Christiana Cole is in CAMELOT at Gulfshore Playhouse

Christiana Cole plays the knight Sir Dinadan in CAMELOT at Gulfshore Playhouse in sunny Naples, Florida, February 11-March 12, 2023.

But this isn’t the typical Camelot:

“So what David Lee did,” [director Jeffrey] Binder says, “is focus on the love story and trim a lot of the fat out of it. And it’s much more streamlined, in my mind, much more dramatically compelling in the way it tells the story without meandering. You really get to focus on this love story between these three people with the backdrop of Camelot.”

Like the venue’s 2016 production of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady,” this production features a reduced cast — this time, only eight actors. And instead of two pianos onstage, there are three musicians playing new orchestrations by Steve Orich.”

– Nancy Stetson, Naples Florida Weekly

Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot
Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Music by Frederick Loewe
Original Production Directed and Staged by Moss Hart
Book Adapted by David Lee
New Orchestrations by Steve Orich
February 9 – March 12, 2023
Directed by Jeffrey Binder

Click here for tickets.

The Camelot cast. TOP ROW FROM LEFT: Daniel Lopez, Christiana Cole, Ty-Gabriel Jones, Ethan Zeph • BOTTOM ROW FROM LEFT: Aiden Thayer, Jeffrey Kringer, Olivia Hernandez, Kevin Patrick Martin. Not pictured: Reveler swing, Griffin Binnicker.

WATCH: “OKAY, CHRISTMAS” written and performed by Christiana Cole

“OKAY, CHRISTMAS” written and performed by Christiana Cole. A brand new song for the season, from Christie’s heart to yours. Happy Holidays.

Filmed at the 8th Annual McGuire and Simon Holiday Salon
The Dramatists Guild Foundation Music Hall
New York City, December 15, 2022

LISTEN: “SELLIN’ OUT” written and performed by Christiana Cole

WITH THE FISHES is a short film by Libe Barer, about an aspiring comedian (Ruby McCollister) who attempts to create commercial content during a world-wide collapse. “SELLIN’ OUT” is an original tune in the style of Irving Berlin or Jule Styne written especially for the piece. WITH THE FISHES was an official selection of the SOHO International Film Festival.

“SELLIN’ OUT” written and performed by Christiana Cole (channeling Ethel Merman)
Orchestrated and arranged by Rick Bassett

Christiana Cole is Lauren in Elton John’s “The Devil Wears Prada” Chicago World Premiere

(l-r, Christian Thompson, Michael Tacconi, Tiffany Mann, Christiana Cole, Megan Masako Haley, Javier Muñoz, Taylor Iman Jones, Tony Award Winner Beth Leavel.)

Performances of The Devil Wears Prada begin on July 19 at Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theater. Tickets are available here.

Via Broadway in Chicago:

“From Tony®, Grammy®,and Academy Award® winner Elton John, Tony-winning director Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County, Steppenwolf Theatre), and Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum (In the Heights, Avenue Q, Rent, and this season’s hit musical SIX) comes The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical.

Runway magazine. The supreme authority of the high-fashion world, and the new home of assistant Andy Sachs. It’s a position a million people would kill for, but under the sharp stilettos of Runway’s legendary editor-in-chief, Miranda Priestly, the job is no dream. Up against Miranda’s blistering leadership and stratospheric expectations, Andy is pushed to the edge, forced to choose between her career and her own happiness.

Based on the hit film and featuring an all-star creative team led by Elton John and Anna D. Shapiro, with lyrics by singer-songwriter Shaina Taub (Suffs at The Public), a book by Kate Wetherhead (Submissions Only), choreography by James Alsop (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), and music supervision by Nadia DiGiallonardo (Waitress), The Devil Wears Prada, The Musical is a glamorous and hilarious story about finding your place and discovering what matters most.”

Performances of The Devil Wears Prada begin on July 19 at Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theater. Tickets are available here.

WATCH: Christiana Cole sings “Who Gets to Decide?” from THE POORHOUSE PROJECT by Katya Stanislavskaya

“Who Gets to Decide?” from THE POORHOUSE PROJECT
Music & Lyrics by Katya Stanislavskaya
Performed by Christiana Cole

a part of Prospect Theater Company’s REIGNITE Concert
October 26, 2021 at Symphony Space

Music Directed by Sean Peter Forte
Orchestration by Anna Ebbesen
Band: Ashley Baier (drums), Sean Peter Forte (piano), Marissa Licata (violin), Mike Rosengarten (guitar), Allison Seidner (cello), Saadi Zain (bass)

Christiana Cole sings on the soundtrack of “What Breaks The Ice”

Christiana Cole sings on the soundtrack of upcoming thriller What Breaks the Ice. The score is by celebrated composer Alex Weston (The Farewell, Wander Darkley). Watch the trailer above to hear Christiana, along with frequent vocalist collaborator Christine Cornell (Joanna Gleason’s Out of the Eclipse).

Via ET Online:

Madelyn Cline is taking a break from digging stuff up on Outer Banks to instead bury a secret in the upcoming thriller, What Breaks the Ice.

Set in the ’90s, the coming-of-age drama stars Cline (of the Netflix hit series and soon to be in Knives Out 2) and Sofia Hublitz (Ozark) as unlikely friends whose carefree summer takes a dark turn when they find themselves at the center of a murder case. Will the secret bond them for life or tear them apart?

“Working on What Breaks the Ice is one of my best memories. I met people I will love for life,” Cline tells ET. “It was an incredible experience to work on a project with mostly female-led departments and to really collaborate with Rebecca [Eskreis] and make this movie special.”

Hublitz adds, “Making this movie meant making so many new friends and memories I will cherish forever. It was also most notably special to be a part of a film where every department-head was a woman. I’m so lucky to have shared this experience with my co-star who became one of my best friends.”

What Breaks the Ice is in select theaters and available on demand on Oct. 1.

Carnegie Hall presents a new song by Bill Nelson & Christiana Cole

Broadway’s Future Songbook Series, presented by Arts and Artists of Tomorrow, will continue its virtual season April 26 at 5:30 PM ET with a concert titled Voices of Hope.

Produced, directed, and hosted by John Znidarsic, the evening is part of Carnegie Hall’s Voices of Hope Festival in collaboration with the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Expect new works by emerging Broadway talent created in response to the pandemic.

“I’m With Roxie,” a new song by Christiana Cole (music) and Bill Nelson (lyrics) will premiere on the concert, sung by Broadway’s Brynn Williams (SpongeBob, Bye Bye Birdie, 13, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).

Broadway veteran Brynn Williams

Other writers featured include Joey Contreras, Jill Santoriello, Doug Lyons, Ethan D. Pakchar, Billy Recce, Ross Baum, Angelica Chéri, Alex Ratner, Katya Stanislavskaya, Robert Lindsey Nassif, Lauren Taslitz, Danny Ursetti, Chip Klose, Ben Roseberry, Jessica Ann Carp, Jay Alan Zimmerman, Charles Morey, Greg Pliska, Maria Christensen, Anthony Nunziata, Richard Pearson Thomas, David Kornfeld, and Kyle Segar.

The new works will be interpreted by Contreras, Nunziata, Segar, Recce, Carly Hughes, Charity Angél Dawson, Daniel Yearwood, Kerstin Anderson, Amy Justman, Lincoln Ginsberg, Brian Russell Carey, Jaygee Macapagay, Kennedy Kanagawa, Amy Burgess, Forest Van Dyke, Keri Rene Fuller, Jacob Fjeldheim, Amy Weintraub, Jason Pintar, Melanie Berg, Belén Moyano, Jesse Gage, Jacob Fjeldheim, Wade McCollum, Paul Loren, Ben Roseberry, Brynn Williams, Jessica Ann Carp, Sail Warsi, Eric Bondoc, Emily Popham Gillins, Brian Childers, Stephanie Miller, Stephen Velasquez, Eileen Tepper, Ellie Handel, James Edward Alexander, Jay Alan Zimmerman, Stephen Drabicki, Ben Jones, Eugene Gwozdz, and Amy Gluck.

To RSVP for free tickets, click here.

Christiana Cole teaches Songwriting Seminar for Performers at Theory Works

Performers often have incredible ideas, but aren’t sure how to branch into writing. Join Christiana Cole (2020-2021 Dramatist Guild Fellow, and a member of the the Advanced Songwriting Workshop and Librettists Workshop within the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Writers Workshop) on a 3-week songwriting class, featuring instruction in the final class from Broadway actor & composer Jeff Blumenkrantz.

Songwriting Seminar for Performers with Christiana Cole

This class is $180 to participate, and $25 to observe the final class.

Class 1: Thu, Apr 15, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Class 2: Thu, Apr 22, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Class 3: Thu, Apr 29, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM with guest Jeff Blumenkrantz

Sign up for the Songwriter Seminar for Performers by clicking here.

WATCH: Christiana Cole sings from XENA: WARRIOR MUSICAL

“Asking Too Much” from XENA: WARRIOR MUSICAL
By S.C. Lucier (book/lyrics) and Meghan Rose (music)

Christiana Cole plays Xena, Warrior Princess in this thrilling rock power ballad.
Recorded live for broadcast on Ring of Key’s KeyFest.

For more about XENA: WARRIOR MUSICAL click here.

DGF Fellows Spotlight: an interview with Christiana Cole

(Via the Dramatists Guild Foundation Blog – read the original post here)

By Hannah Kloepfer

2020-2021 DGF Fellow Christiana Cole.
Photo by Aaron Phillips.

Welcome to the DGF Fellows Spotlight.

This series of interviews put the spotlight on individual DGF Fellows and invites you to take a behind-the-scenes look at our program.

The class of fellows was asked a series of questions exploring where they’ve been, what they’re up to now, and what they hope for the future.

Please take your seats, unwrap your candies, and silence your cellphones as we put the spotlight on Christiana Cole!

What was your first experience with theater?

I was a shy, anxious kid, and although I felt deep emotions, I struggled to express them. I felt misunderstood by my peers, and had trouble making friends. I felt very lost.

But then, something happened.

When I was 9 years old, I saw the national tour of CATS in my hometown of Austin, Texas. As Grizabella belted out “Memory,” a new sensation flooded my body: I was emotionally connected to the people around me. I was crying, which normally would have embarrassed me, but when I looked up, I saw that my parents were crying too. The whole audience was just as enrapt and sympathetic to the downtrodden glamour cat as I was. Suddenly, my emotions were not silly, or “too much” – they had a home, and that home was the stage. It was the best thing I had ever seen or felt. At that moment, I dedicated my life to musical theater.

In the days that followed, I obsessively re-enacted CATS at home, throwing couch cushions around to make the junkyard, wrapping a green quilt around my shoulders to be Grizabella one moment, and attempting spasmatic gymnastics as Mistoffeles the next. I began collecting cast albums and renting every possible movie musical from Blockbuster (except “Damn Yankees,” because it had a swear in the title, and I was a scrupulous Catholic child).

When did you decide to become a writer? Is there a writer, show, or piece of writing that was particularly influential on your path?

My senior year of high school, I had to decide whether I would major in creative writing or music. On the one hand, I was a compulsive journaler and poet, the comedy editor of my high school newspaper, and all-around English nerd. But, I was also a talented singer. I was first chair soprano in All State Choir both my junior and senior year (huge deal in Texas), plus I had been the ingenue in a dozen local kids theatre shows. In the end, I chose to study opera, because singing is essentially a sport: you must train your animal at a young age if you want to be competitive on a world-class level. I remember thinking, “Well, I’ll always write, but if I don’t get musical training now I’ll always regret it.”

I moved to New York to study opera at the Manhattan School of Music, where I got the best musical education money can buy. Although I preferred singing musical theater (I had only seen one opera before making the decision to major in it, and I fell asleep), I never considered majoring in musical theater. I knew that I wanted the most hard-core musical education I could get. I loved learning about the origins of music-drama, and finally wrapping my brain around music theory. I didn’t fit in very well with the singers, but I did fit in the with the composers, who became my best friends. I sang the hardest, weirdest new music I could get my chords on. I also began writing my own music and featured original works on both my junior and senior recitals. The composition faculty was very welcoming of me, a non-major, and allowed me to audit many composition classes. I also managed to audit a creative writing workshop at Columbia University, across the street. I am still so grateful for the years I spent at MSM, because they let me do my own thing and chase every angle of musicianship and creation.

After graduation I decided against pursuing an opera career because frankly, it was too expensive. (In classical singing, you pay to audition, and often work for free or near-nothing for many years.) I realized that unlike operaland, which operates as a museum/country club, Broadway was a real commercial business, so I began auditioning for musicals.

I attended a free seminar at the old Reproductions photo lab, where a nice lady named Judy talked to us about how to get an agent. But the thing that hit me hard was this flow chart. Judy put everything into perspective: at the top of the white board, she wrote the word “Producer,” the apex of the Broadway food chain. Below that, she wrote “Director,” then “Music Director,” “Assistant Director,” “Stage Manager,” so on and so on, until she got to “Junior Assistant Janitor.” She wrote “Actor” below that.

Then, she flew that magic little marker all the way up to the top of the pyramid. And at the tippy-top, above “Producer,” she wrote “WRITER.”

“Without the writer, no one else on this list has a job,” she said, poking the board for emphasis. “The writer is always the number one voice in the room.”

My student-loan-riddled, control-freak ass was sold at that point, although it would take years to accept it, because I was attached to the notion of being a singer.

But as time went on, I wrote more and more, and it became clearer and clearer that writing was a deeper, more intimate art form for me. I didn’t want to be a replaceable person, trying to do something interesting with “If I Loved You.” I wanted to bring something completely new into the world. I wanted to create entire universes for all those people on the flow chart to be a part of. I didn’t want to play Grizabella, I wanted to explode with a thousand Grizabellas, who could sing on and on long after I’m gone.

How do you describe your work overall? What sets your work apart?

My writing is weird, cute, unpredictable, colorful, wildly funny and deadly serious, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. In the years leading up to now, I’ve written a musical about hamsters. I’ve written a musical about magic underwear. I’ve written a musical about a drag queen who fights Nazis. I like to write about things that only make sense on the stage. I like to write roles that actors feel excited to tackle because they’re unlike anything they’ve done before. I like to write melodies that feel cathartic to sing.

I am an autistic person (mildly impacted, I mask very well, I’m reasonably good at parties). I am also a non-binary person. I have felt my whole life that my brain is simply different from other people’s. For a long time, I felt ashamed and tried to blend in. But now, I’m proud of who I am. My unusual brain is the reason I write unusual things.

Looking ahead at the major works I have planned, one theme jumps out again and again: religion. I have spent decades of my life working as a professional church musician. Before attending MSM, I went to a small Christian college in Texas for two years where I test-drove evangelical Christianity, and otherwise I was an enthusiastic Catholic. But faith has a way of cracking when you put weight on it.

Some people like to write about romantic love, or certain time periods. But I am obsessed with writing about faith and magical thinking, and reframing stories we think we know to reveal the shocking truth beneath them. I have occasionally thought about changing my name to something more gender-neutral, but “Christiana” is so apt, given that a lot of my writing is somehow a reflection (or rebuttal) of Christianity.

In the years to come, I look forward to sharing my work with America and the world, because I think musical theater has thus far failed to examine religion in a large-scale, candid way. It usually gets an ecumenical, pro-delusion pass. But I think we’re ready for something more provocative now.

Can you tell us a little bit about the work you’ve been developing as a Fellow?

TRIBE WITHOUT A GOD is a new original musical comedy. It’s about a tribe of Neolithic people who are hit by a big flood, and almost all of them die in the river. That’s a problem! But it’s an even bigger problem…because they worshiped the River God. We follow runaway human sacrifice Silverlight as she falls in love with TomTom, an existential ex-River Priest struggling to lead a straggling band of survivors. Will the tribe keep worshiping the River God? Or is there a bigger, better god just around the corner, waiting to be worshiped? At its very core, TRIBE WITHOUT A GOD explores who and what gets sacrificed in a world where god and government are impossibly tangled.

The music is a cross between Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and Stephen Schwartz, and the tone is like The Simpsons. The entire cast will be wearing knit bodysuits that allow their characters to be naked onstage (without requiring nudity from actors). There are roles for all kinds of actors who are normally not centered: Black trans women, Asian men, short dudes who are baritones, fat people, etc. Basically, a show that isn’t a love story between two white straight people with long legs. Sondheim says he goes to the theater to meet people he hasn’t met before, and I take that charge very seriously in my writing.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a writer?

I find writing rewarding because if I didn’t write down all the things in my head, I would explode.

In all sincerity, there is nothing more thrilling than watching my words come to life with actors. I love making edits, I love rewriting, I love tweaking and finessing and fixing. I love it when a scene is perfect, when it has that SHWING! sparkle, with each line fitting perfectly in the chain, one pearl after another. My dad is a retired TV director for the local news, and my mom is a TV producer-turned-realtor. Between the two of them, they taught me about dramatic pacing, about how language should flow, how a show should be thrilling, how it’s not enough for something to be nice, it needs to be gripping. I live for those moments, both as a writer and an audience member.

Originally posted on the DGF Blog, January 25, 2021