Back in 2019, Timothy Graphenreed was invited by NYU Steinhardt's Vocal Performance program to mount a production of his musical Yesterday’s Dreamer’s Tomorrow’s Stars with NYU students working as the cast, crew, designers, and technicians. Sadly, Graphenreed passed away during rehearsals in 2020, and then the show had to be canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The creative team was invited to return in the Fall of 2020 to celebrate Graphenreed’s life by reimagining some of his songs in a virtual revue.
Storm: A Virtual Musical Revue, is a cleverly designed and edited tribute which allows many Vocal Performance students to have solos while also prominently featuring members of the company. The students performed from their homes using their own props, wearing matching outfits in lieu of stage costumes. There are pictures from NYU's campus and New York City in between songs.
The themes of the songs cover having big dreams, romance, not giving up, performers’ desires to be famous, and being happy and proud of who you are.
“Dream Big or Go Home,” an uplifting song about keeping your chin up, goes: “If rejection comes your way, pick yourself up and say ‘hey!’, there ain’t nothin’ gonna ruin my day, don’t give up!” The song “The Big Picture” relates Graphenreed’s lyrics to the Black Lives Matter movement through dramatic background imagery.
“Storm," the piece’s title song, speaks from the perspective of someone who doubts their lovability, wondering if they will ever fall in love and find a partner: “How many ways can I come to say that my heart is gentle and warm? I am not a storm. Too many times in this life of mine my lovers think that I am too hard to tame and I am left to blame. They always say bye, bye...Is there true love in the world for me? Is there anyone?”
Graphenreed, who was a Broadway composer, lyricist, librettist, music director, vocal arranger, dance arranger, orchestrator, and accompanist, is known for having composed "The Tornado" and the "Emerald City Ballet" in the Broadway musical The Wiz, among other works.
The revue ends with a video of Graphenreed playing the piano and singing his song “Music’s Everything to Me:” “When I hear the music play, somehow it always makes my day. Music’s everything to me.”
You can watch Storm on YouTube on Saturday, September 4. The video will premiere at 10am and be available until midnight.