BuLliEs is a new American musical with songs written by veteran composer/singer/songwriter Brock Walsh and book by Chicago playwright, Reina Hardy. Set in a present day high school, it has sparked dialogue on campuses with its hard-hitting examination of bullying and its amazing array of songs.
Brock Walsh Notes
I came to write BuLliEs while at a professional crossroads. After a thirty year career as a songwriter in Los Angeles, I had grown more aware of the limitations of a three minute song to convey the ideas I wanted to express. At the same time, out of the near constant barrage of teenage suicides brought on by bullying, came news of the death of a bright and talented 13 year-old girl in MN who had withstood months of abuse at her middle school. Despite the knowledge of school administrators and family, she ended up another grim statistic. Wanting to address this persistent cruelty, I reached out to Dr. Steven McCarthy, Senior Arts Coordinator for LAUSD, and offered my services to create a musical in a classroom. Over nine months, I worked, in conjunction with drama teacher Russell Copley, at an Eagle Rock middle school, and created BuLliEs.
With Reina Hardy having come aboard, the characters have come into sharper focus giving the songs more dramatic heft. I'm lucky to have her.
One question persisted through all our conversations, improvs, and classes: what, if anything, can actually be done to reduce bullying? However modest the contribution, I can say that the conclusions drawn here were come by honestly. The students with whom I worked, for all their kindness, talent, and enduring patience, were brutally frank. They had to be. They’re experts on the subject. During the writing of BuLLIEs in school year of 2012, there were multiple suicides of American students that saddened us and deepened our debate. Sadly, they continue unabated.
I’m grateful to Eagle Rock Middle School, Russell Copley, Hardin-Simmons College and director, Barry Smoot, for staging BuLliEs. My hope is to launch additional productions in middle schools and high schools nationwide. We are also seeking a partner to bring BuLliEs to television.
While I have no illusions of ridding the world of the scourge of student-on-student abuse, I know that only through constant vigilance and education can we have any hope of collectively reducing it. And one thing I know to be true: there’s no more effective messenger than music.
Brock Walsh Biography
Brock Walsh has been writing songs and producing them for some of the world's most prestigious artists since graduating from Harvard University. His more recent records include recordings by such artists as Christina Aguilerra, Marc Anthony, Celine Dion, and Aretha Franklin. He began his professional life as a musician and back-up singer working for Linda Rondstadt, Karla Bonoff, Jennifer Warnes, and Andrew Gold, with whom he produced such hits as Lonely Boy and Thank You For Being A Friend. His Automatic (Pointer Sisters), which he co-produced with Richard Perry, attracted the attention of Quincy Jones. As a staff producer for Quincy's production company, he learned the crafts of writing, arranging, and stylish production from one of music's living legends. Since that time, he has diversified his work into many international arenas, having written lyrics for more than forty tunes with Brazilian greats Ivan Lins, Djavan, and Milton Nasciemento. He co-wrote Carry The Flame, the featured song of the 2002 winter Olympics. In Asia, Walsh has composed the music for over fifty records. There are few more dedicated songwriters in today's film and television business. He has shown his versatility acting as occasional lyricist for the late James Horner [Twilight & Mist from the film Legends of the Fall and Garden Of Magic from the film Hocus Pocus]. John Q, starring Denzel Washington, features as its end-title song his The Voice Inside My Heart sung by Patti Labelle. His first stage musical was Voyage Of The Ghost Ship produced by Disney Theatricals for whom he also wrote the story and song score for Rapunzel. He also wrote the songs for two not-yet-produced shows: Save the Last Dance, The Broadway Musical and Jailhouse Rock, The Broadway Musical (book by Dick Clement and Ian Le Franais).
Reina Hardy Biography
Reina Hardy is a playwright from Chicago. Her plays, which usually contain magic and sometimes contain science, have been produced in Chicago, NYC, Austin and DC. They include “Glassheart” (Rorsharch Theater and the Shrewds), “Changelings”, (The Vortex), “A Map to Somewhere Else” (Everyday Inferno, NYC) and “Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven (KCACTF TYA Prize.) Honors include: Michener Fellowship, National New Play Network New Play Showcase, Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop, Interact 20/20 Commission, 2015-16 Pipeline Playlab, Jerome Fellowship Finalist, Collider Commission, Terrence Mcnally Prize finalist, GPTC Holland New Voices Award, KCACTF Mark Twain Prize Runner up. Publications include: “Best American Short Plays, 2012-2013,” and “Best Scenes for Two Actors,” Applause, “Best Stage Monologs for Men,” “60 Seconds to Shine,” and the upcoming “105 5-Minute Plays for Study and Performance,” from Smith and Kraus. She is currently developing “Fanatical: The Musical” with the Stable in the U.K. for a 2018 production.
For more information: reinahardy.com