Although Kathy and I have known each other since we were eighteen, we never dreamt in a million years that we’d be writing a musical together. I became friends with Kathy during our undergraduate years at the Music Department at the University of Cape Town-UCT. Later I returned to Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg and we fell out of touch. In 2002 I moved to New York to begin my masters at Tisch. The first day I was taking the subway at Grand Central I saw what I thought was a vaguely familiar figure waiting for the train. I moved closer and sure enough it was Kathy. I basically leapt on her in excitement and she, unaware of who it was that was leaping on her back, turned with lightening speed, ready to kill, luckily I lived through it. It’s a good lesson never to surprise a South African.
Years went by and although Kathy would help me out occasionally and accompany songs for me we still didn’t work together. One night, when I was talking to her about my dream of performing all my own songs at some venue, Kathy turned to me and said, ‘Well then, stop talking about it and just do it!’
That motivational speech was all it took. We started writing together and soon performed a collection of our songs ‘ Apple Heart’ at the Gershwin Hotel, Kathy was also my musical director for my showcase of songs at the Lincoln Center Songbook.
When I had a vision of a musical about Erika Eiffel and her relationships with objects I realized that Kathy was the composer I wanted to work with. I believed that the combination of my commercial musical theater writing background coupled with her classical training would be perfect for the piece.
I regard Kathy not just as an amazing collaborator and one of my best friends but as family. There is little that I would not do for her. Her talent and ability to do ten million things at once, flawless mental transposition, musical directing, performing, etc. is mind blowing.
Her cooking ain’t bad either.
For more on the incredible, the one and only Dr. Tagg, please visit her website at kathleentagg.com.
I first met Rob at Tisch, NYU at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. I was there doing my masters as a composer/lyricist and he was my thesis advisor on my musical ‘Story of an African Farm’. Rob later became my collaborator with this musical and we won a Frederick Lowe Grant to have it workshopped. We're currently working on a new version of the show. We've also written, among many other songs, a series of songs about a group of people who get stuck on the subway.
I love Rob’s dry sense of humor, meticulous attention to detail, his general fabulousness and of course his great songwriting. He is now the Chief Creative Officer at Camp Broadway and I’m proud to not only call him collaborator but a close friend.
For more on Rob, you can visit his website at robhartmann.com .
Although Gaby and I went to the same program at Tisch, NYU for Musical Theater Writing we were in different years (called cycles there) and only started working together years later. Our first song was about a guy in a bar who thinks he’s deep - and it’s only gone downhill from there. Our songs tend to be about the darkly humorous side of love gone wrong, or as we say ‘the highs, lows and further lows of love and dating in New York'. These songs make up our cabaret Not that We’re Bitter, which has been fortunate enough to have several sold out performances at the Duplex.
Gaby and I are currently working on LULA-The Moosical, which is an adaptation on my book about a cow who goes to Broadway to become a star. In our adaptation she’s out to compete in the ultimate singing competition 'U.S.A Star!' previously only won by sophisticated animals (and people). Lula, however, is one tough 'cowpetitior' and is determined to prove that barnyard animals have what it takes to make it big.
Writing with Gaby is a combination of laughter and therapy. I cannot say how highly I admire his talent, drive and unceasing dedication to his craft.
To find out more about Gaby and his amazing project, please visit his website at http://emeraldrain.com/gaby/.
Robert L. Wilson
Composer Robert L. Wilson III, earned his bachelors in music composition from Virginia Commonwealth University before going on to earn his M.F.A. from New York University's Tisch School for the Arts. He currently resides and teaches music in the public school system in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Robert believes that if the audience doesn't walk away humming, he didn't do his job!