by Celine Dirkes
Today we celebrate the release of ReThink Theatrical’s first cast album, the original soundtrack to Robin Hood! I had the chance to pose a few questions to the two producers of the album, Michael Bond and Chelsea Joy Woods.
Mike and Chelsea have both been involved in this project since the beginning. Mike composed music and lyrics for the original play with music, along with Joe Ciampi and Thomas Young, and served as music director for the premier last October. Chelsea played the Nurse in the original cast, so she can be heard as a vocalist on the album. She also serves as ReThink’s archivist and wanted to produce the album as a way to preserve part of the original production.
“Album production was a totally new experience for me,” she says, “And I am grateful I had a seasoned pro like Mike Bond to give all the production insight. He brought the industry knowledge, and I organized the people, places, and things.”
Mike, a professional jazz musician, says his experience as an improvisational artist and educator came in handy, though he was surprised at the calm environment during the two recording sessions: “There can be a lot of pressure while recording, and with a large cast there is bound to be those who are critical of themselves or of the process. This cast however, really felt like a family. They encouraged each other with kindness and I believe that to be the reason why this process was as successful as it was.”
Both producers shouted out David Blakely, a guitarist and vocalist on the album, who played the Sheriff of Nottingham. “Blakely...and I have a little singer-songwriter partnership, which arose before Robin Hood,” Chelsea says, “But its character and nature were really forged throughout the rehearsal and performance process. So, to get to return to this material with Blake and to sing on an album together is an experience that was and is very dear to me.” She thanks Mike Bond, and sound engineer Vinnie Troyani, for helping her “...Take off my producer hat and return to the album as a cast member,” during the recording sessions.
Mike cites both Chelsea and Blakely as favorite collaborators on the album, explaining “Blake comes from an Appalachian experience and so hearing them sing from a real, authentic, foundational background was really awesome. And the two of them together? Woo! Their energy vocally helped make this album what it is. I am incredibly blessed to be working with such talent for sure.”
Knowing what they know now, neither producer would change a thing about the process. “My goal was for this project to bring us all together again to capture a special experience in a point in time,” Chelsea says, “And I believe we achieved that goal.”
Mike feels the same way: “This record is a slice of the present moment...a snapshot of a group of super talented artists who are lucky enough to call each other a family. It will be exciting to share a piece of that with an audience.”
Ready to experience the album for yourself? you can download it here or stream it on your favorite platform. Check out photos from the premier last fall, or enjoy this music video of our bonus track, Keep on the Sunny Side.