Who are you?
I’m Kyle Fleming, a board-certified music therapist living and working in central Illinois. I’m also an amateur composer and writer. I have a Pug named Gabe that I love to death. And I’m a reluctant musical appreciator.
What’s the point of this blog?
In October of 2016 — partly inspired by the success of Hamilton, and partly due to my love of Irish music and culture — I decided that I wanted to write a musical based around the events of the Easter Rising of 1916 in Dublin.
There is a slight hitch in my plan, however: I don’t know how to write a musical. In fact, I barely even like musicals. I performed in plenty of them in high school and college (Anything Goes, Into the Woods, Oklahoma!, and Guys and Dolls in high school, followed by Pal Joey in college), but I only ever really enjoyed two musicals enough to watch them multiple times: Rent and The Book of Mormon. I’ve written and composed plenty of songs (as a music major in college and as a singer-songwriter on the side), and I’ve done plenty of creative writing — short stories, a play (that I’ll admit is pretty amateur and terrible), and several “novels” through National Novel Writing Month — but I’ve never really combined the elements of music and theater before, nor had I any desire to do so before October 2016.
So this blog will serve as my journey toward completing a musical, which I’ve publicly stated (read: on Facebook) is my overall goal for 2017. I’ve be covering bits and pieces of the writing process, analyses of musicals that I’m watching and books that I’m reading as part of my research, and potentially bits and pieces of scripts and scores. As the year progresses, I foresee posts about the struggles of trying to find people to help me workshop bits and pieces, and (hopefully) some successes and breakthroughs in getting things closer to stage- and performance-ready.
Why a musical?
A relative of mine asked this very question when I first decided that I was going to write a musical. His question was essentially: Why would you write a musical when you don’t like them? Why not a novel, or a series of short stories, or a play? Why would anyone be interested in a demonstration of your distaste?
My response, verbatim, was: Just because I personally don’t like musicals doesn’t mean I think they’re not a valid artistic expression. There are many valid ways to tell a story, and I think the Easter rebellion, with its drama and heartache and betrayal, would be a great story to tell through musical theater. It would be no different, really, than writing a concept album or a play about the same thing. I just happen to be combining two mediums I enjoy into one show.
Why the Easter Rising?
As identified earlier, there is a lot of drama and heartache and betrayal in the events of Easter 1916. The preliminary research I’ve done (read: Wikipedia) showcased several different conflicts: the conflict between the Irish and the English, and conflict within the masterminds behind the rebellion, to name a couple. Since musicals are all about emotion, there is plenty to work with in this part of history. Plus, in my experiences being in Ireland and interacting and spending time with Irish people, a musical seems to be the most natural way to tell the story.
Maybe I’m wrong. Let’s hope not.