Welcome back to the Playbill Studio for the latest episode of the Playbill Songwriter Series: February's songwriters are the dynamic duo of Amanda D'Archangelis and Sami Horneff, whose contemporary musicals are making waves for their fiercely free female leading characters.
D'Archangelis and Horneff's musical The Radium Girls was a 2022 NAMT semi-finalist and a five-time winner at The 2021 National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Written alongside co-lyricist and bookwriter Lisa Mongillo, the musical, which centers on the young factory workers who were poisoned with radiation while painting luminous watch faces, received an industry reading directed by Marissa Jaret Winokur and starring Tony Nominees Andy Karl and Orfeh in late 2023 as the latest stop in the show's journey to big time.
From The Radium Girls, D'Archangelis and Horneff presented two songs: the show's opening number "Glow," featuring Cara Rose DiPietro, Katie Emerson, and Francesca Ferrari; and "Start a Fire," wherein protagonist Olive (Keirsten Nicole Hodgens) learns the horrifying secret behind the strange events and illnesses plaguing the factory.
The Radium Girls is hardly D'Archangelis and Horneff's only iron in the fire, however. The duo also presented songs from their original musical Single Rider, which sees a troubled English teen and an Amish girl on the first day of her Rumspringa connect over the course of a day at the Lucky Land carnival.
The first song from Single Rider, "Weightless," sees Shane (Daniel J. Maldonado) open up to Abigail (D'Archangelis) about his non-traditional family dynamic and lifelong dream. The second, "Life in Color," peels back Abigail's shy exterior to reveal her craving for a colorful life, in spite of the culture in which she was raised.
For their four songs, D'Archangelis, Horneff, and the performing vocalists were joined by Jonathan Bauerfeld on piano and Jared Decker on cajon.
Composer D'Archangelis and lyricst Horneff met in the world-renowned BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. In addition to The Radium Girls and Single Rider, their previous musicals include Coming Attraction and The Break, with two new shows on the horizon: Bandit Queen, which explores the life of Pearl Hart, the Wild West's most notorious female bandit; and Pandora in Blue Jeans, a musical expose of the controversial author Grace Metalious, whose novel Peyton Place is one of the best-selling works in publishing history.