ChangingFacesFlyer1CHANGING FACES

A MUSICAL THEATER PIECE FOR TEENAGERS

AND

THEIR SIGNIFICANT ADULT “OTHERS”

Music and lyrics

By

Joan Berliner Spear and Sari Max-Fiss

video clips:
Signed, The Management  
In Your Face

Background 

Joan Berliner Spear and I met in the early 90’s. When I moved to Connecticut from NYC, I submitted a recording of my music and other info to the Connecticut Arts Umbrella. Joan, a founding member of this group, was the one to review my materials.  She said she would like to work with me on something and I knew just the thing: I had been contemplating expanding my show as Princess Pricilla, The Lady Music Clown to include other characters that I would play in addition to this central one.

(Check out “For Children” on the top Menu of my website for original Princess Pricilla, The Lady Music Clown photos, music CD, and video. Also, check out “Not Just Clowning Around”, another original CD for children, and, Music & Movement & More with Sari Max for more info).

ch-f-reh2Shortly thereafter, we began to write our first song for a “goofy, teenaged cousin” of the main character. We wrote a rap song for him and drew upon our experiences with raising teenaged boys. That song went through a number of changes as the show grew and developed. It transformed from a series of vignettes that were cartoon-like to a “dramedy” which begged to be integrated into one flowing musical theater piece. The characters became a family, each one with his or her individual issues. The family received a visit from two inner city girls that added another strong element.

Ultimately, Joan and I performed many roles in and for “Changing Faces”. The Warner Theater co-produced it with us, the director at the time, Barry Hughson (who is now Executive Director of the Boston Ballet), choreographed it and was extremely supportive of the project. He encouraged us to take it out into the world. We performed  “Changing Faces” at numerous schools (mostly at the H.S. level). It was well received and considered an important contribution to the creative educative materials available for those who work with teenagers.

ch-f-reh3The issues we put forth were certainly not comprehensive and the list, today – particularly post terror attacks of 9.11.01, is longer and encompasses additional serious issues. However, we covered timeless and universal themes such as the power struggle between teens and adults (sometimes over minor issues but there non-the-less), bulimia, self-image, listening, trust, stereotypes, dreams and aspirations, suicide, drug addiction, gun possession, and more.

My goal is to have a recording produced of “Changing Faces” where teens perform all the roles (Joanie and I played several characters each in the original production). Also, to have a workbook designed and produced which will allow for those who work with teens to help them write and perform material relevant to their lives.

ch-f-reh1Two of the songs from the show are on the album, NOISY JOY TO THE BONESHOUSE BLUES, featured on this website. Track 4, THAT’S WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT (originally sung by the wise and un-stereotypical grandmother in the show), and Track 9, (originally sung by Yo-Yo, one of the inner-city girls who come to the “Open Air Open Doors” program and to live with the family. It is a program loosely based on the Fresh Air Fund), LIFE IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS.

See “Back-Story” for these songs under “CD Lyrics and Back-Story” on the menu tab of my website for more information about the songs).

Also, I have included under the “Musical Theater” tab on the menu, two video selections from the original production:

SIGNED, THE MANAGEMENT is a tour de force for me as I play first the son, “Scott”, and then, “The Mother”, in a song created to demonstrate both sides of a universal and familiar family story. We deliberately created it without judgment of either character. Rather, we wanted to encourage a deep listening. It is a funny piece but has a serious undertone, which provokes discussion about priorities and reconciling differences.

IN YOUR FACE is another showcase for me to try on different characters. In this song, Joan plays the younger daughter of the family who is waiting for her mother in a typical department store (i.e. one where the main floor houses all the make-up and perfume counters and the assertive – sometimes aggressive - women who are there to make sales). I play four different saleswomen: The “Charmante” perfume person, S.S. Slicker’s “Sandy”, “M” the Minimalist who sells The Look By ‘I’ – Buy it or DIE!, and, “Yvettalina”, the European. Each one pushes Ann to buy their products so she may “get her man”…with the message that being yourself, being natural is not enough. At the end I make a brief appearance as The Mother (who hardly recognizes her daughter for all the product that has been applied to her face!). As humorous as the presentation is, the subject matter is quite serious. It is one of my favorite pieces in the (1 ½ hour) show – not only because it’s a hoot to play so many different and distinct characters but also because the message is a vital one to share with children of all ages.

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