I cannot tell a lie. Un-Block The Music, knows a little about Davy Crockett from history books in school. Being a New Yorker, I don’t think we concentrated on him all that much. A lot of my knowledge came from my husband who is a big fan of Fess Parker who played Davy in a Walt Disney miniseries. So, when I was invited to a reading of The Confessions of Davy Crockett in New York earlier this month, I didn’t know what to expect. Written by Steve Warren, the show is actually described as a play with music.
The original music was written by Tom Masinter with lyrics by June Rachelson-Ospa. I chatted with Tom and June who told me a lot more music is being written before its opening in March at the Josephine Theater in San Antonio, Texas. Davy Crockett, of course, was killed at The Alamo. This show, in Texas, is being presented by the Sons & Daughters of The Republic of Texas. And, according to Tom, Amy Crockett, a descendent of Davy, already has tickets.
Tom was born in New Orleans, but moved to Texas to earn his BA and MA music degrees at Trinity University. He is the recipient of eight Alamo Theatre Arts Council Globe Awards for Excellence In Theater as composer, music director and arranger, including Best Original Musical Score for Gone To Texas. June Rachelson-Ospa, who is the lyricist for Davy Crockett, also wrote the lyrics for that show.
June said, she and Tom came together when she answered an ad looking for someone to write the lyrics for Gone To Texas. “I won the job. I got picked from about 60 people,” June told Un-Block The Music. “That was 20 years ago.”
The Confessions of Davy Crockett stars Broadway veteran, Bart Shatto (War Paint, Les Miserables). While there is some interaction with another character in the show, he carries the whole play himself. The story unfolds at a tavern the night before Davy sets off for Texas and The Alamo. He shares many stories of adventure, a little romance and his tumultuous relationship with President Andrew Jackson.
Most everyone at the reading enjoyed the show and almost unanimously begged for more music. Tom and June said they were jumping right into that so new songs will be added before the March unveiling in Texas. Tom said, “the songs will have straight ahead melodies; simple songs for guitars and fiddles. This is a simple story. No room for Sondheim here,” he joked.
Tom says, that rather than”musicalizing” the script, he wants to keep it a play with music, perhaps adding other players that not only enhance the story, but are functional in terms of giving Bart’s voice a break throughout the show.
If you read Un-Block The Music you know, I am a fan of watching a show develop. For example, I have been following the development of Emergency The Musical, and I would like to do the same with this show which is going from an invitation only reading to a Texas theater that holds 279 people.
Can’t wait to hear more music and how the show is received in Texas. No doubt, like everything in Texas, there will be a big response. My favorite quote from Davy is… “Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”