We’re often asked what our Amazing Queer Songbook is. A book? A performance? Recording? Film? Our primary intention is to celebrate our love and collaboration through the lens of some of the original songs we’ve written during our almost 44 years together. For now – we humbly offer this website containing some musical films, photos, and text, as a way to begin to share our unique creative and life journey. We’re approaching this as a living project – giving it space to grow, transform, deepen, expand, reveal to us what it wants to become …
A quick history of the concept: About 20 years ago David Zak – then artistic director of the Bailiwick Theatre in Chicago – invited us to create a musical revue of our queer-themed songs which we called Q – the songs of Dan Martin and Michael Biello (musical direction by Michael McAssey). Fast forward to 2010 when Terry Fox of Philadelphia Dance Projects invited us to reimagine some of our early “performance art musicals” (circa 1980) and teach them to a new generation of performers. Fast forward again to a musical revue we called Biello Martin Songbook (2016 – directed by Jeffrey Lesser / musical direction by Jeff McDonnell / produced by Nicole Manning) where Dan shared pieces of our personal history and accompanied four singers performing some of our favorite original tunes.
Meanwhile – we were beginning to write our memoir and shared some of the chapters with our dynamic writing group (Patricia Dunn, Jimin Han, Jennifer Manocherian, Alexandra Soiseth) who encouraged us to dive deeper into telling our personal stories. At first, we were thinking of this as a traditional memoir to be published as a book – organized around 20 of our original songs including text and photos – as well as lead sheets of the songs themselves. As we continued working, the concept expanded to include audio and video recordings of the songs – and we decided to launch an online platform to share all the materials – a living compendium celebrating our life, work, and love.
Photo by J.J. Tiziou, 2007