PLAYBILL PICKS: The Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know, Part One

By Michael Gioia
09 Oct 2012

Scott Alan

Composer Scott Alan burst onto the theatre scene in 2007 with his debut album "Dreaming Wide Awake," which opens with "I'm a Star," an anthem fit for every strong-willed actor determined to make his or her "big break" that is typically performed by ladies with infinite vocal abilities. Since "Dreaming Wide Awake," Alan has released a follow-up album "Keys," featuring a slew of Broadway and West End singers; "What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up," which includes one of his favorite tunes, "Anything Worth Holding On To"; and "Live," which was recorded in front of a live audience this year at Birdland and includes all of the composer's fan-favorites.

"I grew up a huge fan of both Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, so I credit [composers] Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil," said Alan, who describes his sound as a cross between contemporary musical theatre and adult contemporary pop. "I also credit my cousin, composer Ricky Ian Gordon, for introducing me to songwriter Joni Mitchell. She, and he, really taught me the strength in being in honest within your work." Alan is known for the brutal honesty portrayed in songs like "Now" (performed here by Tony nominee Jonathan Groff), "Kiss the Air" (performed here by Natalie Weiss) and "Home" (an emotional performance from Wicked's Shoshana Bean).

Speaking of Home, the Alan-Christy Hall musical aiming for a future life on Broadway, Alan said that producers have not announced further plans for the production, which had industry readings in September 2011. "Home was — is — my baby," commented the composer, whose other musical Detour played a sold-out engagement in Los Angeles. The intimate musical Home, previously titled Piece, follows 40-year-old Katherine who returns to her Texas home when she hears rumors that her alcoholic mother is dying from cancer.

Listen to Weiss' performance of "I'm a Star" that was recorded for Alan's "Live" album:

"I'm a Star"




Listen to "Anything Worth Holding On To" performed by Crystal Monee Hall on the "What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up" album: 

"Anything Worth Holding on To"