Well, dear readers, we have survived the very first informal reading of The First Nudie Musical. It was a fascinating evening for a whole slew of reasons, and I’ll talk about it at length in just a little while. But first, a word from our sponsor. Speaking of our sponsor, yesterday was a stressful day, just in terms of getting everything prepared for the reading. First off, I didn’t sleep well and got up at four-thirty, went back to bed and then was up at six. I did manage to crawl into bed at eight and slept until nine-thirty. I then got up, had a conversation with Ye Olde Publisher, and then did the rather major job of completely reconfiguring Ye Olde Living Roome. I had to really think it out, as I wanted everyone to be able to see each other and, of course, I had to see everyone, too. The set-up worked very well. Then Miss Beth Malone came over and we ran all her stuff. After that, I went and bought two large cases of bottled water, which was very inexpensive at Staples. I then did a few errands and whatnot. After that, I came home and showered and shaved and by that time it was already five o’clock, and our mighty ensemble showed up. We went over all the group music. It was almost 100 degrees outside, so I turned on the air-conditioning to cool down the inside of the house. Unfortunately, the air-conditioning decided not to work – it was not blowing much air and what air it WAS blowing was warm. I called the Handy Man and luckily he was able to get someone over here by five-thirty. It turned out to be a tripped breaker (yes, more breaker problems). He went up on the roof, tested everything, then threw the breaker and suddenly it was all working fine. He was only here about thirty minutes and yet charged me $120 without even giving me an invoice. The Handy Man will have to give me one or get me one because ultimately I have to turn all these fix-it bills in for reimbursement. At six, Sharon McNight arrived and we ran her song, and about fifteen minutes later Michael Irish arrived and we ran his duet. Then everyone else arrived we had a meet and greet, I gave a little history/overview of the project and we were off.
Last night, we did the first ever informal reading of the stage version of The First Nudie Musical. Up until two weeks ago, I was still opening the show with a brief musical overture and some projections, and then directly into the first scene (the one that opens the film). The first note of score didn’t appear until almost page seven, which I was never happy with. So, finally, two weeks ago I changed the opening, got rid of the overture and projections and wrote a brief ninety-second musical opening, which sets the tone for the show, gives a little era history and sets up that the porno business is in a slump and Schechter Studios is having problems. And that’s the way we began the show last night and it seemed to work very well – it leads directly into the first scene and does so musically and with theatricality. Uncannily, the movie lines got the laughs they always have gotten. Of course, everyone was reading cold, so it was rough around the edges, but it was a superb group of people and it was amazingly smooth for a cold reading. I did notice that a couple of people who didn’t know the film were looking around every time a lyric got raunchy – that tickled me, as it’s exactly what we wanted out of the film, and exactly what I want from the stage show. The opening scene seemed to play just fine (it’s shorter than the film’s opening scene – much condensed), and the opening number worked as it’s always worked. Then came the first new book song, mostly a solo for Rosie called Think About It, Harry. Beth did a great job with it, and I really liked the way it felt going in and out of dialogue. Having the song enabled me to cut about two minutes’ worth of dialogue from the movie – a big help. Then came another new ditty, a transition number to get us to the audition sequence. That seemed to play fine. And so it went. It’s hard to do a lot of this without seeing the staging or having only to imagine what’s going on. The new numbers seemed to work, most especially Rosie’s first act ballad, which Beth did wonderfully. Patrick Cassidy was a terrific Harry, and he even sang the opening number. Jenna Romano had just the right innocent quality as Susie. Yvette Lawrence was a hoot as Juanita, and Sharon McNight just opened her mouth and was automatically hilarious. Beth was adorable as Rosie. Barry Pearl had a lot of fun with Eddie, the backer. Dimas Diaz was a natural George Brenner – got every laugh. Michael Irish did a fun John Smithee, settling in to the role as he went along – by the end, he had it pretty much nailed. And Alet Taylor – there just aren’t enough words to say how much I adore this woman and she was a great Mary LaRue. The end of act one (Dancing Dildos) was the most difficult part of the reading, because basically it’s almost all stage direction and there’s no way to have it sound like it’s going to be funny – the same thing would happen if you described what happens in the film – you just have to see it. But I think that as an act one ender it works very well. Act Two was also fun to watch. Again, Juanita’s number, Perversion, is not only dependent on the song itself but the staging and cleverness of costumes and perversion gags, so that laid sort of flat. Then we had another of the new book songs, and that was my favorite of the new stuff – it just worked like gangbusters. Then came the infamous Stunt C**k scene, which is very different from the film. The idea of it is, of course, the same, but now it’s a big production number that I think will be one of the real highlights of the show. Then we had a song for Eunice – Sharon was having allergy issues, but she still did fine, but I’m still thinking about the number and whether it completely works for me. I like it, but I’m going to have to hear it full out and see what the reaction is, before I contemplate changing and/or cutting. From that point on, the rest of the act played really well, I thought. The good news is that the show ran two hours. I also was pleased that most of the new laugh lines got their laughs, especially one line in the final scene – in the film, Harry is joking about their next project after their big success – he suggests doing a Shakespearean porno, The Taming Of The Blue. I came up with a much better and funnier joke for the stage version and it got a really big laugh. So, there are certainly a few things to attend to, but I don’t think I’m going to do anything really major before doing the staged reading. Once I get it on its feet, then I’ll be able to instantly tell what I need to really take a look at – that’s what happened with The Brain – we did a reading, it was nice, but I didn’t really change anything. Then we did the staged reading, had an audience in for two performances, and boy did that tell me things, and we made major, major changes before doing the production. My big goals with this adaptation were to have all the stuff that’s beloved from the movie in the stage version. And all those sequences are there. My other goal, was to make it all theatrical, and I think I’ve achieved that to a certain extent, and I think I’ll be doing further work to make that element stronger. Again, a lot of that has to do with re-conceiving a few of the movie within the stage show musical numbers, to make them more theatrical and fun. So, some of that will come from the choreographer, whose ideas will be crucial to the success of the piece. Overall, I thought it was a perfectly respectable first cold reading – no major gaffes, and everything sort of working in the way I’d intended. But, what a group of stellar actors!
After the reading, a few of us went and had some food at Du-Par’s, which is the only place that was really serving. It continues to be not a patch on the butt cheeks of its former gloriously glorious self. Then I came home and sat at my laptop like so much fish.
Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below, but first, a word from our sponsor.
Today, I shall be entering a few spacing and spelling fixes I caught during the reading, and then I’ll be doing errands and whatnot, and then I’ll be preparing for the reading of the musical I’m mentoring. I think we’ll be going out with Mr. Pearl afterwards.
Tomorrow, I’ll have a ton of stuff to do, especially organizing things around the home environment, and then I’ll be attending a post mortem meeting about the charity event, where I’ll be offering my two centimes about how to make the show portion go a little smoother.
Thursday, I think I’m attending a little memorial service in Hollywood, and then Friday or Saturday night (can’t remember which) I’m seeing A Very Brady Musical.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do errands, do some fix-it work on Nudie, then I must prepare for the reading. Today’s topic of discussion: What is the movie that made you fall in love with the movies? And is it still magic for you? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we? And now, a word from our sponsor.