Rebecca Donner was putting the finishing touches on the script for her Minx graphic novel, Burnout, when she got an invitation from Symphony Space artistic director Isaiah Sheffer to write a song for “The Food Follies,” a musical revue scheduled for one performance only, tonight at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia. She put together a little number called “The Shiksa’s Seder,” to the tune of Fiddler on the Roof‘s “Tradition,” and sang it for Shaffer last week. “I figured if he liked it, he’d assign the song to one of the Broadway singers in the cast,” she recalls—instead, he decided on the spot that she should be added to a lineup that includes acclaimed jazz singers Nora York and Marion Cowings.
“I’ve written songs before,” Donner adds, “when I was the lead singer in an
alternative rock band right out of college… but that was a different genre, of course…” And of course there’s all the experience in public performance Donner acquired when she was the literary director of the KGB reading series. But a musical number in a Broadway theater, complete with dancing, that’s something else again. (Also, I’m willing to bet none of her rock songs ever rhymed “Haggadah” with “Miata.”)