Contributor: Martin Cassella
What’s your name:
My name is Paul Martin Casella. My writing name is Martin Casella. My friends call me Marty.
What’s your official job title?
My official title is playwright. I’m also a screenwriter. When I’m writing the books (scripts) for musicals in the theater, I’m called the librettist. For the work I’m currently doing on some amazing interactive eBooks for newly diagnosed cancer patients, I’m the co-author.
What do you do:
– For work?
See above answers. Short version… I’m honored to be working writer for theater, films, TV, and non-fiction medical Learn Guides.
– For fun?
Travel (particularly in England, Australia, Scotland, and Italy). Read (just finished a superb novel called A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and starting a new novel called Rules For Visiting, which was written by my friend Jessica Francis Kane.) Hiking. Riding my bike. Watching movies from my favorite period, the 1970’s. Listening to classical music (Mozart’s Requiem is my fave) and singer-songwriters (often Rufus Wainwright and Emmy Lou Harris – I have eclectic taste). Watching British cooking shows. Going to the theater (Favorite recent play: The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth, currently running on Broadway and recent winner of the Tony for Best New Play).
Your contribution to the optimism playlist?
“The Schuyler Sisters” from the musical Hamilton, written by America’s own genius Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’s sung by Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones & Leslie Odom Jr. The video here isn’t the whole song, but it’s a kick-ass portion of the song from the Broadway production.
Why did you pick this song? What does it do for you?
The song always makes me crazy happy, not only because the lyrics are smart and fun, and the music is catchy and dazzling, but because it just explodes your heart with pleasure. First it makes me grin, then I beam, and then finally I get utterly light-headed. Every single time I hear the song. It makes me happy to be alive, what else can I say?
Anything else you want to say?
You can go on YouTube and see a performance of the song done at the White House for President Obama. That video is sloppy and shot by a mad man, but the joy on the actor’s faces while they’re singing is infectious. You can also find various homemade video versions of the song on YouTube made by amateurs. People just love to sing this song. Listen to it a couple of times and you’ll want to make your own video!
Where can we find you?
We put our bodies on a diet. Why not our brains? This is the motivation for our optimism playlist.
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