Little Women, the FHU homecoming play, will have a bit of the big apple as part of the production. Jason Howland, composer of the Broadway musical Little Women, and Dani Davis, accomplished Broadway director, songwriter and producer will be on campus October 19 and 20 to meet with the FHU theatre department and the cast of Little Women.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our students and our department, “ said Dr. Cliff Thompson, director of theatre at Freed-Hardeman. “Its not often students get to meet with Broadway producers and composers with such rich pedigrees.”
Howland and Davis will meet with the cast of Little Women at 7 p.m. on October 19 followed by a meeting with the Honors College at 9 p.m. They will also host a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture at noon on October 20 and a 3 p.m. workshop for students in FHU’s Black Box Theatre.
Howland, co-founder of Half Pint Studios with Davis, is the composer of the Broadway musical Little Women The Musical, composed the score for the off-Broadway hit, Blessing in Disguise, and is at work on two other musicals, Could it Be, and Mariel. Together Davis and Howland created the Christmas event Handel’s Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise a symphonic-rock concert based on the classical oratorio by George F. Handel. Most recently, through their production company Current Half Pint Studios projects include two all new holiday pieces for the Joyful Noise series, the interactive Pirate Adventure Academy, and the score for a new webisode series, The Boardroom, created by Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City.
Jason has been a musical director and conductor on Broadway for over twelve years. He served as musical director and conductor for Broadway’s Jekyll and Hyde, Les Miserables and for Rosie O’Donnell’s Broadway production of Boy George’s musical, TABOO. He was musical supervisor for Broadway's The Scarlett Pimpernel and The Civil War. He has appeared as a guest conductor with the Atlanta Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, The New Jersey Symphony, The Maine State Symphony, and The Memphis Symphony and has conducted in concert across the country for such notables as Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Brandy, Bebe & Cece Winans, Carl Anderson, Linda Eder, Sebastian Bach, David Hasselhoff, Rob Evan, Kate Shindle, Lauren Kennedy, Davis Gaines, The Kingston Trio, and Lizz Wright.
Dani Davis, director, songwriter and producer and wife of Howland, has as impressive a resume has her partner at Half Pint Studios. Her Broadway performing and theatrical credits include the The American Dance Machine, the revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, And the World Goes Round, and Fosse. In April 2008, she directed the premiere of Could It Be: Dreams of a Musical, with the Atlanta Symphony, written and conducted by Howland, choreographed by Tiger Martina.
In September, 2008, she directed the premiere of Handel’s Messiah Rocks starring Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops, Tony Award winner LaChanze, Tony nominee J. Robert Spencer, and international rock star Mig Ayesa. HANDEL’S MESSIAH ROCKS is currently airing nationally on PBS, and the DVD and CD are available on Sony Classical and Integrity Records in October, 2009. A live version of the show is slated to to tour the U.S. in 2010. She was the associate choreographer for Broadway’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, co-director for Blessing in Disguise Off Broadway, and choreographer for Kenny Rogers’ national tour, A Christmas Gift for Hallmark Entertainment. She founded Half Pint Studios with Jason Howland, now in its tenth year. The company creates music properties whose hope-based entertainment appeals to a wide array of audiences. Through Half Pint, Davis was the lead producer for Little Women the Musical on Broadway starring Sutton Foster and Maureen McGovern (one Tony nomination, two Drama Desk nominations), and a co-producer of The Lonesome West (four Tony nominations including Best Play). On tour, she produced Little Women, the Broadway Musical starring Maureen McGovern, and was the Executive Producer of The Wedding Singer for NETworks Presentations. Current projects include two all new holiday pieces for the Joyful Noise series, the interactive Pirate Adventure Academy, and the score for a new webisode series, The Boardroom, with Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City. She has a co-publishing deal with Cherry Lane Music Publishing.
Davis and Howland write and create annual benefit music projects including For Aria, Love at Christmastime from Broadway, The Dreams in You for the 9/111 Fund, and Dare to Dream for UNICEF. A graduate of Duke University, Davis is the co-chair of Duke’s Alumnae Mentor Program – D.A.M.E.