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May 16, 2017:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, today we begin a new adventure. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, today we begin a new adventure as we have our first day of rehearsal on the musical I’m directing. I have promised everyone fun and a good time, and I intend that’s what our rehearsal process shall be, despite the sometimes dark material. It’s going to be a challenge but my intention is to give the authors and producer the best show we can do, because if we succeed in doing that I think that if there are weaknesses it will become very apparent very quickly. We have a wonderful company of players and an excellent creative team and so off on our adventure we go – three weeks of rehearsal (including tech) and then our two invited performances.

Yesterday, I maybe got close to eight hours of sleep but with lots of awake time during the night. As I mentioned, because of the night of three hours of sleep, my throat got wonky and my voice is really struggling to remain, so do send more excellent vibes and xylophones for a strong voice so my actors can hear me and I don’t strain and lose it altogether. My throat was a bit less scratchy yesterday, so that’s encouraging, but boy am I hoarse, which is, I suppose, better than being horse. Once up, I answered e-mails, had a telephonic conversation with Richard Sherman about a problem I was going to have to address but unfortunately he couldn’t remember what his fix of two months ago was and he could find no trace of it. We think it’s somewhere and hopefully he’ll find it. Then I went and had a Chinese chicken salad and a bagel for my meal o’ the day, picked up no packages, and came home.

I did prep work on the musical script whilst lunching and more at home, but I finally stopped because this is a show I’m going to have to figure out on its feet. There are literally no smooth transitions in the show – it hops from thing to thing and I want it to be fluid, but that’s not something I can figure out until I stage and see how it feels. So, since I stopped doing that, I decided to plow forth on the last fifteen pages of the Sherman Brothers musical, which I knew would be the hardest of them all and indeed they were. I made a ton of cosmetic changes – smoothing, refining, adding clarity, writing quite a bit of new dialogue to make things clearer, reshuffling, revising, and then taking on the problem eleven o’clock number, which was the fix Richard couldn’t remember. So, I just thought about it for a while, then came up with a good device to begin to turn what is a number wherein the character is beating himself up about a life he thinks he’s failed at (he hasn’t – he is, in fact, a huge success, but he only sees the failures of his life) into a positive statement by the end of it. Easier said than done. I began by breaking the song up into three sections. After section one, I used my good device to begin his transition where he’s told of the good things he’s done – then that device ends and the character, still not ready to believe, sings the first ending of the song. Then a female character comes in, they play a short scene where she also reinforces how incredible his life has really been. She leaves and he sings part three, which is now the turnaround where he realizes that they’re right – that his life has been good and even meaningful. In order to do that, I adjusted the lyrics that I could, and then wrote about six lines of new lyrics in the style of the Sherman Brothers. And that did the trick and it’s a song that now does exactly what it should. Then it was just the final scene, which I also basically threw the end of out and went back to an earlier ending they’d done, which is much better. I smoothed out the dialogue, and finished my polish, or revision, or doctoring, or whatever one wishes to call it. It’s taken about two weeks, but it’s now a script you can actually produce and cast, and the storytelling is now very clear and concise.

I then read Richard the new scene and eleven o’clock number and I must say he loved it and thought it was positive and perfect. He’ll have to write music for the last five lines I wrote, but that should be very easy for him to do. I also told him I’d gone back to their earlier ending and he was thrilled because he never liked the revised ending they’d done, which was too strident for my taste. The old ending brought the show full circle, which is exactly what it needed to do. So, that’s done and something I don’t have to worry about until we do our private reading in July.

During all that, I had some of those frozen mini-taco things, some low-fat low-calorie ice cream and just tried to rest my voice, which didn’t seem to help anything, but hopefully by morning it’ll be a bit better.

Today, I’ll probably be up by eight and out the door by nine, as I have to get gas for the motor car before going to our ten o’clock rehearsal – I want to be there by nine-thirty to make sure the room is the way I like it. We’ll have our meet and greet, we’ll see a model of the set, and then the actors go with the musical director and learn music for three hours. At that point, I take over and start right at the top of the show and go as far as I can go. I’m hoping to at least get three or four scenes in, although one of those is long and involved and Kay Cole has to do some choreography for it. After my three hours, I’ll go grab a quick bite somewhere nearby, then it’s right over to the theater for a production meeting, and then about two-and-a-half hours of auditions. I’m praying we find our guy, truly, so I don’t have to come back on Wednesday. Then I’ll come home and relax.

Tomorrow is six hours of rehearsal, food, and then more auditions if necessary. The rest of the week right through Sunday is six-hour rehearsal days, followed by food and rest.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a rehearsal, eat, have a production meeting, have auditions, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: I don’t really love country music all that much, so tell me your favorite country singers and songs. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to be starting a new adventure.

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