“I LOVE A PINOT”: New Musical Theatre composers and wines

We welcome the second guest blogger to 7HalfCents.com with a two-part series for the sophisticated musical theatre aficionado who loves a pinot as much as they love a piano. 


Jessica M. Humphrey Headshot     by JESSICA M. HUMPHREY

In addition to my studies in Musical Theatre at San Diego State, I have taken advantage of living in California and have been studying wine. I thought it was high time to marry my two interests and present for you: New Musical Theatre composers and their wine pairings. I have taken five of my favorite new musical theatre composers and paired them with a wine I believe captures the essence of their music. For those of you who aren’t prone to spirits or aren’t of age, I have also included “tasting notes” so you can find something besides wine that might work for your tastes!

John Bucchino

I am a huge fan of Mr. Bucchino’s music, because I don’t have to be in a certain mood to listen to it. His pieces are classic without being boring and have a distinctive voice without being distracting. His music is sophisticated and fresh, just like a nice Chenin Blanc. I would suggest pairing a Chenin Blanc from the region of France called Vouvray with the song “Unexpressed” as performed by Adam Guettel. Each should bring out the soft, easy, flowing, fresh qualities of the other.



Kooman and Dimond

Let me start out with the pairing on this one: Kooman and Dimond are like a great Chianti – I can’t find many people who don’t like the wine or the writers. These men turn out good, heartfelt, meaty pieces over and over again. They are reliable, just like a good Italian table wine. There is spice to their songs; some are hilariously funny and some are richer in emotion. Check out “The Temp and the Secretary,” “To Excess” and “Blue Horizon” to see the variety of their work and make sure to try a cheap, classy chianti while listening.

Will Van Dyke

If you haven’t checked out Will Van Dyke, do yourself a favor – grab a glass of Spanish white wine, Albarino, sit back and enjoy! His music is of the pop/rock genre, but it doesn’t fall into the trap of being boring. His songs might not all be emotionally engaging (he wrote WINNIE THE POOH, KIDS) but that doesn’t stop them from being refreshing. He also has some pieces that are truly touching: listen to “I Found You” from writing kevin taylor for an example of something truly beautiful and delicious. Like the light-bodied wine, his music reminds me of sitting on a porch and watching the sunset.



Jonathan Reid Gealt

What I love about Jonathan Reid Gealt’s music is that it is always chock full of emotion and heart. His pieces have many dimensions and are easily relatable. This immediately reminded me of my requirements of a great Pinot Noir. My two favorite pieces of his are “Expectations of a Man” and “Quiet,” mostly due to the fact that they are two very different styles of a song from the same composer. Just like a good winemaker can have two very different tasting, but still fantastic Pinot Noirs produced in different years, Jonathan produces consistently great but varied music.



Joe Iconis

Joe Iconis’ music was my introduction into contemporary musical theatre. His songs “Blue Hair” and “Joey is a Punk Rocker” were staples at my university and for good reason.  His lyrics are smart yet colloquial and humorous, and his music is relevant without pandering to a younger audience. What better wine to pair him with than a spicy Zinfandel! I would never put Joe Iconis with a White Zinfandel like my grandmother would drink, but a really dark one full of notes of white pepper and chocolate. Next time you take a listen to one of Mr. Iconis’ rocking scores, grab a glass and see if the two can bring out the fun, delicious, seasoned qualities in the other.



Article originally posted on NewMusicalTheatre.com on May 8, 2015.


Jessica Humphrey is originally from Dallas, Texas and received her Bachelor of Music from Western Carolina University. She moved to San Diego from New York City where she was regularly performing in regional theaters and nannying. She will be graduating with her Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre this May from San Diego State University . She works as the Development Assistant at La Jolla Playhouse, the Archive Assistant in the Musical Theatre Archive at SDSU and is a regular blogger for NewMusicalTheatre.com Greenroom. Keep up with her at www.jessicamhumphrey.com



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