Dramatists Guild Fund

Meet the Fellows: Dana Levinson, Composer, Arranger & Orchestrator

Credits Include: Music and Lyrics: 5th Republic (NYMF 2011 under the title Les Enfants de Paris), Jarreau’s (NYMF Developmental Reading 2012 under the title MADAME), Báthory. Arranging and Orchestration: Gypsy of the Year: Avenue Q Presentation (Minskoff Theatre, Broadway), Joanna Gleason (Provincetown Art House), Well Strung (various), LUDO’s Broken Bride (various), upcoming: San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Film Scoring: The Waystation in the Stars (dir. Brandon Morrissey), Monica’s Mixing Bowl (dir. Jesse Averna, prod. Stacey Weingarten and Monica Willey). Dana is a graduate of The New School. She also studies Oud and Arab music with the conductor of the New York Arabic Orchestra, Bassam Saba.

Dana Levinson

Dana Levinson

  • Who do you look to for inspiration?

I am a huge fan of Michael John LaChiusa. I love stuff that straddles that border between opera and musical theatre. LaChiusa does it with such flair, and his storytelling is so clear. Sometimes when I’m alone in my car I blast the finale to Marie Christine and play air-Timpani with it… and also get stared at by people in neighboring cars who think that I’m crazy. I am also hugely inspired by Kander and Ebb. I tend to gravitate towards stories that are slightly political in nature. This is because I’m a huge believer that art is one of the best ways to build bridges between people. Kander and Ebb, from Cabaret, to Chicago, to Scottsboro Boys, have proven that they are masters at musicalizing political stories in such a way that doesn’t alienate the audience, but rather, pulls them in via their well drawn characters.

  •      What is the one thing you hope to accomplish this year?

I hope to get a script and score finished for my show 5th Republic (written with my writing partner/DG Fellow, Stacey Weingarten), that we are happy with, that’s saleable, and has something to say. I also hope to make some lifelong friends! Everyone in this group is so talented and smart.

  •      What’s the best (or worst) job not related to your career you ever had?

This is tough! I worked at Starbucks from when I was sixteen to when I was twenty-two. First I worked at one out on Long Island, and then I worked at the one in Worldwide Plaza. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily the worst job ever, but the clientele were not always the nicest people on the face of the planet. Though I still remember once Nancy Opel came in, and she was the sweetest!

  •      Where would you rather be if you couldn’t be here doing this?

In school I actually studied Global Studies with a Middle East focus. So I’d probably be in grad school for International Law and I’d eventually be going into the diplomacy field.

  •      When did you decide you were going to take over the universe?

It was a balmy September evening in 1988; the 27th to be exact. Unemployment was 5.5%, a gallon of gas was $1.08, and Ronald Reagan was negotiating the “START” treaty with the Soviet Union. At exactly 7:32 PM, a baby was born. That baby said: “screw that Reagan dude ruling the U.S., I’m gonna take over the entire universe”! Alas, it has been a long hard slog, but I’m finally close to taking over the Gallactic Federation, and then, onto Gallifrey! The Daleks ain’t got nothing on me.

  •      Why would you ever stop writing, if you ever stopped writing?

I can’t imagine not writing! Even if I ever moved onto a different career path I’m sure I would still write in my spare time.

Bonus Question: How do you measure, measure a year?

DEFINITELY in cups of coffee. I’m a caffeine addict.

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2014 by in DGFellows, Meet the Fellows and tagged , .
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