Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tony Award winner Duncan Sheik at Arden Gild

Consider this musical admixture: a tie dye “dyed in the wool” hippie whose graying ponytail screams of “Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair, shining, streaming, gleaming, flaxen, waxen,” teamed with a former opera DJ whose day job is a chemist at the X station.

George Brocklesby and Ron Ozer – with the consent of the gilds of Arden - have teamed over the past three years to bring roots, new age and international stars to the intimate, funky stage at the Gild Hall.

It's very rare that Delaware hosts both a Grammy and Tony award winner. Duncan Sheik coming to Gild Hall is a big deal. And this is his second visit!

This month, Sheik will play a handful of tour dates along the East Coast, performing songs from his back catalog as well as from his latest musical theater production, "Whisper House," which had its theatrical debut this year at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The musical features an original score by the composer.

The last time Sheik performed in Arden he paid tribute to Delaware’s own Tony Award winner, Johnny Gallagher. Gallagher starred in Sheik's Tony Award winning “Spring Awakenings” and he sang Johnny's song. “Spring Awakenings” garnered eight Tonies, with Sheik winning for Best Orchestration, Best Musical Score and Best Musical Show Album.

On "Whisper House," which he is fronting, Sheik employs a narrative approach to songwriting, combining elements of the chamber pop that first brought him critical and commercial acclaim. Much like "Spring Awakening," which the New York Times praised as a “deft blend of straight-up rock, folk and melodic pop,” "Whisper House" is just as much a pop record as it is a musical theatre composition. Structured as a melodrama, each of the 10 songs on the album weave together to tell the story of a child’s grief and spinster’s longing as seen through the eyes of the ghosts that haunt the remote, World War II-era Maine lighthouse where they live.

Sheik wrote most of the music during a writing retreat on an island off of Charleston. A native Southerner, he explains, “Charleston has this history of ghost stories, a southern tradition that I kind of grew up with. I reconnected with it in some way and used that to write the lyrics to these songs. Having this narrative was so much more rich and vital, and it was so much more fun to write from the persona of these ghosts, these dead people, and the whimsical malevolence I could articulate through their voices. That felt really good and was very inspiring.”

(Side Note: Another half decent composer found inspiration on the islands off of South Carolina; one George Gershwin, where he lived with the Gullah Negroes in the summer of 1933 to create “Porgy & Bess”)

Friday March 19, 2010 at 8 PM. Tickets are $30 for the general public, $25 for club members. Club membership is only $20 a year and is open to all. Non-member tickets can be purchased on line at /(302) 475-3126.

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