Michael Ricciardi’s career in theatre actually began way back in 1980 by pure accident. He had just been cast as the Scarecrow in the Gallery Theatre production of “the MGM version of “The Wizard Of Oz”.
The Gallery Theatre through its founder, Mark Shipley had been producing family theatre to support his eight member family. Everybody in the family acted, painted the set, ran the lights or did the sound effects.
At the first rehearsal, there was bad news. Up until this time (1980) companies that licensed musical theatre shows were only requiring a fifty (50% percent upfront deposit. Now suddenly, community theatres were required by companies such as Music Theatre International and Tams Witmark to pay for 100% of the royalties due upfront.
The show was ready to be canceled when Michael volunteered to write a new script based on the now public domain story and twelve original songs. Imagine the challenge of trying to write a song that would be sung by the character of Dorothy in place of “Over The Rainbow”. The show was a smash receiving amazing reviews and did a whopping twenty thousand dollar box office in three summer months.
From there, there was a sequel written called “The Return Of The Wizard of Oz” and Michael enlisted the aid of two amazing collaborators by the names of Randy Louis Ames and Eddy Magee Clement.
Together they wrote the musicals”A Moment With Mister “C” and “The Invitation”. “The Invitation was the only original musical to be broadcast over thirty-eight public radio stations.
Next came “Skylark” which had productions in multiple cities including Beverly Hills, Tampa, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. It also had an Off-Broadway run in NYC.
These musicals are represented on this CD.
After a ten year hiatus, Michael began writing in earnest again and started writing songs at an amazing rate. His collaboration with Timothy Doran produced the amazing musical “The Traveling Companion” based on the fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.
Great fortune came about with Michael meeting John D. Nugent from Erwin, Tn. by a chance match up on an ASCAP collaboration corner. Since September of 2007, Mike and John have composed and finished “SEVENLY”—an ecclesiastical musical spoof, “THE RUNAWAY HEART” a timely musical fantasy, and “THE WILD SWANS” another family musical based on yet another Hans Christian Andersen story.
There are many songs from these three shows represented on this two volume CD.
Still in progress is “BROADWAY ANGELS”—in which a group of Dominican Nuns are evicted from their convent by a greedy cardinal. Through the help of archangels Michael and Gabriel, the nuns take over a vacant Broadway theatre. The problem, however is that this theatre is an historical landmark and must be used as a theatre if it to be occupied. So the good sisters put on a show that features Wannabee guardian angels from heaven.
There are others on the drawing boards including the musical story of Edmund G. Ross who single-handedly saved the country by voting against the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. It is called “In The Shadow of Freedom” There are four others planned as well including “VALENTINE” and ”EDGAR ALLAN & POE” Wow!
On this two CD set you will hear the talents of Mr. Bill Lewis, currently a pirate performer at Disneyland, The amazing Brian Martin, Lori Schroeder, Karmyn Tyler, Paul Hovannes, Greg Lastrapes, Molly Summer and many others: all collectively known as “THE SMOOTH SOUND SINGERS” But the artists include the amazing BRIAN MARTIN,WESTBROOK & SNYDER, MOLLY SUMMER, JOSHUA KRANZ, GREG LASTRAPES, PAUL HOVANES, KARMYN TYLER, ADAM SIMMONS, DAVID HOLMES and the unequled BILL LEWIS
Michael Ricciardi and John Nugent are proud members of ASCAP and this album was created and mixed at the Smooth Sound Studios in Van Nuys. Mr. Robert Roth is the engineer. Michael is a proud graduate of San Gabriel Mission High School and graduated with singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins.