Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Arnie Roman who discusses his new musical, Surviving the Rosenthals.
About Surviving the Rosenthals:
Songwriter Arnie Roman sports an impressive list of music industry icons that have recorded his songs: Billy Porter, Al Green, Celine Dion, and Cher to name a few. His songs have been on albums that have sold more than eighty million records and CDs world-wide, and boasted top-ten singles on Billboardâ€™s Pop, Country, R&B, and Dance charts. Now his new musical, Surviving the Rosenthals, premieres at downtownâ€™s cutting-edge venue, Teatro Latea this May.
SURVIVING THE ROSENTHALS introduces us to songwriter Sammy. Sensitive and creative but damaged by an overbearing and abusive father, Sammy enters therapy to understand his relationship with his girlfriend and his father, but more importantly to heal himself and break free of the childhood shackles that still stifle him as an adult. Surviving the Rosenthals takes a surreal and innovative twist as Sammy meets â€“ Sammy! Adult Sam meets 10-year-old Sammy in a battle to save himself. Surviving the Rosenthals is not sappy. It provides real-world hope and outcomes and does it in 90 minutes!
Stunning music and clever plot twists take the audience on a journey into Sammy’s psyche, thus providing a mirror into our own. Happy ending? Find out in May.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Roman: If Iâ€™m being honest, I have no idea. I just felt like I wanted to write it. I felt that in my bones. I had no other agenda, really. It was just something way down there that I wanted to excavate in this way.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Roman: Well, once I have an idea for a showâ€¦and this is only my third musicalâ€¦I do my researchâ€¦I read a lot of booksâ€¦and then I start with charactersâ€¦I feel like I gotta know them really well and really intimately before I can start on the story. And then I constantly consult my sort of musical how-to manuals all along the wayâ€¦and slowly slowly things start to emergeâ€¦and then, 11 years later, viola!â€¦I have a musical :). Of course, along the way there are multiple table reads, a bunch of ego bruising, death wishes I send out to myselfâ€¦you know, mirth. But in the end itâ€™s all worth it :)
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Roman: If anything, I think thereâ€™s a raw quality to the dialogue that maybe isnâ€™t typical for a musical. Especially when it comes to expressions of anger. No sanding down of rough edges. And hopefully the music itself is an interesting and unique pastiche. But also, this is not a musical about anything or anyone famous. Itâ€™s about, in a way, an ordinary person who has been emotionally abused and spends his life trying to overcome that. Thereâ€™s a kind of heroism in that thatâ€™s quiet, and unseen, and unremarked on. But to me, itâ€™s every bit as heroic, and worthy of celebrating, as any more public act of courage and heroism. And itâ€™s the kind of heroism thatâ€™s available to every one of us.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Roman: That I am a patient man :). And maybe a bit more resilient than I have given myself credit for.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Roman: Well, Iâ€™m thinking very short term at the moment. By which I mean that for now, I want to assemble the best cast I can, and present the show in the best possible way it can be presented. What happens after that I will deal with after that :)
Review Fix: What’s next?
Roman: Ha! Iâ€™m old enough to know that that is one unanswerable question, lol! But I do have ideas for two or three new musicals that Iâ€™m looking forward to starting to research, when it comes time to do that.