Thursday, October 15, 2015
Spotlight On...Daniel Lincoln
Hometown: I grew up in Los Angeles, California, but I've lived in New York for nine years. Does that qualify me for "New Yorker" status yet?
Education: I got my BA in Music from UCLA, and my Masters in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU.
Favorite Credits: In 2010, one of my shows, Queen Bea: The Soapsical! premiered here in NYC with members of the cast of the daytime soap "One Life to Live." That was a hoot, and very "meta-theatrical," working with real-life soap stars on a musical about the backstage antics at a failing soap opera. It didn't hurt that I had a brilliant writing partner, Gena Oppenheim, and the cast members were all incredibly accomplished singers and dancers. I mean, we even got Jason Tam!
Why theater?: For me, that is kind of like asking, "Why circulate blood?" I've always had a wildly overactive imagination, a love of telling stories, and a fascination with music. Add to that the fact that I go through withdrawal after 48 hours away from a piano, and I kind of didn't have a choice, haha.
Tell us about Turning Points: I wanted to do a piece about overcoming all the curveballs that life throws your way. Something uplifting and inspiring without being heavy handed about it. Hopefully the audience will laugh and feel moved, and identify with one of the stories and accompanying song. I hope it gives them the strength/courage/hope to overcome their own personal "curveball."
What inspired you to write Turning Points?: My husband, Christopher Enlow, actually gave me the idea to construct this evening. When we are at home, after having gotten back from our respective shows/gigs, we often sit at the piano and play and sing together. I will frequently subject him to whatever song I am currently working on, and he will give me feedback. One day he made the observation that I don't write characters who whine about their problems. Instead, he said that my characters are always at turning points, and through their song, they figure out how to overcome and succeed. Once he pointed that out, the show came together very quickly.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I've always been a "golden age" brat. While I appreciate contemporary and experimental theater, the classics have always moved me on a visceral level. And, as far as what inspires me... Oh this is going to sound so corny, but here goes... my collaborators consistently inspire me. For instance, in working with the "Turning Points" cast, hearing these songs brought to life has sparked more ideas and more motivation in me. I love the "group effort" of musical theater, everyone bringing something new and specific to the table, all striving for a common goal.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Hal Prince. What a brilliantly inventive storyteller, and fascinating personality.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: On Your Feet, to be honest. Yes I'm biased - my husband works on the show - but I can't remember the last time I had that much fun in a theater.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I'd cast Ryan Reynolds circa 2010. Back in the day, I was told I used to kind of look like him, and who wouldn't want to recapture that? And as far as a title? Erm... well, my husband always compares me to an absent-minded professor, so I'd go with something silly like "Smart Idiot, Stupid Genius."
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would love to have been in the theater on opening night of "West Side Story "mainly to experience the audience reaction. Nowadays, we forget that WSS caused quite the scandal when it opened. For me, I think it's good to always remember that even the pieces we currently consider classics were cutting edge in their own time.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: "The Real Housewives of New York City". Really, all of the real housewives franchises. They are just such train wrecks!
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: ...in a padded room somewhere. I honestly don't think my flavor of crazy would fit into any other line of work. Except politics, but I want to get into heaven.
What’s up next?: Who knows? I have found that in this industry, one day the phone rings, a voice asks if you are interested, and suddenly you are off on a new and unexpected life-changing adventure. So until that next phone call, I will happily continue writing, laughing with my husband, and saying "yes" to what comes my way.
For more on Turning Points, visit http://turningpoints.splashthat.com. For more on Daniel, visit www.danielmlincoln.com