Members of the Colonial Players at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) welcomed a surprise guest to one of their virtual full production meetings for their upcoming spring musical, We Aren’t Kids Anymore. After PWHS teacher and musical director Mickey Engel went through the motions of reviewing the schedule and other announcements, he introduced award-winning musical theater composer/lyricist Drew Gasparini.
The singer/songwriter, known for his collaborations with fellow Broadway icon Alex Brightman and being named as the composer for the upcoming Karate Kid musical, spoke with the students for approximately 45 minutes. He shared stories and answered questions about his path in musical theater, his motivation, his creative process, and more.
“All of a sudden Drew Gasparini, the writer of our show, appears on our Zoom call. Out of nowhere. It was quite the surprise,” said PWHS Senior Nathan Cideciyan. “It was so cool to talk to the person who wrote our show, because you never get to do that. He was so engaging and so kind.”
Gasparini’s autobiographical song cycle We Aren’t Kids Anymore takes the audience through the challenges of being an artist coming into adulthood in New York City — and includes some of the darker realities and challenges of that transformation in addition to humor and hope.
PWHS Senior Mara Brainerd, who’s on the video crew for the musical, asked Gasparini about his process for including raw, honest emotions into his work.
“I’ve gone into collaborations a few times when I've done narrative writing, and it’s definitely nerve-wracking, so it was cool to get his advice.” said Mara. “I love the fact that he was so open to help all of us. He’s got so much going on and is getting really big, but he was so willing to just be a connection for young theater people and share all that he’s learned.”
The Colonial Players' production of We Aren’t Kids Anymore is planned to debut this month. Click here for updates and the link for tickets.