Ted Sod, Education Dramaturg, interviewed Rupert Holmes to talk to him about his work on The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
TS: Where are you from?
RH: Well, that’s a bit tricky. Most of my youth was spent in and about the endearing Hudson River village of Nyack, New York, where I went to school and dreamed all my earliest dreams. I consider it to be my home town. But I was born in the county of Cheshire, England, the son of an American military band leader stationed overseas and the lovely and literate English girl he married, and so my memories during my first four years are of the hauntingly smoky factory town of Northwich about twenty-five miles outside of Manchester, fish markets in the street and purring green double-decker buses. The influence of my British mother, grandmother and my English family has never left me. However, I am very much an American, both by persuasion and passport, and have always lived no more than an hour from midtown Manhattan.
TS: Where were you educated?
RH: First in the Nyack Public School system, where I played the sax and sang in my band The Nomads, for whom I started writing songs because we didn’t know enough chords to play other people’s songs. It was also where my first play premiered, a one-act entitled Countdown for George, performed by my fellow seniors…a life-changing experience.
After high school, I went to Crouse College of Music at Syracuse University for my freshman year, then transferred to the Manhattan School of Music, where I also changed my major from clarinet to music theory. At both schools, I found myself just as interested in studying drama as composition. While still at MSM, I started arranging pop recording sessions for groups like the Drifters and the Platters, and from then on my education came largely from on-the-job training. Sometimes I even got paid.
TS: When did you decide to write music and lyrics?
RH: By the time I was fifteen, I longed to be both a composer and a writer, preferably in some populist form. It eventually dawned on me that writing story songs might be an achievable first step. My lyrics could serve as narrative or character study, while my music and arrangements could carry or underscore my story. It wasn’t theatre, but each song could at least feel to me like a short musical scene or monologue.... Read More →
Related Categories: 2012-2013 Season
, A Conversation with
, The Mystery of Edwin Drood