" I admire Michael Ficocelli's music, both for its melodic richness and its heart; it's imbued with a generosity of spirit. I've been impressed, too, by his willingness-in projects like Brothers Ignite and So Big-to deal with large themes, to address great challenges in life. In an age when so much of the entertainment industry is preoccupied with superficialities, he sets his sights high, and seeks to create theater that touches us deeply. That's rare. And I respect that."--Chip Deffaa, Playwright/Director, "George M. Cohan Tonight!"
"Michael's words and music bring out the emotions of the characters he is writing. Whether that be a solo character moment or a rousing group number Michael's words and music are there helping the actors create character and/or move plot forward. He is a disciplined and dedicated songwriter of musical theatre."-- Ken Marsolais, Broadway Producer
"Michael, beautiful writing. You´re such a good songwriter."---Sid Bernstein in reference to songs presented on his cable TV show, CAREER ON THE LINE
THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF
"I can´t express the joy I felt upon watching the videotaped program of Richard E. Byrd School´s production of ´The Fall of Freddie The Leaf.´ Little did I realize when granting you permission to use my book as basis for your musical that such an imaginative and inspiring program would result. Continue to live in love and share your talent and enthusiasm with us."----Leo F. Buscaglia, Ph. D. (author of LIVING, LOVING AND LEARNING)
"WILD IMAGININGS is a most delightful and entertaining show. It is ideally suited for school and camp productions. From the opening scene at Bedford Junior High School to the final number at the Forestlands Arena, the songs along with the choreography are of the highest quality. I highly recommend this show to any Middle School and/or camp as it was extremely well received here at Cedar Lake Camp."---Alex Antoniou, Director, The New Jersey YMHA-YWHA Camps
MEDINAH, A Dream Fulfilled (BROTHERS IGNITE)
"Michael´s outstanding talent is a remarkable gift to everyone who loves music. We are delighted that our congregation will celebrate this important Jewish milestone through another of Michael´s works. MEDINAH is a marvelous celebration of Israel´s independence. In producing this full length musical theater piece, our synagogue is once again a leader in adding to the repertoire of 20th century Jewish music."---Cantor Theodore Aronson, Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel
"After reading and listening to MEDINAH, A Dream Fulfilled, I can understand why the piece received standing ovations."---Sheldon Harnick (Lyricist, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, SHE LOVES ME)
FROM DEATH TO HOPE
"FROM DEATH TO HOPE is an incredible piece and gives a new perspective of the Holocaust. It´s not just a cerebral look because viewers are attacked from an emotional standpoint and must grapple with their emotions. Michael´s work is authentic and historically correct. It touches feelings and it is impossible not to be moved. I cried my way through every rehearsal, and I feel privileged to perform in it. No one will walk away unchanged."---Cantor Theodore Aronson, Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel
"I can hardly imagine what it must be like to have so much talent and vision, so much passion and conviction, so as to be able to write, envision, develop and perform the kind of program you crafted in commemoration of the Holocaust."---Hope M. Pomerantz, Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel
SO BIG, THE MUSICAL
"Dear Michael, I know what to say if anyone asks: your songs are well-crafted, thoroughly professional and the work of a highly capable composer."----Sheldon Harnick (Lyricist, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, THE APPLE TREE, SHE LOVES ME)
"Michael, you continue to create some of the most compelling theatre music I have heard."----Jeremy Wall (Grammy Award winning composer, SPYRO GYRA)
BUILDING A WING
"The highlight of the night is BUILDING A WING, a story of what happened to Icarus before he flew into the sun. Written by Americans Amanda Yesnowitz and Michael Ficocelli, it is an assured, well constructed and musically excellent piece. It is also the most complete of the the shows, making the most of the ten minute structure. Under the direction of Neil Gooding, it features fabulous performances from Nick Castro as Icarus and Paul Whitely as Daedalus and is worth the price of admission."---STAGE NOISE with Diana Simmonds
After graduating with a BA in Philosophy from Boston University, and an MS in Music from the University of Bridgeport, Michael began his composing/writing career. His songwriting talents were first discovered at the Songwriters Guild in New York City where he befriended Sid Bernstein, the man who brought the Beatles to America. Michael showcased many of his songs on Sid´s New York Cable TV Show: CAREER ON THE LINE.
His first nationally published song was a choral piece entitled SHOWING US THE WAY (a Graduation Song) followed by HOLD ON with September Music. Three internationally performed songs followed: COME TO NEVERNEVERLAND, AS HE HOLDS BACK HIS TEARS and SUNNY DAYS with Princess Music. Through these publications, Michael became a member of ASCAP.
With permission from author Leo Buscaglia, he wrote and composed THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF, the Musical, which was performed in Glen Rock, NJ at the Richard E. Byrd Elementary School. He also wrote the libretto, lyrics and music to the children´s musical, WILD IMAGININGS, originally published by Players Press Inc., Studio City, CA which has received performances throughout the Tri-State area.
He later became Resident Composer for Temple Sharey Tefilo Israel, South Orange, NJ for a period of five years and was commissioned to write and compose for Shabbat Services and Special Events. While there, he composed the following pieces: two Shabbat Services, COME LET US SING (BO-U NASHIR) and SHABAAT 2000: JAZZ SERVICE OF THE CENTURY. He also wrote the libretto, lyrics and music to a multi-media musical theatre piece, FROM DEATH TO HOPE, in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust for the 1997 Interfaith Community Holocaust Memorial Program held at the Temple. He wrote and composed a full length musical, MEDINAH, A DREAM FULFILLED, later titled BROTHERS IGNITE for the 50th Anniversary of the State of Israel and another full length musical, ISAAC´S WINDOW depicting how a town fought back against hate crimes aimed at minority groups.
FROM DEATH TO HOPE, was later commissioned by the Center for Holocaust Studies at Ramapo College and was performed at the Sharp Theatre at Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ.
He composed the music for a documentary film entitled, JEWISH AMERICA: THE CIVIL WAR, Black Dog Films for PBS.
For a period of three years, Michael became the Resident Composer of the Pomona Cultural Center in Pomona, NY. In early November, 2001, he collaborated as composer with lyricist/artist Rose Marie Raccioppi and premiered a musical/poetical tribute to the victims of Ground Zero entitled WHERE DOES THE PAIN GO? performed by Michael and Marci Elyn Schien at the Center. It has since been performed throughout the tri-state area, most notably by Grammy award-winning composer, Jeremy Wall (Spyro Gyra).
After hearing Michael´s work, Tony award winning lyricist, Sheldon Harnick (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) and theatre and film composer, David Shire (BABY) wrote him letters of recommendation to the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre workshop. He was accepted into the program and honed his songwriting craft under the tutelage of Tony award winning composer/lyricist, Maury Yeston (NINE, TITANIC) and other instructors over a period of four years.
He collaborated as composer with, Amanda Yesnowitz, the ´Jonathon Larson award´ winning lyricist, on the ten-minute musical, HEAVEN BOUND (BUILDING A WING) which was recently selected over eight hundred applicants worldwide for the ´Short, Sweet & Song´ Ten-Minute Musical Festival in Sydney, Australia. It was performed in February, 2007 and won the Judges' Choice Award for best ten minute musical.
Michael has spent the last four years working on SO BIG, the Musical based on Edna Ferber´s Pulitzer-prize winning novel, SO BIG. Acting as lyricist/composer and co-librettist with Will Holt, SO BIG, the Musical had its Premiere Reading on April 18, 2004, at the Colleen Dewhurst Theatre, Mount Kisco. Hosted by Broadway Producer, Ken Marsolais, it received accolades from such distinguished guests as Charles Strouse, Sherman Yellen, and Julie Gilbert of the Ferber Estate.
Michael has acted as Composer in Residence in his position as Music Teacher at the Glen Rock Public Schools, NJ involving his students in three of his original productions, THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF, WILD IMAGININGS and a musical re-telling of Virgil´s THE AENEID. In 1994, Michael was asked to write a song for the town´s Centennial celebration. He wrote GLEN ROCK, THE TOWN TO COME HOME TO, the music of which was placed in a time capsule along with other memorabilia to be opened at the Bi-Centennial. Over the past four years, through the Glen Rock Middle School Exploratory Arts Program, Michael has assisted his sixth grade students in the creation of as many as 35 songs per year for their Fantasy Culture Project.
In 2007 Michael along with Marci Elyn Schein Ficocelli founded Little Fig Stage, INC. and has successfully launched three separate off-Broadway productions at the off-Broadway theatre, The Players Theatre, NYC. These productions are: THE TRUE COLORS OF WEEDLE in which Michael contributed music and lyrics, WILD IMAGININGS, and THE LOST LEGEND OF CAMELOT in which Michael contributed music and lyrics.
Michael´s other affiliations are The National Academy of Popular Music, The Dramatists Guild and MENC and he has been the recipient of the ASCAP Awards Panel Prize for his compositions for five consecutive years.
LIST OF WORKS
Showing Us The Way, (a Graduations Song) (Lyrics & Music) September Music, NYC. Available for ordering at www.hopepublishing.com
Hold On, (Lyrics & Music) September Music, NYC. Featured on THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC COLLECTION. Sheet music available for purchase. See CONTACT above.
Come To Neverneverland, (Lyrics & Music) Princess Music, NYC.
As He Holds Back His Tears, (Lyrics & Music) Princess Music, NYC. Featured on THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC COLLECTION
I Love You More Than Sunny Days, (Lyrics & Music) Princess Music, NYC. Featured on THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC COLLECTION
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, the Musical: Based on Leo Buscaglia´s book, THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF. (Libretto, Music & Lyrics) Light yet poignant story addressing issues of life and death. Not for commercial use. HOLD ON and FAVORITE SONG are featured on THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC COLLECTION
Wild Imagining, a Musical: (Libretto, Music & Lyrics) A musical comedy tracing the success of an ambitious girl from her Middle School talent show debut to pop stardom. Libretto/sheet music and recording available upon request. See CONTACT above for ordering.
The Aeneid, a play with music: (Libretto, Music & Lyrics) A musical re-telling of Virgil´s Aeneid. See CONTACT above for ordering.
Glen Rock, The Town To Come Home To: (Lyrics & Music) Town Song written for the Glen Rock, NJ Centennial celebration.
Come Let Us Sing (Bo-U-Nashir), A Shabbat Service: (Music & English Text). Sheet Music and CD available upon request. See CONTACT above for ordering.
Shabbat 2000: Jazz Service Of The Century: (Music & English Text)
From Death To Hope: (Libretto, Music & Lyrics) a musical commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. Libretto and sheet music available upon request. Professional cast performances also available upon request. See CONTACT above.
Medinah, A Dream Fulfilled (Brothers Ignite), a Musical: (Libretto, Music & Lyrics) tells the story of the birth of Israel through the eyes of two brothers. Not for commercial use.
Jewish America: The Civil War: (Music) Soundtrack. PBS. Black Dog Films. Bozeman, Montana. Samples of music upon request.
Isaac´s Window, a Musical: (Libretto, Music & Lyrics) Depicts how a town fought back against hate crimes aimed at minority groups. Available upon request. See CONTACT above.
Where Does The Pain Go? Music: Michael V. Ficocelli, Lyrics: Rose Marie Raccioppi. A musical/poetical tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center. CD and sheet music available upon request. Also performance available for booking with Marci Elyn Schein and Michael V. Ficocelli. See CONTACT above.
Heaven Bound, (Building a Wing) a 10 minute musical. Music: Michael V. Ficocelli, Lyrics: Amanda Yesnowitz. A modern re-telling of the Greek myth, ICARUS AND DAEDALUS. Winner of the SHORT & SWEET competition in Sydney, Australia. Libretto and sheet music available upon request. See CONTACT above.
So Big, the Musical: lyrics/music: Michael V. Ficocelli, libretto: Will Holt/Michael V. Ficocelli. Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning novel, SO BIG, by Edna Ferber. The story follows the struggles of Selina Peake DeJong to maintain her dignity, her family and her values in the face of monumental changes. Not for commercial use.
The Lost Legend of Camelot (Book: Bryce Weinert, Music and Lyrics by Michael V. Ficocelli and Michael Gilboe) The Legend you've never heard. The evil Morgan Le Fey hypnotizes King Arthur and plans to change lovely Camelot into a shopping mall. See CONTACT above for more info.
Marci and Michael: The Hopeless Romantic Collection: (Music & Lyrics) A collection of twenty three songs written and recorded through the years featuring vocalist Marci Elyn Schein. See CD above. Songbook forthcoming. Bookings of ´Hopeless Romantic Concert´ available featuring Marci Elyn Schein and Michael V. Ficocelli.