Saturday, March 28, 2009
Audition # 3 was a big waste of time, but what a difference two days make at audition # 4. John and I were able to cast most of "A Little Bit of Broadway" on that one date.
They came from out of the woodwork and we actually had people walk away because the waiting time was so long. I'd love to see the theatre implement a better system. Perhaps when Google Search is fully implemented we can do this. For the role of Peter we found Ken Martinez. He will platy the part of Peter Greer. To demonstrate what a very small world this, Ken was a teenage kid actor at the Gallery Theatre back in the early 1980's -- the very theatre where I got my start with the Wizard of Oz in Ontario, Ca. He knew all of the people that I knew including Mark Shipley and his brood and Duane Thomas, Pam and Howard Wilson, Goody Goodel, the late Mike Tosha and Larry Newman (who played my Cowardly Lion and Tin Man respectfully. A really wonderful actor by the name of Chris Stolz will play Kirby Craig. Michelle Fox will play Helen King, Megan Cordero will play Janet Hardy. Sarah Marsh will play Eleanor Roosevelt and Robert Jones will play Billy Moore. We're hoping to confirm casting on all the other roles and cast the roles of John Kotter and Sam potter on auditions that take place on March 31st. We were even approached of doing a second run in June at the same theatre and we're attempting to double cast the show with a proposal to let Chris and Ken exchange roles a(that are so closely entwined emotionally) for the second run. We added a song for Eleanor Roosevelt (did anyone know how many times she was cheated on by FDR and how many times that she cheated on him-- even had a lesbian relationship, but had an arrangement to "stay together" for the children's sake. A scandal like that today would have sunk any presidential candidate today. Can you imagine how scary the world would have been without FDR as president? We also added a song for the character of Peter called "Old Flames"-- it's been in the trunk for years as Irving Berlin used to say. "You just never throw a great song away." More developments later that I'll report here. John and I are now very excited about the prospects for this one. I see where Llyoyd Weber's new incarnation of the Phantom "Love Never Dies" will actually start rehearsing three different companies at once in London at one time. The London Production, The Shanghai show and the show for Toranto which eventually will become the Broadway Cast that will occupy the Neil Simon Theatre. The London production will open in late October or early November of this year. John and i may rehearse two companies at once too if we get our second tier (run) of the show in June. The first production opens May 8th and runs for six performances on May 8th at 8pm, May 9th at 3pm and May 10th at 8pm. Followed by three more shows on May 15th, 16th, and 17th with the same times as above. So far with God's help, so good!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Well, the second audition for the production of our musical was held yesterday (Monday) and it looks like we may have found some great people by pure God-send. They had actually come in for other non-musical shows that the Hollywood Fight Club Theatre is doing, and ended up reading for us. We have found actors Brandon Matthews for the role of Peter, Chris Stoltz for the role of Kirby, Meagan Cordero for the role of Janet and Michelle Fox for the role of Helen. That's four roles down and six to go. The theatre is a little "black box" theatre with seventy-one seats which is not bad. It's certainly one of the most adult stories that I've written and the music and lyrics I am very pleased with. The next audition is tomorrow (Wednesday) at the theatre between the hours of 1 and 3:30 pm. So keep good thoughts for us. John and I are directing the show. The musical tracks really sound amazing! Thanks to Smooth Sound Studios and John's incredible talents using Finale 2009. More news soon!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Well this was the day that way back in 1972 that the United States Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment thus completing Congressional action on the on the far reaching amendment, act of law that would have prohibited discrimination based on sex by any law or action of any government -- in other words, Proposition Eight last election could not have been put on the ballot at all. had this historic act passed. The 43-year struggle of feminists to get the amendment through Congress ended at 4:38 P.M. when the 84-to-8 vote was announced. Now here's one thing that I didn't know: Just Thirty-two minutes later, Hawaii became the first state to ratify the amendment when the state Senate and House of Representatives registered its approval at 12:10 P.M. Hawaiian standard time (5:10 P.M. Eastern standard time.)The Senate galleries, which were filled with women of all ages and more than a few men, mostly young, applauded, cheered and let out a few cowboy yells despite having been warned in advance by Senator William V. Roth, Jr., Republican of Delaware, who was presiding, that such demonstrations were not permitted.The next and final step before the amendment could become law. Unfortunately as we all know seven years came and went and it failed to have ratification by all thirty-eight states as required by the Constitution. Sad. On this same historic day, way way back in 1765, the British passed the historic tax known in the "Stamp Act"-- and soon the battle cry "No taxation without representation was born. Prohibition was amended on this very historic day when FDR declared that beer and wine with an Alcohol content of less than 3.2 was now legal. FDR had only been president eighteen days. Funny thing, Chief Executives don't have to sign constitutional amendments approved by the states, but presidents have the power to change a constitutional amendment--without approval of the states! How strange is that? Also funny is this cartoon about AIG executives getting their BIG BONUSES-- absolutely outrageous. Jay Leno said it best The AIG folks are really trying to save money by selling their big corporate headquarters in New York City. It has sixty-six stories-- and not one of them is true-- that's EARL, BROTHER! And tomorrow with alkl fingers crossed will be audition day #2-- let us pray!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tomorrow is the first audition for "A Little Bit of Broadway" at 9 AM. Who gets up that early-- well, I guess actors do. John and I have audition appointments for nine actors between 9AM and Twelve noon. So we shall see what we will see about it all. We really need some young guys and we're hoping that more people will show up. The next auditions are Monday Morning March 23rd at 10:00 am-- so maybe we will see more souls then. John and I have added a scene in the show that has lots of historical significance. Whether we actually need to use it to strengthen the dramatic structure, we are simply not sure of right at this moment. So wish us luck as we journey to our very first audition as directors together. We've already mapped out all of the rehearsals and the blocking map is completed. We'll let you know how it goes here very soon!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Today is indeed Saint Patrick's Day and as tradition dictates I will call my boyhood friend Andy Allum to wish him a happy feast as I have done for the last forty-five years since we went to high school together in San Gabriel. I am so tempted to go to a local Irish pub this afternoon and get some traditional Irish Stew. I love that stuff! The picture is from today's big Saint Patrick's Day celebration in New York City-- the biggest in the world. As for the great saint, himself here are a few interesting facts about him. Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes;one suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place, as shown for instance on coins minted in Gaul (see Carnutes), or that it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolized as “serpents". Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief of 'three divine persons in the one God' (as opposed to the Arian belief that was popular in Patrick's time). Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on. The 12th century work Acallam na Senórach tells of Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín, during his evangelical travels. Saint Patrick was not born on March 17th -- he actually died on this day. This is his FEAST DAY not his birthday! Well Happy Saint Patty's Day To all!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
And the reason I say that is that quite unexpectedly, I have become a great uncle for the seventh time! My niece Jacqueline is the mother with a guy she has been seeing for the last ten years called Matt. Well, I understand that he's in construction and that seems to be a great paying job-- even in this bad economy. Speaking of that, I read this morning that they have laid off the actor who portrays "Big Bird" on Sesame Street. No more "Big Bird?" Is nothing sacred? Thank you, George Bush! Work continues on our musical that we are directing at the Flight Club Theatre in Hollywood. The first audition is this Thursday, March 19th at nine o' clock in the morning. Now I'm not terribly sure about that one. What actor gets up that early to go to a musical audition? In downtown Hollywood? But hey, they tell me they do this all the time! We shall see what we shall see. John and are rushing to get the final songs to the score and we've decided to import one song from an existing show just to make things a bit easier. And so "Crazy As It Seems" will be used in the nightclub scene with one tiny lyric change. I think it will work out wonderfully. We are also preparing our director's bibles and prop and sound effect and wardrobe logs-- directing is a lot of hard work! John and I replanted a new garden for spring and added solar lighting to the landscaping-- those solar lights are absolutely charming. Tomorrow work begins on bringing back Mr. Lincoln to the Disneyland Opera House. Imagine that: Steve Martin (the host of the 50th anniversary show) is being upstaged by Abraham Lincoln. They relegate Steve to the small screen in the exhibit area as he has a contract with Disney that the film play in SOME public media (garnering residuals of course) for a minimum of ten years. Pretty smart! An ex-Disneyland employee who worked at the above pictured Magic Store at the park guaranteed himself a ten year gig that pays daily residuals. Can you imagine how much income that little negotiation has earned him. Good thing because he sure can't play Inspector Closseau very well. But who could except the original Peter Sellers. Gray day here today, but hoping that the sun will come out later today!
Friday, March 13, 2009
The countdown is on for the first new production of one of my musicals on a regular stage in a regular theatrical engagement in twenty-five years. The last time was December 1985 when I produced a version of "A Moment With Mister "C" in December of 1985 at the Celebrity Centre Theatre (yes the Scientology place) Boy, that was a rough go. I think we managed to squeak by with a modest profit. It was also just before I took comedy writing classes with Danny Simon in 1986. And now, John and i are going to direct ourselves a production of our "Little Bit Of Broadway". We've got the show down to 115 pages and that should be just about right running time wise. Our auditions begin next Wednesday, March 19th on Saint Joseph's feast day at nine o'clock in the morning at THE FIGHT CLUB THEATRE which is at 6767 Sunset Blvd in Hollywood near the intersections of Sunset and Highland. We have ten roles to cast plus an extended walk on (he has about 30 lines) and everybody except the walk on guy SINGS. So we will have some piano midis with us that day and see just how well these actors can sing. This theatre has never staged a musical before, so its going to be interesting to see how all of this turns out! John and I are very excited about the possibilities. So with God's good grace, hopefully all will go well. It's a definite first step towards Broadway. So keep good thoughts for us on that day! I only wish Tony Westbrook were still out here. I would cast him in a New York minute! Today is also Friday, the 13th-- funny, I was never superstitious , but I guess there are a lot of people who are. And I received some interesting news. It looks like I am a great-uncle again for the seventh time. My sweet niece Jacqueline had a "surprise"-- a baby girl named Katlyn Patricia. Jacqueline was always one of my favorite nieces. We are still close to this very day! I wish her all the best!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
What an absolutely amazing two day recording session that John Nugent and I completed yesterday The results were absolutely incredible as we recorded twenty-five new songs and three older songs that we wanted a much better sound on. WE recorded songs from "Broadway Angels", "The Revenge of Ichabod Crane", "Young MacDonald", "The Wild Swans" "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway", "Sevenly" , "A Moment With Mister "C" and "The Traveling Companion." Perhaps the most amazing singers were Jessica Brusilow, who helped make the nun songs in "Broadway Angels come alive. Nicole Winter, Amelia Meena, Aaron Jacobs, Drew Tablak ( now a Dapper Dan at Disneyland) Aaron Jacobs, Isaac Jones, Paige Powell, Sean Reynolds, Andrea Becker, Joe Fillippone, Veronica Scheyving who was the first female to record the non pop version of "Crazy As It Seems" on Monday afternoon. Dear Tony Westbrook recorded this tune just before he left for New York. On Monday afternoon, the crowd listened to Tony's version of this song played loud and full dimensioned in the studio and everybody applauded. It was a great moment and proof what a great singer dear Tony is. On Sunday Terry Snyder came in to record two songs "You Look So Familiar"and one of the rebellious little monks who decide to kick the monk habit for good in "No More Monk Life for Me" Nicole Winter and drew Tablack re-recorded "Champions of the Heart" from "The Traveling Companion" It sounds so much better. Aaron's renditions of "After All" from the "Revenge of Ichabod was simply mind blowing. In the show, John and i have written, we posed the question: whatever might have become of Ichabod Crane that fateful Halloween night. It turns out that Ichabod (who had always been a great defender of ghost and ghoulies and faithfully defended them and told their stories) was rescued by the REAL "Headless Horseman" whose presence has frightened away impostor Brom Bones. And the reason all of Sleepy Hollow only found Ichabod's hat and a smashed pumpkin? Why that was because the Horseman rescued him and took him to his haunted realm. Realizing that Ichabod was never going to be appreciated in the age in which he lived, the Horseman has kept him in a luxury, book filled, food supplied cage (we now how much he loved both books and food) for twenty-one years. After never knowing freedom for all this time, the cage of luxury in which he has resided opens suddenly. The song is about Ichabod's reaction to his sudden freedom-- what a theatrical moment! Sean Reynolds sang another Ichabod song called "An Ordinary Man" and Issac Moore sang a song for the Headless Horseman called "Isn't it Divine" The whole orchestration was done on Finale 2009 and scored for up to twenty-six instruments-- the sound was incredible. Robert Roth was very helpful and dear Tim Doran was so very helpful on Sunday, helping even to conduct one song. There were a few negative things: mostly with singers who quit with damn little or no notice and those who decided it was their right to change lyrics to their liking or they simply couldn't go on. Oh well-- their loss. We have an amazing collection of new songs! I have encouraged Terry Snyder in a letter today that he must NEVER stop singing. That is a God Given talent and singing is praising God twice. I was amazed to find out that his young son is now seven years old. Wow, how time flies. Our production of "A Little Bit of Broadway" goes on at the Flight Club Theatre 6767 Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. The auditions began on March 19th-- Saint Joseph's feast day! Bless our labors, dear Saint Joseph!
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I can not believe that it has been over two weeks since I have written here, but John Nugent and I have been so busy preparing for our upcoming recording session that starts this Sunday, March 8th and goes for another day, the following day at Smooth Sounds Studios. It's going to be a marathon and god willing by the time we are through we will have some significant progress on our quest to have great CDs for our pool of investors. This is the way that Jesus Christ Super Star and Evita started-- by recording their songs on record and then selling them to investors. John and I have also landed a production of "A Little Bit Of Broadway" at the Flight Club Theatre in Hollywood for a six performance run starting May 2nd. So now we are trying very hard to finish the scoring of that musical as well. It's a great big challenge, but I am hoping that with God's help (and He always does) we will really come out on top. We have a lot of talented and incredible people singing for free and the response to the ad has been simply amazing. Praise God! A few folks have dropped out at the last minute, but we will manage. The orchestrations that John Nugent has created are absolutely amazing. What an incredible talent and what a wonderful gift from Heaven that he has been. God is so good to me! Today would have been Rex Harrisons's 101st birthday-- so Happy Birthday to Mr. Rain In Spain. Best wishes also for Robin Williams who I understand is in intensive care at a Miami hospital. God be with him! And yes, the world continues to make me laugh-- like the story of the woman who called 911 three times because the McDonald's she frequented was out of Chicken McNugets and the Ohio strange mother who was stopped for breastfeeding her baby and talking on her cell phone while she was driving. Mark Twain was so right when he said "I think God created Man because he was disappointed in the monkey!" Ha! A monkey wouldn't have done that! And may I show respect for the recent passing of dear Paul Harvey. I have been listening to that dear sweet man's broadcasts for decades and my mother loved him too. He was famous for giving us "the rest of the story". Amazingly enough he invented and coined the words "guesstimate", "skyjacked", and oh yes "Reaganomics" among many others on his many broadcasts.