A New Musical
It’s London in the 80s – the era of big hair, shoulder pads and, of course, “Top of the Pops”. Twelve-year-old Chloe is completely obsessed with the UK’s biggest pop star, Max Stone. Fast forward 35 years, and Chloe finds herself single. Then, by chance, she meets Max, and they fall madly in love.
But Chloe hides a dark secret about her part in the event that ruined Max’s career. She knows that if the truth comes out, the love she has always pined for will come to a crushing end.
‘The Fan’ is set in present-day with flashbacks to the 80s. The show taps into a collective nostalgia for those of us who experienced the 80s first-hand while offering a younger audience the novelty of experiencing an iconic era. But it’s the youthful experience of having an unattainable crush that speaks to all of us.
The song ‘Parallel Life’ from ‘The Fan’ was chosen as a finalist for The Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Award in November 2022.
Menopause The Musical
Single, A Play with Songs
Single was performed at the New York Musical Festival (NYMF) in 2016 and received wonderful reviews.
Songs from the show have also been performed in concert from in NYC at 54 Below and Soho House. Videos are on my youtube channel.
Single was set to play at The New Wolsey Theatre in the UK in 2020. It was sadly cancelled due to Covid-19.
Leah Levine seriously needs to get over her ex boyfriend. She is thirty-six years old and single. How did she get here?
At twenty, Leah began a career in pop music and had a huge hit song… but the record company told her they didn’t want her singing her own material and that she should lose some weight. Ouch!
Devastated, she developed crippling stage fright and gave up her music to study family law. She became a highly successful divorce attorney, protecting and shepherding women through contentious divorces but the process took its toll on Leah, and she become more and more suspicious of men.
Still… Leah longs for love, and music and so she writes. She writes searingly honest and quirky songs about her feelings and relationships that stir the soul.
As a lawyer, Leah can kick ass in court, but as a performer, she is not able to bring herself to sing her own songs in front of an audience.
Seeking help, she finds Gabriel Weston, her teen pop idol, a faded 90’s pop star with baggage and quirks of his own.
Will she love again? Will she perform?
Oscar E Moore
Write about what you know. Write about what you’ve experienced. Embellish to make it entertaining and enlightening. Karen Bishko has done just that in her new pop, soft rock-inspired musical “Therapy Rocks” and she has supplied the music and lyrics to some ironic, touching and memorable songs. The book has been crafted by Kaethe Fine, Nat Bennett and Karen Bishko. It has been brilliantly directed by Thomas Caruso aided with some fine choreography by Rachel Bress and excellent musical direction by Boko Suzuki.
It’s basically Ms Bishko’s story. Here she is Leah, played with extraordinary feeling by Rachel Stern who is a major discovery. Ms Stern is an attractive, smart and wonderfully talented actor. She brings an emotional wallop to her “romantic” character and we really care for her as she searches for “a happy ending” in her complicated life as songwriter and singer and her inability to have a stable relationship with a man. Any man. She seems to attract those that are unattainable or just not right for her and turns to cake for help.
And so her best friend Jess (Dee Roscioli) who is trying her best to get pregnant suggests she seek therapy in the guise of Gabriel (Josh Davis). Reluctant at first to go, she seems to connect with him, slowly beginning to understand why she still unable to stop thinking about Andy – her ex-boyfriend who she broke off with six years ago and has recently married. Beginning to understand what is it that is standing in her way of being happy.
Of course she falls for the married therapist. That’s part of her journey. How it all gets resolved is the joy that “Therapy Rocks” rocks brings to its audience.
Thomas Caruso has staged the show so that it flows seamlessly from location to location with a minimum of props, having the cast move a chair, or a scarf or a guitar that is almost dreamlike. His contribution alone makes the show worth seeing.
Then there are the songs. What a great score. Possibly some songs that could make it from the show and onto the charts. Character-driven, atmospheric and rousing every song serves the show’s intentions, leading up to the incredible finale, “Gonna Be”.
Allie Schulz as Beautiful Woman is indeed beautiful. Playing multiple roles she is also a fine actress with a great flair for comedy. Adam Halpin as Everyman is perfect as Andy and the other men in Leah’s life.
All in all “Therapy Rocks” should have a nice life in the future. Karen Bishko has realized her happy ending. At Urban Stages.
Shadows, A Dance Musical
Shadows was nominated by The New York Innovative Theatre Awards for Outstanding Original Music.
I wrote 10 songs for an original new musical Shadows, under the direction of Tony nominated choreographer/director Joey McKneely.
In December 2018, Shadows had a 3 week run Off Broadway at The Connelly Theatre starring Janine Divita, John Arthur Greene and former American Ballet prima, Irina Dvorovenko.
The Innovative Theatre Foundation – Interview
What first attracted you to this work?
Karen: I was attracted to this show because it’s a script about a passionate affair between two unhappily married people. I remember hearing an interview with Sting once where he talked about how love triangles are brilliant for songwriting. I thought I could get stuck into this.
What was your favorite part of working on Shadows…?
Karen: The people. What a wonderful team.
What was the most challenging aspect of this experience for you?
Karen: Being sent home to write a song overnight. There was a hole in the script, which I pointed out and then got nominated to fill. By then I knew the amazing actor and voice that I was writing it for (John Arthur Greene) so it was a different and better experience. Also rewarding because John loved the song when I took it to him the next day.
What do you think the funniest or most ironic part of the production for you?
Karen: Our dress rehearsal was a disaster. Everything went wrong. Ballerina Irina Dvorovenko, possibly the most graceful woman I’ve ever met, couldn’t shut the french doors on the set. She ended up slamming them so hard that the whole set nearly fell over. Randall David Cook (the book writer) and I nearly died laughing. I still laugh every time I think about it.
What was the best part of working with this company of artists?
Karen: No egos! Everyone was just a team.
Did you gain any insight or learn anything new from this experience?
Karen: I learned so much, especially from Joey McNeely. He worked so hard and he pushes everyone and they respond. I also really learnt, quite simply, to work from someone else’s script. Randall would give me extra notes about exactly what he thought the song should say, I’d put my twist on it and somehow it worked.
What does receiving this nomination mean to you?
Karen: I’m over the moon to be nominated for this award because I knew this show was different and special and I’ve worked hard on the songs for years. They’re not traditional musical theatre songs at all and it’s lovely to be recognized for them.
Read the full interview at nyitawards.blogspot.com
Lyrics for Patrizio Buanne
Karen recently worked with multi-platinum selling Neopolitan-Austrian singer Patrizio Buanne, doing the German to English lyric translations for his latest release “Only Your Love Takes Me Home” and his song “Sexy Sexy”