Friday, September 23, 2016

Q&A with Kit Goldstein Grant

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a small, private reading of a musical called The Wrong Box. The dark comedy about a race for a family inheritance is continuing its development with a staged reading on Monday October 3 at 1 and 7 p.m. at the National Opera Center. Tickets are available here. Composer/lyricist Kit Goldstein Grant adapted the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne. Here's what she had to say about why she chose that source material, how she got into musical theater composition, and more.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background? When did you first start writing musicals? How did you realize you had that talent?
A: I wrote my first musical when I was 13, and a group of friends and I started a theatre company to produce it when I was 14. I had picked up a book by Alan Jay Lerner at a used book shop, realized that everything I liked was a musical, and thought I'd try writing one myself. Nobody's been able to stop me since.

Q: What was the first piece of music you ever wrote?
A: The first piece I remember notating was a song about going to the fair and eating cotton candy. The scansion was terrible, but I was probably around eight, so I'm going to cut myself a little slack on that.

Q: Who would you say are your influences?
A: Lerner and Loewe, Bock and Harnick, Kander and Ebb, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Cole Porter--all the classics.
Kit Goldstein Grant

Q: Why did you choose to adapt this novel? What was your first exposure to it?
A: My sister always gave me all the good books to read. She gave me The Wrong Box, too, and mentioned she thought it would make a good musical. I read it and agreed. I wrote the first draft while I was in college during a spring break.

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: Outdoors, in a big park, on a sunny day.

Q: What can audiences expect and why should they see the reading?
A: The Wrong Box is a really fun show with a lot of surprises. Sometime even I still get surprised by plot twists. Audiences can expect dry Victorian humor, larger than life characters, inconvenient dead bodies, and memorable songs. We've got a terrific cast [Joe Harkins, Raul Hernandez, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Andrew Holder, Robin Cameron Lounsbury, Evan Mayer, Angelo McDonough, Christopher Michaels, Chris Collins Pisano, Daniel Plimpton, Adrian Rifat, Jordan Silver, Morgan Smith, Kasey Yeargain, and Frank Vlastnik] assembled with actors from Broadway and national tours, and the cast alone is reason enough to come.

Q: What are your goals for after the reading?
A: We're looking at different possibilities to bring the show to more audiences in New York City and elsewhere. One thing we'd love to do is partner with a regional theatre to continue with development of the show, so if you run a regional theatre, don't forget to call!

Q: And finally, how far would you go to get a family inheritance?
A: Halfway around the world! (Either direction.)

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