An interview with Nikko Benson, composer, book writer and lyricist, for The 48 Hour Musicals: Autokorrekt

ImageQ: Where are you from and where do you currently live?

Nikko: Originally from Minneapolis, now living in NYC!

Q:  Have you ever worked on a 48 hour musical before and if so in what capacity? If joining us again, what made you return?

Nikko:  Yes! I wrote for last year’s The 48 Hour Musicals, which was a super positive experience. I just love crash-and-burn do-or-die creative challenges like this. When you might be getting bogged down in your artistic routine, it reminds you of what is possible in a day!

Q:  Do you have a favorite autocorrection story or situation?

Nikko:  I have a lot more trouble with people misreading my sarcasm over texting. “Yes, I’d LOVE to help you move to your new apartment.” “Actually, I think we should stop seeing each other.”

Q:  Where do you draw your inspiration?

NIkko:  I steal other peoples’ dreams.

Q:  What are your musical influences?

Nikko:  Depends on what I’m writing, really. Jason Robert Brown, Stephen Sondheim, Adam Guettel, Duncan Shiek. But you will hear none of that in this particular show.

Q:  What’s a musical you feel connected to and why?

Nikko:  Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s the perfect blend of comedy and tragedy, and proves that the movie musical is still a vital genre. 

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An interview with Keith Harrison, composer, book writer and lyricist for one of four new musicals in The 48 Hour Musicals: Autokorrekt

Q:  Where are you from and where do you currently live?

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Keith:  Proudly born and raised in Springfield, New Jersey, currently living in Los Angeles.

Q:  Have you ever worked on a 48 hour musical before and if so, in what capacity? If joining us again, what inspired you to return?

Keith:  Yep. I wrote music and lyrics for The 48 Hour Musicals for TMTC in 2010 and 2011, with Emma Caywood writing the book both times. Each instance was crazed but fulfilling. I was honored and excited when Jessica Redish asked if I’d try to wear all three hats this year.

Q:  Do you have a favorite Autokorrekt story or situation?

Keith: Once, a musician texted me to say he was running late to rehearsal. I tried to text “kool dude,” but it autocorrected to “look, dude.” I didn’t mean to give him attitude. I hate causing other people stress.  It taught me to never type “kool” again.

Q:  Where do you draw your inspiration?

Keith:  Facebook and/or food.

Q:  What are your musical influences?

Keith:  Everything from The Beatles to Rihanna…Monteverdi to Marvin Gaye. For this particular piece, Django Reinhardt. Also, John Pizzarelli.

Q:  What’s a musical you feel connected to and why?

Keith: West Side Story. I played Riff my sophomore year of high school, a shark the next summer at the local JCC, reeds (clarinet) in the pit the following year for a neighboring high school, and then Symphonic Dances from West Side Story my senior year in the New Jersey Youth Symphony. There are many shows I know well, but when you spend that much time with a piece at such an impressionable age, especially at the JCC in West Orange, New Jersey, it sticks.

An interview with Peter Hilliard, composer, and Matt Boresi, book writer and lyricist for The 48 Hour Musicals: Autokorrekt

Q:  Have you ever worked on a 48-hour musical before and, if so, in what capacity? If joining us again, what inspired you to return?

Matt & Peter:  We’ve written songs in 30 minutes for fundraiser auctions, and worked under some crazy deadlines, so The 48 Hour Musicals suit our speed and our love of a writing challenge. This is our third year participating with TMTC, and we return not just for the thrill, but also for the quality of actors and directors TMTC brings on to the project.

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Q:  Do you have a favorite auto correction story or situation?

Matt:  Last week Peter was on vacation and I wanted to tell him I’d have two songs ready by the time he returned. I told him: “two dogs will be waiting for you when you get home.” I hoped he wasn’t frightened, and I hoped the lyrics weren’t dogs.

Q:  Where do you draw your inspiration?

Matt & Peter:  Often from news stories, because the truth is always stranger than fiction. Sometimes we draw from the classic elements of drama and comedy. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of seduction scenes, and mistaken identity.

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Q:  Who are your musical influences?

Matt & Peter:  Mozart, DaPonte, Verdi and Boito spring immediately to mind. And of course to leave out Rodgers and Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim would be criminal.

Q:  What are musical titles you feel connected to and why?

Matt & Peter:  We’re huge fans of satiric pieces such as Of Thee I Sing but also works like Ragtime that go right to the heart of the human experience.