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5 Questions with Georgia Stitt

5 Questions with Georgia Stitt of MAESTRA

Georgia Stitt is a composer/lyricist, music director, pianist, and music producer, she can do it all! She has composed for the musicals Snow Child, Samantha Spade, Ace Detective, The Big Boom, Big Red Sun, Sing Me A Happy Song, Mosaic, and Hello! My Baby.

MAESTRA MUSIC, founded by Georgia, gives support, visibility, and community to the women who make the music in the musical theater industry. Their membership is made up of female-identifying, non-binary, and TGNC composers, music directors, orchestrators, arrangers, copyists, rehearsal pianists and other musicians who are an underrepresented minority in musical theater.

Georgia answers 5 questions for Broadway Direct, where she tells us about the upcoming “Amplify 2021” gala for MAESTRA, her inspirations to become a composer/lyricist, and the NYC spot she’s missing most now.


1. What inspired you to become a composer and lyricist?

When I was about twenty I got a job working as a piano accompanist at the College Light Opera Company on Cape Cod — the kind of summer stock heaven where you work on a different show each week all summer long. (And it’s right on the beach!) I was playing a big swing musical one week and an operetta the next week and a contemporary musical drama the next, and I started to become aware that somebody had written the scores for all of these shows. I loved working with the music department, trying to make these very respectful and intentional decisions about “what the composer intended,” and I started to think, “What do you have to do to BE the composer?” I was already studying music composition at school but I came back that fall and told my teacher I wanted to write for the theater. I’ve been so lucky as a music director to work with so many great composers and lyricists, and I think, more than anything, I wanted to live and work among that community of writers. Theater writers are the most interesting people I know!

2. Who in your field inspires you?

My friend and colleague Mary-Mitchell Campbell inspires me every day. She’s one of Broadway’s top music directors, conducting such shows as Mean Girls and The Prom and Finding Neverland and Big Fish and The Addams Family. (She’s very busy!) Any time you ask people in the business about Mary-Mitchell they say, “Oh, I love her!” She’s deeply respected for her musical skill and her leadership, but she’s also the founder of a non-profit called ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty) and she has boundless compassion and a fire for social justice. We have spent decades supporting each other’s careers and having each other’s back. I honestly don’t know how you survive in this business without the person who checks in with you regularly, good or bad, and shares the journey. That’s MMC for me.

3. What will audiences be most excited about seeing in your upcoming projects?   

Well, right around the corner on March 29th, the non-profit organization I founded, Maestra Music, is hosting an online concert and community event called #Amplify2021. We’ve got some amazing guests lined up, all celebrating music written and played by women. I keep saying to friends that the thing I miss most about theater is the shared experience, like when we all watch the Tony Awards on TV and everyone tweets about it, or when you’re in an audience that’s so rapt that you realize your entire row is breathing together. That’s what we’re trying to recreate, as much as we can, online. 

 

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If you register for a free ticket, you get invited into the digital “venue” that our partner Broadway Unlocked has created with us, and starting at 7 pm ET you can move around from the lobby to the green room to the gallery to the bar— these are all “rooms” online where you can run into other people and have conversations. Then at 8 pm ET we all go to the “stage” and we watch the show together. And then there’s an after-party, still free but with add-on perks including chat rooms with several Broadway stars for higher-level donations. All of the contributions go to support Maestra’s programs, which include a 70-person mentorship program, an international Virtual Technical Workshop series, a data and statistics project, several kinds of DEIA training, and burgeoning communities like Maestra Moms and Student Maestras.

4. What are some things you’ve always wanted to do that you’re able to spend time on now?

In the last year I read more books than in any other single year of my life! I’ve been cooking, learning Italian (mostly on Duolingo), and I even pulled out my old clarinet that I haven’t played since college. I have to admit I wasn’t very good but it was fun. I’ve taught myself some mandolin and I organized every closet and drawer in our apartment. I guess the truth is that I feel very grateful to have had this time with my kids. My two daughters are 11 and 15, and I think these are the years when kids can start to drift away, but — for better or worse — my kids are RIGHT HERE WITH ME ALL THE TIME! We’re a very musical family, so you can imagine… there’s been a lot of singing.

5. What NYC spot are you missing most now?

I ache with how much I miss SubCulture, down on Bleecker Street. This small, underground venue for live music hosted some of the greatest concerts, and those of us who frequented it are like a family. I miss those people, and I miss knowing that whatever music I heard in that space would be of the highest quality. The concert venues, especially the small ones in NYC, have suffered so greatly. But I promise, as soon as I can, I’ll be back in the audience listening to live music — or making it myself, whenever possible! Hope to see you there.


You can catch Georgia Stitt at the upcoming Maestra Music “Amplify 2021” and follow her on Instagram @georgiastitt.

Original photo by Matthew Murphy.