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April 1, 2017:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, may we talk about the relentless musical? Yes, we may. But before we do can I just call your attention to the fact that it’s April?  Yes, today is April 1st, a Foolish day to be sure, but here’s the real thing – it is my fervent hope and prayer that April will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.

And now we return to the relentless musical.  For me, this began with Hairspray to a certain extent, or any show from that period that Jack O’Brien was directing. That and The Full Monty were machines – they just trudged forward relentlessly until they were over. Hairspray was the best of them because it had the most interesting plot and characters. Full Monty, for me, was okay – less interesting characters but still that relentless machine trudging forward. And then came Legally Blonde, the epitome of the relentless musical (I will admit that after that I tried to stay far, far away from shows like that). I saw it not on the stage but on that reprehensibly bad TV broadcast “live” from the theater, which had been papered with fans and, I’m quite certain, paid people, paid to scream and yell and cheer as if they were at a football game. From the minute the show started at 1000%, which was fine, it just was so relentless that it gave me a migraine. I cared about nobody. But I thought maybe that was just the way it came off on TV. But, alas, seeing it last night, albeit in a high school production, there is was in all its relentless, assaultive glory. Every song sounds the same, and the “book” – well – what book? They can’t go four lines without the music kicking in for no discernable reason. Songs begin, have a middle, and then don’t have endings. The act two jump rope number – what show is that from? I understand the it was a kind of hit (not a huge hit), but it’s not a show I ever need to witness again. As to the production – high school, of course, but it was okay. Sami did well, but they did everything they could to disguise the fact that Elle is the star of the show – she was occasionally lit too darkly (Elle is never about dark), they had her upstage too much, other characters got too much front focus – your star role is your star role – we’re supposed to follow Elle, it’s her show, and that wasn’t the case here, at least as strongly as it could have been. So, after I got home, I talked to her mom and gave her some very specific notes about how to combat the problems that aren’t her fault. She gets one more shot today and I want her to own that stage and sparkle, Neely, sparkle – and she can.

Prior to that it had been a very interesting day. I didn’t get much sleep, maybe six hours, but I had some good news in the morning that made a few things easier. I then had a haircut with Lydia Geissman in her new home salon. I tried for most of the day to get Sony to give me a total due so I could pay it and get the CDs on their way, but no one ever got back to me, so they won’t ship until Monday. But, funnily, I got 100 copies via Fed Ex – I guess they send the overs as a matter of course, without payment, which was great. We got all the books shipped so I’m hoping they arrive quickly so that people can read it already. I didn’t eat all day so I could have a nice dinner. I did pick up the CDs and one other little package, I listened to some music on the new speakers, I had several long telephonic calls, and then it was time to get ready for the evening.

I picked up Barry Pearl’s ever-lovin’ Cindy, and we drove to Calabasas and Maria’s Kitchen for dinner. There we were met by Hadley Belle Miller and her mom and dad. The dad had carbonara, the mom had lasagna, Hadley had a caprese salad and shared some lasagna with mom, Cindy had a dinner salad and some risotto, and I had the best thing – small chicken breasts, lightly fried in a lemon/butter sauce – out of this world. There were three very small breasts, I guess, but I gave Cindy some, and then shared with Hadley, so I ate less than two of them. It came with a tiny bit of pasta and our waiter was good enough to let me have carbonara – it was excellent. All in all, a wonderful meal with fun folks. Hadley had a little brownie sundae for dessert.

Then we drove to Calabasas High to see the show and the rest you know.

Today, I’ll be up by nine-thirty, I’ll do the morning stuff, and then we have our stumble-through at noon o’clock. After that, I’ll get a little something light to eat, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages and important mail, and then I’ll just relax.

Tomorrow, I’ll maybe try a jog, short probably if I’m up to it, and then I’ll relax until it’s time for sound check and then it’s our show. Then next week is mucho busy with all manner of things.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a stumble-through, give notes, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: Which of the musicals of the last two decades to you find unbearable, whether hit or flop? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have vented about the phenomenon known as the relentless musical, and reminding that it is my fervent hope and prayer that April will be a month filled with health, wealth, happiness, creativity, and all things bright and beautiful.

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