Well, dear readers, I am back from the show and a little late supper and I am quite exhausted, so I’ll just jump right into the notes without so much as a how do you do. Oh, okay, I must have a how do you do – it would be unseemly to start the notes without so much as a how do you do, so let this serve as our official how do you do. There, now I can get to the meat of the notes. Not the potatoes of the notes, or even the string beans of the notes, no, I shall get to the meat of the notes. Speaking of the meat of the notes, yesterday was a rather extraordinary day for many reasons. I got up VERY early, showered, shaved, dressed (in slacks and a black pullover shirt and loafers) and walked over to the theater – I arrived right on time at nine. All of our tech crew, save for our sound designer, weren’t there, which was a tiny bit annoying as we were paying them to be there. In any case, the sound guy went right to work and since he is Burt Bacharach’s sound guy I knew I was in perfect hands. The tech people finally arrived and began putting masonite over the rug on the stage floor, while the piano movers put the piano on stage. I then figured out the lay of the land, band-wise – it was very tight, but there was no other way to really lay it out. We basically had to shove them as far upstage as humanly possible (there was a curtain in front of a set of risers and equipment used by the show that normally plays in the theater), and it was not a small number of people – we had a seven-foot grand, a second keyboard, four backup vocalist, a guitar, a reed, a trumpet, drums, and a bass. I sat with the lighting guy, who turned out to be terrific – a real asset as I didn’t have to babysit him. We discussed the six basic “looks” for the show, and then he did the rest, which was great. I had a little fruit to tide me over until food arrived (late in the afternoon). The sound guy had things up and running by twelve-thirty, which was amazing. At one, the drummer came and set up, and then Alex and the rest of the band arrived. We got a slightly late start on the sound check, but we caught up very quickly. As I sat and listened to the band and first singer, I realized how wonderful it was to have a real sound designer – basically, the sound was great right off the bat, with none of the usual drama that these sorts of days are fraught with. I had a long talk with our stage manager, and he really “got” exactly what I was telling him, and boy did he do a great job in keeping this show together. We ran through each number, I gave a handful of notes, and by five we were into doing the two ensemble numbers, with Adam making sure everything fit well into our too-small playing space. The two numbers looked terrific. We then had a meal break while Adam and his dancers did some further cleanup. At about seven, I went to the lobby and met our very own Miss Juliana Hansen and took her down to our theater’s lobby. There we saw Singdaw, FJL, and Jose, and pianist Michael Lavine was there, along with several other people I knew. We had a very nice house, probably two-thirds full, maybe a little more. At about 7:35, someone from the charity group made a speech, and then the houselights dimmed and Alex struck up the band on our mini-overture.
I’m not going to take you through every moment and number of the show. I will say that I could not have been more pleased – there were no glitches, everything went smoothly, the structure and order worked perfectly, the pace was great, the show came in just under two hours and each and every performer delivered the goods. These sorts of evenings are fraught with things that could and usually do go wrong, but we had none of it – part of that is because everyone was on top of everything, and part of it is because I’m very prepared going in. While there were many, many highlights (I’ll leave it to Jose or Singdaw or FJL to tell you about theirs), I will say that Turkey Lurkey Time was absolutely incredible – the audience went nuts, and it was a perfect act one closer. The dancers nailed every single step and move and I’d like to think that Michael Bennett would have been pleased. Major kudos to Adam Cates for this and the opening number. I knew it would get a great reaction, but it was beyond even what I imagined. Kevin Earley got an incredible applause on If I Could Go Back from Lost Horizon, as did Julie Reiber and Katie Adams on the other Lost Horizon song, The Things I Will Not Miss. Two of my favorites were two lesser-known Bacharach songs – Come and Get Me (as sung by Lauren Kennedy) and Promise Her Anything (sung by Ted Detweiler, of Sordid Lives). Linda Purl did her customary breathtaking performance of A House Is Not A Home, and One Life To Live’s BethAnn Bonner kicked butt with Waiting For Charlie To Come Home.
Kevin Spirtas knocked Half As Big As Life out of the park, and Terry Burrell was really funny and fun in the Bacharach Movie Medley (her little ad-libs in What’s New, Pussycat were really hilarious – just before we began the show, she asked me to give her a one-liner – I did, and it got a really good laugh). John Pagano (he currently tours with Bacharach and can be heard to great advantage on the Bacharach live album from Australia) did a wonderful This Guy’s In Love With You, and Sherri Lewis ripped into Baby, It’s You with ferocity. I’m not naming everyone, but the people I’m not naming were no less wonderful. The emotional high point of the evening (at least for me) was Jill O’Hara doing Whoever You Are, I Love You, and then Tony Roberts and Jill doing I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, which was so charming and truly touching, and both of them were magical. The ovation for them was long and loud, as well it should be. And then Liz Callaway came out and tore into Knowing When To Leave and Promises, Promises and killed, as she always does. She really does possess one of the greatest voices in the history of Broadway (and anywhere else, frankly), and she got a huge ovation. That was really the eleven o’clock number, which we followed with Liz, Billy Porter, and John Pagano singing That’s What Friends Are For, which was really beautiful. That was followed by our backup singers and the band doing the first part of What The World Needs Now, after which the entire company came on and finished the song, while the audience was showered with bubbles. It was a great ending to a wonderful evening, and I cannot say enough about the performers and the band. It was truly special. Oh, and Barbara Wechter’s announcement slides (each performer announced via projection) worked beautifully, too. It takes a huge number of people to make these things happen, and each and every one of them deserves a huge pat on the back.
After the show, they had a little private party for the VIP ticket holders, and that was fun, and then Adam and his dancers and I went for a bite to eat and funnily, a bunch of other people connected with the show showed up. That was grand fun, too. All in all, a pretty perfectly perfect evening.
Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because now I’m done with the meat of the notes and we may as well move on to the dessert of the notes – we serve only a full course notes here at haineshisway.com.
Today, I hope to sleep in and not get up before ten. I’ll then do the treadmill, then pack up a box o’ clothes and ship said box back to the City of Studio. I have a few telephonic calls to make, then I have a rehearsal with Mr. Kevin Spirtas and Miss Linda Purl for about three hours – we’ll be staging a big medley number from their new show.
After the rehearsal, a few of us are meeting at John’s Pizza for a little hainsies/kimlets get-together, which I’m very much looking forward to. I shall eat no more or no less than three pieces of pizza, and I shall do so with relish. Well, not real relish – relish on pizza would not be tasty at ALL.
Then I shall come home, get as much sleep as I can, and then be on my way to the Newark airport and winging my way back to LA. I’m ready to be home.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, do the treadmill, make telephonic calls, have a rehearsal, have a get-together and pizza and then get my beauty sleep. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite new CDs – ones that are brand new, and albums that may be older but that you’ve just got around to purchasing and hearing. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we finish devouring these here full course notes.