A musical comedy written, directed, produced, and performed by Fordham students and alumni has won Best Book, Music, and Lyrics at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival.
FringeNYC, the largest multi-arts festival in North America, honored Cowboys Don’t Sing: A Western Musical during the festival’s awards ceremony at the Cutting Room in Manhattan on Aug. 25.
“It was enough of an accomplishment to be accepted into Fringe,” said Johnny Kelley, FCRH ’13, co-creator and composer of the musical. “To win was very humbling.”
Cowboys Don’t Sing, comprised entirely of Fordham students and alumni, was selected by FringeNYC as one of 200 shows for the festival’s 16-day run in August. The musical, both a tribute to and a parody of the Western genre, sold out all five performances at Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place.
After a rowdy train heist opens the show, the lone cowboy in this musical, TJ Alcalá, FCRH ’13, wanders into the “Singin’ Town” of Tombstone Junction, and much of the plot hangs on his resistance to sing along. And whileCowboys Don’t Sing has lots of spirited songs (and dance numbers), the show’s program offers fair warning: “There is racism, violence, and some pretty terrible singing. We only apologize for the racism.”
One highlight from the witty show features the cowboy’s trusty steed, Shadow, played by Tim Rozmus, GSB ’13, who sings a pun-filled tune about how hard it is to be a horse “who just can’t saddle down” in a “One Horse Town.”
Directed by Dennis Flynn, FCRH ’12, with music by Kelley and Alcalá, Cowboys Don’t Sing originally opened in the Blackbox Theater on the Rose Hill campus as part of the Fordham Experimental Theater’s spring 2012 season. Four months later, the show was selected for the West Village Musical Theatre Festival, where it picked up awards for Best Overall Musical, Best Overall Lyrics, Best Overall Director, and Best Overall Script.
Flynn and Kelley crafted the idea for Cowboys Don’t Sing after taking the late Fordham artist-in-residence Meir Ribalow’s class on Movies in the American Experience. “He taught us about the Western code, the characters, the genre,” said Kelley. “He loved it.”
The musical is dedicated to Ribalow, who passed away in August 2012.
Cowboys Don’t Sing will return for an encore of five performances on Sept. 12, 15, 25, and 26 at the Players Theatre in Greenwich Village.
The cast and crew of Cowboys Don’t Sing:
Fordham students Justin Clark, Mike Dahlgren, Nora Geraghty, Emily Pandise, Jeffrey Sharkey, Steve Tyson, Pam Zazzarino; and Fordham alumni T.J. Alcalá, Cashel Barnett, Matt Burns, Joe Farrell, Stephen Federowicz, Johnny Kelley, Devin Kelly, Tim Luecke, Terence Petersen (all FCRH ’13); Michelle Flowers, Claire Joyce, Tim Rozmus, Steve Scarola (all GSB ’13); Izzy Menard (FCLC ’13); Joshua Briseño, Dennis Flynn (both FCRH ’12); Megan Beaty, Matt Van Orden, (both GSB ’12); and Amie Chase Radanovich (FCRH ’11).
– Rachel Buttner