The Phil Ramone Project is a special residency program where the legendary producer, Phil Ramone, works with students from across the entire Frost School of Music to create a brand new musical—from scratch! The residency concludes with a live reading of the new musical with orchestra. Students learn first-hand the steps that are involved in creating a musical from script to first reading, for presentation to theater producers.
LANZA!—The Mario Lanza Story is the title of the work being produced in 2010.
Phil Ramone recently secured the rights to create a musical and develop a script about the intriguing life of 1950s vocal megastar, Mario Lanza.
Originally titled “Be My Love,” it is now called LANZA!. The book is by Richard Vetere, commissioned by Phil Ramone and Sonny Grosso.
The story is intriguing. Mario Lanza was a huge star in the 1950s with a compulsive personality that proved to be his downfall. His mother thought he was the reincarnation of Caruso, so she had him singing “Nessun Dorma’ as an adolescent.The production uses Caruso as an apparition visible only to Lanza.The story highlights Lanza’s tussle with the Mob, and his eventual succumbing to his internal demons.
Students in the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music Program are composing the songs and Frost Studio Jazz Writing and Media Writing and Production students are writing the orchestrations. The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra will perform the score, while students in Musical Theatre and Opera will comprise the cast. Music Business and Arts Presenting students are overseeing all aspects of production and marketing. Music Engineering students are recording the cast album and designing high-tech elements to the live production such as electronic sets.
LANZA! will be presented at 8 PM on November 8 and 9, 2010 at UM Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, Florida. It will be performed as a “reading,” in concert form, with the orchestra on stage.