Lisa Loeb and fellow Brown University alumni musicalize 2020

Aug 6, 2021, 9:13 AM | Updated: Aug 8, 2021, 12:00 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Group reunions on Zoom have rarely become the fuel for good art. But one has created a musical — actually 10, to be precise.

Grammy Award-winner Lisa Loeb was inspired to capture the weirdness, wonder and horror of 2020 during a Brown University online reunion. So she tapped dozens of her fellow alumni to help create “Together Apart,” a collection of 10 mini-musicals that explore moments during the year. There are also songs by Grammy-winner Gordon Chambers.

There are stories about speed-dating during the pandemic, elementary school taught through Zoom, a pair of divorcees forced to become roommates, moms struggling through quarantine and a family game night that spins out of control. There are exasperated parents, long-ago lovers and lots of alcohol — perhaps even a drunk racoon.

“People really had the passion to connect and to tell these stories and to work together. So it created a lot of purpose during this time. And, for a lot of people, it created an opportunity to be creative,” says Loeb.

“Together Apart” makes its debut Friday on the streaming platform Broadway On Demand. Tickets are free with a suggested donation to The Actors Fund.

Loeb, whose music career kicked off with the 1994 hit “Stay (I Missed You),” logged onto a Zoom of former Brown musical theater students and listened as people reminisced about shows and talked about how COVID-19 had affected their plans and hopes.

“As everybody went around the room, in my head I felt like I was almost in a musical already,” she says. “So I said, ‘You know, instead of just talking about these musical theater memories, we should write a show.'”

Some nine months later, after about 100 alumni had offered their input as actors, songwriters, storywriters and singers, “Together Apart” was done, a collection that captures both the absurdity of the pandemic and the impact of the death of George Floyd. Comedian Eric Kirchberger plays Dr. Anthony Fauci, popping up every so often to act as a sort of narrator.

“It’s a piece in time. This is what it felt like. It’s a theatrical sized version of it and it’s definitely a fictionalized, but there is definitely so many different facets of the COVID times,” says Loeb. “We were connecting and then we made a show about connecting.”

The original Zoom group expanded — alumni from Germany, Italy and across the U.S. contributed — and the final product featured show biz amateurs and professionals, like Julie Bowen from “Modern Family,” Josh Hamilton from “13 Reasons Why,” Broadway veteran Ann Harada and Hollywood fixture JoBeth Williams.

Instead of a single film, the group agreed that multiple musicals — each no more than 10 minutes — would work better to cover the enormity of the year. They also embraced the idea that it should look like it was on Zoom and that authentic stories would be key.

“We were able to touch a lot of different bases by giving a lot of different people the ability to tell their story — fictionalized, but to tell their story,” says Loeb.

“Together Apart” also serves as an advertising for the skills of Brown University alumni, who overcame creative and technological hurdles to make a series of musical moments that represents a pandemic diary.

“It was a really amazing way to be introspective and appreciative of the experience that we got while we were in college and the friendships that we’ve made,” says Loeb, who graduated from the Ivy League institution in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1990.

It was a project that came because of Zoom but transcended it, too. “We are separated into these boxes and yet we are together in these windows and we are purposefully trying to connect both in the process and in the show itself,” says Loeb.


Mark Kennedy is at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Arizona Secretary of State Latie Hobbs, left, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Kris Mayes, ...
Associated Press

GOP quiet as Arizona Democrats condemn abortion ruling

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Democrats vowed Saturday to fight for women’s rights after a court reinstated a law first enacted during the Civil War that bans abortion in nearly all circumstances, looking to capitalize on an issue they hope will have a major impact on the midterm elections. Republican candidates were silent a day after […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

US spy satellite launched into orbit from California

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A classified satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office launched into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket on Saturday. The NROL-91 spy satellite lifted off at 3:25 p.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California’s Santa Barbara County. It was the last launch of […]
16 hours ago
Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Invest...
Associated Press

Saudi Arabia’s triumphant week reclaims the West’s embrace

NEW YORK (AP) — Saudi Arabia appears to be leaving behind the stream of negative coverage that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi elicited since 2018. The kingdom is once again being enthusiastically welcomed back into polite and powerful society, and it is no longer as frowned upon to seek Saudi investments or accept their favor. […]
16 hours ago
A model of the house where a precision counterterrorism operation killed al-Qaida's leader Ayman al...
Associated Press

CIA unveils model of al-Qaida leader al-Zawahri’s hideout

McLEAN, Virginia (AP) — The CIA has revealed a model of Ayman al-Zawahri’s safe house, used to brief President Joe Biden about the al-Qaida leader’s whereabouts before the agency killed him in a drone strike in Afghanistan. Shortly after al-Zawahri’s death, White House officials released a photo showing Biden talking to CIA Director William Burns […]
16 hours ago
Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Ali Sabri addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General As...
Associated Press

Live updates: U.N. General Assembly

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on the U.N. General Assembly: SRI LANKA Sri Lanka’s recent political crisis presents an opportunity, its foreign minister said Saturday. Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Ali Sabri alluded to the dramatic political upheaval that has roiled the South Asian island country in describing the “significant changes” Sri Lanka has […]
16 hours ago
A Police officer detains a demonstrator during a protest against a partial mobilization in Moscow, ...
Associated Press

Kremlin stages votes in Ukraine, sees protests in Russia

Hundreds of people were arrested in Russia for protesting a military mobilization order aimed at beefing up the country's troops in Ukraine.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Lisa Loeb and fellow Brown University alumni musicalize 2020