The great grandson of music director J William Howard II, as well as the great-nephew of actress Esther Howard, prominent in Broadway musicals of the 1920’s such as “Sunny” (Kern), “Tell Me More” (Gershwin), and “The New Moon” (Romberg), Ken Howard has always had musicals in his blood. He even graduated from UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, and the University of Southern California. Professionally however he followed the path of therapy, and is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist.
Additionally, Howard is the founder of GayTherapyLA.com, a private practice in psychotherapy and coaching specializing in gay men and gay male couples for over 30 years. He lives with his husband of 21 years, Michael Ryan, in West Hollywood, California.
The combination of both these aspects of his life come together in his LGBT-themed modern musical, ‘On The Boulevard’ Original Cast Concept Album, which is available now on all streaming platforms.
A massive undertaking which features a huge number of collaborators and performers, ‘On The Boulevard’ is transformative, poignant, and witty, and the personalities and spirits of the cast members and their characters come through together in a production which is filled in equal parts with social commentary (such as in ‘Youth Is Wasted On The Young’), and unrestrained love (‘When I Becomes We’).
‘On The Boulevard’ was originally entitled, ‘PygMALEon’, referring to its adaptation from George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’, and the original concept, music, and lyrics are all by Ken Howard, and the libretto is by Ken Howard and Michael Heenan. Musical direction of recordings was by Stuart Wood and Michael Van Bodegom-Smith. The album was produced by Ken Howard.
Speaking of the production, Howard said,
“On the Boulevard” (formerly titled, “PygMALEon”) has been a labor of love since its inception in about 2015, when the proliferation of Hollywood superhero movies, combined with the pervasive notion that gay men in West Hollywood are too-often judged for their social status by way of the esthetics of their physique, reminded me of George Bernard Shaw’s social commentary and critique about social classes and the status of women in Edwardian London being judged by the manner of their speech in “Pygmalion” in 1914.
Making this story, libretto, score, and concept album has only been possible through the talent, skill, commitment, perseverance, and boundless energies of so many, who have given so generously, who just wanted to help bring an original musical to life. This yet-another retelling of the transformative Cinderella story mixes the classic themes and styles of Broadway musicals of the past with the very current cultural context of today.
I thank everyone involved for their inspiration and contributions in all aspects of theatre and music, who stand as living embodiments of their respective talents: Arrangers, orchestrators, and scorers Kristopher Gee, Stuart Wood, Alex Meade, Wayne Moore, Silvio Buchmeier, and (angel-on-earth) Michael Van Bodegom-Smith. Genius music recording studio engineers were Brandon Bustamante, Trevin Clay, Guy Baruch and everyone at Temple Base, and Chris McMasters of Crystal Digital Music and Mix Recording Studio.
The characters came to life in story and song through the early talents of Lloyd Gordon, Tracy Powell, David Pevsner, Jake Novak, Rickie Gole, Teresa DeGennaro, Austen Rey, Scotty-Miguel Sandoe, Max Herzfeld, Ronen Bay, Meghan Grinczel, Kim Carlson, Chris Etscheid, Steve Goodwillie, Alex Morales, Landon Stovall, and so many generous Company singers through various iterations of the score. None of this would be possible without them, and the generous contributions of Ryland Shelton, Gina Torrecilla, DeLandis McClam, Carol Barbee, Giancarlo Garritano, and the always-inspirational and limitless talents (and patience) of our breakout star, Michael D’Elia.
The critiques, contributions, and moral support of generous friends such as (writer) Malcolm Heenman, (writer) Dan Kael, (super-fan) Carol Tyler, (director/choreographer) Tor Campbell, and most of all, (director) Rob Iscove helped at every step. Family and friends who listened to early songs, read various drafts, and guided the shape of the story’s evolution gave invaluable sustenance. And I wouldn’t have been able to do this at all without the extreme patience of my “when I becomes we” husband, Michael Ryan.
Special thanks to assistants Jenn Jones, Robert Decker, Lauren Sweetser, Kelly Shaw, and Alan Wethern; plus Erin Rae Miller, Screenland Studios, Musicalwriters.com, (producing consultant) Gabrieal Griego, (producing consultant) Laura Hill, Nerative.com, (videographer) Rob Watt, Stephen Schwartz and the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop for inspiration and education, and to all the others who gave of their generous spirit to let the music play.
While the ‘On The Boulevard’ Concept Album was recorded at Temple Base Studios in Hollywood, and Mix Recording Studios in Mid-Wilshire/LA, between July 2015 and September 2022, ‘“’On The Boulevard’ Concept Album was recorded at Temple Base Studios, the show itself awaits production of its first commercial theatrical staging.
You can stream ‘On The Boulevard’ Original Cast Concept Album on Spotify, and find out more about the production online on Facebook, and YouTube.
I’ve heard this album! It’s funny and very moving with catchy melodies. Lead vocalist Michael D’Elia is great, but they’re all good. The LGBT take on the old “Eliza Doolittle” story is a fun twist. Good variety of songs, but there’s a lot of them. Glad I added this to my collection of show tunes.
That’s awesome – thank you for letting us know! Hopefully they’ll get a Broadway release at some point!