Friday, July 9, 2010

You can "Sing Me a Happy Song" Anytime

Sing Me a Happy Song

As far as I’m concerned, any night I get to listen to the music of Georgia Stitt and David Kirshenbaum is a good night in my book. Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing a workshop production of the pair’s musical, Sing Me a Happy Song, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons.

Produced by Adam Philipson and Paul Wickline, the production is part of the Festival of New American Musicals and features a cast of 25 directed by Andrea Slominski, with musical direction by Mary Ekler.

Students were first introduced to the show two years ago when COC began the development process in a series of master classes with the composers. This weekend, workshop participants continue the exploration of these songs and characters, culminating in three Black Box performances. (The 7pm show tomorrow night Saturday, July 10 is sold out but seats are still available for the 9:30pm show).

Sing Me a Happy Song is made up of some of the two composers’ best songs that had been cut from other shows they’d written, and every writer knows that when you have to cut a song, scene, or character from a show, it feels a little like abandoning a child. It can be heartbreaking. By taking these songs and putting them together, however, a new piece of theatre is born; one with its own unique voice.

What we find are musical stories, heartfelt moments in the lives of people that long to connect with each other – an embarrassing grade school crush that leads to the real love of a young girl’s life, the surprise of social media and what you don’t expect to find, two young men considering what She deserves, weighing his proposal, becoming my mother, you can never go back to your youth, let me fly – all fragments of time that will remind you of the pain, loss, humor and irony in your own life.

One lyric in the title song which ends the show sums it up best, "If you want to find a direction, first you have to make a connection."

This was a beautifully staged night of theatre with some moving individual performances by its young performers. And nothing beats the full choral sound of 25 voices singing in harmony.
Tickets are still available for the 9:30pm show Saturday night. Call the box office at 661-259-7800. For more information, directions and parking go to

College of the Canyons is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91355.

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