Behind 13-Year-Old Joshua Turchin's Writing Process on The Perfect Fit the Musical

Special Features   Behind 13-Year-Old Joshua Turchin's Writing Process on The Perfect Fit the Musical
 
An EP, recorded entirely during quarantine and starring Laura Benanti and Nikki Renée Daniels, is now available for digital download.
Joshua Turchin
Joshua Turchin

One of the youngest composers to release a musical recording on a major record label and the first musical theatre recording to be completely recorded remotely, 13-year-old Joshua Turchin breaks down the songs in the highly anticipated The Perfect Fit The Musical Remote EP on Broadway Records!

The Perfect Fit The Musical continues its path to Broadway with the release of its remote EP of six songs from the critically acclaimed musical on Broadway Records. The EP was recorded by a star-studded cast of actors and musicians entirely in quarantine, with each track recorded independently. Featuring a score by 13-year-old Joshua Turchin (written when he was between the ages of 10 and 12), The Perfect Fit the Musical was slated for a full cast album following an award-winning debut at Tony Award-winning producer Ken Davenport's Rave Theater Festival—but then COVID-19 struck.

Determined to continue creating theater and opportunities for other actors and musicians, Turchin co-arranged the songs with Dan Garmon (Cruel Intentions, A Charlie Brown Christmas), who also acted as music supervisor and orchestrator. The Perfect Fit the Musical follows teenage performers hoping to avoid the dreaded theatrical dead zone as they navigate stage parents, dance classes, and auditions, while trying to find their perfect fit. As The New York Times said, "Joshua Turchin proves his worth as a composer, actor and book writer, delivering a richly layered show about the lives and loves of showbiz preadolescents."

Turchin is also an accomplished actor, having appeared in Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation, The Pill, The Little Mermaid Live-To-Film at The Hollywood Bowl, A Christmas Story the Musical national tour, multiple industry developmental works and recordings, animated works, iHeartRadio and most recently was in rehearsal for Trevor the Musical when COVID-19 paused rehearsal.

The cast album of The Perfect Fit the Musical is now available on Amazon Music, iTunes, and Apple Music.

"I wrote this show to give teens a voice in the theater community. I kept hearing about the dreaded 'dead zone' where young actors would be too old to play a child and too young to play an adult...so I decided to write a show about it," said Turchin. "Theater should be inclusive, where size, shape, orientation, race and ethnicity should not define who can perform."

Tony winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, She Loves Me) and Nikki Renée Daniels (Company, Hamilton) star in the concept EP, along with Turchin, Carly Gendell (School of Rock), Grace DeAmicis (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Ellie Kim (School of Rock), Swayam Bhatia (Disney+'s The Mighty Ducks, Really Rosie), Lily Brooks O'Briant (Matilda), Luke Islam (Disney+'s The Mighty Ducks, America’s Got Talent), Audrey Bennett (Frozen), and Fabi Aguirre (On Your Feet). The EP features music supervision, arrangements, orchestrations, mixing, and mastering by Dan Garmon (Cruel Intentions, A Charlie Brown Christmas), vocal direction by Turchin, with additional mixing and mastering by Michael J. Moritz, Jr. The band features Garmon on keyboard and drums, Turchin on keyboard, Tomoko Akaboshi on violin and viola, Ansel Cohen on cello, David Kawamura on guitar, and Julia Adamy on bass. Casting is by Mungioli Theatricals, LLC.

Turchin recently shared background of the score, including the addition of songs written after the developmental production at Rave Theater Festival, what inspired the songs, and more. Read his track-by-track breakdown below!

"Tonys Are My Super Bowl"
Jake is one of the protagonists in the musical. He is a socially awkward musical genius whose family recently moved to the city. His fun-loving, supportive sister makes him go to dance class to assimilate with other kids, though Jake would rather stay home alone. During his first dance class, he meets Alexandra, an attractive young teen. As the two talk, Alexandra asks Jake if he is a dancer. This song is an inner monologue where we learn about Jake's past, including his horrible experience playing soccer, hitting his eye trying to do karate, and being bullied. In a sense, these feelings of not fitting in are emotions that many of us experience in some capacity throughout our lives. At this point in the show, Jake is still trying to impress everyone and fit into the stereotypical societal role of a teenage boy. Of all of the songs in the show, I think this one is most inspired by my own personal experience. You should have seen me on the soccer field when I was 6 helping out the opposing team!

"Fades Away"
The first time I heard this song sung by the adults in our first rehearsal, everyone was crying, including me! It's a ballad about diametrically opposed parents, Annie (Alexandra and Rachel's mother) and Peggy (Elizabeth's mother), who come to the realization that their children are growing up and becoming independent individuals. One wants her child to succeed and thrive, while the other tries to come to terms with the fact that her own dreams may be shattered as she tries to support her daughter's independence. This is a really emotional part of the show. I remember being on stage every night during the developmental production at Rave Theater Festival and I could see so many adults in the audience crying and wiping their eyes. It's like they were reliving some of their own childhood feelings, or thinking about their own children growing up so fast. You are in for such an emotional ride with Laura Benanti playing Peggy and Nikki Renee Daniels playing Annie. My favorite moment in the song has to be their gorgeous harmonies! It’s a true testament to their incredible craft being able to harmonize while recording remotely. When observing stage parents with their children at auditions, some children wanted to be there, while others seemed to be there because they were living out their parents’ dreams. The dichotomy between the two groups inspired this song.

"Stuck In Your Shadow"
I wrote this song after the Rave Theater Festival production to give Jake's sister Callie more of an arc, so this is the first time many people will ever hear this song. It's Callie's "I want" song where she is fed up living in her brother's shadow, as her parents' focus was always on Jake and his music. So many siblings often feel isolated or pushed away when one child seemingly achieves more than the other. Callie wants to find her own perfect fit and her voice to be heard. It's like a breaking free song. In the original production, we had a scene where Rachel, Alexandra's younger sister and Callie's best friend, and Callie were checking in on their siblings who were in a darker place. While Rachel continues to be cheerful, Callie is emotionally tired of being pushed aside or having to always help Jake, and I thought this would be a good contrast of emotions. My relationship with my sister, who I love very much, inspired me to write this song. My sister, like Callie, is younger, but always looks out for me. My favorite moment in the song is the key change because it reflects the change in the tone of Callie’s lyrics. She becomes more defiant. My favorite lyric is “breaking out and finally free now I’ll make sure that you can see that” because she finally has the confidence to not only stick up for herself, but to realize the person who she wants to become.

"Person Who's Not Even There"
This has to be one of my favorite group numbers in the show. It is a great, new teen anthem of feeling misunderstood and frustrated. There is a part of the show where Elizabeth hits her breaking point with her mother. After constantly being at the receiving end of her mom's constant pressure and orders, Elizabeth screams at her mom in front of all of the stage parents and kids outside of dance class. The room becomes eerily silent, until Elizabeth finally gets the courage to tell her mom how she feels and begins to sing this song. She is joined by a chorus of other teens who are inspired to stand up to their own parents. I wrote this as a reminder to parents that kids also have feelings. Parents can put a lot of pressure on kids to live out their own dreams, or to create unnecessary competition, when some kids just want to have fun. They should still see us as people who have our own hobbies or loves, and should be open to letting us find our own fit and path in life.

"Time"
Alexandra's sister Rachel is our comedic relief throughout the show. She is a budding songwriter who can never seem to find the right words. Rachel takes Jake up on his offer to teach her musical theatre writing. This song comes as their lesson builds and Jake teaches her, as the title says, that sometimes things just take time to find your fit. It's one of the more beautiful songs I wrote for the show. I loved writing the three part harmonies, and adding Callie into the scene since she's Rachel's best friend and always seems to bother her brother when he's working on his music.

"Requiem For Tomorrow"
I wanted to bring a fun ukulele song into the show and other instruments to build on Jake's quirkiness. Alexandra takes Jake up on his offer to hang out in his apartment after dance class. She presses Jake to play some of his original music, which Jake never shared outside of his family before. Jake, in all of his awkward glory, tries to impress her. Jake asks Alexandra to try and sing along as the two bond over his music, and a duet ensues. I actually wanted to have an accordion in this song, which is one of the instruments I play, but we had no place to store it at the theatre. So, I started the song on ukulele then picked up a melodica to play throughout the song as I danced around. My favorite lyric in this song is, “I want to change how my story ends.” I feel that it’s a lyric of strength and empowerment.

Thanks for reading about the songs included in The Perfect Fit the Musical! I hope that you enjoy the music as much as I enjoyed writing and performing it! Please follow my journey (@joshuaturchin), and The Perfect Fit's journey (@theperfectfitmusical and ThePerfectFitmusical.com) as we continue to navigate developing musical theatre during these days of COVID-19 and beyond. Stay tuned, as this is just the beginning of finding our perfect fit in the world of the arts!

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