direction by Daniel Graeber.

Katie and I couldn't make it out to Boulder for the concert, but it was truly an honor to have them performing our work, and luckily they filmed it and put them on their YouTube Channel.

Here's Chanel Karimkhani singing "Philly Philly Philadelphia" from Afterland and absolutely NAILING it. 

AFTERLAND Reading at the York Theater - Directed by Mark Brokaw

We feel incredibly lucky to have had our first NYC reading of AFTERLAND at the York Theater February 11th, 2016. Thank you to everyone at the York for making it possible, thanks to our year-long residency there through the NEO program. 

Check out the cast photo of our INCREDIBLE team, which included:

Director: Mark Brokaw
Music Director: David Gardos
Stage Manager: Sonja Thorson

CAST
Christy Altomare, Alex Boniello, Daniel Jenkins, Rebecca Luker, Jacob Ming-Trent,  Alexandra Socha, Alysha Umphress, and Donald Webber Jr. 

We were lucky enough to get a write up in PlayBill and Broadway World!

Emily Skeggs sings "I Can Always Feel the Rain" from Afterland

It was such an honor to have my friend Emily Skeggs perform "I Can Always Feel the Rain" from our show Afterland at the Swish Ally Fund Benefit Concert "Songs in the Key of Equality" at Le Poisson Rouge this week.

She absolutely killed it and I couldn't have been more proud to have the song performed at such a wonderfully empowering and loving event celebrating both straight and LGBT volunteers who are fighting for equality around the country.

TUNE IN TIME at the York Theater! May 5th @ 7:30PM

Next week I'll be doing this exciting and crazy event, self dubbed the "Musical Theater Olympics," in which writers who have NEVER collaborated are paired up randomly and tasked with writing a song from an invented musical, the title of which is picked from a hatful of audience suggestions. Then a giant spinning wheel determines the style of the song and you have 20 minutes to write the song before the clock runs out!

Should be fun, PLUS, they give everyone alcohol, so... you know it's going to be a riot if nothing else. Here's the link to get tickets! 

Columbia University Songbook at 54 Below - March 10th @ 9:30PM

I'm honored to be showcasing my work alongside some of Columbia's most talented songwriting alums, including Tom Kitt, Jeanine Tesori and Peter Lerman, as well as Legends like Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein/Lorenz Hart and John Kander and Fred Ebb.

The concert is being put together by Laura Pietropinto who is celebrating the Columbia tradition of theater writing largely indebted to The Varsity Show, the longest performing arts tradition at Columbia and where most of us got our first legs.

Katie and I will be doing two songs from Afterland with the help of Donna Vivino, Emily Walton and Michael Anthony Walsh. We couldn't be more thrilled and excited!

More info on the concert here: http://54below.com/artist/columbia-university-songbook/ I'll update with videos once I have them!

MARS ONE with 4@15 at NYU Steinhardt

This past month I was lucky enough to be a part of 4@15: Four Fifteen Minute Musicals at NYU and write a short piece with Katie Hathaway about people applying to be the first humans on Mars. We met our cast in late December, then wrote the show over the two weeks of Winter holidays while I was in Miami and she was in NJ, then we had our first read-through with the cast the day I flew back! We had about 5 rehearsals spread over two weeks and then showtime.

It was such a blast to work with these talented students, and a treat to work with Director Brian Blythe and Music Director Ben Baker. Check out the video below:

MARS ONE - by Benjamin Velez and Kathryn Hathaway A private Dutch venture dubbed "Mars One" claims they can beat NASA to sending the first humans to Mars. The hitch? It's a one-way trip backed by questionable technology, and yet 200,000 people have already applied. But who are they?!

Afterland at YIMT!

It was such an honor and a privilege to get to workshop the show at YIMT. Everyone involved was a joy to work with and thanks to the collaborative environment the piece came farther than we could have imagined possible. Special thanks to Mark Brokaw for his directing, Kim Grigsby for her musical direction, Catherine Sheehy for her dramaturgical support, Sonja Thorson for the best stage management possible, and our incredible cast: Nate Janis, Emily Skeggs, Alysha Umphress, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Jacob Ming-Trent, Theresa McCarthy, and Steve Skybell.

We're excited for the next stage of development! As they say in the Afterland, Wonder and Amazement!

Check out some photos from YIMT courtesy of photographer ©Tim Mannle

New Afterland Song, "Before the End" at 54 Below

Katie and I are honored to be presenting a new song from our original musical Afterland at 54 Below on February 17th! We'll be showcasing it as part of the latest Cutting Edge Composers concert series with the incredibly talented Van Hughes (American Idiot) performing it.

Check out the event here and check back afterwards for a video link.

UPDATE: Check out the video from the concert on youtube, not the greatest quality, but Van killed it.

Van Hughes performing "Before the End" from the new musical Afterland as part of Cutting Edge Composers V at 54 Below, February 17th 2014.

Premiering "Afterland" at Joe's Pub!

On Monday Feb. 4th @ 7PM, Katie and I are premiering the title song from our musical Afterland as part of the latest Cutting Edge Composers concert, produced by Laura Pietropinto and Jillian Robbins and music directed by Julie McBride.

We are so excited to have four incredible singers performing our song: Katie Thompson, Matt Saldivar, Jason Gotay and Preston Sadleir. Not to mention a full band along with the incredible Doug Goldstein on banjo!

I'll update with a video after the concert, but for now, here's the Press Release on Broadway World, and click HERE to BUY TICKETS