By June Mathews
NEW YORK – As if he hasn’t already experienced enough adventures for a lifetime, Trussville native Garrett Robinson is about to embark on another. The New York-based novelist and poet, who presented some of his work in a reading at the Trussville Library early last year, is about to appear in an off-Broadway musical based on one of his novels.
“My musical, Letters to Zoey, is adapted from my second novel, Zoe,” he said. “The story is based on my experiences in 1992 when I jumped on a coal train at the Irondale switchyard and spent a year hitchhiking around the United States.”
Robinson devoted a large portion of the past year composing songs to adapt his story into a musical then performing the piece for small gatherings at art galleries and other venues. Based on the response he received to those performances, he applied for and was accepted into the 2015 United Solo Theatre Festival (USTF) to perform at Theatre Row on 42nd Street.
The world’s largest solo theatre festival, the USTF is now in its sixth year. Through one-person shows, the two-month event “explores and celebrates the uniqueness of the individual,” according to the festival’s website. Robinson’s 75-minute show is scheduled for October 17.
A video trailer Robinson made to preview his performance can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yonCgXNwLSk.
“The images in the video are from Trussville and Irondale,” he said. “I walked up and down those tracks thousands of times while I was a kid.”
Shortly after his year of riding the rails in ‘92, Robinson relocated to the West Coast where he supported himself with various jobs while studying independently and writing. In 2011, he moved to New York City.
“I figured that being in the proximity of the publishing houses, perhaps I might meet someone in the business,” he said. “Then I told myself that even if I didn’t meet anyone, I would sell my books on the streets. For the past three years, that is exactly what I have been doing.”
Robinson’s parents, Jim and Charmaine Robinson, still live in the Trussville home where their son grew up.
To learn more about Robinson’s work, visit www.garrettrobinson.us. For more information on United Solo Festival Theatre and how to purchase tickets for its 2015 performances, visit www.unitedsolo.org.