Dan is well-Composed

An interview with Dan Furman, the pianist for Granny’s Blue-Mers. Rev. Mary  and Granny’s Blue-Mers are synonymous with wild and woolly wordplay from back in the day. For a while it was sexy banter … but now her act has gotten smokier. I’m Soooo High: Rev. Mary’s Reefer Revue extols the contributions of cannabis as sung by some clever writers spanning 1910-1950. 

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Dan Furman has been the pianist and arranger for Granny’s Blue-Mers since its inaugural show at The Duplex.

How did you get involved with this wacky bunch?

I first met Mary when I began playing piano for the performance classes she was giving at a school building down in Bay Ridge. Later on, I continued working with her at the M Center when we did our performances up at W 36th St in Manhattan.  When Mary

and Jay [Michaels] began the Granny’s Project, I put together the band for the first show at the Duplex. 

 

You’re a composer as well, share with us some details. 

Lately, I have been focusing on writing musicals.  I had a reading of my musical, “The Proust Virus,” on Feb 15th of this year.  I wrote music lyrics and book for the show. It’s concerns a woman named Tina who accidentally uploads a novel by Marcel Proust into her favorite video game. She discovers that the characters have come to life and one of them has fallen in love–with her! 
We are currently raising funds and looking for sponsors for an exploratory production of the show.

 

11096505_10153648732493238_8039065339416215258_o (1)Some of these songs [in the Granny shows] have never been notated. How do you & Mary collaborate/orchestrate them? 

It’s possible that the original notation may be floating around somewhere—but it’s not easily available.  They might have played them the same way that we do.
We just figure out the words and the chords, come up with an arrangement and then go play.  Of course, we have the original recordings to give us an idea of how they were originally played.  Then we add in whatever the song needs to make it sound better—additional harmonies, an instrumental solo, etc.  
You are also a fixture in the cabaret circuit, tell us all about it. I have been playing piano for cabaret pretty ever since I moved to NYC back in 2003.  I like cabaret—it’s an intimate art form performed in small rooms that falls somewhere in between a solo concert and music theater.  In our world of mega-concerts and blockbuster movies, it is great to help keep cabaret alive!
What’s next? 

I recently wrote songs for a new play by Arnold Schulman which is opening at Theater for a New City on March 14th and will play through the 31st.  I also hope to organize another production this year of my tavern musical, “Impossible But True,” which is a retelling of the Rip Van Winkle story.

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