Ken Howard Releases Transformative LGBT-themed Modern Musical “On the Boulevard”
Ken Howard has released a transformative, poignant and witty collection with his sprawling new LGBT-themed modern musical “On the Boulevard” Original Cast Concept Album, out now on streaming platforms. If it’s any wonder why Ken has crafted such a worthy tribute to classic musicals, it’s in his blood. After all, Ken Howard is the great-nephew of actress Esther Howard, prominent in Broadway musicals of the 1920’s such as “Sunny” (Kern), “Tell Me More” (Gershwin), and “The New Moon” (Romberg), and is the great-grandson of music director J. William Howard II (“My Marilyn,” “Blossom Time,” “The Student Prince”).
A massive undertaking, “On the Boulevard” Original Cast Concept Album features a substantial amount of collaborators and performers. Their personalities and spirits all coalesce to shape a production equally filled with playful social commentary (“Youth is Wasted on the Young”) and wanton love (“When I Becomes We”).
The modern musical “On the Boulevard” features original concept, music, and lyrics by Ken Howard. The Libretto is by Ken Howard and Malcolm Heenman. “On the Boulevard” was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” by Ken Howard. Musical direction of recordings by Stuart Wood and Michael Van Bodegom-Smith. The album was produced by Ken Howard.
“On the Boulevard” (formerly titled, “PygMALEon”) has been a labor of love since its inception in about 2015, when the proliferation of Hollywood superhero movies, combined with the pervasive notion that gay men in West Hollywood are too-often judged for their social status by way of the esthetics of their physique, reminded me of George Bernard Shaw’s social commentary and critique about social classes and the status of women in Edwardian London being judged by the manner of their speech in “Pygmalion” in 1914. Making this story, libretto, score, and concept album has only been possible through the talent, skill, commitment, perseverance, and boundless energies of so many, who have given so generously, who just wanted to help bring an original musical to life. This yet-another retelling of the transformative Cinderella story mixes the classic themes and styles of Broadway musicals of the past with the very current cultural context of today. I thank everyone involved for their inspiration and contributions in all aspects of theatre and music, who stand as living embodiments of their respective talents: Arrangers, orchestrators, and scorers Kristopher Gee, Stuart Wood, Alex Meade, Wayne Moore, Silvio Buchmeier, and (angel-on-earth) Michael Van Bodegom-Smith. Genius music recording studio engineers were Brandon Bustamante, Trevin Clay, Guy Baruch and everyone at Temple Base, and Chris McMasters of Crystal Digital Music and Mix Recording Studio.
The characters came to life in story and song through the early talents of Lloyd Gordon, Tracy Powell, David Pevsner, Jake Novak, Rickie Gole, Teresa DeGennaro, Austen Rey, Scotty-Miguel Sandoe, Max Herzfeld, Ronen Bay, Meghan Grinczel, Kim Carlson, Chris Etscheid, Steve Goodwillie, Alex Morales, Landon Stovall, and so many generous Company singers through various iterations of the score. None of this would be possible without them, and the generous contributions of Ryland Shelton, Gina Torrecilla, DeLandis McClam, Carol Barbee, Giancarlo Garritano, and the always-inspirational and limitless talents (and patience) of our breakout star, Michael D’Elia. The critiques, contributions, and moral support of generous friends such as (writer) Malcolm Heenman, (writer) Dan Kael, (super-fan) Carol Tyler, (director/choreographer) Tor Campbell, and most of all, (director) Rob Iscove helped at every step. Family and friends who listened to early songs, read various drafts, and guided the shape of the story’s evolution gave invaluable sustenance. And I wouldn’t have been able to do this at all without the extreme patience of my “when I becomes we” husband, Michael Ryan.
Special thanks to assistants Jenn Jones, Robert Decker, Lauren Sweetser, Kelly Shaw, and Alan Wethern; plus Erin Rae Miller, Screenland Studios, Musicalwriters.com, (producing consultant) Gabrieal Griego, (producing consultant) Laura Hill, Nerative.com, (videographer) Rob Watt, Stephen Schwartz and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop for inspiration and education, and to all the others who gave of their generous spirit to let the music play.
The “On The Boulevard” Concept Album was recorded at Temple Base Studios, Hollywood and Mix Recording Studios, Mid-Wilshire/LA, from July, 2015 to September, 2022. It awaits production of its first commercial theatrical staging.
Stream “On the Boulevard” Original Cast Concept Album on Spotify.
For more new music, read our feature on the Black Dog String Quartet.
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