News

Hit songwriter gives UM students a chance to shine in musical

Approximately 50 hand-selected UM music students auditioned Tuesday for a role in a new musical by renowned songwriter and producer Desmond Child.

Child has written and produced more than forty hit songs by artists including Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Ricky Martin and Clay Aiken.

Now Child has decided to tackle the Broadway stage with his new musical JazzAge.

The musical is co-written with author Davitt Sigerson, whose novel Faithful was recently released by Random House.

Child and Sigerson were looking for talented jazz singers to perform in the preliminary stages of the show, including the read-through and workshopping of JazzAge.

Those auditioning gathered to listen to Child and Sigerson speak about the show and what they were looking for and were then sent outside to wait for their turn to sing. For the audition, performers, decked out in jazzy 1920s-style outfits, were required to sing a standard jazz song in the swing style.

Child, a native of Miami, has been so impressed with UM music students in the past that he decided to hold the only audition for JazzAge at UM.

“We’re looking forward to workshopping [JazzAge],” Sigerson said. “It will help us see the weaknesses and strengths of the show and identify problems to be worked out. Like the saying goes, ‘Musicals aren’t written; they’re rewritten.'”

“We basically took three days of every month and called them sacred, just to be used for working on the musical,” Child said.

“We wanted to write a rollicking, old-style, rich musical with a love story,” Sigerson said.

Set in a 1920s Paris expatriate community, JazzAge is based on historic characters such as painter Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, the first known openly lesbian woman in the world.

Also included in the cast are fictional characters such as Joe, an American who comes to Paris to paint, and Martina, Picasso’s model and mistress.

“This show makes sense because jazz is a predecessor of musical theater,” Ashley Atkins, senior musical theater major, said. “I chose to sing ‘Angel Eyes’ because it shows both the jazz style and my own personality. I’m excited to do this audition because jazz has always been my favorite genre of music.”

“We listen to lots of musical styles in the musical theater program. It’s nice to get to sing in some of those different styles for auditioners,” said musical theater major Ashley Chambers, who sang “Hit Me with a Hot Note.”

“Secretly I always wanted to be a jazz singer,” Omar Lopez-Cepero, another JazzAge hopeful, said. “You know what? Sometimes I scat in the shower.”

Unfortunately for the UM students who auditioned, the show has only nine roles and a small ensemble to be cast.

Ironically, most of UM’s jazz music majors were not invited to audition.

Child and Sigerson claimed to have read over 200 books in preparation for writing this musical.

“Much of the dialogue was written by brilliant people, who weren’t us,” Sigerson said. “We took a lot of the text from memoirs and other historical sources.”

The first table reading of JazzAge is slated for May 19.

Jaclyn Lisenby can be contacted at j.lisenby@umiami.edu

CHILD’S HIT SONGLIST

April 2, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

New Multi-State Institute Focuses on Reducing Damage from Severe Storms ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem's incredible career earned her a place ...

Check out the latest edition of Hurricane Magazine. ...

Members from the Miami track and field team spent the afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club in Miami ...

UM administrators, coaches and alums took part in yesterday's allCanes Holiday Shopping Spree f ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.