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By Brian Robin

Meet the Musical Creative Team

See Past Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical Stories Here

Each week, as part of our “Prelude to … Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, we will showcase past newsletter and blog stories chronicling elements from the centerpiece production to our 60th season. Should you miss a story, you can find them here, on the SCR Blog.

An incomparable, award-winning musical team has been assembled to help bring Craig Lucas’ long-awaited, world premiere of Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical to life for audiences.

Directed by SCR Artistic Director David Ivers and the centerpiece to SCR’s 60th season, Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical runs April 5-May 4 on the Segerstrom Stage. That all-star trio—Daniel Messé (music and lyrics), Sean Hartley (lyrics) and Greg Pliska (orchestration).

Messé and Lucas have made theatre magic together before. Along with co-lyricist Nathan Tysen, they collaborated on the musical adaptation of the French film Amélie, which debuted on Broadway in 2017.

Messé has written four musicals for TheatreWorks USA, collaborating with book author and lyricist Mindi Dickstein. As the founder and principal songwriter of the indie-folk band Hem, Messé scored the Public Theatre’s summer Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night.

Messé’s awards include a Kleban Prize for Lyrics, a Jonathan Larson Grant from the American Theatre Wing, the ASCAP/Frederick Loewe Ward and an E.Y. “Yip” Harburg Fellowship.

Hartley is the director of Theater@Kaufman, the musical theater division of the Kaufman Music Center in New York, where he is also Artistic Director of the Center’s resident theatre company, The Poppy Seed Players. At Kaufman, he curates, produces and hosts the concert series “Broadway Close Up” and “Broadway Playhouse.”

His musical theatre works include Cupid and Psyche, written with composer Jihwan Kim, produced off-Broadway in 2003. He received the Spirit Award for Best Book of a Musical for his work on Little Women, which went on to regional productions across the country. Hartley wrote the book, music and lyrics for Snow, which won the ASCAP Harold Arlen Award for Best New Musical.

Hartley’s other works include Number The Stars (adapted from a Lois Lowry Book), Sunshine (based on a Ludwig Bemelmans book) and Love and Real Estate with composer Sam Davis. His television works include writing several songs for the Disney Channel’s “The Book of Pooh” and “Bear in the Big Blue House.”

Pliska is an award-winning composer, conductor and orchestrator whose works span the production spectrum, from theatre to television to film. He was the music director for the Tony Award-winning play War Horse, which brought him a Web Award for Best Musical Direction of a Play. Pliska wrote and arranged music for the Broadway play Sylvia and Shakespeare in the Park productions of Twelfth NightComedy of Errors and As You Like It (co-composed with Steve Martin). His musical In a Lake of Fire won a Moss Hart Award and his other musicals include Tit Tales: A Body Politics Cabaret and orchestrating the off-Broadway musical Trevor and When We Met, both by composer Julianne Wick Davis.

Pliska’s recent orchestration works include new themes for NPR’s Morning Edition, the “CBS Evening News” and “Face the Nation,” along with the films The InfiltratorManhattan NightThe Little Rascals Save the DayThe Wildest Dream and the BAFTA-winning documentary Flying Monsters 3D.

A member of the Screen Scoring faculty at NYU, Pliska has also conducted off-Broadway and regionally. He is a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Manhattan School of Music and the national school reform initiative, Different Ways of Knowing. He is a Fellow at the Sundance Documentary Composers Lab.

About the author

South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory is a Tony Award-winning theatre is known for producing classics, contemporary hits and world premieres, for having the largest new-play development program in the nation and for advancing the art of theatre in service to the community. 

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