Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler
A StageMama Interview
The second thought I had after I decided I indeed wanted to start this website was that IÂ had to be a vocal andÂ enthusiastic champion for my favorite songwriting team Zina Goldrich (composer) and Marcy Heisler (book and lyrics).Â They are so talented, so endearing and so funny I want everyone of youÂ to know and celebrate them as I do.Â
I’ve combed my foggy, sleep-deprived memory and still can’t quite pinpoint the first timeÂ I met them, but suffice it to say it was a long time ago.Â I’ll settle on 1998Â at a nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen NYC.Â Or maybe it was the Village?Â Anyway.Â My musical life has never been the same.Â It’s a rarefied place on earth for those that make us fall in love over and over again with music.Â MarcyÂ and Zina do that.Â
They truly made their mark on the industry when Kristin Chenoweth discovered their song “Taylor The Latte Boy” and promptly sang it everywhere she could — from “The Today Show” to Carnegie Hall to The White House.Â Their songs are rich in humor, with deft and empathic insight into modern love and Goldrich’s music is instantly hummable and addictive. C’mon.Â Marcy even figured out how write a kickin’ love song that rhymes quesadilla with IKEA in “There’s Nothing I Wouldn’t Do”!
They are a huge part of family life and you may not even know it.Â If any of the following sound familiar to you, you know their work.Â Â Seperately and together, theyÂ have contributed to:Â Disney’s “Johnny and the Sprites”,Â Nickelodeon’s “Wonder Pets”,Â BBC’s “Third and Bird”, Disney Theatrical”s “101 Dalmations”, “Cinderalla” and “Sleeping Beauty.”Â Their original musicals for family audiences includeÂ ”Dear Edwina” (I dare you to find an Elementary School in your town that hasn’t done this wonderful show!) and the musical version of the hit children’s book seriesÂ ”Junie B. Jones”, a show that nabbed the team LucilleÂ Lortel and Drama Desk Award nominations.Â Â Both of these shows have had multiple runs Off-Broadway.Â
So with eleven years behind us, here’s what my inquiring mind wanted to know.
What is your first childhood memory of falling in love with the theatre and musical theatre in particular?
MARCY:Â When I was about 2 or 3, my older sister and I would put on Mama Cassâ€™s album and would dance around the living room to â€œMake Your Own Kind of Music.â€Â Itâ€™s a dance I do to this day, and where you could say I first developed the â€œbug.â€Â My friends and I used to put on shows in our backyards, and I made the transition to stage in a bicentennial revue in 1976.Â Iâ€™ve been pretty much hooked since then.Â Theatre and music are not just influences in my life, I would have to say they have defined the course of it.Â
ZINA: My folks always used to take us to the movies â€“ and by movies I mean, â€œSinginâ€™ In The Rainâ€ â€œAmerican in Paris,â€Â â€œFunny Faceâ€ etc.Â I would come home and take out my umbrella and do Gene Kellyâ€™s famous dance on my driveway.Â I loved music and dance â€“ and I always felt so special when they would take me to a Broadway musical.Â There was never a day that I didnâ€™t think that Iâ€™d end up in musical theatre somehow.
How did you find one another?
MARCY:Â Zina and I met in the BMI musical theatre workshop in the early nineties.Â I was in my third year of the class, and Zina was living in LA at the time and had come to visit.Â Dare I say it, we complimented each otherâ€™s outfits.Â We became fast friends and decided to collaborate about a year later.Â We have been collaborating now for about 17 years.Â
â€œDear Edwinaâ€ and â€œJunie B. Jonesâ€ are arguably your most well known collaborations.Â How do you feel about the importance of exposingÂ audiences to the magic of live theatre?
MARCY:Â There are so many things that happen as we grow up that make us hesitate, that make us wonder what we should do, and wonder what people think. Stepping into the magic of a different character can often make you find your own voice and break your own boundaries.Â I love that, and I think itâ€™s particularly important at a young stage of life.Â Â In both “Dear Edwina” and “Junie B. Jones”, the lead characters donâ€™t only have a series of adventures and relationships, they discover their own talents, and use them.Â Edwina discovers her love of putting on shows, and Junie B awakens the writer inside her.Â Both things are directly important to me, but the message of turning oneâ€™s talents and joys into action â€“ whatever they might be –Â is my mission statement.
ZINA:Â I love when friends call me up and leave messages of their 2 year old singing â€œPaw Paw Michiganâ€ or whichever song has taken over their household.Â Itâ€™s wonderful, because those songs really stay with you as part of your childhood â€“ and when you hear them as adults, it brings you back.
Who are your most important influences?Â Where do you find â€œSweet Inspirationâ€?
MARCY: Because I was a child in the late seventies, I am always drawn to that periodâ€™s great sound and great storytelling, and willingness to be silly as well.Â As far as musical theatre goes, I was very influenced by the storytelling aspects of “A Chorus Line”, the Broadway/Hollywood paintbrush of â€œThatâ€™s Entertainmentâ€, and the musicals I saw as a child with my parents and grandparents at the big Shubert Theatre in Chicago such as the “Wiz”, “Evita”, and “Theyâ€™re Playing Our Song”.Â I was also a huge fan of Steve Martinâ€™s comedy records.Â Â I didnâ€™t get to see Broadway until college, smack in the middle of the “Phantom” and “Les Miz” era.Â I was most inspired, however, by the actors and directors I tangibly learned from in all the productions I performed in as a child.Â
ZINA: Rodgers, Gershwin, Loesser, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonderâ€¦. woah, did I make a left turn?Â You bet I did.Â I listened to everything, including classical.Â You never know whatâ€™s going to hit you.Â Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to keep your ears open at all times.
Coming Up, Part 2:Â
Zina and Marcy share news on the future and insight into what it takes to raise (possibly) talented kids. Also, yes.Â Another StageMama.com giveaway!
To purchase sheet music, CDs and spend some time in Marcy and Zina land, please visit WWW.MARCYANDZINA.COM.Â You can also find them on ITunes, Amazon.com andÂ possibly sipping Sangria somewhere in Manhattan.