Subscribe to The Brown Daily Herald Newsletter

Sign up for The Brown Daily Herald’s daily newsletter to stay up to date with what is happening at Brown and on College Hill no matter where you are right now!

Subscribe

Arts & Culture

U. alums to produce, star in collection of short musicals ‘Together Apart’

Josh Hamilton ’91, Julie Bowen ’91, JoBeth Williams ’70 to star in production premiering May 27

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

“Together Apart,” a series of seven 10-minute musicals written, composed, directed by and starring University alums, will premiere on May 27 at 8:30 p.m. EDT. The performance will be broadcasted over Zoom and will be available for viewing for the entire weekend through May 30. 

All proceeds raised from the event will benefit The Actors Fund, “an organization that provides emergency financial assistance to members of the entertainment community,” according to the musical’s press release

In August 2020, dozens of University musical theater alums gathered around their laptops, tablets and phones for a Zoom reunion including graduates from the early ’80s through the late ’90s. The call, which began with everyone sharing their kids’ ages and current occupations, quickly turned into everyone sharing memories from their time on College Hill. 

In this moment of reconnection, Lisa Loeb ’90, a Grammy Award winner and the creator of the production, thought that the group of people would make for a perfect musical. 

“Because the people on the musical theater Zoom reunion were so animated … I thought, ‘This is a musical. This would be hilarious,’” said Loeb. 

Loeb wanted to create a musical that was meant pointedly for Zoom rather than a play for the stage. She shared her idea with those on the call, and about eighteen agreed. After a word-of-mouth search for more people to join the production, over 100 University alums contributed to the performance. 

Through initial meetings and collaborations with fellow alums, “Together Apart” was formulated as a series of short musicals, highlighting stories of the collaborators’ unique experiences throughout quarantine, with anecdotes spanning from March 13 to Nov. 2, 2020. 

Each musical is directed, written, composed and acted by University alums. The short musicals include tales about distance learning, friendship and connection, family game nights and even online dating. 

“The process has been so rewarding … It’s not about just grabbing the golden ring, it’s all about the process,” said Loeb. “The process of being able to tell a story and connecting and doing something that’s so out of the realm of our daily lives, even (for) those of us who do this professionally.” 

Although some of the collaborators on “Together Apart” include recent graduates, there are alums from as far back as the class of ’69. And, while some participants work in the entertainment industry, many have not performed musical theater since their time at the University and are now working as professors, doctors and high school teachers. 

Notable alums starring in this project include Josh Hamilton ’91 of “13 Reasons Why” and “Eighth Grade,” Julie Bowen ’91 of “Modern Family” and JoBeth Williams ’70, known for her role as Diane Freeling in “Poltergeist.” 

There were challenges in scheduling meetings due to differing time zones and difficult work schedules, said Beth Wishnie ’89, a producer of “Together Apart.” 

“The most difficult thing was everyone has a different life, a different experience and a different place, and only has a few minutes in certain time zones where people can work together … People did it but it was rough. It meant staying up late and waking up early,” Wishnie said. 

In the future, Loeb and Wishnie hope to produce more projects honoring or benefiting Brown. 

“Our hope is that, if this works, we do want to think about the future of this idea and giving back to Brown, specifically in the arts and theater,” said Wishnie. “Besides the art, we care about Brown. Every single person who is here feels like we connect so much because of our experience at Brown.”

To stay up-to-date, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*