Friday, July 18, 2008
Last night I sat front row for the opening night of a brand new Broadway musical called [title of show] - It was a show within a show about two unknown writers, writing a new musical for the NY Musical Theatre festival, pursuing their dream to Broadway - it was their literal story and journey about writing a new musical unfolding within the context of the show - very exhilarating to see a real life dream being realized in real time on stage up to the final moment of the piece and there they were, opening ON Broadway for real.
The audience (no doubt diehard friends and fans throught the entire journey of this new piece thru its developmental stages to its off-Broadway run, workshop productions and subsequent road to Broadway) was electrifying.... It was definitely an inspiration to see it happen for others, the very thing we ALL dream about happening... I ran into the producer who I know from other relations years ago and he invited me to the opening night party.
So many icons of Broadway were there, the toast of the town Broadway directors and choreographers, Tony Award winning actors and famous designers, composers, writers - a sea of artistic legends.... I thought of you all and wanted to share my random NY "ride"....
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Hi fellow composers/lyricists/creators! I had an interesting experience this week I’d like to share with you. I got a call from my wife, who said “You have to come over here right now and check this out”.
For those of you who don’t know, my wife Jill runs a company that creates movie posters. I rushed over to her office and she handed me a three ring binder with a picture taped to the front of some kind of archaic looking sculpture, like you might see in Paris. I opened up the binder and the first page said: Rent: A musical adaptation of La Boheme.
Inside were two scripts, one dated December 1995, and a revision, from January 1996, with all kinds of corrections, pencil doodles, notes etc. I looked up at Jill with a questioning look, and she said, ”You’re holding in your hands Johnathan Larson’s personal copy of the script for Rent that he was using in final rehearsals up until the day he died”. !!!!
It turns out that Jill’s company is working on a poster for the theatrical release by Sony of the last performance of Rent, happening in the next few months. Johnathan Larson’s aunt sent this incredible treasure trove to them for inspiration in the making of the poster. And what a treasure trove!
Besides the academic interest of what changes he made (sections crossed out, lyrics changed, notes to actors etc, pages of notes on suggested changes to the arrangements of each song, etc)., there was the sheer fun of seeing all of his doodlings (he seemed fond of writing out the entire alphabet repeatedly), as well as some interesting mementos- such as a dozen obviously hand Xeroxed copies of invitations to the original performance at a small theatre on 4th Street in the East Village. I was going to pilfer one of those, but my wife said “Bad karma”. Oh well.
Anyway, it was a fascinating look at a unique mind in the midst of creating a classic theatre piece. Needless to say, it was quite inspiring, but in the end, I realized that the whole show, this work of genius, was all right there, in the three ring binder, exactly as we work on our shows. My wife said, “From such humble beginnings…”.
That gave me a bit of hope: if this great writer, who could spend 8 years realizing his vision, only to die before it ever hit Broadway, could put it all right there on the page, then maybe we could too. Or some of us. Hell, maybe all of us! Anyway, thought you’d enjoy the story. Keep writing!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
ANMT has made a leap into the future by shooting our very first "Guerilla Musical", by which I mean a musical which bursts out "unexpectedly" in a public place. There are other "guerilla musicals" out there (check out http://www.anmt.tv/ for a collection of them), but we are hoping to corner the market on guerilla musicals which feature original musical theatre content.
This short video is a visual record of how excited I was when I got home from the shoot of "The Customer is Always Right". To view the actual guerilla musical, please go to http://www.anmt.tv/ and scroll to the section titled "videos from the academy for new musical theatre".
The summer’s lucky lyricists are going to get my feedback via mp3 -- so instead of getting feedback in a weekly group meeting, I’m going to give individual feedback, one-on-one, just like I do on writingmusicaltheatre.com. I think we’re all going to enjoy that. (Plus, we’ll save on the gas.)
Anyway, yours truly wandered around with a camera during the conference talking to people. Here's the result of that:
That's all for now!
"So what exactly is this blog about?" you may ask. In short, it's about musical theatre. In slightly lengthier, it's about the development of new musical theatre, as seen through the eyes of an academy devoted to it. We'll regale you with stories, astound you with observations, and occasionally annoy you with self-promotion. It should be a blast.
On a more serious note, I'm very excited about this blog. The Academy is a wonderful resource for aspiring writers, and as an aspiring writer, the chance to capture some of their tidbits forever online is something I look forward to.
So again, welcome, and enjoy.