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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 50
The genius of Jason Robert Brown
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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The genius of Jason Robert Brown

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

13
ACT Theatre
Through December 18


Jason Robert Brown is one of the most talented up-and-coming Broadway composers America has produced in a long while. His style is as versatile as the subjects he chooses, and there seems to be no restriction on what kind of work he can produce. Through a special arrangement with Seattle's own Broadway Bound and ACT Theatre, this highly talented man performed a concert of his own work, in conjunction with the production of Brown's musical 13.

Immediately following the December 8 opening-night performance of Broadway Bound's 13, Jason Robert Brown took to the stage of ACT Theatre. With his piano as his only accompaniment, Brown warmly and graciously greeted the full theater. For the next 90 minutes, almost without stopping for breath, the maestro played and sang many of his works, not only from his musicals, but from his previously released solo CD and from various upcoming works in progress.

Making his theatrical debut in 1995 with Songs for a New World, Brown wrote the music and lyrics for the show. Often considered to be more of a song cycle than a musical, due to the songs being connected by theme opposed to narration, the show was directed by Daisy Prince, daughter of Broadway impresario Hal Prince.

The musical Parade was introduced to Broadway in 1998 and was directed by Hal Prince, with music and lyrics by Brown. Controversially setting a beautifully haunting score to the true story of a New York Jewish man's false conviction and lynching for the murder of a young girl, the musical would win the Tony Award for Best Original Music and Lyrics.

The Last Five Years opened in 2001 in Chicago. It tells the story of a young couple and the struggle to keep their relationship going. Cathy, a young actress, sings in reverse chronological order, while Jamie, a man about to publish his first novel, begins his musical narration with the start of their relationship. They sing a duet on their wedding day as the two stories cross paths.

The latest Broadway production by this talented genius is 13. Hailed as a rock-and-roll score with the only all-teenage cast ever to appear on Broadway, the show tells of a young New Yorker whose life is uprooted by his parents with their bitter divorce. His world is turned upside down, just as he approaches the important age of 13.

So what does Brown have coming up next? He's working on his second solo CD - his first, Wearing Someone Else's Clothes, debuted in 2005. He's also working on two new theatrical adaptations, The Bridges of Madison County (with libretto by Marsha Norman) and Honeymoon in Vegas, which he played excerpts from for a captivated audience. There are even rumors that he is planning to direct the film adaptations of 13 and The Last Five Years. For more information on Brown, visit jasonrobertbrown.com.

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BEST OF MUSIC: Hottest artists of 2011
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BEST OF MUSIC 2011: LIVE PERFORMANCES by Albert Rodriguez and Jessica Price
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BEST OF MUSIC 2011:
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