The Violet Hour: Reverse-Engineered Musical Triumph Unveiled
Wednesday, December 20th, 2023
Pictured Above: The Violet Hour cast recording in the booth. Photo Credit: Contributed.
Newsroom Post: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
New York, NY – The acclaimed songwriting team of Will Reynolds and Eric Price will premiere a new movie that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating the Studio Cast Recording of their musical The Violet Hour. But The Violet Hour wasn’t an ordinary cast album. It was produced in the midst of a pandemic and an industry shutdown when live performance was virtually non-existent and Broadway was dark. And, unlike most cast recordings, the album was produced before there had been a staged production of the show. From the very beginning, The Violet Hour approached things differently and this film reveals how the experiment in reverse engineering has paid off.
With music by Reynolds and a book and lyrics by Price, The Violet Hour is based on the 2003 Broadway play by Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out) and is set in New York of 1919 when a few young people gain access to information about the future and are able to learn what happens after the Jazz Age and throughout the 20th Century, which of course wildly changes the decisions they make about their lives in 1919. Reynolds and Price released a 28-track Studio Cast Recording of The Violet Hour in November 2022 to critical acclaim. It was declared “Essential listening for any true musical theatre fan” by Broadway World and was named “The Best Cast Album of 2022″ by the Broadway Radio Show. The album is available on all music platforms and, beginning on Thursday December 14, the film can be purchased and streamed exclusively at TheVioletHourMusical.com.
“We had the instinct to document the entire process, from beginning to end,” says Reynolds. “And it felt like the next step would be to share that story, not only with the passionate community of fans of the album, but with anyone interested in new musicals and alternative ways to develop them.”
BEHIND THE SCENES AND IN THE STUDIO
Day after day, moment to moment, Reynolds and Price captured countless hours of footage: the writing process, the studio recording sessions, the orchestrations, the editing, and, eventually, the audience responses and moving social media tributes by fans and fellow musical theatre lovers. Along the way, they created music videos showcasing each cast member’s unique artistry. The film weaves together moments large and small, all of which were essential steps in creating the recording. Whether it was receiving the initial greenlight to adapt the play from Greenberg himself to the daring decision to record in a studio under strict COVID protocols during the darkest days of the pandemic, the film provides an honest and comprehensive account of an often private and personal process: making a new musical.
The Violet Hour’s team consists of veteran music-makers and stage actors including Tony and Grammy Award-winning orchestrator Charlie Rosen (Moulin Rouge, Some Like It Hot), music supervisor Andy Einhorn (music director and conductor for Audra McDonald), Grammy Award-winning engineer Ian Kagey (Into the Woods), associate engineer Regina Averion (audio engineer for Jacob Collier). Plus, Tony Award-winners Santino Fontana (Tootsie) and Brandon Uranowitz (Leopoldstadt), Tony and Grammy Award-nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies), Mean Girls star Erika Henningsen and Hadestown star Solea Pfeiffer. The one-hour film also features endorsements of The Violet Hour from such theatre luminaries as Tony Award-winners Susan Stroman, Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and John Kander, along with a celebration of the passionate fans of the album from around the world.
A NEW MODEL FOR MOUNTING A MUSICAL
Studio albums, cast interviews, behind-the-scenes access and other musical theatre content that drives fandoms often comes on the heels of the world premiere stage production. Reynolds and Price are turning that sequence on its head with the album and, now, with the film. This strategy provided an outlet and opportunity to create art when it was needed most and to put the material in the hands of the people.
“Once it became clear that the pandemic would prevent The Violet Hour from being produced on a stage anytime soon, we needed to find a way to keep developing our show, even at a time when live musical theatre was disappearing before our eyes,” notes Price. “The creation of the album kept dozens of people employed during an unstable time and it also sustained us artistically. I think we all learned that there’s nothing, not even a pandemic and an industry shutdown, that can stop artists from creating art.”
Since its release in late 2022, the album has amassed more than one million streams across all music platforms and Talkin’ Broadway declared “There is hope for well-made theatre songs in the post-Sondheim world.” The album, music videos, social media communities, and film are all intended to make the world of The Violet Hour accessible to audiences everywhere and set the stage for a first-class production of the show. Beginning December 14, Moment to Moment: The Making of The Violet Hour Studio Cast Recording is available for purchase and can be streamed exclusively at TheVioletHourMusical.com .
ABOUT REYNOLDS AND PRICE
Will Reynolds and Eric Price won the 2018 Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Writing. They have written the musicals The Violet Hour, Radioactive, Around the World, and The Sixth Borough. The duo has also written for the AppleTV+ animated series “Central Park” alongside other writers such as Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, Fiona Apple, Alan Menken, and Ingrid Michaelson. They have been the recipients of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship for Musical Theatre Writing and the Lotte Lenya Award from the Kurt Weill Foundation.