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<a name="paul"></a>Paul Bodden

I WRITE CABARET AND THEATER SONGS HERE IN MY NATIVE NEW YORK CITY. My songs show the influence of my wide-ranging musical interests: Blues artists like Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters and Mississippi John Hurt; Jazz singers like Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald; Songwriters like Fats Waller, Kurt Weill and Harold Arlen; Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Joni Mitchell; as well as John Bucchino and Ricky Ian Gordon; all mixed up with a big dollop of modern classical music. “You do write some great stuff!” says veteran cabaret singer/piano player, Steve Ross. A CD RECORDING 14 OF MY SONGS IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE:
“I LOSE MY HEART (AND OTHER BODY PARTS…)”

The mood of these songs is by turns funny, dark, passionate and open hearted. Singers who hear the songs want to use them in their shows and concerts. My musical director, Seth Weinstein, and I went into the studio and laid down piano and vocal tracks for 14 of my songs. Considering that it was my first time in a recording studio, the experience was surprisingly pleasant, easy and fun. No doubt, engineer, Chip M. Fabrizi of PPI Recording, had something to do with that. My goal, however, is to have other singers and musicians perform and record the songs. If you are interested in obtaining sheet music or lead sheets, please email me via the CONTACT page. I am also writing a musical about a boy living in the Projects on New York’s Lower East Side who imagines that he is a beautiful princess. (Can’t imagine where I came up with that story…) A reading of The Princess Musical is in the works. Here’s what Steve Ross had to say about my last cabaret show: “A real revelation … you are SUCH a wonderfully communicative singer. You bring such heartfelt intelligence to everything you sing and say...” Stay tuned!

<a name="princess"></a> The Princess Musical - Work In Progress

I have been working on this musical, on and off, for about 12 years. A sit-down table reading of the first act is planned for early October 2011. A synopsis of Act One follows: Taking place in NYC in 1962, this musical toggles between fantasy and realism. Karley, a highly imaginative 11-year old boy, is surrounded by a mostly female multi-racial family and lives within the tough macho culture of the low income projects of NYC’s Lower East Side. One day, Karley discovers his inner Princess. The Princess (portrayed by a life-size puppet and sung by a countertenor) is impulsive and headstrong and develops an instant infatuation with Karley's sympathetic fifth grade teacher, Mr. Rubin. Karley feels he has to keep this discovery a secret. He and his younger sister, Tina, make a Princess marionette but in the end Karley feels forced to destroy both the inner and outer manifestations of his Princess persona.

<a name="pink_tower"></a>Pink Tower Music - my publishing company

I grew up in a tall pink tower on the arm of the green gray sea. Other people called it the Projects on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. And so it began...

<a name="basic_bio"></a>Basic Bio

PAUL BODDEN (the artist formerly known as Paul David Ross) is a native New Yorker of Jamaican and Polish-Jewish descent, which may or may not account for his “special” view of the world. He started playing guitar at age 9, beginning with folk music and later branching out to blues and jazz. Paul began his professional acting career while still an undergraduate at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. In his junior year, he played a middle-aged South Asian to great acclaim in the title role of "The Indian Wants the Bronx." After this initial success, he promptly quit the theater. Years later, the call of acting drew him back into performing in a series of plays and musicals. As luck would have it, he often got paid for his work. Eventually, he appeared on 2 different episodes of “Law & Order”. (You can currently see him on re-runs.) In all of these performances, he portrayed a variety of South Asian, Middle-Eastern, and Mediterranean men most of whom were either middle-aged or near and/or beyond death. In the 1990's, Paul thought the world would be a better place if he would write a musical about youth and childhood. So he enrolled himself at the Extension Division of the Mannes School of Music in Manhattan where he studied musical theory and composition. He also took piano lessons with Tardo Hammer and Hector Martignon. Paul had performed a solo cabaret act for many years for which he often wrote special lyrics. Now he started songwriting in earnest. The 2004-2005 season saw the debut of four of his songs by other singers in various cabaret and concert venues. He followed up with his own sold out cabaret act at Helen's Hideaway Room in September 2005. The show was reprised in November of the same year. Paul currently lives in Manhattan with his long-time partner, Thad, and continues to write songs and work on his musical, which is based on short stories he has written about his childhood.

<a name="collaborators"></a>Collaborators and Muses

The late songwriter, Jeffrey Roy, was my first musical director. Jeffrey encouraged me to write patter lyrics for existing songs. I still perform my version of “You’re My First, My Last, My Everything” from that time. Fran Minarik was my vocal coach who became a collaborator and friend. He’s a very talented musician, musical director and teacher. He inspired me to not only write songs but to start writing a musical that is still in the works. We had a lot of fun writing “Autumn Weather” and have a least one unfinished opus to revisit. Lois Raff-Corwin is a puppeteer who writes plays both for puppet and human actors. Lois grew up in the Carolinas, which may account for her ease in writing lyrics that include Southern baby talk. Vickie Varnuska is an actor who has appeared on stage, film and television. She is also someone I have known longer than most people. Vickie performs a one-woman show called “Essentially Alice” in which she plays many, many characters from Lewis Carroll's “Alice” books. In an earlier incarnation of the show, I played half the characters with her and we sang "The Lobster Quadrille" to music we wrote together. Most recently, I directed Vickie in an abbreviated showcase version of the show.