The Story Behind “A Song I Forgot to Sing”


Just in time for this weekend’s world premiere of  “A Song I Forgot to Sing” at the Old Academy, the author shares the story behind the play.

On March 2, 2010, I engaged in a writing exercise for a class at Primary Stages in NYC.  I was a teaching assistant that spring semester and the instructor, who was also one of my two playwriting mentors in NYC, gave us all this exercise. 

It was simple enough and both he and I also engaged in the exercise with the class.  I took the subway home that night as I normally did, transferring at Lincoln Center to a cross town bus and then a quick one block walk to my apartment.  On this particular night, however, something in me had really connected with that exercise.  So much so that I started writing a monologue for a character that evening on that train ride.  Without looking up and nearly missing my stop, I continued to write as I emerged above ground and got on that cross-town bus.  The writing continued off the bus and into my apartment.

The monologue was for a character named Dora Chadwick.  The play was A Song I Forgot to Sing.

Now, literally eight years to the day, Old Academy Players is hosting the world premiere of the play that had its genesis that night, one that started in midtown Manhattan and continued all the way over to the Upper East Side—and beyond.

Theresa Swartz, Sandra Hartman & Caitlin Riley. Photo credit: Helga Yang

The inspiration for the idea and the mystery that is the heart of the play came about several months prior to that inspired evening of writing.  I was handed what I thought to be a small painting with a Christmas Card attached to the back.  I was told it was actually a part of a much larger painting that had been cut apart, mounted on card stock and given out to friends and family of the artist.  I immediately blurted out that I wanted to use this in a play someday.  Who knew that someday would come a few months later?  And who knew that the artist who gave me the card would now be my husband, T. Mark Cole—also know by his abstract art pseudonym, Favi Dubo.

I am proud and honored that Old Academy chose to include this world premiere in its 2017-2018 season.  I am blessed with a creative team beyond compare — Terri Bateman, Nancy Ridgeway, Mark Cole, Sarah LeClair and Caity Logan.  The cast of three is a dream come true — Caitlin Riley, Theresa Swartz and Sandra Hartman.

Eight years when looking forward seems like an eternity in time, but looking back it is but a blink of an eye.  I hope word spreads rapidly of this 8-year wonder in the making — I am so excited to share it!

Playwright Rob Rosiello’s new work, “A Song I Forgot to Sing” will be performed at Old Academy Players March 2-18, 2018. For more info about the play and the cast, or to purchase tickets, visit the Old Academy website

About Rob

A graduate of Villanova’s Master Program in Theatre, Rob’s directing credits include: The Laramie Project, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and Love! Valour! Compassion! He has directed several world premiere plays: Mommie Queerest, Awake, and Our Intoxication. Rob was a member of the Barrymore Award-winning ensemble of Angels in America, has taught theatre at Montgomery County Community College, and served as a teaching assistant in playwriting at Primary Stages’ Off-Broadway Theater in NYC. As a playwright, Rob’s credits include: Honky Tonk Queen, Die-Nasty, The World’s Oldest Living Drag Queen, Dawning of the Sliver Iris, Pandora, Fast Forward Rewind, and Hay Days. Rob’s next directing project will be The Children’s Hour this October at Town and Country Players, where he currently serves as President. He will also be teaching a Fall 2018 Playwriting Workshop at The Wyck House in Germantown.

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