Capstone Project Highlight Series: Lindsay Perr ’21

Each year, a number of junior and senior class members choose to participate in the MFS Capstone Program. Designed to challenge students who wish to pursue advanced study in a particular field, the program asks participants to produce scholarly work by engaging in independent research and/or creative development under the guidance of an MFS faculty member. This series highlights recently completed projects of the 18 senior students in the program. 

Lindsay Perr’s (’21) love of Broadway and theatre shines in her capstone project on music composition. As a performer, she has listened to and sung many songs from various Broadway musicals throughout her life, but she had not really focused on all that is involved in composing the music. Focusing on three of the composers/lyricists that she most admires, she used their styles of songwriting to inspire her own three compositions. 

Following research on Broadway, the 101 greatest shows of all time, and her three composers – Lin Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights), Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods), and Andrew Lloyd Weber (Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Cats) – Lindsay began to write lyrics and compose music for three songs. She quickly discovered, especially in the midst of COVID-19 when so much of the world was shut down, that it took a significant amount of determination and creativity to craft music and come up with interesting lyrics. Inspiration did eventually strike and led to the creation of her three songs: 

  • Believe in Me and You (inspired by Stephen Sondheim) – “A cynical, workaholic woman meets a small-town Christmas shop owner and he begins to melt her tough exterior. She finally allows herself to fall in love with him and she begins to appreciate her feelings. If Hallmark made a musical, this song would definitely be in it.”
  • Ordinary Days (inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda) – “An ‘Average Joe’ student describes her life as a typical student at a typical high school in a typical town. Just when she begins to understand the game of life, a global pandemic turns the nation upside down, and life as she knows it is completely changed!”
  • Win Again (inspired by Andrew Lloyd Weber) – “Two best friends (Stacy and Susan) are in competition for valedictorian of their class. Although Stacy has always been ahead, they’ve never let their rivalry get in the way of their friendship… that is until the day before the final exam (which will determine who is the valedictorian.) Susan has had enough. She locks Stacy in her basement so that she will miss the test and receive a 0%, ultimately securing Susan’s spot as valedictorian.”

Lindsay summed up her project saying, “New artists continue to be inspired by old artists, new authors continue to be inspired by old authors… I took to this project to analyze and understand the influences of each composer and their musical stylings. Modern Broadway is not ‘changing,’ it is evolving… When emotions are too intense to talk about, the only way is to sing about them. I intend to use the creative process as well as the information I learned for the rest of my life.” Listen to her songs and read more about her project on her capstone page

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