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Trapped In The Closet - is a fun, behind-the-scenes look at the world of audiobook narration. Earphones Award winner Sarah Naughton pays musical homage to some of the most ridiculous - and spiciest - books she's ever been paid to read out loud! By Sarah Naughton (Book & Lyrics) and Golden Key Composition Competition winner Jake Weinstein (Music & Lyrics). Naughton and Weinstein star.
TMMTS: Episode 001
Running Time: 53 Minutes
Content Advisory: This episode contains some adult references that may not be suitable for a younger audience.
Creating Trapped in the Closet
So the way Trapped came about is this: I saw a friend of mine, Emily Essig, who was the late night booker at 54Below at the time, posting about the 2016 edition of 54Below’s concert lab program. Where artists can submit ideas for cabarets, and then if selected, workshop those ideas and ultimately perform them in the late night slot at 54Below. I’d always loved cabaret as a format, combining personal storytelling and singing is a beautiful way for someone to share themselves, so I decided to apply for the concert lab.
I knocked around a lot of different ideas for what my cabaret should be about. I did a production of the musical Cabaret in college and just loved it. So I toyed with the idea of a pop-based 21st-century re-telling of Cabaret. But that felt kind of lame and bad. So then I thought a little deeper about the musical Cabaret and remembered that cabaret traditionally was a medium where taboo could be explored, sexual mores of the day flaunted, politicians satirized etc. So then I became fixated on the idea of taboo. And things that people keep secret, out of shame.
In talking these ideas over with my boyfriend, Jeff Mondoro, who is a wonderful writer and performer himself, he was like, “Ok well what’s taboo about you?” And I said, “I narrate erotic fiction professionally.” As soon as I said it, it felt like so obviously the right idea for the show. The books I read are hilarious and ripe for satire. And my whole set-up, recording them in my bedroom closet, is somewhat preposterous. So lots of opportunities for humor. But then at the core of the show, are my very real anxieties about working on such sexually explicit content. And so “Trapped in the Closet” was born! I submitted and was accepted into the concert lab program.
The last and most important step was to find my collaborator, my music director. Jake Weinstein was the first person I thought of. We had worked together the year before on a workshop of a new musical and we just had such complementary styles of working, and I respect his abilities so much, I knew he’d be a perfect fit. And thank goodness for me, he accepted! So we started working together and piece by piece built the show.
My interest in storytelling I think goes way back to my childhood. Both my parents were big into telling stories. My father is a professor, and we used to take these long road trips and he would tell my brother and me every Greek myth he could think of AND the entire Iliad and Odyssey (these road trips were really long). He also made up this episodic story starring a brother and sister who go in search of a missing letter. It was called, you guessed it, “The Missing Letter.” My mom also used to make up stories to tell us at bedtime. And my mom also plays the piano beautifully. So I grew up singing with her.