After a year and a half of constant obsession, living part of each day in an internal fantasy land, hundreds of hours of music studio work, thousands of little musical notes played, dozens of pages of scribbled notes and lyrics, and approximately 14,000 cups of coffee, I have written and recorded a 4-act steampunk opera called The Dolls of New Albion, A Steampunk Opera. It’s a sci-fi musical set in the fantastical city of New Albion and follows four generations of a family whose interactions with the dead cause chaos in the city. The album completed, the first staged presentation fast approaches.
How exactly does one write a steampunk musical?
[Read “How To Compose A Steampunk Musical” on Tor.com ]
Note: Here is my review for Tor.com about Miranda.
Photo credit: Christopher Lovenguth
In our round-up for steampunk events in January, the description for the theater production Miranda was certain intriguing to me. Murder mysteries are always fun, but a steampunk murder mystery? That’s an opera? Where all of the actors play their own instruments? Some criticize steampunk style as being too cluttered for its own good; Miranda sounded very much like an overwrought outfit, tooled too elaborately to satisfy. And yet, all of these elements drew me to the HERE theater space in NYC to watch last Friday’s show. Frankly, Miranda managed to take all of the aspects of what steampunk is – thematically, aesthetically, and even, dare I say it, musically – and combine it to create a compelling smash powerhouse of a show.
[Welcome to jury duty for the New Federation of Northern States – Read the Rest on Tor.com]
Photo Credit: Christopher Lovenguth
Besides all of the steampunk’d renditions of Shakespeare plays and Gilbert & Sullivan musicals, how can steampunk work onstage? Recently, I stopped by the HERE theater to see one innovative example in the form of Miranda, a steampunk murder mystery opera. Tor.com will be posting my review of the show (EDIT: Here it is); sadly, the show is only running in NYC until Saturday the 21st, so I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to see this show to book their tickets ASAP. In the meantime, I took the wonderful opportunity of interviewing the creator, composer and co-librettist Kamala Sankaram and her fellow co-librettist and director Rob Reese about their inspiration behind this unique production.
After the jump, we’ll talk about steampunk dystopias, legal circuses, and the role of people of color in steampunk world-building.