Joe Iconis Collides Rock and Musical Theater at TEDxNavesink

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What do you get when you mix rock with musical theater? The productions of Joe Iconis.

What do you get when you mix rock with musical theater? The productions of Joe Iconis.

If you find the term “musical theater” conjuring up nothing but images of red-haired little girls and poodle skirts, you’ve probably never attended a Joe Iconis production.

A resident of Manhattan, Iconis is a musical theater writer whose shows live on cabaret stages throughout New York City. He performs regularly with a group theater artists (such as Jason “SweetTooth” Williams and Hairspray’s Katrina Rose Dideriksen) as part of Joe Iconis and Family. And two of his songs have been featured on the second season of NBC’s “Smash”.

But if there’s one thing that stands out the most about Joe Iconis, it’s his writing style. His musical influences range from theatrical composers like Stephen Sondheim and Kander & Ebb to renowned rockers such as the Rolling Stones and the Arcade Fire. He even turns to The Muppets to fuel his creativity. The product of this colorful hodgepodge of inspiration is his own unique style. It’s far from what you might find in traditional musical theater productions, but his audiences don’t seem to mind.

Iconis’ works are eclectic and eccentric all at once. He wrote the book, music, and lyrics for his first production, The Black Suits, for his senior thesis at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The rock musical, which premiered at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles and featured by the Barrington Stage Company, tells the story of a high school garage band in Long Island.  He then went on to write The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks, which he calls, “an otherworldly finger painting of life in Suburbia” based on the original book by Nancy MacArthur. One of his most recent productions, Bloodsong of Love, is a rock and roll Spaghetti Western musical, he says, “for those who believe in art and love and sticking together”.

Joe Iconis has received a multitude of awards for his productions, including a Jonathan Larson Award, an Ed Kleban Award, and a MAC John Wallowitch Songwriting Award. His rock album, The Joe Iconis Rock and Roll Jamboree, and the cast recording of Things to Ruin are available on Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records. Iconis’ latest musical production of Ned Vizzini’s novel Be More Chill will premiere at Red Bank’s Two River Theater in Spring 2015.

Joe Iconis will be sharing his music at the 2014 TEDxNavesink conference. Learn more about him on his TEDxNavesink page and his website.

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