Book, music & lyrics by Carla Bianco
Kaleidoscope is an exuberant three-woman pop musical that tells the true story of one woman’s struggle to overcome the wounds dealt by a repressive, old-world Italian father to fulfill her lifelong dream as a singer/songwriter. Viewed through the lens of cabaret performance, writer/performer Carla Bianco entertains with unusual stories of her efforts to make it in the music business, landing her big break on Broadway and searching for her voice, all while grappling with her challenging past through interactions with her teenage and little girl selves. Together, they take the audience through Carla’s deeply personal journey of life and music, setbacks and triumphs, only to discover their own path to wholeness and forgiveness.
How it all started
Kaleidoscope is an autobiographical show that Carla has been working on telling for some time. It is a show she unknowingly began to write as part of her own personal healing process. It all began with the courage to express some repressed feelings about her challenging childhood through song. She noticed these few songs indeed had a theme and formed a song cycle which she called Countess Misery. While working as an actor on and off Broadway in musicals such as Rent and Bright Lights, Big City, Carla became inspired to turn her song cycle into a musical. The show was called Scales early on and had its first reading in Michigan. From there, the show took new shape and the title was changed to Kaleidoscope. Carla produced a second reading in 2002 at the Lillian Theater in Los Angeles co-starring Mary Gutzi (Bdway Les Mis) and music directed by Steven Cahill. The show was then selected for the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles directed by Craig Carnelia (Stephen Schwartz normally directs but he was working on Wicked that year). Following the ASCAP/Disney workshop, The Blank Theater Company in Los Angeles produced a staged reading of the show where it began to take on more shape as a five-person cast in 2003. And just like the saying goes ‘Life imitates Art’, Carla’s father became gravely ill, just like she wrote about in her musical, and she returned home to Pittsburgh. During that time, Kaleidoscope was put on hold as Carla pursued other artistic endeavors, got married and had a son. As Carla continued her career as a songwriter and performer, she explored different songs and stories that would go on to become part of Kaleidoscope through several cabaret shows. She premiered ‘The Call: An Evening with Carla Bianco” at Feinstein’s/54 Below in 2015 which followed a small East coast tour of the show. Then in 2017, The Musical Theater Artists of Pittsburgh (MTAP) asked if Carla would present some songs from Kaleidoscope at one of their meetings. It began to perk interest again and re-inspired Carla to continue working on the show. In December 2017, MTAP produced a reading of Kaleidoscope as part of their Incubator Series. Steve Cuden, book writer of the Broadway show Jeckyl and Hyde, collaborated with Carla on the book and the reading co-starred, Broadway veteran, Lenora Nemetz. After the MTAP reading, Carla rewrote the show alone and this time discovered a new form for her story. She restructured Kaleidoscope as a three-person female musical with each character depicting Carla in a different time of her life with her teenage and little girl selves. Spencer Whale came on board as director with Leon Zionts, of Front Porch Theatricals, as producer. In November 2018, Carla did another reading of Kaleidoscope with the new structure and it was met with much success. The show had finally found its form. Everyone commented very positively in the talkback and indicated they would come to a production in the future. Songwriting duo, Kooman and Dimond, upon hearing the song “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” from Kaleidoscope selected it to be performed in their Holiday show at City Theatre in December 2018. In May 2019, Carla has continued to work on re-writes with the new three-person structure, polishing and refining and is now finally at a place where the show feels ready for a workshop leading to a full-scale production.
Video Montage of Staged Readings
Music & lyrics by Carla Bianco
Praise for ‘Kaleidoscope’
“Carla Bianco’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ is a miracle of personal musical storytelling containing one brilliant, earwormy song after another that fills the soul while giving us perspective on familial relationships both challenging and loving. If you like toe-tapping, get-you-on-your-feet musicals about what it takes to build a musical career, then you ought to check out ‘Kaleidoscope.'”Steve Cuden
“Carla Bianco writes powerful melodies and lyrics that are tuneful, heartfelt, and enlighten us to her beautiful strength and spirit”Michael Kooman of Kooman & Dimond
“There are songs Carla has written for Kaleidoscope that are absolutely brilliant.”Craig Carnelia
Copyright 2017, 2002 Kaleidoscope. All Rights Reserved.
For inquiries, contact CarlaBiancoMusic@gmail.com