Singer-Songwriter Sandy McKnight Unveils Plans for His Musical, Band Boy

LEE, MASSACHUSSETTS – Local Lee resident, Sandy McKnight, announced his latest project, Band Boy, a musical based on a former web series of McKnight’s that won many awards in the festival circuit in 2018. Unlike Sandy’s recent recording endeavors, this project will be a much larger undertaking. McKnight, best known as a singer-songwriter, wrote 12 new songs for the show to complement a story told with a mix of various comedic styles, serio-comic moments, and story lines drawn from his own music business adventures. Marc Contento and Mary Liz Adams, two young actors starring in the play, hail from the Albany area.

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Conceived by McKnight last year, while Covid made live performances problematic, Band Boy centers on his experiences in the rock and roll world of the early 80s in New York City. After a staged reading in Pittsfield, McKnight had to decide where to take it next.

“The natural choice was to mount a live production. It’s a play! But mounting a live musical is a pricey undertaking. And you stand little chance of breaking even, even with a long run,” He explained. “A video of a live performance is technically challenging, with no guarantee that you’ll get a definitive version of the show. So I decided to shoot it as a hybrid, a movie with the intimate, non-filmic feel of a stage play. In this way, I could shoot out of sequence, and use other advantages of filmmaking, while maintaining the live feeling of intimacy.”

McKnight contacted the office of Berkshire Media and Film, which led him to Silo Media, based in Stockbridge. The owner, Beth Carlson, suggested they use Dewey Hall in Sheffield as a setting, a facility she was very familiar with, in her position as board chair of the historic building.

“We began to envision various parts of the Hall as the different rooms we needed to portray. It was really ideal for the hybrid idea, since we weren’t going for total realism or big production values.”

Sandy went to work finding a local cast, and tapped into some talented people he’d worked with on previous projects, including last year’s variety/sketch comedy show The Berserkshires, which he co-wrote and co-produced for Columbia Arts Team.

He lined up local actors Andrew Joffe, Wanda Houston, Sherman Howard and Michael Siktberg, all well known in the regional theater community. Houston, best known locally as a singer, has done a lot of stage acting, and gets to do both in the film. Howard is perhaps best remembered as Elaine’s boyfriend Roy on ‘Seinfeld’.

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Marc Contento, Mary Liz Adams, Sam Kombo and Steven Sewan were signed to play the fictional band, The Ragamuffins of Love, whose story is told in the play. Also in the cast are 16-year-old Anneka Shepherd, from Burlington VT, Willy Welsh, of Sheffield, and Hudson’s Tony Carrano. Liv Cummins of Lee has a role both in front of the camera (as a suburban mom), and behind, as President of Columbia Arts Team, a non-profit performing arts company who are coproducing the project.

Sandy plans to debut the film with a series of screenings in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Hudson, Albany and New York City this Fall. He also plans to arrange a screening in Los Angeles, and in Europe. He’ll enter the finished product in a number of Film Festivals.

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