Charles Gilbert, composer, writer, director and SAVI savant, is the former director of the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, a position he was appointed to in 2008 after founding and successfully heading the UArts Musical Theater program for nearly 20 years. He recently composed the scores for “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” and “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” two shows produced by Enchantment Theater Company that have toured schools and regional arts centers throughout the U.S. He wrote music and lyrics for “Gemini: the Musical,” which premiered at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in 2004 and had its New York premiere at the New York Musical Theatre Festival; he received a Barrymore nomination for Outstanding Original Music for that score. He received two other Barrymore nominations for Outstanding Musical Direction for “A Year With Frog and Toad” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at the Arden Theater. Recent music directing credits also include Randy Newman’s “The Middle of Nowhere” at the Prince and “The Fantasticks” at People’s Light and Theater Company.
Gemini, created in collaboration with playwright Albert Innaurato, is among Gilbert’s works for the musical stage. Other musicals include “A Tiny Miracle,” “Watch the Birdie,” “Realities,” “Goosefeathers” and “A Is For Anything,” recently revived by the Blue Ridge Theater Festival. His 1979 musical “Assassins” was the source of the idea for the Stephen Sondheim/John Weidman musical of the same name, recently revived on Broadway to acclaim that included seven Tony Awards. Gilbert’s musical revue “Watch the Birdie” recently received a production by Philly Music Theater Works at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, and his newest work “Leading Lady, written in collaboration with Brind School colleague Seth Bauer, had its first workshop production in February 2012.
Gilbert’s accomplishments as a stage director are equally distinguished. Recent credits include the recent revival of “Anyone Can Whistle” at the Prince Music Theater, starring Chuck Wagner and Jane Summerhays, and two productions at the International Festival of Musical Theater in Cardiff, Wales: “A Lyrical Opera Made By Two” (Gertrude Stein and William Turner’s cubist lesbian romance) and “Songs for a New World.” He was Musical Theater Coordinator for the Kevin Smith/Miramax film “Jersey Girl” and appears in the film as Sweeney Todd.
Gilbert received his MFA in Directing from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977, and has also directed for Opera Delaware and the National Music Theater Network.
Gilbert is a leading educator in the field of singer-actor training and a founder and officer of the Musical Theater Educators Alliance. His SAVI System of singer-actor training forms the core of the curriculum at the University of the Arts. He has also taught workshops and master classes at colleges and symposia in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.