“Tuck Everlasting” composers visit the cast of the spring musical

Broadway composers Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen visited the Drama club and cast of “Tuck Everlasting” on Tuesday. Having written “Tuck Everlasting”, the musical duo had many insightful tips to give the cast and stories to tell about how the show came to be. They even revealed songs that almost made it into the final version, but got cut.

Miller and Tysen shared the story of how they met at NYU and the six year journey to make the Natalie Babbitt novel come alive onstage, including the twist of fate that landed them the job, and working with choreographers, book writers, and producers to give justice to the beloved children’s novel. The composers answered questions from the cast and shared how they keep up their creative process and avoid writer’s block.

“Treat it like a job: some days are easy and some days are hard,” Tysen said.

Photo courtesy of Danielle Fite
Seniors Jackie Meyer (Toad) and Danielle Fite (Adult Winnie), with Miller and Tysen.

After the question and answer portion, senior Madds Buckley preformed one of her own compositions for Miller and Tysen, and a few “Tuck Everlasting” cast members, Carina Kanzler, Wilke Macariola, Mike Bindeman, Bridey Costello, and Erin Lee, all sang one of their characters’ songs for Miller and Tysen to give feedback on.

“I thought that the advice and the perspectives they gave for my character (Mae)’s songs was incredibly interesting, especially when the lyricist, Nathan Tysen, told me about a third verse that had been cut by the producers but he really loved,” said senior Carina Kanzler, who plays Mae Tuck. “That verse really helped me to put into perspective the true meaning and message of the song, and knowing that I can alter my portrayal and bring across that message.”

Photo courtesy of Carina Kanzler
Senior Carina Kanzler with Miller and Tysen after performing “Beautiful Day” as her character Mae Tuck.

It was extremely helpful to hear the visions of the Broadway creators themselves, when most times high school directors and actors have to make a choice and take their own creative liberties. The advice definitely made positive changes to all three students’ performances.

“After suggestions from Miller and Tysen, I felt my performance improved,” said junior Wilke Macariola, playing Jesse Tuck. “I had a new take on the scene and the meaning behind what my characters objectives were and what he was trying to get.”

Photo courtesy of Regina Hughes
Regina Hughes (senior) and Mary Clare Hughes (sophomore) pose for a picture with the Broadway composers.

A common theme that the students found was the explanation of their character’s intention given to them to help improve their performance. Being the writers of both the lyrics and music in these songs, Miller and Tysen chose each word very specifically and with an intended purpose in mind, which they shared with each student what was going through their minds in order to help them.

“Miller and Tysen emphasized how important every single word was and that everything was very purposeful,” said junior Mike Bindeman, playing Angus Tuck. “For my character in particular, it was very useful to know the intention behind my song.”

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Rohn
Sophomore Sebastian Rohn, who plays Hugo in “Tuck Everlasting”, with the composers after the clinic.

After working with the composers and getting more insight on the show, the cast is eager to start rehearsals in February and further explore the enchanting tale of “Tuck Everlasting”. Along with the advice individual students were given to enhance their characters, the composers left an impact on the students about the creative process and how important it is to push forward when creating art, like the students will work to do this spring. 

“Get to the end, don’t waste any time,” Miller said. “You can take a step back, take a breath, and keep going”