Grammy nominee Rona Siddiqui's new musical comedy Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan has released an EP with selections of the work's score July 17 via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and other digital music streaming platforms.
A 2020 recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and music director of Tony-winning musical A Strange Loop, Siddiqui explores her identity as a bi-ethnic woman in the semi-autobiographical musical comedy. It follows writer Medina Eskandani as she's asked in an interview to talk about her "otherness," setting off a series of "memories dealing with body hair, racist cousins, airport security, and pesky head scarves."
Bringing her music, lyrics, and orchestrations to life on Selections from Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan are vocalists Sharone Sayegh (The Band’s Visit), Jonathan Raviv (The Band’s Visit), Sherz Aletaha (Merrily We Roll Along), Angel Desai (Company), Jamen Nanthakumar (Monsoon Wedding), Joe Joseph (The Kite Runner), and Meetu Chilana (Monsoon Wedding). Featured in the band are Justin Rothberg on guitar, Rob Jost on bass, Elena Bonomo on drums, and Susan Mandel on cello. Music direction and piano are by Rebekah Bruce.
The EP is produced by Yellow Sound Lab, with sound engineering by Ian Kagey. The EP was recorded at Power Station at BerkleeNYC.
The sketch-style musical has been in development since 2017, with support from Hermitage Artist Retreat, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Goodspeed Johnny Mercer Writers Grove, MTF Makers, Catwalk Art Residency, and Playwrights Horizons. It has been presented at Playwrights Horizons and 54 Below, and is receiving a workshop at Playwrights Horizons next year
Give a listen to Siddiqui's work, including "When a Pigeon Flies" from Salaam Medina, in this performance for Playbill's Songwriter Series below.
(Video contains language that might offend. Viewer discretion advised)