|ross d. martin|
I wrote my first musical -- a musical parody, really -- during medical school. Each spring we held a talent show when we would all emerge from our dungeon of a library and flex our performance muscles. I was always amazed at how many musically gifted people ended up in med school.
Despite upcoming finals and board exams, more than thirty of my classmates joined in the fun, many of whom had never performed in their lives. The Medic Man, based on Meredith Wilson's classic musical, The Music Man, was such a success, the Cincinnati Academy of Medicine asked us to perform it again, this time for actual money (which went to our favorite student organizations). Some of my classmates later said that participating in that musical was one of their best experiences in all of medical school.
That's when it hit me: I cared more about creating magical moments than pursuing a medical career. It took a few more years and a failed marriage for me to turn the doctoring train around and find room in my life for writing. But today, creativity is a major focus of my life, I have finally found my soulmate, and I couldn't be happier.
In 1996, my old church in Cincinnati asked me to write an adult-oriented Christmas musical for them -- in August! I told them that they were crazy -- you can't just come up with an idea for a full musical, write the book, lyrics and songs, cast and produce a full musical in four months.
They were crazy, but then again, so was I. A Carol's Christmas premiered at the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati for eleven shows in December 1996. More than 4,000 attendees enjoyed the original music and songs which told the story of Carol Crenshaw, a modern-day gender twist on Scrooge.
A Carol's Christmas was performed again for a run at my hometown theater -- Actor's Theater in Fairborn, Ohio in 1998. I added a couple of new songs to make it more fitting for a community theater setting. If you'd like to know more about the show and how your community theater or church might license it (relax - it's cheap), just ask. To download a copy of the script, click here.
Now I'm working on a more serious, substantive musical, The Edge of the World. Rather than tell you the whole story, I'll paint you a picture. Imagine a small group of people on a yacht out in the middle of the Atlantic. There's been a terrible storm, a lightning strike, a fire, some lives lost. What remains is a floating vessel with enough food and water to last a while, but no communication, no power, and with each passing day, diminishing hopes for survival.
Those who remain on the ship have nothing to do but pass time. They get to know themselves and each other more than they really want to. As they wait for the end or for rescue and all their facades are peeled away, they learn what it's like to live on the edge of the world.
You can find lyrics to some of the songs for The Edge of the World, the title song, "Then Again," "Magical Moments," and "Judit's Waltz," on this site.