In 2004 I began writing about a children’s hospital for the BMI workshop. Composer Bob McDowell agreed to collaborate on the first song. When I sent him my lyrics about an 8-year-old facing chemo, he wrote, in his wonderfully poetic style:
I’m thinking breezy.
I've seen 8 year old boys
sort of absent-mindedly dancing along
and that image is what's going through my head.
For the workshop presentation, Bob brought in the very young, preternaturally talented Hannah Clarke Levine to sing “My Hair,” and a bunch of people cried.
“Even I got a little farklemt,” Bob confessed.
Then Bob became very sick. We tried working on CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL/6 NORTH (named years before the television show) on and off for a few months when he was out of the hospital. In 2005 Bob died in the Astoria apartment he shared with his partner, playwright Bill McMahon.
The show never materialized, though a few other wonderful composer friends and an exceptional playwright contributed their talents.
Bob's work helped me win the Jonathan Larson award a year after he died.
I’ve been meaning to change the dated “it’s Scooby Doo” line, but in the meantime, please enjoy hearing Hannah Clarke Levine’s superb live-at-BMI rendition from 2004, with Bob McDowell accompanying.