From Creative Kid to Playwright/Performer
Every singing teacher wishes the best for his/her students… we hope they get the chorus solo, the lead in the school musical, the top score in their NYSSMA competition, and maybe even… a role on Broadway. Of course, we are happy for even the small accomplishments, because they mean so much. Our students learn, grow, and excel, in creativity, confidence, and believing in themselves.
Every now and then, however, one student comes along who really stands out from the crowd. A student who not only achieves greatness as a singer, but one who goes on to achieve his goals and dreams. A student who thinks BIG, even as a young child. One who aspires to always be creative, brilliant, funny, and artistic… all while being incredibly kind, helpful, and an all-around good kid!! That student, our Student of the Month, is Sean Patrick Monahan!
Sean Patrick is a New York-based playwright, performer, and a member of Less Than Rent Theatre. His plays include DIVA (Winner of USolo Awards for Best Musical and Audience Choice 2013), Tyrants (music and lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen, developed by Goodspeed Musicals and the Johnny Mercer Foundation), Little Mac, Little Mac, You’re the Very Man! (co-written with James Presson, produced by Less Than Rent), Though Soft You Tread Above Me (workshop by Less Than Rent), High Upon the Gallows Tree (Winner of Manhattan Repertory Theater’s 2012 One-Act Competition), and 6B (produced by Fordham University). Sean Patrick is a graduate of Fordham University, with a B.A. in Theatre with a double-concentration in Performance and Playwriting. All this, at the ripe old age of 24!
Sean Patrick did indeed start young. As an 11-year-old, he was creating and directing one-man shows, which, coincidentally, he also starred in. The venue wasn’t quite as lofty as the New York City-based theaters listed above. These productions were in his basement, in the Long Island house he grew up in. He was known to memorize entire shows – lyrics, dialogue…the works – and perform them using all the appropriate voices for each character.
With all that pint-sized professionalism, I was confident in recommending him when another former student announced that the off-Broadway show that she was in, A Stoop on Orchard Street, needed a young boy for their cast. Naturally, Sean Patrick landed the role. From that point onward, a star was indeed born!
I coached Sean Patrick during all of his child acting successes, such as his 6-month run in A Stoop on Orchard Street. That coaching continued through what we now refer to as “the dry spell” that started when his voice began to change. For years, Sean Patrick struggled to sing with his newly restricted vocal range, and he despaired that he would never be able to sing the great songs he always wanted to perform. This partially contributed to his decision to pursue playwriting in college, until he was asked by Less Than Rent Theatre to write a solo musical for a festival production in 2013.
Sean Patrick returned to me for help training to perform the festival piece, when we discovered that, since his voice change had ended, his range had expanded once again. Now, the notes he thought he’d never be able to hit he could now land comfortably… and then some! (Ask any singer who’s ever tried to sing those killer notes from “Defying Gravity” or “The Wizard and I” how it feels to finally get them!). Shortly thereafter, his solo musical, DIVA, had a sold-out, thrice-extended, award-winning run at Theatre Row’s United Solo Theatre Festival. Since then, Sean Patrick has returned to me regularly, as he will be performing DIVA again in New York City this spring. (Watch our Facebook page for more information on these upcoming performances). I couldn’t be more proud! Way to go, Sean Patrick!
Here is a thank-you letter that Sean wrote to us as he prepared to leave for college in 2010. We’re happy to say that everything he dreamed of as he wrote this letter is now coming true for this talented playwright and performer. I am happy and proud to have helped him accomplish so much in the field of performing arts.
I can hardly believe that the end of this summer brings the end of my childhood on Long Island. Although I’m sad to leave, I’m incredibly excited for what’s to come in college and beyond. I owe so much of my development as a performer to you and I will miss working with you next year, but I know that we’ll keep in touch and I’ll be back when I’m able.
What I mean to say, more than anything, is thank you for all that you’ve taught me. Every college to which I applied accepted me…..and I owe that to you. I am honored to call you my mentor and my friend and wherever I may go in my career from here, it all stems directly from your instruction.