Many thanks to everyone who supported the AGMC with your presence at our holiday concert, “And on Earth, Peace.” We set a new high in ticket sales and broadened our audience because of your help. And as always, it’s great to be the official start of the holiday season for so many of you.
On January 10, the AGMC begins rehearsal for “No Rest for the Wicked: The Music of Stephen Schwartz.” One of Broadway’s best, Schwartz is most known for “Godspell” and “Wicked” — two very different shows from which we are pulling much of our material. Of equal importance, however, is that on the same night, over 40 women from the Atlanta area will gather for the first rehearsal of the AGMC Women’s Chorus Project, poised to make its debut with its own set of Schwartz music in our April series of performances.
And as always with the AGMC, we’re not just stringing together an array of songs for you. We’ve become known for telling stories in a concert setting, without dialogue, by sequencing originally-unrelated pieces in such a way as to create a very moving experience for our audience. We call it choral theatre and this show promises to be one of our best yet. Working directly with Stephen and his office has been a privilege for us, and, much like John the Baptist in the opening song of “Godspell”, Mr. Schwartz has given his blessing on this tribute. As we put the finishing touches on the material, we become more and more excited by the potential for greatness. After all, we have great material with which to work.
We begin with a pastiche of the music from “Godspell”, including the iconic “Prepare Ye”, “Day by Day”, and “All For the Best.” Continuing with Mr. Schwartz’ passion for biblical storytelling (which never seems to call for the audience to accept the teachings as anything but timeless stories from which it can draw its own conclusions), we present four powerful songs from “Children of Eden” that focus on our need to continue the creative process instilled in us at birth, including that of building a family and valuing the time that it has together.
It’s not until the middle of the first act that we sing any of Schwartz’s music that focuses on the most ubiquitous theme of all storytelling: romantic love. Our journey begins with the restlessness of an ongoing relationship and the risk of leaving it for something that seems more thrilling and promising. Then to wrap up our first half, we sing a medley of songs from Disney animated films that seem to express the journey of gay men from that of the outcast to accepting oneself as part of the fabric of diversity to honoring ourselves. Finally, with a song from Disney’s film “Enchanted”, we celebrate the right to marry the person you love, regardless of who you are or how you identify.
Remaining true to the concert title, we will devote much of the second half of our program to the music of “Wicked” — Schwartz’s most successful musical to date. We don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that all of the show’s favorites will be present. Rounding our show, however, is music that was NOT composed for theatre or film. Two stand-alone pieces by the composer are paired together to bring the evening full circle. The first is a new choral work by Mr. Schwartz inspired by the “It Gets Better” Project; the second, a moving ballad that challenges us all to enfold those who’ve done us wrong, including ourselves, in the embrace of forgiveness. But you know us, once we take you there, we pull you right back up — and this time it will be higher than Elphaba herself in defiance of one of nature’s most fundamental laws.
Add to all this material a great space, Atlanta’s 14th Street Playhouse, and it’s hard to go wrong. This long-standing venue will provide an unusually intimate environment for the AGMC. And with a brand new sound system designed for musicals and chorus performances, we’re confident that we will be sounding our best. Besides, how could we perform music written for theatre and film in any other kind of space?
We hope you’re planning now to join us for this fantastic experience — one which is certain to be a sell-out. Until then, there will be no rest for us, indeed.
Ready to get your green on? We are!