CHARLES GILBERT, composer, writer, director and SAVI savant, was the Director of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia from 2008 to 2013, a position he was appointed to after founding and successfully heading the UArts Musical Theater Program for nearly 20 years.
Gilbert is Composer-in-Residence for Enchantment Theatre Company, a Philadelphia-based company that presents works for family audiences throughout the US. His most current work for them, Peter Rabbit Tales, is currently touring nationally and will be performed during the 2015 holiday season in Philadelphia. Scheduled for Spring 2016: a zydeco-flavored adaptation of the story of Beauty and the Beast called The Beast in the Bayou. Previous works include The Brave Little Tailor, Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Harold and the Purple Crayon.
He wrote music and lyrics for Gemini, the Musical, which premiered at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in 2004 and had its New York premiere at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2007; he received a Barrymore nomination for Outstanding Original Music for that score. He received a two other Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Musical Direction for A Year With Frog And Toad and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum at the Arden Theater; recent music directing credits also include Michael Ogborn’s The Three Maries and Randy Newman’s The Middle of Nowhere at the Prince and The Fantasticks at People’s Light and Theater Company.
Leading Lady, created in collaboration with playwright P. Seth Bauer, is the most recent of Gilbert’s works for the musical stage; that project recently had an extended developmental workshop at Drexel University in Philadelphia under the direction of Bill Fennelly. Gilbert’s musical revue Watch The Birdie received a 2008 production by Philly Music Theater Works at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia; other musicals include A Tiny Miracle, Realities, Goosefeathers and A Is For Anything (recently revived by the Blue Ridge Theater Festival). His 1979 musical Assassins was the sources of the idea for the Stephen Sondheim/John Weidman musical of the same name, recently revived on Broadway to acclaim that included seven Tony awards.
Gilbert’s accomplishments as a stage director are equally distinguished. Recent credits include the 2008 revival of Anyone Can Whistle at the Prince Music Theater, starring Chuck Wagner and Jane Summerhays, and two productions at the International Festival of Musical Theater in Cardiff, Wales: A Lyrical Opera Made By Two (Gertrude Stein and William Turner’s cubist lesbian romance) and Songs for a New World. He was Musical Theater Coordinator for the Kevin Smith/Miramax film Jersey Girl, and appears in the film as Sweeney Todd. Gilbert received his MFA in Directing from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977, and has also directed for Opera Delaware and the National Music Theater Network.
Gilbert is a leading educator in the field of singer-actor training and a founder and officer of the Musical Theater Educators Alliance. His SAVI System of singer-actor training forms the core of the curriculum at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and he has taught workshops and masterclasses at colleges and symposia in the United States, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom.
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