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March 22, 2008:

NINE MOVING LIGHTS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is very late and I’ve got an early rehearsal and she of the Evil Eye will be here, so I’ll just dive in to Ye Olde Notes without so much as a how do you do? How do you do? Did you see what I did there? I said I’d dive into the notes without so much as a how do you do, then I did a how do you do. I hate when that happens. Speaking of when that happens, yesterday just sort of happened. No news to really speak of and I’m hoping that no news is good news although I’m going to have to force that particular issue sooner than later. I did get a piece of news at the end of the day that was really not good, but I won’t be able to deal with that until Monday rolls around. Hopefully, the problem can be fixed without too much effort. Other than that, I didn’t do all that much. I worked at the piano a little bit, I did some errands, and then I got ready to attend an opening night at the Pasadena Playhouse. I went, as always, early, ate at El Portal Mexican restaurant, took a nice walk, got my tickets and then saw lots of folks I know, people like Brad Ellis and his wife Eydie (Brad has done several albums for me), Harry Groener and his lovely Dawn Didiwick, director Paul Lazarus, Georgia Stitt, David Kirshenbaum, Jeff Greenberg (casting director and former Nudie Musical dildo), Sheldon Epps, writer Joel Kimmel and his writing partner Ann Gibbs (even though Joel has the same first name as my brother, he is not related), a Variety staffer whose name I can’t remember, writer Mark Saltzman (he told me he’s a lurker around these here parts – hi, Mark), Stacy Sullivan, and a few others. Also in attendance, director Richard Maltby, Jr. I schmoozed up a storm, and then it was time to go inside to see a new musical entitled Mask.

Last night, I saw a new musical entitled Mask. The book was by the lady who wrote the screenplay to the film, Anna Hamilton Phelan, the music by Barry Mann, and the lyrics by Cynthia Weil. I believe this is the first major production for the show, so I’m not going to say all that much, other than the show still needs some work, and that at this point the songs tend to sound too much alike, or at least they feel alike. I love Mann and Weil, and always have. But this is musical theater and there are different rules at play here than the pop world. I’m sure everyone’s going to continue to hone the show. A couple of things: I found it odd that Rocky didn’t have the I Want song in the show. I’m not one of these people who think that every show must have a song like that, but this one is crying out for it and I hope they ultimately give that character a number there. I’ve heard that the show has been shorn of about twenty minutes since previews began and indeed two musical numbers have been cut. What works about the show like gangbusters is the character of Rocky – certainly one of the most endearing and lovable characters you could ask for. And the actor who plays him is superb – Allen E. Read. The rest of the cast is excellent, with good work from everyone, especially Greg Evigan, who is very natural and who makes the most out of his role. I have two technical nitpicks – one, the sound mix, which makes it seem like every time a number begins we’ve entered a recording studio – it’s anti-theatrical, all that reverby record mix sound. It’s not peculiar to this show; it seems to be the deal these days, but it’s not a good deal and I’d rather have the sound be more natural. The other technical issue is actually more than a nitpick and it’s something I’ve ranted about before and it’s those damn moving lights. In this show there are nine moving lights that are onstage almost the whole show. They cavort, they swing, the move to and fro, they change gels, they do effects and they are completely unnecessary and, more importantly, completely distracting. I ended up watching the lights do their choreography sometimes more than I did the actual show. It’s not a concert, it’s a theater piece. Once or twice, okay, but these are incessant. We don’t need the nudge to applaud every time a big number ends by having these lights shine into our faces or do a jig. Let the material do that. In any case, if they’re going to keep them, give them billing – you know, like “also starring Nine Moving Lights.” The audience ate the whole thing up – lots of cheering and screaming and whooping and hollering and a standing ovation before the lights even came up on the curtain call. I’ll be interested to see the reviews, and I may even try to see it again before the run ends.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I’m installing Nine Moving Lights for haineshisway.com, just so we can be with it and happening.

Today, I have an early rehearsal, but not an especially long one, then I’ll come home and do some errands and whatnot, then I’ve got to sit and relax and watch a DVD or three.

Tomorrow, of course, is Easter, but there’s no rest for the weary, since we have a production meeting at three in the afternoon – I’m hoping it will be over in an hour. Then, next week, it’s blocking the rest of the show and then assembling all but the musical numbers – there’s still some big scenes to do, but it should all go pretty quickly.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have an early rehearsal, do errands, and watch a few DVDs. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your all time favorite TV theme songs – the ones with lyrics. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst our Nine Moving Lights illuminate the notes in ways you can’t even imagine.

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