Musical written by Natchez native receives critical acclaim
Published 12:03 am Sunday, August 30, 2015
It took one look at Broadway for Chandler Warren to know where he belonged.
The Natchez native had plans to attend law school at Ole Miss after attending Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., but after taking a family vacation to the northeast and catching two shows, his plans changed.
“It changed my life,” he said.
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So instead of Ole Miss, Warren chose Columbia School of Law and moved to New York, where he began to write productions.
“Every single Saturday afternoon, I would see every Broadway show that played the Saturday matinee,” he said. “I got really hooked on the entertainment world at that point.”
While at Columbia, Warren and Saul Turteltaub, who went on to be a comedy television writer known for “Sanford and Son,” created the Columbia Law Revue.
“It’s still going after all these years,” Warren said. “It has a scholarship fund for people who want to go into entertainment law and a lot of the bigger law schools now have these musical revues.”
After law school, Warren decided to combine his love for law and entertainment into a career as an entertainment lawyer.
Warren has written music for singer Eartha Kitt; written a book of humorous poetry; adapted multiple children’s productions; wrote the theme song and was a writer for the 1980s soap opera “Texas;” has adapted the J.M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan,” book “The Old Lady Shows her Medals;” and has written several novels. He has also adapted “Little Lord Fauntleroy” for the Natchez Little Theatre and produced five plays, one on Broadway and four off Broadway.
His latest work — a musical titled “Adam & Eve and Steve” — is scheduled to wrap tonight after running more than a month at the NoHo Arts Center in Los Angeles.
The show is a humorous take on the Biblical version of creation told through the ravings of dueling Beelzebub and God, Warren said.
The Biblical spoof, Warren said, explores what might have happened if Adam wasn’t crazy about Eve’s design, and if God listened to his complaint and created Steve.
It’s a show that explores love and identity and is filled with anachronisms, some political references and a lot of laughs, Warren said.
“It’s a total nonsense piece, but it’s also a show about compassion, love, understanding and acceptance,” he said.
“Adam & Eve and Steve” has been 15 years in the making, Warren said.
After not seeing eye-to-eye on the script after an associate wrote it, Warren said, the musical’s plans sat dormant for several years.
After rewriting the musical, Warren said, a client of his came to him wanting to produce a show, and Warren showed the client “Adam & Eve and Steve.”
The musical was chosen as the best musical out of 300 shows at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Critics have received the musical positively, and Warren said interest in picking up the production has come from New York London.
“It would just be a dream to get it to Broadway,” Warren said.
In the meantime, Warren is also working on musical with a Natchez twist that has a familiar plot.
“It’s a two-character music about a girl from Natchez who goes to New York to visit,” Warren said.
Natchez has shaped his life and his work, said Warren, who is the brother of Mary Jo McNerney and Joan Gandy.
“I love Natchez,” he said. “I will always have Natchez in my blood.”