Andy Kirshner

Andy Kirshner's photo

A&D Associate Professor

Andy Kirshner is a composer, performer, and filmmaker who makes work about thorny social, political, and existential questions. (The kind of stuff that makes you want to sing and dance.) He's currently developing a feature film project, a "National Security Musical" entitled Liberty's Secret. Originally trained as a composer, Andy is an Associate Professor in both the School of Art and Design, and the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Posts by Andy Kirshner

A Song for Primary Season

New Demo Scene from Liberty's Secret

Here's another test scene from my political satire-in-progress, "Liberty's Secret: The National Security Musical."

Hope you enjoy it.  I'm going to be reshooting the crowd scenes the first week of March, so if anybody would like to be an extra (in exchange for whole wheat pizza), please let me know.  You'll get to dress up as a political delegate and make lots of noise.



Bureaucrats dance!  First Sample Scene from “Liberty’s Secret”

In the spirit of eating less cholesterol, exercising regularly, and calling my in-laws more often, I am endeavoring to update my blog more frequently in this New Year.

Last summer, I worked with ten actors to shoot a sample musical number from my movie-in-progress.  The cast included many UM faculty (including A&D A-list actors Malcolm Tulip, Nick Tobier, and Melanie Manos), while the crew was ably (wo)man-ed by recent A&D grads Adrianne Finelli and Laura Pazuchowski.  We shot 5 scenes, one of which I've finished editing and have posted on the movie website.  Here's a link:

"Connect the Dots"



The Obligatory Gospel Number

Why should fundamentalists have all the fun?

One of the fun things about writing a musical, as opposed to say, an experimental multimedia work, is that there is a long tradition of conventions and precedents to draw on.  I guess it's more like being a painter, or a sculptor: there are a million opportunities for wry commentary on previous works, or for tweaking an established tradition (think of all the revisionist takes on the Last Supper for example.)  Or as my colleagues in the Humanities might say, "you get to go inter-textual."

The American musical comedy has been around for about a hundred years now, and because of its ubiquity in high school auditoriums all across America, its a genre that is familiar to just about every one.  What may be less obvious to the casual observer, however, is that there are certain kinds of songs that come up again and again in the "canon."  The "charm song," the "I want" song, the...

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A National Security Musical

What does Karl Rove have in common with Rogers and Hammerstein?

For many years now, I've been interested in the subject of political propaganda.  As someone who makes large spectacles and media works that are intended to evoke strong feelings in an audience, I realize that with a little more moxie, and a few less scruples, I could be doing the same job that Karl Rove does.  (Or that Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin used to do, for that matter.)

And there is a particular kind of propaganda that interests me the most: musical propaganda.  I'm interested in the way that homespun contemporary Nashville sound encourages us to yearn for that mythical small town that Opie and Gomer used to live in.  I'm interested in the kinds of songs that are played at national political conventions, and to what effect. (I got a big kick out of seeing which entrance music was played for which public figures at the most recent RNC and DNC conventions. ...

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