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  • Tristan Bishop

Why I Wrote "Bold"


As we prepared for the World Premiere of Bold, the Musical, I was asked to share my reasons for writing and composing the show.  There are more reasons than I can count, but three quickly come to mind:

  1. A longing to meet a clear community need 

  2. A longing to create opportunities for others

  3. A longing to share a personal perspective


I’ll talk about each of these here:


1) A Community Need 


In recent years, my wife has become involved mentoring and supporting several foster group homes in the Central Florida area. In 2017, we came up with an idea to leverage my background in the arts to raise funds for the work she was doing in the foster homes. So we formed a charity called Unity Players Inc., and put on a production of the musical Annie alongside the Premiere Youth Theatre. Thanks to tremendous support from others, the show sold 99% of available tickets. As a result, we were able to donate thousands of dollars. This enabled the recipient foundation to fund mentoring activities for the foster children for the entire 2018-2019 school year. We decided we should do something like this every year. 


When it came time to pick a show for 2019, all four musicals I tried to license were not available to us in our time window.

Before our children we born, I had earned a living as a professional songwriter. And I’d always planned to one day write full length musicals. The time was finally right. My schedule had an opening, so I went to work and wrote Bold in the fall of 2018.


2) A Content Gap 


As I decided what to write about, I mused about how most student and amateur theater companies have far more women than men seeking to participate. 

Ironically, as I looked at the repertoire of musicals available for licensing, I realized that there were simply not enough musicals available to license that had more than three principal roles for women. 


I decided I should write a show that met this clear need. So I set out to educate myself on moments in history in which women were called, by choice or circumstance, beyond the cultural expectations of their times, into bold new responsibilities. I learned so much, and was moved by so many of the true stories I read.


In particular, I was inspired by the women of the Special Operations Executive, a British secret organization which placed spies behind enemy lines in occupied France. After reading biographies of many of these women, I was personally inspired and wanted to let others know what had been done on our behalf. 


3) My personal perspective


I also chose this particular story because the topic of WW2 is of personal interest to me. 

My late father was Jewish, of Russian descent. All four of his grandparents were born in Russia. I’m told that, historically, we were “The Bichovsky (ביצ'ובסקי) Family”, until the day an Ellis island worker renamed us “The Bishop Family.”  


My mother is of German and British descent. Her maiden name was Rothfuss.  I am proud that both of my grandfathers served in WW2 in the US Navy and helped to overthrow the Axis. They both spoke of it to me as a child. But I can’t escape the awareness that, had their ancestors not left Europe, my German grandfather could easily have been ordered to end the lives of my Jewish grandparents.   


I can explain many other motivations, in deeper ways, but I also don’t want to spoil the plot. So ... I’ll wait until after you’ve seen the musical, and then I will share the rest. Thank you so much for your support!


I entreat you to join us on opening night.


For tickets, see here:

https://www.drphillipscenter.org/events/tickets/2019/bold/

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