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


April 2, 2004


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was just two and a half short months ago that the Miami Hurricanes walked off the field at Hard R ...

A six-pack of UM notes on a Friday: ▪ Four-star Oregon-based quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. told Ri ...

On the eve of her team’s NCAA Tournament opener, University of Miami coach Katie Meier took the oppo ...

The defeated and deflated Miami Hurricanes quietly packed up their bags and trudged out of their Ame ...

Even before Donte Ingram broke Miami’s heart and sent the Hurricanes home from the NCAA Tournament w ...

Keeping a 30-year tradition, graduate students organize a fun-filled Hurricane Challenge for youngst ...

From bringing communities together to understanding the impacts of urbanization on the groundwater s ...

Novelist Jennine Capó Crucet’s book talk on March 20 explores belonging, identity, and what it means ...

Musical theatre students spent quality time learning (and laughing) with Avenue Q co-creator Jeff Ma ...

The University of Miami takes concrete steps to become the hemispheric university as it builds a rel ...

Miami's offense shook off a slow start to the series, and the Hurricanes departed Durham Bulls ...

View some of the best pictures from the No. 31 Miami women's tennis team's 5-2 victory ove ...

The No. 31 Miami women's tennis team posted its seventh win in the past eight outings by toppin ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team was just a point away from its first true road victor ...

The University of Miami rowing team closed out its spring opener at the 2018 Oak Ridge Cardinal Invi ...

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.