The music of TADA! Original Musical COMMON GROUND

R U There - Common Ground

Last weekend, TADA! Youth Theater presented the second workshop of the new musical COMMON GROUND, with book, lyrics, and concept by Lisa Diana Shapiro, and music by Julia Jordan Kamanda, with additional music by Georgia Stitt

This week, we wanted to dive further into the music of this brand new two-act musical. TADA! Alum and composer for COMMON GROUND, Julia Jordan Kamanda, describes her involvement as a full-circle experience. 

“This particular project is just so perfect for me because I grew up in musical theater at TADA!, then cut my teeth in the singer/songwriter scene in Los Angeles, and have come back to the theater world as a composer and teaching artist,” says Julia. “I love the artistic process of developing a new work. I love working with a team, I love the back and forth, the deletion of songs, the addition of songs, all with a greater goal in mind. In college I studied Anthropology, with an emphasis on cultural music and artistic expression. So I’m putting to use many parts of myself for a project that is meant to reflect people from different countries.”

To create the unique musical style of COMMON GROUND, Julia created a musical landscape that feels global and urban. The characters in this piece are immigrants and refugees who come from places all over the world, like the Dominican Republic, Nepal, and the Ivory Coast, and yet they have all gathered together in New York City. 

Julia says, “I have been immersing myself in the music from these places, listening for common musical threads that can tie the characters and the city environment together, mirroring the ‘common ground’ idea. It’s been a really fun challenge to figure out how exactly to do that! Heartbeat rhythms that transcend culture, melodies rooted in cultural songs, harmonies and chord movements that are true to the style of musical theater, arrangements that make it feel urban and young.”

COMMON GROUND is not only relevant to today, but an important story to tell. Julia says, “I think this show has the ability to make people from different backgrounds feel more connected to each other by witnessing the very human themes that the characters experience– uncertainty, loneliness, friendship, anger, unfairness, disappointment, hope. I think it’s also important that this story is told for a family audience. My 10 year old daughter learned about the ICE raids and the immigrant detention centers through her involvement in this project, and I’ve been watching her eyes opening to the harsh realities that kids her age face because of where they are from. It’s real and raw, but also accessible for young audiences to uncover truths about immigrant and refugee experiences.”

To preview two songs from the original score of COMMON GROUND, click below!

COMMON GROUND will be TADA!’s first two-act musical, and is set to have its world premiere in an upcoming season at TADA!.

Stay tuned for more information!

Common Ground Cast List

YSABELLA…………………………………………..Kayla Claudio
EMMA………………………………………………….Naomi De Leon
ENSEMBLE 1/3…………………………………….Sophia Donath
ENSEMBLE 4………………………………………..Bailey Emhoff-Marina
PRENTISS FIELDS/ENSEMBLE 2……….Jaden Gonzalez
ABDOULAYE……………………………………….Jon Luc Jobson-Larkin
ENSEMBLE 6……………………………………….Hakiem Porter
ISAI……………………………………………………….Oscar Segarra Caussin
ENSEMBLE 5……………………………………….Nolan Shaffer
LEXI………………………………………………………Yealie Ulaba-Samura
SAJITA………………………………………………….Eushin Vitale