Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kerrigan & Lowdermilk

Some of the greatest composers and lyricist of our time have not yet hit the great white way, but that doesn't mean they aren't spectacular.  There are so many amazing artists out there who don't actually have a Broadway show under their belts.  One such song-writing team is Brian Lowdermilk (composer) and Kait Kerrigan (lyricist).  I had the extreme pleasure of seeing them in concert the other day.  I  actually got to talk with them after the show!!!!  I was so excited!  It was my second actual encounter with someone I've stalked on Youtube (the first being Colin Hanlon when he did Wicked at the Fox).  But I digress.  They were brilliant in concert and it just reminded me how much I love their music!  So I thought I'd introduce some of the greatest songs you've never heard to those of you who haven't had the pleasure of discovering Kerrigan & Lowdermilk's brilliance.  I'll try to keep this list relatively short, but if you like what you hear in this post I'd recommend checking out their Youtube account for more.

*since I know I have several young readers of this blog, each video will come with a brief disclaimer on the content.  If you have any questions to how "bad" a song is, I'd be happy to answer.

One of the things that Kerrigan and Lowdermilk excel at is capturing the spirit of the young adult.  This is evident in several of their shows, but is most prominent in Tales From The Bad Years a song cycle about those "20-something" years.

I'm not going to lie, I LOVE THIS SONG!  This might be my favorite song that they wrote!  I'm not even in the age range their describing yet but I relate to the song so much!  Since the first time I heard it, I began just waiting for my friends to turn 20 so that I could show them this song and let them experience it's brilliance.  What makes it even better is two of my Youtube obsessions combine.  The group singing this (and one other song here) is one of my favorite highschools: the kids at Newton North (they're in Massachusetts...where I've never been and I know absolutely that creepy?). Enjoy!

Someone Else's Life
This is definitely one of the best male solo's that Kerrigan and Lowdermilk have written.  It honestly reminds me a lot of "Monticello" by Pasek and Paul (a group you may get to hear about in a future post).  It conveys this wonderful message about wanting to move on to do something important in life, while being hilarious in it's own way.  Steven Booth [Dogfight, Glory Days] sings this version (ironically the same guy who sung "Monticello") and he is pretty fantastic.

Not Her Way
This song is also pretty brilliant.  It has it's funny moments and has some crazy amazing vocals by the spectacular Kate Shindle [Legally Blonde, Wonderland].  It's probably my favorite female solo from this show.  I suggest this to a lot of strong belters for auditions because it's such a great powerhouse song.

For the sake of keeping this post "relatively" short, that's all the videos I'm going to post.  But I would highly suggest you listen to "The Bad Years" (completely clean), "Not A Love Story" (completely clean), and "The Thanksgiving Plan" (very brief, medium language).  The whole show is really good, but these are my favorites

I was actually introduced to this show even before I knew who Kerrigan and Lowdermilk were.  The very first winner of the Jimmy Awards, Steven Mark (who you'll see in just a minute), performed a song from this show as his solo and it was breath-taking.  Although it isn't my favorite of their shows (mostly because of how great Tales From The Bad Years is), it is the one with what is probably their best songs.  The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown is about (big surprise) a girl named Samantha Brown.  From what I can tell she's a highschool senior who decided one day that she was going to drive.  She goes on a journey of self discovery and I think has several flashbacks (most of which I think relates to her car).

I really, really love this song (It makes my top 5 female duets).  Samantha remembers the time when her best friend Kelly went on a road trip with her.  It's a fun song about living life to the fullest and throwing caution to the wind.  It also features some of the incredibly talented students from Newton North singing with voices beyond their years.

Run Away With Me
My goodness.  This is a song that will take your breath away.  This is probably Kerrigan and Lowdermilk's most popular song (for good reason).  Everybody loves this song and for that reason there are SO MANY amazing versions of this song on Youtube.  Aaron Tveit [Next To Normal, Catch Me If You Can] has a brilliant version, Josh Young [Jesus Christ Superstar (2012 Revival) had a cool take on it, and Micheal Arden [Big River (2003 Revival)] also has a really great version, which can be found on Itunes.  But the first, and very possibly my favorite, version I've heard is by Jimmy Award Winner Steven Mark.  But whichever version you hear, the song is beautiful and awfully romantic.

The Girl Who Drove Away
This is a song that I had never bothered to listen to until the concert the other night, but for me it was one of the highlights of the evening.  This is probably my favorite female solo in the show, it's a wonderful opening of the show.  Once again it shows how good Kerrigan and Lowdermilk are at connecting with this age range and tapping into that raw energy mixed with indecision.  At the concert Kait Kerrigan herself gifted us with her performance of the song, but the best one I could find on Youtube is sung with excellence by Tony Nominee Laura Osnes [Bonnie & Clyde, Cinderella (2013 Revival)].

Once again I'm not going to post anymore videos of this for sake of time.  But I encourage you to listen to Laura sing "Say The Word" (clean) and perhaps watch some of the video clips from the Goodspeed production of "Samantha Brown" (there's actually a good bit of language in some of these).

The thing I'm finding about young artists like these is they have a bounty of songs that don't necessarily belong to any one completed show.  They have a few shows in progress or songs cut from shows that don't really fit neatly into any one category.  So these are there "miscellaneous treasures" that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

My Party Dress
This song comes from an adaptation they did of the children's book series Henry And Mudge.  Those who know me know that I don't bother to read books that aren't scripts, but my sister assures me that the book was quite good.  This song is sung neither by Henry, nor Mudge, but by Henry's self-absorbed cousin who comes to visit.  The song is absolutely hilarious and it's a joy to see actresses unleash their inner 4 year old to pull the song out.  Of course, nobody plays a better little girl than the impeccably adorable Celia Keenan-Bolger [25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Peter and the Starcatcher].  Here is her hilarious interpretation of the song:

I almost feel bad for liking this song as much as I do because the content of it is....PG-13 at best.  BUT IT IS SO FUNNY!  I always kind of imagined it from Tales From The Bad Years (It certainly isn't from Henry & Mudge) but from what I decipher from the website it was written without a show in mind.  As one Youtube comment describes it: "it's like a male version of Freedom, only more comedic".  This is a song about two guys who decide to go driving down to Las Vegas and the wild things that happen to them....or do they?  Regardless of the show, this song is pretty dang hilarious!

To be perfectly honest, I might just like the people who sing this song more than the song itself.  I found the song as Kate Shindle (mentioned above) sang it and I was blown away.  More recently I found a video of Lindsey Mendez [Godspell (2011 Revival), Dogfight] singing the song and it is, again, SO EPIC!  But regardless, it's a really powerful song.    Although I might like Kate Shindle's version better, I feel like Lindsey Mendez tells the story better (I never really listened to the lyrics until I heard her sing it), so that's the one I'm posting.  But I would encourage you all to listen to Kate Shindle sing it too.


By now hopefully you are as astounded by these two young song writers as I am.  To be perfectly honest, I am excited about where theater is going and excited that new ORIGINAL works are being done (not that I don't love a good movie adaptation....but I like the freshness of a new plot).  I'm really excited about seeing them become ridiculously famous and counting myself as one of their earliest groupies (and then the autograph I got will be worth a ton!).  What I loved about the concert the most, and why I would recommend going to see them to anyone, is the chemistry between the two of them.  They just look like they have so much fun on stage and I wish I could just hang out with them all the time (they'd honestly make a fun reality show....I'd watch).  I am confident that the future of theater is safe in the hands of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk.  And now, I'm going to leave you in the same way they end all of their concerts.  The finale song to Tales From The Bad Years is this beautiful number called "Holding On" in which they taught us (the audience) how to sing the chorus and the entire theater resounded at the end.  And yes, those three lines are still stuck in my head.


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