Picture by Jeremy Daniel
As From Bullets To Broadway, Anatomy of A Broadway Show, featuring Emergency The Musical” digs deeper into the process of getting a musical to the stage, “Un-Block The Music” had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Stainbrook who will be Emergency’s musical director in New York. I had the fun of doing a four-way phone call after the radio show aired on WYFL this past Saturday (www.1180wfyl.com).
Just in case you don’t know, the radio show is hosted by U.S. Air Force Veteran Sgt Daniel McCaughan. We are following the journey of father/son team Dr. Jeff Foy and son Jacob Foy as they take their show Emergency The Musical from their living room to the New York Stage (www.emergencythemusical.com).
As for Melissa Stainbrook, she is a 5-time state champion show choir and choral music director from Brownsburg, IN who currently serves as Choral Director and Co-Department Head at Brownsburg High School. Best of all, Melissa is Jeff’s sister. What makes “Un-Block The Music” want to follow this journey, is the great warmth between all of these talented family members. Jacob said she has “wicked” talent and she is honest. It’s easy to show Emergency’s progress to my mom and grandma who are proud, “but my aunt is not only supportive of the project, but because of her experience, she is objective and is a solid benchmark of what is good.”
“Un-Block The Music” knows that Melissa has directed school musicals, but I wondered if she thought her experience with show choir will help her on the New York stage. What the heck is show choir anyway? Like Glee? Not exactly, Melissa laughs. Technically, a show choir is a group combining choral singing with choreographed movement or dance. Today’s show choirs often add a thematic element to the performance as well; a narrative she says. I wondered how competition affects the kids’ performance. “I am not a huge fan of competitive music. I don’t put the pressure on to win, I just want it to be about the music. If it hits on emotions and is joyous, I’ve done my job. The competition aspect will take care of itself.”
Jeff says, “Melissa is very determined to have each person perform to their best level. She makes them want to do better and get better; like a basketball coach for music! She focuses on getting each person to their peak and then puts the group together.” What more can you ask for an Off-Broadway show?
Melissa will bring her skills of meshing the music with the narrative together as musical director of Emergency. She knows how important choreography also is to the creation of the show, and how it always needs to be adjusted for all of it to make sense. hat is true of the script as well. All of it is a work in progress. “Jeff and Jacob are always reflecting on the script and making it better. When they send me changes, I try to always be honest.”
Has this whet your appetite? Want to know more about Emergency? Tune in Saturday’s at noon. There are new broadcasts every other week. In the meantime, Dan and I strongly encourage you to send questions. If you are thinking about writing a show, we hope From Bullets To Broadway will encourage you. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can even send them to me (email@example.com), and I will make sure Dan gets them. All questions can be answered here or on the air. If your questions are read on the air, you will win an Emergency T-Shirt. Sending questions will really help the dialog of the show. Jeff and Jacob have a lot to offer!
BTW, I have some shoutouts this week. We had so much interference on the lines when we were recording, hearing other people’s conversations…somebody named Lauren! LOL…it was crazy! Thank you to Russell who doesn’t want me to say his last name. He cleaned it up beautifully. Also, this week, you heard the original demo version of the song, “Forever In Your Eyes.” The voices you heard were Jacob’s friends, Noah Marcus and Kate Glaser. Not a bad bunch of friends to have!!!
As we get ready for Chapter 4 of the radio show, archived episodes can be heard on SoundCloud www.BroadwayBullets.com. And, follow “Un-Block The Music,” for updates on this show and lots more. Scroll down, and hit “follow” on the right side of the screen. Of course, “Un-Block The Music” is on social media as well.
One last thing, send out good vibes to Jeff, who is on the front lines during this Coronavirus crisis.