Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Special - An Interview with Michael McLean, Co-Writer of Fairy Tale Christmas: The Musical

Michael McLean (MM) and his son, Scott are the co-writers of the show, Fairy Tale Christmas the Musical which was presented at this year's New York International Fringe Festival.

Where did you come up with the idea for the show?

MMTHE IDEA FOR THE SHOW was born years ago when Scott (my son who is the co-writer of this musical) was just a little boy.  Then, in 2014 we took that idea and started expanding on it and wrote a book that was published that year and then we went further and wrote the musical of FAIRY TALE CHRISTMAS that is part of this year's New York Fringe Festival.

Was Fairy Tale Christmas the Musical ever performed anywhere else?

MM: This is the FIRST TIME EVER this show has been staged and performed.  We wanted the Fringe Festival audiences to fall in love with the show and the songs in it so we went to Nashville and recorded the instrumental tracks that the actors could sing to and asked the illustrator of the book to create the backdrops we could project on a screen.  

What else have you written?

As a songwriter I've written and produced 30 albums of my songs.  As an author I've written 6 books.  And as a playwright I've written 5 musicals.  

Have any of your plays been produced on stage?

MM: About a decade ago a musical I wrote with my friend Kevin Kelly had a limited run Off Broadway (at 37 ARTS).  The idea behind that musical, THE ARK,  is that the inside of the theatre is Noah's Ark and the audience are the animals.  It's a really fun family show.  

Another show I've written is one that's been going on in various theaters every Christmas for the past 25 years.  It's called THE FORGOTTEN CAROLS, and it's based on a book I wrote back in 1991.  To promote the book I started doing a one man show, playing all the parts, at theaters during the holidays.  Then, as it became more and more popular, the show grew to a full blown musical that's been seen by about  million people all around the United States.  

Have you ever worked with your son before?

MM: Although the Forgotten Carols as a theatrical production has evolved over the years, the current version was adapted for the stage by my son, Scott.  He is not only a great writer but a terrific actor and I LOVE the opportunities I get to write with him.  (I know, I know, I'm his dad, but I think he's awesomely talented).

What other work have you done?

MM: It's interesting, but I keep coming back to Christmas themed shows.  Years ago I produced a little film for television starring screen legend JAMES STEWART called Mr. Kruger's Christmas.  It's been seen by over 300 million people world wide in 7 languages.  Then, back around the time I wrote the book of Forgotten Carols I directed a film with academy award winning actress Celeste Holm called NORA'S CHRISTMAS GIFT.  

Who are some playwrights and composers who have inspired you?

MM: My training to be a writer has come from writing, and being lucky enough to have had some remarkable mentors. When we were working on The Ark back in the day, STEPHEN SCHWARTZ (Wicked, Godspell, Prince of Egypt. Etc. etc.) invited us to be part of the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop here in New York City.  He is not only a brilliant writer, but an extraordinary teacher and has been both an inspiration and a fantastic example.  (Lucky me)

What made you decide to do what you do?

MM: I suppose the reason I became a story teller is because of the stories that have shaped me.  The first time I saw MAN OF LAMANCHA at 15 it blew my mind and I thought, I wonder what it would be like to wear out my life working on something as moving as that show.  As a songwriter with limited singing skills, I loved THE MUSIC MAN and while in high school I lived next door to one of the Buffalo Bills who did that show for the Broadway Run and also the film.  Then I got to play Harold Hill at my high school production and have been hooked ever since. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?

MM: My advice is, start doing it.  Nothing is stopping you from writing songs, and figuring out which stories you want to tell.  Most writers love to read great writers for inspiration.  So try to see everything you can that helps you raise the bar in your own creative endeavors.  Find the people who can "light your candle" and inspire you to work harder, do better, reach higher, and stay away from those who would "blow your candle out".   The things any aspiring writer/songwriter/producer/filmmaker/playwright dream of doing are gifts they have to offer the world.  And the greatest gift of all, is the one you give yourself by learning the lessons you may only learn by writing from the most authentic part of your heart.  

We thank Michael for taking the time to speak with us. For more about Fairy Tale Christmas: The Musical see our previous posts:



There will be one remaining performance of Fairy Tale Christmas the Musical at the New York International Fringe Festival today, August 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM.

Tune in tomorrow for this week's Sunday Scoop.

No comments:

Post a Comment

 
Designed By: Wacky Jacqui's Designs