LEADER OF THE PACK
Music & Lyrics by Ellie Greenwich and friends, Linear notes by Anne Beatts, Additional Material by Jack Heifner, Based on an original concept by Melanie Mintz
Presented by the New Studio on Broadway at Tisch School of the Arts, April 2017
Ellie Greenwich is famous for writing pop songs in the early to mid-sixties that captured the voice and innocence of teenage love; “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Chapel of Love” are among her chart-toppers. However, her personal life doesn’t go hand in hand with her music, and this production highlighted that contrast in what is typically a slightly-autobiographical 60s review. Ellie's story starts out as the teenage dream; she married her writing partner at a young age and they were a very successful duo amongst the Brill Building writers. But they divorced five years later, Ellie’s parents died in succession, and her music style was eclipsed by the British invasion. As one of the first female music producers, Ellie also dealt with the challenges of being a woman in a leadership position. In an interview, Ellie said “Lord knows, if you go by my songs and the way my personal life has gone, you’d say ‘oh my, this lady was dreaming.’” When we listen to Ellie’s music we are transported to a feeling that we assume is universal. But by showing what Ellie was actually living through while penning these songs, our production challenged the assumptions that one’s personal experience is the same as our neighbors, and celebrated a woman who, through trepidation, discovered her own voice, and who made major contributions to the early world of girl-pop.
Photos by Sub/Urban Photography