Friday, February 9, 2007

Birth of a Musical

Pigeonholes was incredible. It had only one problem. It took a day to set up and pull down. Not a lot of time for a show. But our plan was to rent a theater on dark nights (Mondays and Tuesdays) for a month or two, get some press, create a buzz then move to a bigger and better theater and perform on the big nights.

This meant setting up my piano, stool, surround-sound, mics and big screen on a stage that already had a set on it from the main show and using whatever lighting setup they had, too. Fitting in to this scenario proved impossible.

So we came up with an idea that would undercut the undercut. We would go even further to make a show easy and cheap to perform. It would have to be able to be set up the same day as the performance. I would have to be able to do it without a lighting and sound technician. Naomi and Stu would have to handle the crowd, mailing lists and merchandise sales. One of them would also have to do what little lighting cues there would be. It would all have to fit in my Honda Element. And I would have to create it fast! We need to get on stage soon after we set up in Florida because right after we sell the house, the profits from the sale is what we'll be living on.

Now all I needed was an idea. What to do a show about. Well, they always tell you to write about what you know. Mostly what I know is me. My philosophy, beliefs, sense of humor. I needed a string to tie the music together. I racked my brains for a few days and finally came up with the idea that the ups and down of being a composer could be interesting to an audience. Especially if you've been around for a while and had some credits. People might want to know what it's like. And that would also be a natural way to get music into the story.

And instead of writing all new songs for the show, I could make it a review. Take songs from my many CDs that fit the premise. This would make writing the show go much faster and also be a great way to introduce people to my various styles of writing.

Now all I needed was a title and enough ideas to put on a good, entertaining (and possibly enlightening) one and a half hours. The title struck me out of the blue. Thank You, Dan Rather.
Thank you for thirteen years of royalties. Thank you for screwing up and ruining my life. (That last sentence is a joke, for anyone who doesn't know me personally. I never blame anyone else for my circumstances. But as a title, it can evoke both meanings. Thus, making it more memorable.)

The title also might be newsworthy. Or at least create some mystery and stick in your mind. Stu and Naomi loved it. Now they just had to wait for me to write it.

The writing came easy. Memorizing a show where I opened my mouth and didn't stop singing or talking for an hour and a half was the hard part. At present, I'm still perfecting the monologues. I've almost got it down. Just need to get it so down cold that I don't have to think of the words, just perform them.

Well, as I write this, we're waiting for escrow to close so we can make the big move. The next post will be written from sunny Florida. I'm really looking forward to dangling my chad at the next election.

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