Homer Hickam, author of the internationally acclaimed memoir Rocket Boys (which was adapted by Universal Studios into the movie October Sky), has been a writer since the third grade when his teacher read one of his short stories and told him, “Some day, Sonny, you'll make your living as a writer.” It turned out she was absolutely correct. Homer is the author of fourteen books, all best-sellers.
Homer has done many other things with his life. He's a Vietnam vet, a scuba instructor, a paleontologist (he's found 2 of the 34 T.rexes ever found), and, most famously, a NASA engineer. During his two decades with the space agency, Homer trained the astronauts to work in orbit including the crew that rescued the Hubble Space Telescope.
He and his wife Linda and their cats share their time between homes in Huntsville, Alabama, Rocket City, and the S. John, US Virgin Islands. For more information, please see the author's website www.homerhickam.com.
With Rocket Boys and Flyer, Diana and her co-composer Dan Tramon became two-time (consecutive-year, unprecedented) winners of the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Award. Diana is a grad of the BMI Lehman–Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a recipient of two Billboard Music Awards for work in musical theatre and Contemporary Christian music. Flyer, based on the lives of the Wright Brothers, enjoyed its first full-production run in Kansas City in July 2011 (attended by an average crowd of over 1500!), and its premiere Equity Regional Production in Delaware in 2009. Rocket Boys held its NY industry-read June 2010 with a cast of Broadway pros under the esteemed Musical Direction of Joe Baker. It had its full staged reading premiere in Huntsville, AL (“Rocket City”) in 2008, and also won ANMT’s Search for New Musical Voices that year In 2011 the beautiful 1260-seat Theatre West Virginia hosted Rocket Boys for its "official" World Premiere, followed by two more runs there in 2012 and 2013. Currently the show is scheduled for a month's professional development and run at The Legacy Theatre in Atlanta in the spring of 2015.
A Juilliard alumnus, Diana has traveled nationwide as a member of the Presidential Arts Committee, and has written material for both presidential and gubernatorial campaigns. A long-time Director of Sacred Music, she has extensively written for both children and adult choirs, and won numerous awards as a classical pianist during childhood. Other solo compositions include Clarissa (Circle Rep Theatre), a 50-song educational series for Random House and TV theme and credit music. Currently, Diana is working on a sung-through version of the classic book “Vanity Fair”; and a new collaboration with author Harold Schmidt, “Coconut Road”, about the life of hobos in the 1930’s.
Diana is delighted to have taken part in setting Homer Hickam’s life-story to music and stage, and hopes the score will also serve to inspire, as Mr. Hickam has inspired millions to overcome circumstances and ALWAYS “aim high!”
Dan Tramon has been involved in New York musical theater for most of his life. A Juilliard Prep graduate, he performed piano recitals in Lincoln Center and boy soprano roles at the Met. After the voice changed, he attended Columbia University, where he co-wrote and performed in the Varsity Shows, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s original stomping grounds. While deciding what to do with his life, he took courses at the Institute of Audio Research, and began working Broadway sound gigs, which gave him the theater bug.
Along with co-composer Diana Belkowski, Dan enjoyed the honor of two ASCAP/Disney Musical Theater Workshop Awards, for their musicals Flyer, the story of the Wright Brothers, and Rocket Boys, based on the Homer Hickam Jr. bestseller. He is an alumni of the BMI Lehman-Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in NY.
Currently Production Sound Engineer for Kinky Boots, Dan has served in the same capacity for countless other B'way productions, such as Sister Act, Catch Me If You Can, Bonnie & Clyde, Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out, Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5, Phil Collins/Disney’s Tarzan, as well as In The Heights, Swing and many others. He was Associate Sound Designer for Broadway’s The Will Rogers Follies and Victor/Victoria. Dan served as Music Programmer for Paul Simon’s Capeman, and Broadway’s How To Succeed, Cats, and Beauty and the Beast. He orchestrated and performed digital music for Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Westbeth Theatre in NY. Dan also composed the pre-show music for The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway, and the score for an adaptation of Moliere’s The Miser.
Dan makes his home in Oakland, NJ, with his supportive wife Kim, a brave NY School Principal, and his favorite compositions: his outrageously amazing sons, toddlers Daniel Anthony and Gabriel Joseph.
By the age of three Carl had the stage under his feet, and a relentless smile on his face ever since! Broadway, National Tours, and Equity Regional productions include: Fame, the Musical; Amadeus (as Mozart); What Makes Sammy Run (title role); Peter Pan; Gypsy (w/Angela Lansbury); Rags (directed by Stephen Schwartz); etc. Principal TV roles include Saturday Night Live, One Life to Live (recurring), Saved by the Bell (series regular, full season); Growing Pains, and over 50 national commercials. Feature films include: Pizza Palace, The Lackluster Syndrome, Aladdin (w/Barry Bostwick, Disney Channel), and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. Carl recently received the coveted Best Actor award nomination by the Broadway League.
Carl’s major directorial and/or *Co-Book credits include: *Flyer (2009, The Freeman Stage and The Lamb’s Theatre, NY); *Rocket Boys (2013, Theatre West Virginia, 2010, New York City; 2008, Huntsville AL and 2005 Disney Theatricals, Workshop, NY); Einstein’s Breakfast (2008, Delaware PAC); *Coconut Road (World Premiere, Delaware PAC); Fame, the Musical (Bardavon Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY); The Jeweler’s Shop (Carnegie Hall & The United Nations, NY); Szymborska (Consulate General, NY); Grease (Somerville, NJ), etc.
Original Cast albums currently available include: Fame, the Musical; What Makes Sammy Run; Coconut Road; Rocket Boys; and the albums of Bill Solly: Let Me Give You a Lift and I Could Fall in Love, the latter of which earned Carl critical acclaim.
Carl, or “CAT”, as his colorful potpourri of friends calls him, was fortunate to also be the lead member of the pop group UNETI, which recently returned from an international tour. Their music video, which aired at length on MTV around the globe, was chosen to be the soundtrack for The New York Yankees and Hideki Matsui in their TV & Radio promotions for NYC. UNETI can be heard on Chaka Khan’s Christmas album, and was propelled by Nelson O’Reilly Productions, who also produce Willa Ford, Donna Summer, Lucy Woodward, The Baha Men, and other chart-topping performers.
Carl is an alumnus of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.
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