We’ll be making studio recordings of new songs on November 20, 2017

We’ll be going into a New York recording studio on November 20 with the Gayland cast and music director Mark Hartman to make recordings of the new songs. This will be an opportunity for the creative team to hear how the new music is working with the singers. And we’ll also be choosing tracks to include in our presentation to Broadway producers and directors early next year.

Gayland team completes extensive revisions

We had the opportunity to put Gayland in front of an accomplished Broadway director in early 2017. He provided us with detailed and very valuable feedback. So we’ve taken most of the past year to take another look at Gayland, with an eye to focussing more on the story and dialing down some of the “travelog” elements.

That turned into a gargantuan task, which included taking out two major characters and rewriting most of the first act. Whew! The new Gayland 8.0 has a much cleaner storyline and an entirely new technique for the scenes set on The Willow Show. We’re now investigating our next steps.

Latest Gayland reading delivers fun and insights

The Gayland reading on Wednesday, February 15th in New York delighted the audience of 25 with plenty of laughter. The new “Young Buck/Old Buck” delivered lots of belly laughs by using classic operatic allusions to highlight the competition between Zack and Gaige during Zack’s first day on the job at the Willow Show. The new “#BringBackZack” came across as a bundle of joyful energy. And the audience named the revised “I Wanna See Your O Face” as its favorite song. Creators King and St. John were also able to see spots where new music wasn’t working as well, and in need of revision.

The learning overall was that the Gayland 6.0 revisions solved the earlier structural problems. So now there’s a sturdy scaffolding in place, and the next round of revisions will be fine-tuning particular musical pieces.

What If Conservative Lesbians Ran the World? Interview with Nora Gouma Magazine

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See original interview.

Who has inspired you most as an artist, and why?

Christopher St. John: We’re both lifelong fans of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. South Park, Team America, all of it.  And the true apotheosis of their work came with Book of Mormon. It was not only hysterically funny, it just blew the conventions of musical theatre wide open.

Scott King: It’s easy to miss the fact that in Book of Mormon, the subject and script were the focus of innovation, especially the “shocking” language.  The music is really a tribute to the classic mid-20thcentury Broadway sound, with heaps of added satire.

Christopher St. John: We think that Book of Mormon has opened the door for other people to try taking a fresh look at the musical form. And that’s why we think the time is ripe for a musical comedy like Gayland.

What’s Gayland about?

Christopher St. John: It’s a story of forbidden love, with two people reaching across the mother of all divides: the chasm between gay people and straight people.

Scott King: It’s set in an alternate universe in which almost everyone is gay. And there are just a few breeders. They’re a minority group, oppressed by the gay establishment, struggling for their rights. And our protagonist, a talk show host named Willow, who’s engaged to a rising conservative politician, starts to realize why she can’t set a wedding date.

Christopher St. John: She’s having feelings that are unthinkable in her worldview.

How did you come to write Gayland?
Scott King: We had just finished writing this opera called Oomph!. We spent seven years on it, and we had some productions, so we were thinking about another project—

Christopher St. John: And I was like, “I am never writing another opera.”

Scott King: So we agreed to try a musical.

What has the response been like?

Scott King: We first staged it at the New Orleans Fringe Festival in 2013. That was an hour-long version.

Christopher St. John: And we were blown away by the response. Gayland was in the largest Fringe Festival theatre, Marigny Opera House. And the word of mouth was so good that by the end of the Festival, it was standing room only.

Scott King: One of the local entertainment papers, NOLA Defender, called Gayland “the must-see of Fringe Festival,” and that really helped. The awareness has lingered on, too. I live in New Orleans, and there are a lot of people who ask about Gayland when I run into them.

What are your musical influences?

Christopher St. John: I’ve spent a lot of time marinating in Queen, Steeleye Span, and a capalla chant. But I saw my first musical, Oliver!, when I was around five years old. I was amazed by it. It became a family singalong thing. We bought the record and got to know all the songs.

Scott King: I grew up in Kentucky in the 1960’s in a very musical family.  Church music, folk music, Broadway and country. In my teen years I moved beyond my family’s favorite music into classical, jazz and opera. In high school and college, I explored Broadway and some opera. Later I developed a passion for early music, especially Renaissance.  I took a college course on harmony taught by Professor Easley Blackwood at Chicago that had a huge influence on my thinking about music. I taught myself to compose through score study.

So is it true that one of you is gay, and one of you is straight?

Christopher St. John: Yes. But more importantly, we’re both Eagle Scouts.

Scott King: I made it to Junior Assistant Scoutmaster.

Where is Gayland right now?

Scott King: We’re workshopping it in New York. Going through cycles of working with actors and then revising. Our goal is Broadway.

Christopher St. John: If you want to find out where the laughs are, you have to get in front of an audience. Otherwise, you can easily be just kidding yourself.

Scott King: We just had a table read at 224 Studios in Manhattan on February 15th. We’ve got a great team together, and the script and score are pretty tight. Now it’s it’s about shaping instead of surgery.

Parting words?

Christopher St. John: Please find us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out our site at gaylandthemusical.com Thanks!

New musical comedy flips your world: Interview with Twist Online


Interview with Twist Online.

We recently had a conversation with Christopher St. John and Scott King about their new project, ‘Gayland’. It’s a musical comedy that will be lots of fun.

Twist Online: So give me the premise for Gayland in a nutshell.
Christopher St. John: It’s a love story set in an alternate universe in which almost everyone is gay. And there are just a few breeders. They’re this marginalized group, struggling for their rights.

Twist Online: So it’s our world, backwards.
Christopher St. John: Exactly.

Twist Online: And what’s the meaning of this rainbow Confederate flag logo? {Editor’s note: This logo was changed later in 2017.}
Scott King: In the recent history of the Gayland version America, there was a group of states that held breeders in subjection. The females were used as breeding stock, and the males were used for labor.

Christopher St. John: That was the Rainbow Confederacy.
Scott King: And in the present, there are some states where lot of people hold anti-breeder views.  For a local politician, anti-breeder rhetoric is the gift that keeps on giving.
Christopher St. John: Sound familiar?

Twist Online: Ouch! A little too familiar. So when you did you first have Gayland on the stage?
Christopher St. John: In the New Orleans Fringe Festival in 2013.

Twist Online: In the south? Was it controversial?
Christopher St. John: There were some rumblings. But a lot of people loved it.  Of course, it was a Fringe audience.
Scott King: We were in the largest Fringe Festival venue, Marigny Opera House. And by the end of the Festival, it was standing room only.
Christopher St. John: One of the local papers, NOLA Defender, called Gayland “the must-see of Fringe Festival.”

Twist Online: So this is about a gay world, but I understand that one of you is gay, and one of you is straight.
Scott King: Correct.

Twist Online: Which is which?
Christopher St. John: You can’t tell by looking?
Scott King: Maybe you need to change the batteries on your gaydar.
Christopher St. John: Here’s something even weirder: One of us is a Republican, and one of us is a Democrat.

Twist Online: Okay, now you’re freaking me out. How did you two meet?
Scott King: We met in a church in San Francisco.

Twist Online: In a church?
Scott King: Yes, an Episcopal church.
Christopher St. John: St. Gregory’s. And there were like tons of composers there. All the music was a capella. We did a lot of chant and modal music.
Scott King: Actually, the first big piece that Christopher and I worked on together was a Passion. We harmonized the gospels. Literally.
Christopher St. John:  And then we did an opera set in the world of pharmaceutical marketing. A comedy, of course.
Scott King: Oomph! it was called.

Twist Online: What’s happening with Gayland now?
Scott King: We’ve been workshopping it in New York. We had a great read on the main stage at the York Theatre.
Christopher St. John: They’re a very forward-thinking company. They were part of the development for Avenue Q.
Scott King: Every time it’s in front of an audience, we learn more.
Christopher St. John: We get a lot of good response to the fact that we have so many strong women characters. There’s still a hunger for that.
Scott King: The whole Gayland world is female-led. Breeder guys are at the bottom of the heap.

Twist Online: Next public performance?
Scott King: We’re having a table read at 224 Studios in Manhattan on February 15th.
Christopher St. John: Our aim is to create a version that can work on Broadway.

Twist Online: Are you having to make a lot of changes to go from edgy to mainstream?
Christopher St. John: Well, one of the songs went from “Don’t Forget Your Cock Ring” to “Don’t Forget Your Bible,” which must be one of the hardest U-turns in the history of theatre.

Twist Online: Okay, readers: Follow the Gayland gala on Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. Ciao!