- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Most speakers at large conferences hope they have something topical to add when it’s their turn to talk. Derrick Wang has nothing to worry about.

The composer, lyricist and librettist behind the comic opera “Scalia/Ginsburg” finds himself with a red-hot subject following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The opera is about the legal sparring and behind-the-bench friendship of Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, mixing direct quotation with musical pastiche. He’ll discuss it next week at TEDxBroadway.

“The most inspiring thing about their relationship is the fact that they’re able to disagree yet have this very close friendship. Especially now, I think that it stands as an example to us all,” Wang said.

Wang will be at the fifth TEDxBroadway conference Monday, bringing together about 20 speakers - producers, marketers, entrepreneurs, academics and artists - to try to answer the question: “What is the best Broadway can be?”

TEDx events are independently organized but inspired by the nonprofit group TED - standing for Technology, Entertainment, Design - that started in 1984 as a conference dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.” Video of the Broadway event will be made available to the public at a later date.

In addition to Wang, speakers include Oscar-winning screenplay writer Alex Dinelaris, Deaf West Theatre Artistic Director David J. Kurs, author Jennifer Ashley Tepper, nontraditional theater producer Randy Weiner and actor and writer James Lecesne, who founded The Trevor Project and penned “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.”

The conference, which will be held in the off-Broadway complex New World Stages, includes speakers with no theater experience but with interesting insights on the human experience, including health coach Beth Clayton, TV newscaster Mark McEwen and University of Maryland engineering professor Erin Lavik.

Wang, who holds law and music degrees from Harvard, Yale and the University of Maryland, will talk about his journey with “Scalia/Ginsburg” and how it benefited from his many areas of knowledge. “Part of what I hope to share in my talk is the incredible opportunity that being interdisciplinary can provide,” he said.

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Online: https://www.tedxbroadway.com

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Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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