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Breathe  By  cover art

Breathe

By: Jodi Picoult,Timothy McDonald,others
Narrated by: full cast
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Publisher's Summary

A soul-stirring new musical conceived by New York Times best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult and playwright Timothy Allen McDonald, Breathe places listeners inside the walls of five homes during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Filled with songs and vignettes that examine new relationships, rekindling flames, parenting, racial reckoning, and grief during a pandemic, this incredibly timely world premiere—written and produced online in 2020 in real-time as events unfolded—reflects the very topics that weighed on the hearts and minds of Americans. 

Featuring heartwarming music from five different songwriting teams—Rebecca Murillo and Rob Rokicki, Daniel Mertzlufft and Kate Leonard, Doug Besterman and Sharon Vaughn, Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar, and Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich—and mindblowing performances from Broadway’s top talent—Tony Award® winners Kelli O’Hara, Brian Stokes-Mitchell and Matt Doyle, Tony nominee Denée Benton, powerhouses Patti Murin, Colin Donnell, T. Oliver Reid, Daniel Yearwood, Max Clayton, Rubén J. Carbajal, and Josh Davis— Breathe is a powerfully touching production that shines a glimmering light on the reality of adjusting to a virtual world.

©2022 Jodi Picoult (P)2022 AO Media LLC

About the Creator

Jodi Picoult is the author of 27 novels, with over 30 million copies sold. Twelve books have debuted at #1 on the NYT bestseller list. Five have been made into movies, with four more – Book of Two Ways, Small Great Things, Mad Honey, and Wish You Were Here in development. She is the recipient of the NH Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit, and the Sarah Josepha Hale Award. The musical adaptation of her novel Between the Lines premiered off-Broadway in July 2022. She is also co-librettist of The Book Thief musical, which debuted in the UK in September 2022.

About the Playwright

Tim is a musical theatre librettist, adaptor of over 100 musicals for young performers (MTI’s Broadway Junior, Concord’s Young Performers’ Editions), textbook author, and Founder and CEO of iTheatrics and Junior Theater Festivals Worldwide. Librettist credits: Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach (Pasek & Paul), Between The Lines (Samsel & Anderson), Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (Christopher Gattelli & Paul Williams) Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka (Bricusse & Newley), The Big One-Oh! (Besterman & Pitchford), and The Book Thief (Samsel & Anderson). Breathe is dedicated to his father-in-law Jack, whose life was taken by Covid-19. Follow on Insta:Timmcdonaldnyc.

About the Performer

Marcy Heisler is a Drama Desk-nominated Lyricist. She is the recipient of the 2012 Kleban Award for Outstanding Lyrics, and the 2009 Fred Ebb Award with longtime composing partner Zina Goldrich. She is also an award-winning performer who performs her work with fellow artists in concerts everywhere from Carnegie Hall to 54 Below to Hollywood’s Catalina Jazz. She signed with Concord Publishing, and an anthology of her songs (with composer Goldrich) is available from Hal Leonard. Other Awards include ASCAP’s Richard Rodgers New Horizon Award, Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, Jamie De Roy and Friends Award, a Seldes-Kanin Fellowship and an Artist-in Residency at Second Stage.

About the Performer

Douglas Lyons wrote the 2021 GLAAD nominated Broadway comedy Chicken and Biscuits. As an actor, Broadway/NYC: Beautiful (Original Cast), Book of Mormon and Parade (NY City Center). Tours: Dreamgirls, Rent and Mormon 1st Nat’l. Regionally: Yale Rep, Hartford Stage Company, Huntington Theatre Company, 5th Ave Theatre, The Muny and more. As a writer: The Emmy nominated Fraggle Rock (Apple TV), Five Points (Theater Latte Da), Beau (Adirondack Theatre Festival and IndieFest {Best of Show 2022}), and the 2018 Off-Broadway Alliance Award-winning musical, Polkadots. Douglas is currently developing television with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and Sky Dance. Douglaslyons.net. @Chocolatehipster

About the Performer

Beginning her career in Nashville, TN., enjoying success as a studio singer, an actor in commercials and as a solo artist, Sharon Vaughn turned her focus to writing songs and scored numerous Number Ones and Top Tens in country music. After the phenomenal success of the iconic “MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS”, a #1 for Willie Nelson, The die was cast.Sharon Vaughn’s songwriting is boundless, both geographically and musically. She has co-written songs (in multiple genres) with and for artists from all over the world. Her insatiable creative curiosity called her to move to Stockholm, in 2008, where she co-wrote with Anders Hansson, the single Release Me, for artist Agnes which was a massive world-wide hit. In 2021 Vaughn became the first songwriter ever to have three songs from three different countries in the Eurovision Song Contest finals. Currently working on several new Musical projects, her theatre works include, SWEET POTATO QUEENS, written with Grammy winning Melissa Manchester and Tony Award-winning Rupert Holmes;, and BREATHE, new Musical by Jodi Picoult and Tim McDonald with Tony-winning composer, Doug Besterman. (This work has recently been installed in the U.S. Library of Congress). In 2019 Sharon Vaughn was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

About the Performer

Rob Rokicki is a NYC based artist & educator. He is the composer/lyricist & co-orchestrator of the Broadway musical, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (Lortel, Off-Broadway Alliance, and three Drama Desk nominations, book by Joe Tracz). Projects: the graphic novel musical, Monstersongs (NAMT); the immersive Experience Marianas (O’Neill semi-finalist), Punk Rock Girl (with Joe Iconis), The Real Gemma Jordan(with Anna K. Jacobs); Strange Tails (Ars Nova); Breathe (with Rebecca Murillo; book by Timothy McDonald & Jodi Picoult). He is a two-time Larson Award finalist & BMI writing workshop alum. He believes in accessibility for creators & audiences. robrokicki.com

About the Performer

Zina Goldrich is an award-winning composer, conductor, musical director, and performing artist. Her musical, Ever After, written with longtime collaborator Marcy Heisler, enjoyed several regional productions. She is currently working on the new musical, Stage Mother. Recently, she wrote Yay People Yay! with multi-Emmy award winner David Javerbaum. Previous musicals include The Great American Mousical, directed by Julie Andrews, Junie B. Jones, and Dear Edwina. Zina has composed for Walt Disney Feature Animation, The Kennedy Center Honors, Nickelodeon, ABC, NBC and PBS. As a musician, Broadway credits include Avenue Q, Titanic, Oklahoma and Grand Hotel, among others. She studied with legendary Oscar winner Jerry Goldsmith and is a graduate of the USC Scoring for Motion Picture and Television program. zinagoldrich.com

About the Performer

Daniel Mertzlufft is a NYC based composer/arranger most known for his viral sensations The Thanksgiving Musical on The Late Late Show with James Corden, launching the TikTok Ratatouille musical movement, and was the Executive Producer, Composer and Music Supervisor for For You, Paige­, the first ever TikTok commissioned musical. Daniel also served as Music Supervisor, composer and arranger for Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, a live streamed concert that raised over $2 million for The Actor’s Fund. Daniel also wrote The Meaning Of Pride (Be True To You) for Nickelodeon’s Pride 2021 collection performed by drag queen and activist Nina Queen.Original works include: Fashion Show, Breathe, and Dot and the Kangaroo, commissioned by MTI Australaisa and iTheatrics.

About the Performer

Rebecca Murillo is a multi-faceted artist originally from Orange County, California. Recent Credits: *Bhangin’ It *(La Jolla Playhouse; Music Assistant) Music: Breathe - a new musical (Co-composer, lyricist, book writer), A Seat at the Table (Composer/Lyricist/Book Writer; Theater Now New York), Write Out Loud 2021 Finalist. Off-Broadway: Lolita, My Love (Assistant Director), A Man For All Seasons (Assistant Director). Performing: West Side Story at IHI StageAround in Tokyo, Japan. B.F.A. Musical Theater from Pace University. I would not be here without the love and support of family and friends - Thank you! @rebecca.murillo

About the performer

Kate Leonard is a lyricist and librettist whose recent work includes Dot and the Kangaroo JR., Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, and Fashion Show, developed in part at the 2021 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Kate was a 2022 finalist for both the Kleban Prize and the Fred Ebb Award, and her projects have earned a Drama League Award nomination and a Webby Award. Her television work includes drama series House of Cards and The Looming Tower. A graduate of Wellesley College, Kate is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre and Librettists Workshops, and ASCAP. www.yourfriendkate.com

About the performer

Three-time Tony Award winner. Broadway: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anastasia, A Bronx Tale, It Shoulda Been You, Bullets Over Broadway (Tony nomination), Rocky, On a Clear Day, Sister Act, How To Succeed...(Tony nomination), Elf, Young Frankenstein(Drama Desk nomination), Tarzan, Dracula, Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002 Tony/Drama Desk Awards), The Producers (2001 Tony/Drama Desk Awards), Seussical, Music Man (Drama Desk/Tony nominations), Fosse (1999 Tony), Big (Drama Desk nomination), Damn Yankees(Drama Desk nomination). International: Me and My Girl, Guys and Dolls; Off-Broadway: Carrie, Weird Romance. Regional: A.D. 16, Little Dancer, Ever After, The Honeymooners, The Sting, Calvin Berger. Film/television: Schmigadoon, Mary Poppins Returns, Aladdin (2019), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Frozen, Mulan, Chicago.

About the performer

Ethan D. Pakchar is a writer, composer, and guitarist. Pakchar, along with Broadway-playwright Douglas Lyons and Relentless Award-winning playwright Harrison David Rivers, is currently developing the musical Five Points with Hamilton's Andy Blankenbuehler. Recently released album Focus on the Breath which guides listeners to sync their breath with the music for meditations and breathing exercises.As a guitarist, Ethan has played for Sara Bareilles, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo, the Radio City Orchestra, the house band of the Apollo Theater, and the Broadway productions of Hamilton, Wicked, Lion King, Aladdin, and Sesame

What listeners say about Breathe

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Too “Woke” for me

The performances were great as were some of the lyrics to the catchy songs,,,but, this is not my cup of tea.

4 people found this helpful

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A musical.... really?

Not worth wasting your time. Sappy over acting. Not a family story. I was totally disappointed

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Nice

I like how we all went through the pandemic and came out on the other side. Some are still on their way into or out of the life struggle. May this listening help to make some sense of what can happen as we just all keep trying to move forward.

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An absolute must—

This timely piece is beyond a doubt a must to listen to. Great writing, wonderfully performed, and something for everyone.

I can’t wait to listen to it again!

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Brian Stokes Mitchell and Kelli O’Hara!

What a superstar, A-list cast of Broadway’s finest and Tony winning and nominated performers!

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Top quality musical

Fantastic music and performances. The stories are brilliantly told. Cleverly and well written. Totally 5 stars. Thank you for 'breathe' I loved it.

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Powerful, lovely, and yes. A musical.

If you don't like musicals, you probably won't like this vignette of stories presented with song and some narrative/dialogue. I, on the other hand, haven't seen a musical since prepandemic and this gave me a fantastic fix! Each story contributed to both the sence of loss and of hopeful continuation. Yes, I shed a tear or three but they were worth it.

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Entertaining; Phenomenal talent

Great narrator! Beautiful voices! Overall sound was not great; lots of turning up and turning down.

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Well Rounded

Loved it! If you want to get your heart pumping during a walk, listen to this musical book. Each storyline/point of view accurately portrayed those months. I wasn't sure I wanted to relive them, but this musical made it possible.

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WOW!

Absolutely heart-wrenching! Beautifully done with sensitivity and respect - something I can expect from Jodi Picault.