Yours For A Song With Composer Charlie Gilbert | UYGW061

Charlie Gilbert is a writer, composer, educator, and theater maker specializing in musical theater. Given my lifelong fascination with musical theater, this made him an obvious choice as a guest for this podcast! And while this episode is chock full of little musical theater tidbits, it’s also a beautiful look at what a lifelong dedication to Great Work looks like. Charlie started doing musical theater as a young man, in college, with his friends. 

1979 he wrote Assassins, a musical whose idea was compelling enough to attract the attention of Stephen Sondheim; the musical that Sondheim eventually wrote based on Charlie’s idea went on to win the Tony.

After teaching and freelancing as a musical theater professional for a number of years, he had the opportunity to start an undergraduate musical program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His experiences as an educator and artist led to the development of a signature pedagogy for musical theater performers that he calls the SAVI System. And, for the last ten years, he’s been a composer in residence at the Enchantment Theater company. Listening to Charlie talk about the fire he still has in his belly for even more success in musical theater was inspiring, to say the least. 

Join us as we discuss:

·   How to sustain your interest and passion for something highly competitive and full of disappointments

·   What it was like to be peers with Stephen Sondheim, Jonathan Larson, and other broadway legends

·   How to juggle multiple interests and areas of expertise in a field usually populated with narrowly focused artists

Resources Mentioned:

Join the Great Work Community here: amandacrowell.com/great-work-community

Click here to get your own copy of Amanda’s book, Great Work.

www.chasgilbert.com

https://enchantmenttheatre.org/north-american-tours/harold/

www.savisingingactor.com

www.linktr.ee/chasgilbert

About The Guest:

Charlie is a writer, composer, educator and theater maker who specializes in musical theater. He has been creating original work for the musical stage for nearly fifty years, and is perhaps best known for Assassins, his 1979 musical which was the source of the idea for the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman.

His other works for the musical stage include Gemini the Musical, an adaptation of Albert Innaurato’s hit comedy Gemini for which Charlie wrote music and lyrics. For the past ten years, Charlie has been composer-in-residence for Enchantment Theatre Company and has created original music and lyrics for works that have toured the US, including Harold and the Purple Crayon, which will be seen in theaters this spring.

He started the undergraduate musical theater program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 1991 and served as a faculty member and administrator there for over thirty years. His experiences as an educator and artist led to the development of a signature pedagogy for musical theater performers he calls the SAVI System; his book The SAVI Singing Actor was published in 2019, along with an innovative teaching tool called SAVI Cards, and both are used by voice and theater teachers in the US and abroad.

Charlie was a founding member of the Musical Theater Educators Alliance, an organization created over 20 years ago to facilitate the collegial sharing of information and best practices among musical theater training programs worldwide, and served as an officer of that organization for many years.

About The Host:

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist, speaker, author, and coach focused on changing our perspective on the world of work. It IS possible to do Great Work—the work that calls to you from the inside– without sacrificing your health, happiness, and relationships.

Amanda is the Author of the book, Great Work: Do What Matters Most Without Sacrificing Everything Else, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda’s TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED’s Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.

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Transcript
Charlie Gilbert:

I consider myself a little bit unusual in that the thing that I discovered that really lit me up as a young man was the thing that I was lucky enough to spend my life doing.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Welcome to unleashing your great work, a podcast about doing the work that matters the most to you. I'm your host, Dr. Amanda Crowell, a cognitive psychologist, coach, author of the book, great work and the creator of the great work journals. Every week on this podcast, we're here asking the big questions. What is your great work? How do you find it? And why does it matter? Whether we do it? What does it actually take to do more of your great work without sacrificing everything else? And how does the world change when more people are doing more of the work that matters the most to them? Stay tuned for answers to these questions, and so much more.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Charlie Gilbert is a writer, composer, educator and theater maker who specializes in musical theater. Given my lifelong fascination with musical theater, this made him an obvious choice as a guest for this podcast. And while this episode is chock full of little musical theater tidbits, it's also a beautiful look at what a lifelong dedication to great work looks like. Charlie has been doing musical theater since he was a young man in college with his friends. In 1979. He wrote Assassin's which was later produced by Stephen Sondheim and one atony. After working across lots of different behind the scenes roles in musical theater, he started an undergraduate musical theater program at the University for the arts in Philadelphia. His experience as an educator and artist led to the development of a signature pedagogy for musical theater performers, he calls the savvy system. And for the last 10 years, he's been a composer in residence at the enchantment Theatre Company, listening to Charlie talk about the fire he still has in his belly. And his hopes for even more success in musical theater was inspiring to say the least. Let's welcome Charlie to the podcast. Welcome to the podcast, Charlie.

Charlie Gilbert:

Hi, Amanda. It's great to be here.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Well, I am super excited about it. Because I've been wanting I've been seeing you from afar. We have some friends in common. And I've I've just sort of been fascinating ever since I saw you're a savvy singing actor and tried to figure out what it was. What is this? And who are you? It's in here we are having this conversation. I'm super excited about.

Charlie Gilbert:

Yeah, yeah, this will be cool.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

It will be cool. It'll be distinctly cool. So tell me Charlie, a little bit about your great work.

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, Amanda, like you said in your in your intro, my great work really all revolves around the musical theater and and specifically making original work for the musical theater that that was kind of the vision that I had, when I was like, in my 20s, my early 20s, I discovered that that was the place where all of the all of my passions and all of my talents really kind of seemed to come together. And so for a few years after grad school, I was a professional, I worked as a music director, and I was in a theatre company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And I quickly discovered that it was hard to make a living in that field. And so I just through that, I went on to discover, I think what turned out to be another part of my great work, and that was teaching other people or preparing other people to do what I do. So I've spent a lot of time as an educator working with young artists in particular, who have dreams of being in the musical theater. And I've been doing it long enough now that I can point to certain young artists and say, Wow, these, these are people that I was lucky enough to work with, and encourage and enable and, and pass my gifts on to so that's another part of my great work, I think is being at being a teacher and helping other people to find their path into the musical theater. But it all really has revolved around this thing that that which, luckily for me excites you so much, and that is the musical theater.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

And I do love it. So were you a theater nerd growing up as well. Were you always at the theater? Did you watch the movies like how did you get interested

Charlie Gilbert:

in it? I was I was kind of a music nerd growing up I play I played piano and made up songs and so on from the from the time that I was a little kid and really discovered theater in high school had a great theater teacher in high school. And that was really the first time I was in a school situation where I had access to that I kind of grew up in the sticks. But once I did once I discovered the theater in high school. Cool and then and undergrad and so on, I just I couldn't get enough of that experience the the kind of camaraderie, the community, the idea of people coming together to make something that was very powerful for me. And, and I wanted to do it as much as I could. And I guess I consider myself a little bit unusual in that the thing that I discovered that really lit me up as a young man was the thing that I was lucky enough to spend my life doing.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Mm hmm. Right, right, which is not always how that turns out. But what what part of it in particular? Do you love the most? So it sounds like you? Well, the piece is that it sounds like you do music and lyrics. So you're a composer.

Charlie Gilbert:

Yes, composer, lyricist, a songwriter. I've written scripts as well, you know, I, I'm fascinated by storytelling, telling stories through through the theater. My graduate degree is actually in stage directing. So as a stage director, you're kind of manager and oversee the process of creating a musical theatre production. And then that led me also to do some work in in producing, working with theatre festivals. And working with a little bit on the business side of getting works to the to the stage, I've self produced a couple of my own shows, including one that one that was in New York, so it's taken a lot of different forms. Sometimes it's, it's, I find, it's a little bit hard to explain to people who I am, because who I am, kind of has a lot of different dimensions to it. So to say, I'm a director, or I'm a pianist, or I'm a songwriter, or educator or whatever. I'm a hyphenated artist, which I find that in the work that I'm using increasingly common that people are embracing that idea of being a multi hyphenate. Rather than just being one singular thing. Maybe the slasher slash this, I'm definitely a slasher artist. And, and maybe one of the things that that's meant for me is that I kind of move around between a bunch of different fields. And perhaps that means that I haven't had the kind of focus that would lead to greater accomplishments in one single area. If I just kind of stuck with one thing, I've wondered whether I might have gone farther, say with being a pianist, a music director, or a composer and lyricist, but I've always really thrived in the kind of multiplicity of identities that I've had. And they all really feed into each other by teaching my artistic practice, the sort of solitary work of writing and composing and playing, they all really, they all seem to feed each other and sustain each other.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

And the thing you started out talking about was the feeling of camaraderie of coming together. Do you feel like you've had that experience throughout your career, were you able to maintain that original spark in the work that you were doing?

Charlie Gilbert:

Yes, and luckily, and it's taken a lot of different forms over the years. But with any given theatre production, of course, you come together very intensely for a period of, you know, the pre production and the rehearsals and the run of the show. And then that ends in you, and you move on to the next one. And I really got, I'd liked that environment. That was kind of my first experience, where my social life happened. That was where I met my wife, that was how that relationship began, was, was doing a show together. After I got out of grad school, I was in a theatre company that was formed by some of my college friends. And so for two years, we were really, you know, people with a shared vision and a shared passion. When I went into teaching, there was always that, you know, the sense of colleagues in an academic department. So but there was always a team of people that work together. Later on, I had the chance to build an academic department where I sort of started out with the idea we were going to, we created a musical theater program in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts. And I was invited to do that in 1990. And so over the course of 30 years, hired a lot of a lot of colleagues recruited and brought in a lot of students and watch them go through that program. So that was really very much a very powerful experience.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Yeah. Mm hmm.

Charlie Gilbert:

And then you mentioned you read the bit in my bio about enchantment theatre, and that's a that's a valid artistic partnership that I've been involved in for 10 years, where I've been making new work with a group of people and we and we, and we have such a great vibe together such a kind of artistic shorthand. In the way of working and working with each other, where we're able to speak truthfully speak honestly to each other, both in praising and critiquing each other's ideas as we bring things forward. And as a result, that's, that's a really special set of relationships that's, that's emerged out of that. So yes, I think community has always been a very powerful part of being in the theater and and in music and the performing arts for me.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

And you said those two that you mentioned building your department and the enchantment Theatre Company, it sounds like, you know, without too much knowledge, but it sounds like those actually benefit a lot from your, your slasher pneus.

Charlie Gilbert:

I think so yes. I mean, luckily, at in Chapman, although I'm composer in residence, I mean, my, my fingerprints are kind of on all aspects of the work and in development. In the the project that I that I'm currently involved in for them. I actually haven't written any music, but I've adapted a story using existing music and a lot of the conversations that I've been having about storytelling and dramaturgy, and how the music kind of feeds into the story that that can't be told. So, yes, the fact that I had this kind of constellation of different skills and perspectives, has been really useful there. It's certainly in the musical theater training program. I mean, that's a situation where the, in the in a performing arts college or in any kind of college situation, things tend to be a bit siloed, you have your theater department, which in turn has its acting faculty, and that's directing faculty and his movement faculty. And then you have a music department and you have a dance department and everybody's kind of in their own little silo. And the thing that I was able to do as a leader was, kind of inhabit all of those worlds and get those people talking to each other and get the students kind of moving more fluidly between those areas. And because of that, I think that we all had had a great time and made some very exciting work.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

That's quite the feat in academia. Academia loves it silos.

Charlie Gilbert:

Yes, yes. Yes, you have some firsthand experience with. So you know, everybody wants to, like protect their little area of expertise. And, and that was a thing that I that I quite enjoyed, which is getting people to try to understand each other's worlds a bit more. And luckily, I was, I was able to build my department, largely from from scratch, which meant people were brought in with the understanding that this would be the culture in that department. And then later on, I got, I got promoted to the dean of the of the theater school. So I was not dealing not only with the musical theater people, but but the technology that made me designers, scenic designers, playwrights, everybody. And trying to bring that that philosophy of really being open to each other's Fields was was an important part of of my leadership style when I did that.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Did you feel like being a dean removed you from the frontlines of the artistic work? Or did you how did you feel about that?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, a little bit, I kind of made a point, especially in the summer time when things were slow was that I would pursue artistic projects, also was very fortunate to be in Philadelphia, and a major metropolitan center where there was a lot going on. And so it was possible to work at school, and then at you know, three or four o'clock, go down the street and get ready to do a show at seven or 8pm or go to rehearsal or there was a it was surprisingly easy to do to do that. And unlike other other school situations that I've been in over the years, we had something really remarkable in Philly at the University of the Arts.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Yeah, for sure. So I have a question, and I think it I hope I can ask it in a succinct way we'll see. I don't know if you've probably seen the movie, tick, tick boom that came out last year. Sure. Yeah. So in that Jonathan Larson, who will I don't remember who played Jonathan Larson in this but the character of Jonathan Larson was talking about how it's to be a musical theater creator. You have to be sort of obsessed and that no one but other musical theater creators can really understand the degree of obsession required in order to take an idea. I don't know I I feel like I wrote a book. No, I don't feel like I did write a book in fact, and it was a it was a full creative Marianas like the tiny seed of an idea and you have to like spin it up and work it out and tell the stories and ask for help. And but that's not that's like just words on a page and not that there's nobody dancing. There's no like horn section that has to be wrangled. And I'm just curious, like, do you agree with that statement that I guess was pulled from Jonathan Larson's full? A maybe not so sure how it all came to be. But I was just I was sort of fascinated by that. And it felt true. And I'm curious if you have felt that too, in yourself and and other creators in this space?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, let's see if I can answer that succinctly. There is a part of the work that is very solitary. And Jonathan was a person who kind of did it all. He was a composer and a lyricist, and a playwright. And so a certain amount of his work was solitary, like, you sit alone in your room, and you make stuff up. And, and I've certainly had that experience, as well. And I've had the experience of writing a book, which is, again, that sort of solitary, you just go back to the you know, your desk every day, you do some more of that. But what makes creating work for the stage, so interesting is that very early on, you start to talk to other people and work with other people. And so maybe, even if you're the person who, like me is writing the words and the music, then you've got a director you're talking to, or maybe you bring a couple of actors together, they read your stuff, and they talk to you about that, or you give somebody a draft to read and then they, they begin to give you some feedback, it quickly becomes a group process. And that was true for Jonathan too. And the movie kind of showed that he had his confidants he had his trusted Powell, pals and, and supporters along the way. But it really does require a sort of obsessive, I guess, I really identify with with that part of the story, which is the guy who was just obsessed, and is not going to let go of that idea. Even in the face of discouragement, even in the face of, you know, you look around you see, where do I, you know, I don't know where I fit in this in this scene or in this world. And, and no, I like to Tick Tick Boom. And of course, one of the things is very memorable. And that is that at the very end, he puts his play on and then he gets a voicemail from Stephen Sondheim, right. He says, he says, that was good. Keep going. You know, I think you're a talented guy. And you should, and you should do more of that. Yeah. So I mean, that, that, that movie, that musical, spoke very personally, to me. I had actually a funny kind of contact with with Jonathan Larson back in the 90s, when he was still alive and be and before rent, and actually read one of the very early drafts of rent. So it's really been interesting to see how that all became, first of all, how that came into existence, and then the tragedy of his death and the immense success of the work that's been that that's been an interesting thing for me to see through from, from the beginning, when it was just some guy, some young guy in New York who wanted to make a musical. That was kind of like, a whim. What, what that's that's a weird idea.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

So funny. I want to follow up on the Stephen Sondheim piece in a second, but to say that rent was my high school experience rent was what made me like I was also grew up in the sticks country side of Ohio. And it was rent was my first experience of like, a really visceral, different way of looking at the world that just I agreed with every song every you know, I could only listen to it. I couldn't watch it. I could only listen to the CD I like still have the CDs was really important to me. And I feel like it. It really is the reason that I have such a long lasting fascination, no involvement, sadly, except for when I was in high school, doing shows with musical theater, so I'm a little blown away right now that you got to see like an early draft of rent. That's super exciting. But that's not the only similarity.

Charlie Gilbert:

I would just say I still have as a memento a little audio cassette of like the demos of three songs that they liked the first three songs he was sending out to people because he was trying to get it produced before and you know, New York Theatre Workshop came on board to do that. He was just sending it out to people and networking and doing that thing that you do when you're a writer and you're you know, nobody's doing your stuff. You just you're reaching out to people and pitching them the idea. So I was one of the one of the people and the Theatre Company in Philly that I was working We've got pitched this idea. And we had the chance actually to produce an early workshop of it. And we passed on it. We said not not for us. Sorry. In retrospect, it's like how, how dumb was that? You know, if we only had the ability to see into the future, we would be brilliant.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Yeah. Wow. Well, so similar. So there's a story in here that other people have told me about you, which is this story of the assassins, and I don't understand it. So you can you please explain to me what it tells me how it started. How did Stephen Sondheim get involved like it came a Tony Award winning musical come with the story of Assassin's?

Charlie Gilbert:

Sure sure. Assassin's was actually an I wrote a musical long before Sondheim knew about it. But when I had gotten out of graduate school, and I was working with my pals in Pittsburgh, I wrote a musical I had an idea to write a musical about presidential assassins. And I had my a colleague who was was my boss and said, Go ahead write it and I'll put it on, we'll put it on here at the theatre company, you know, an incredible gift to get at that at that point in in my mid 20s. So So I did, and it was produced and in Pittsburgh in 1979, and this musical called assassins, and then after that productions, like Okay, so what's next with this idea? And so I, I had a script and a tape that I was starting to send us some places, and I submitted it for a program in New York that was trying to match up young writers with mentors. And so I was one of the finalists for that. So my work made the rounds of the mentors and that included Steve Sondheim. At the time, I didn't know know that this was like in the early 1980s. And the program never happened. They decided, ultimately, they could be it was like the organization that was trying to promote this idea, couldn't get it off the ground. So they returned my stuff to me and said, thanks very much. Sorry, it didn't work out. You know, a couple of years later, fast forward to like, I think we're talking 1985 or 86. I go to my mailbox one day, and there's a hand note from Stephen Sondheim, and it says, hey, whatever happened, will you ever do that assassins musical? I remember I'm

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

sorry. You came home one day, and there was like a letter in your mailbox from Stephen Sondheim?

Charlie Gilbert:

Yes. How improbable? Is that?

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

What did you say? What went through your mind when you were like, did we like well, I don't remember but I feels like one of those moments where time

Charlie Gilbert:

so many things, but I mean, I, I had I all my life, you know, I really idolized Sondheim as the person who better than anybody does the thing that I dream about doing. And so it took to discover that letter in the mailbox and then to have a conversation with on the phone and eventually go to his house and sit in his living room. It's like being struck by lightning. Right. You know, how, how improbable was that and then that he wouldn't he and and John Weidman, who I also know and admire John is a is a generation younger than, than Steven and a little closer to my age. But John was also somebody whose work I really admired. And to have these these two artists make something that was, was powerful and and although not maybe the most hit success Broadway show ever made. And now it's not grant or like, MS or whatever, but it's sort of it's been done all over the world for the past 30 years. And to think that that all happened because, you know, I had an idea and son, I read my script, and the idea kind of stuck in his head and you know, and that and everything that happened after it's so improbable, that all happened, but it did and as a result, you know, when when assassins is produced now, my name appears with the author, other authors names. They both been very generous about about giving me credit for that, acknowledging my contribution to that over the years, and they gave a little tiny piece of the author's royalty as well. So I've made a little bit of money from that over over the years. So that's how that all worked out.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Wow, what a story. What a what an amazing experience. And so you have really contributed kind of like you've had a lot of accomplishment, you know, you've you have this Assassin's, you've created a certain Theatre Company, you've built a whole school. And now you you're doing something new and different again, can you tell us about your current endeavor?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, my current endeavor, I'm on to the next chapter now, which is my like post Press. Feser life, I include in a lot of years as a teacher, which has earned me a pension and a little bit of financial stability. I'm trying to now use that, in this chapter of my life, to get back to my great work to do or to continue to or to figure out what what to do with this idea of, you know, the, I've kind of chosen the musical theater as my field of endeavor. And I still feel like I have great ideas and work to do. So I'm trying to trying to figure out what what and how exactly to handle that now, you know how to proceed with that. One of the things that's, that's strange about strange or different about that is, you know, the last couple of years of my teaching career was was COVID was the lockdown. And so my teaching career really ended on a kind of deep crescendo, you know, like me taught me talking to some students over zoom. And then finally, when I retired, it was like an email to the provost. And she said, have a have a nice life. But there was, there wasn't that ever, that feeling of like something momentous had happened, and then we all kind of set up to celebrate that. And that, so I kind of tiptoed out of teaching I felt like

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

anti climactic.

Charlie Gilbert:

Yeah, and into a kind of exile. I mean, at the same time, we just we decided my wife and I, because of needing more space and wanting to do some different kinds of work, we moved to a different place and kind of moved away from some of the, the people and networks of support that we had in Philadelphia. And we're now we find ourselves questioning whether that was really such a smart thing to do, to do. So. In the meantime, I'm trying to promote my musical theater endeavors from in a more solitary way or in in an individual and entrepreneurial way. I wrote, I wrote and published a book that was a lot of kind of distillation of what I had been teaching in the classroom for 30 years. And so I've I've, now, I'm the marketing that that book, I'm doing workshops, and like online classes, and actually getting back to doing in person workshops in January, I've got some in person stuff coming up again, with that. So I'm still trying to share the fruits of what I'd really made as as an educator, and I'm making, I'm making new work for the stage. And I'm also revisiting the work that I made over the past 30 years to see what of it is, is worthy, and what of it still has some life in it some energy in it. Because I found that in the course of making new work, you can always move on to the to the next project you'd like you do one thing and then you put that on the shelf, and you go on to do the next thing, you'd never really go back and like tidy some or at least I didn't go back and tidy things up and make it so I could send it out to a producer and read it. So I'm doing a lot of kind of revisiting the material in my archives, writing stuff out that wasn't written out getting recordings made, or getting proper recordings made to send things out to try to move that, that my work as a musical theater maker on to this next chapter.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

If you could wave a magic wand, which I don't have, I'm sorry to say, but if we did, and we could wave it, what would happen? What would you like to see happen for your work for your great work?

Charlie Gilbert:

What I like to see happen is I'd like to see theatres produce shows that I've written both things I've written in the past and then get on board with the projects that I have for coordinating for new things that I'd like to do. And that could be you know, kind of anywhere I mean, I'm in a position where I can I can sort of go where I please now I'm not I'm not tied to a desk or a job now. So I'm ready to do that and and that that was that's what would happen if if that magic wand got wait.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

So what are the things that have to happen in order for that to occur? Someone has to what?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, somebody has to know about my work and then and then hear about the kind of the specific project I'm dying, that I'm pitching and say yes to that, you know, that was the thing. All those years ago at theater express that made Assassin's happen was I had an idea. And I, and I turned to my, at that point, this was my buddy that I was working with every day. And I said, I have this idea. And he said, Yes. And then that led to my assassins musical. And then so many years later to Sauron times, and so on. So I'm just, I need to pitch people and I need for them to say yes.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

So all of your so you said that, to bring the two things together, you said that you had written a book and you have the sort of entrepreneurial endeavor, which is savvy singing actor, that's what it is, right? Yes, yes. So yes,

Charlie Gilbert:

I developed this way of teaching way of thinking about musical theater performance when I was was a teacher that seemed to really resonate and help a lot of my students over the years. And so I wrote a book based on that. And it was a, it seemed to be different than anything else that was in the in the marketplace in terms of my approach, partly because I was this kind of slasher artists, writer, composer, Director, performer, musician, person. And they, and there's a tool that I made that goes with something called savvy cards, which is a The book describes ways to use these these cards that are like trading cards, or flash cards and how to use them in your, in the practice room, or in the rehearsal room, or a voice lesson or an hour or so. And they and the the initial feedback that I've gotten both on the on the book and on the cards has been encouraging, but on a small scale, as I've done workshops, and clinics and the online demonstration, so I keep trying to find more ways to bring that out into, out into the world as well.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

So that's like a, that's really a marketing endeavor. And so really is, is yet to getting your work made.

Charlie Gilbert:

Yes, so much of what I'm doing now seems to be revolve around around marketing ideas that I have, and, and trying to get the attention of ever, like waving my arms during the social media version of waving my arms to try and get people's attention and say, hey, check, check this out. If you really, if you could give me a minute, you would probably really find this exciting or useful or interesting. And finding that, as you know, the world is a noisy place, and everybody's distracted by a million different things. And so getting that message to the world is, is a challenging endeavor.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

And that's a great segue to a question that I have, which is, you know, doing great work is, is also just a challenging endeavor. And this is one of the reasons why right? So you have, at least in your case, you create something and you want the world to receive it. And you have to make them even know that it exists in order for them to receive it. Well. I'm curious, what are the other this? Maybe just talk about this one or others? Like, what are those struggles or challenges that you found? When you've accomplished so much? What advice can you give to the rest of us about doing great work and staying in it even when it's hard and returning to it? How, how can we do that?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, that's a question that I think I'm asking myself daily, some of it is, is persistence and stamina, just kind of going back to it again, and again. And again, and, and not giving up or not abandoning things entirely. So to keep to keep going. That's I mean, that's, that's one of the things that I've, that I've found or learned. And luckily I've had, although I haven't haven't had one blockbuster, if financial success or recognition, I've gotten encouragement. Luckily, starting starting right on the home front, my wife is very encouraging of it has always been a very of what I do. My colleagues, my close, close friends, I'm very lucky that way. So to surround to be able to surround myself with people who are encouraging, that's all that's also I think, a big part of being able to keep being able to persist being able to get up and do it again the next day. And I think you talk about it a little bit in the great workbook as well as just get up in the morning and it's still there's still there. Air in my belly is still there to do that. And for whatever reason, nothing's Nothing has happened to us really extinguished that. Yeah. Okay, you know, you don't have to worry about that anymore. I don't know why that is, but I feel lucky that that's there because that gives meaning to England as I look ahead to my, my 70s or my 80s. Like, what am I going to do with myself, there's no shortage of meaningful things for me to do, even if nobody else pays attention to it, you know? Or, you know, it's limited sorts of ways I'm finding different ways to do that. I just, I wrote a bunch of scripts for a website that presents musical theater, educational materials, you know, I've done done this project with the enchantment now for the for the Philadelphia Orchestra using music of Edvard Grieg's just odd things come along. And, and, and I can say yes to them, because I don't necessarily need to make a bunch of money and support my family and, and, you know, get my kids through college, which was good. That was the big challenge of my 40s and 50s. That I don't face now.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Yeah, right. Well, that's a really interesting point. So and, and in doing those things, how does it make you feel? Really, what I'm asking is, what's the joy in this for you?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, the joy certainly is in those individual moments of creation, where you'd like, get something on the page, or you write something down or record something or share something, you know, and you look at it and you say, Hey, I think that I think that's good. And then somebody comes back to me and says, Yes, like, I just, I just shipped off these five scripts to England, and you know, and the email came back, oh, your work was brilliant, and you were so easy to work with. And you really, obviously, are a master of your subject matter. And we'd love to work with you again. And so that, so the joy is partly in looking at a job well done, and partly and getting the confirmation affirmation from others. Yes, yes, it is good.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Yeah, that's great. Well, I would like to know from my own self, but in you may not have the answer to this. But if you do, what can we do? All of us? The many, you know, hundreds of us listening to this episode right now, what can we do to support your work? How can we help you? How can we wave our arms on your behalf? Like, what can we do? And how can we learn more about you?

Charlie Gilbert:

Well, I've certainly built some some things on on the internet, wherever you can learn more and find out about these things. I have an artistic website, which is Chaz gilbert.com, where you can look at my work, read more about my story and my artistic work and savvy singing actor.com, which is the site that I did, which is really about poor people who, who are training to perform in musical theater as well as teachers, and coaches, who work with them. I think that I'm really finding that in particular, there's a generation of teachers and coaches who are really responding to what I have to offer, because they're looking for ways to teach this material in the classroom. So that, you know, certainly to check those those things out. And for people who want to make more of a deeper dive the the savvy book, the savvy singing actor is available there on on the website, but also on Amazon, and all the other digital places where where you find books. And you can check that out and learn more about that. I've got work that is being performed this spring, you mentioned in the bio, but the chairman is back on tour this spring doing Harold and the Purple Crayon. So there are places all over the US where people have an opportunity to, to hear that music and see that work and and then I have a mailing list where I'm talking to people who are in that in that circle of interested people about what I've got going on so you can reach out through through the website. Yes.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

And if it doesn't yet, is there a touring page on the Chapman Theatre Company website that we can link to in case people want to see Harold and the Purple Crayon? You can

Charlie Gilbert:

get it there is there isn't? I'll make sure that that you've got that to put in the notes for this episode. Okay, that's

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

great. Thank you. Well, I just want to thank you so much for your time. This has been so interesting, and I can't wait to see what you do next.

Charlie Gilbert:

Well thank you for your for your questions and for your interest. I'd love talking to you about this. And this has been great, great fun. Thank you, Amanda.

Dr. Amanda Crowell:

Thank you.


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