A winner of
the 2014 TNT POPS
book by Paul
with music by
and musical performance
March 15, 2014 at the Bastrop Conference
Center at 2 p.m.
story of a southern town, immediately
after the Civil War.
The TNT POPs
Festival had 90 entries that were read by
2-rounds of readers.
directors from around Texas chose from the
Edwards chose Dula.
director Englea Edwards about the
musical: Dula is the sincere story of
a small southern town immediately after the
civil war, and although historically placed
in time, there is a modern feel to the
writing. It could easily be the story
of a Texas boy coming home after a
war. The truth, as it relates to the
individuals in the story, doesn’t matter;
because it is an honest story about
war. It is this universality of time
and space that drew me to the script.
Every role is a
good one, with lines actors will want to
say. Elliot is able to achieve this
with an economy of words, where full back
stories turn on a single word. Dula’s
main character is the town. It is
populated with well-rounded people. In
life, every person is the hero of their
story, and it is a rare author who can
accomplish the same within the time
limitation imposed on a stage
expertly holds the tensions, and packs a lot
of emotional variety into this
musical. For almost every trough in
which he submerges us, he brings us back
with a lightness, a laugh, and a hope that
things will get better. I was
attracted to the skill and maturity of his
writing and his ability to manipulate
emotions, without making us feel
manipulate. He is adept in his use of
metaphor without being heavy handed.
I loved the
script before I heard the music.
Elliot and Cunningham’s lyrics are
poetry. Cunningham's music is
powerful, touching, and sweet. Many
beautiful songs, that easily stand on their
own, become heartbreaking in the context of
the story. I look forward to producing
this new American musical, and thank TNT
POPs for bringing it to my attention.
You should see this new
American musical. You can here the
music performed by Jeanie Chunningham here. I
couldn't be happier for Jeanie and Paul.
||Paul Elliott, the head of the Fierce
Backbone Writer's Unit in Hollywood,
is a respected novelist, television
writer and published playwright. His
"Ledge, Ledger and the Legend" was
recently honored as one of the 25 most
highly produced one act plays in
America. His latest comedy, Exit
Laughing, a 2013 AACTNewPlayFest
winner, just broke all house records
for a non-musical at the historic
Landers Theater in Springfield, MO and
is now scheduled to open in New York.
His award-winning drama, "Finding the
Burnett Heart," which premiered during
the 50th season of the Detroit
Repertory Theatre, is now being
performed coast to coast, and always
garners rave reviews from critics and
||Jeanie Cunningham's music has been
heard worldwide as part of several
high-profile product campaigns.
Mitsubishi, Epson, Yamaha, Toshiba,
and Chevron are among the many
companies that have recruited Jeanie's
musical talents. Jeanie's first
calling however, is to her own
original music as a
continues to move forward in her
musical pursuits with the new musical,
DULA, for which she wrote 23 songs.
Her most recent accomplishment has
been to create the Steinway Society's
"Ukes In Schools" program-devoted to
bringing musical instruments and
education to underprivileged
elementary students in the Coachella
Valley of California.