Meet the Composers of Freedom Riders: The Musical for Civil Rights Richard Allen and Taran Gray
If you’ve been on the New York Theater Festival circuit for the past five years, or if you’ve seen the viral social media rehearsal footage of High Notes and Harmonic Excellence on TikTok, there’s a good chance that you were patiently waiting for the Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical is going to release an album. Thanks to Broadway Records and New York Theater Barn Records, the wait is over.
T2c spoke with Richard Allen and Taran Gray, the creators of Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical. They shared how they released an 18-song world premiere recording in its entirety on November 19.
“It’s a dream come true for us.” Richard Allen says, âTaran and I grew up listening to musical soundtracks. It was a pillar of our theater community that grew to be able to experience a show this way when a paid performance was not readily available. This is how we fell in love with so many productions.
Allen and Gray Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical tells the true story of college age activists who boldly defy the legality and optics of the Jim Crow laws of 1961 by taking buses in mixed groups across the South; a dazzling portrayal of intrepid voices who have used nonviolent direct action to initiate change. The show won the 2016 Beta Award at New York Music Festival. The show returned to the festival the following year and won the âOutstanding Musicâ award as well as a Special Honorary Award for âSocial Impact and Relevanceâ. The 2017 Festival production was visited by Congressman John Lewis who said of the show âextremely accurate. It brought tears to my eyes. “
Video of Magda Katz