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June 9, 2008:

WILD AND WOOLY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, the third production of The Brain From Planet X has wrapped. It’s been quite a little journey with this show, and we’re hoping it has a long and healthy life. I’m not sure exactly when it will hit the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization catalogue, but it should be sometime this year. Each production has had its ups and downs and also its downs and ups. The nice thing about doing it at the Chance as part of the LA Festival of New Musicals is that I only had to come in and direct the show – I didn’t have to concern myself with whether it was selling out or any of those kinds of details. The fact that the majority of our performances were sellouts was very nice indeed. And I did enjoy working with this cast. I do think the show has improved each time we’ve done it, and that, of course, was one of our main goals. Now it’s onward and upward, with several new projects to work on, a new book coming out shortly, and two new two-person shows to direct. I must say it’s been a wild and wooly first half of the year, somewhat tumultuous at times, and my biggest hope for the second half of the year is that the tumult takes a hike and leaves me alone. Wild and Wooly – wasn’t that a vaudeville team? I think so – Percy Wild and
Fred Wooly never really made it to the top of the bill, but they were a caution. I’ll never forget their classic routine “I Herd The Sheep.”

Wild: What are you trying to tell me?
Wooly: I’m trying to tell you I herd the sheep.
Wild: I heard them, too. They kept me up all night.
Wooly: No, no, I HERD the sheep.
Wild: Yes, yes, I HEARD them, too. I think we’re on the same page.
Wooly: I’m on page three.
Wild: So am I! So, let me get this straight – we both heard the sheep?
Wooly: Certainly I herd the sheep. I don’t know what the hell you do.
Wild: I’m telling you – I heard the sheep just the same as you heard the sheep.
Wooly: I’m telling you – I herd the sheep and only one person can herd the sheep in this location.
Wild: Well, I heard the sheep in this location, so you’re full of sheep.
Wooly: Say what?

My goodness, they were a caution. Speaking of Wild and Wooly, yesterday was a perfectly fine day. I got up early, finished highlighting the stage directions, played through act one of the Nudie Musical score, and then was on my way to see the final performance of The Brain From Planet X at the Chance Theater. It was almost a sold-out house, and it was a terrific audience. There were lots o’ laughs, and we even got a standing ovation at the end – a nice way to end the run. After the show, I said some goodbyes (of course I’ll be seeing several cast members at tonight’s reading), gathered up the music scores and the Brain head and headed home. Once home, I made a big batch o’ pasta and sat on my couch like so much fish and ate it all up.

Last night, I watched a motion picture entitled On The Beach, a film of Stanley Kramer, from the novel by Nevil Shute, starring Mr. Gregory Peck, Mr. Anthony Perkins, Miss Ava Gardner, and Mr. Fred Astaire. I must admit to you dear readers that despite many, many tries at watching this film, I’ve never gotten past the first ten minutes. I think I saw it when it came out, but I really have no clear memory of it. Why it’s taken me this long to finally get through it, I know not. I must admit, I found it to be a bit of a slog. Oh, the acting is excellent, the score by Ernest Gold is excellent, and it’s all very earnest, but the thing just goes on and on and on and while its drama is, I suppose, potent, its pace is not. The non-anamorphic transfer is very ordinary, and it is, in fact, in the incorrect ratio of 1:66 when it was clearly projected in 1:85. There’s one specific scene where a mic keeps threatening to pop into the top of the frame – if it were 1:85 that would not have been the case. In any case, from that era I much prefer Mr. Kramer’s film of Inherit The Wind.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below and hopefully the next section will also be Wild and Wooly.

Today, I’ll be getting up early, attending to some things that need my attention, doing some early errands, buying bottled waters, and reconfiguring Ye Olde Living Roome for the reading. I think I’ve figured out the best way, which involves moving the couch to the side so that we create sort of a semi-circle once the chairs are there. If I leave the couch where it is, then we have people sitting in back of people and that’s no fun. The ensemble arrives at five to rehearse the few group things they’re singing, and to go over exactly what parts they’ll be reading. I’ll also do some work with a couple of the actors, just to make sure they understand the tone of a couple of characters. Between six and six-thirty I think a couple of our leading players will be arriving to quickly run over their songs. And then the reading will begin at seven. I will, of course, have a full report for you.

Tomorrow, it will be mostly the same routine for the musical I’m mentoring – the reading will begin at seven, but we’ll be running the group stuff beforehand.

Wednesday, I have a lunch engagement, and then an early evening meeting. Starting Thursday, I have to sit down and seriously map out the next couple of months, so I have an idea when what things are happening when.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do errands, prepare for a reading, reconfigure a room, and then do our very first reading (albeit very informal) of The First Nudie Musical: The Musical. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your all-time favorite science fiction motion pictures – the good, the bad, and the ugly? EARLY MORING ADDITION: Of course it’s Monday, and that means the Initials Game – I was too tired when I wrote the notes last night and I plum forgot. In fact, I even apricot forgot. So, remember, you’re on the honor system – no looking things up; you must be aware of the person whose initials you’re using and what said person does. One name per post. And today’s initials are: G. C. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, and do make them Wild and Wooly.

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