Well, dear readers, we promised you videos and videos we’re going to give you. Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, we have videos for you. Not all at once, of course, no we shall parse them out over the next few days. So, let’s just get this show on the road, shall we – here is our opening number, which entitled Opening Numbers, sung and written by yours truly.
Next up we have my song The Helms Man, which I wrote for L.A. Now and Then. In the LACC production, due to the choreography and two singers who were not used to carrying harmony, we went without any of the written harmonies. So, this performance by Elle Parker (from the original cast), Jenna Lea Rosen, and Sami Staitman is the first time I got to hear it as written. And now you can to.
Here’s Jean Louis Kelly singing Maury Yeston’s beautiful song New Words.
Here’s Jenna Lea Rosen doing What Am I Doing Here, a cut song from Promises, Promises.
Here’s Misty Cotton doing There Won’t Be Trumpets, cut from Anyone Can Whistle. She played the Lee Remick role when the show was done for the first time in Los Angeles, and this song was put back into the show.
Here’s Sami Staitman doing the wonderful song Take It in Your Stride, cut from Annie Get Your Gun – finding this song was such a happy discovery.
And finally for today, here’s Misty Cotton doing my song Sunset Strip 1965 and doing it up great – she baubles one dialogue line (this song is a real bear to not only do but learn) but she basically got the intention, but her singing of it and her emotion is incredible.
Yesterdays was a day, a Monday to be exact. I got about nine hours of sleep, arising at eleven. I answered e-mails and had a telephonic conversation, then went and had a Cobb salad for my meal o’ the day. Hadn’t had one for quite some time and it was yummilicious. Then I picked up no packages and came home.
There was a lot of back and forth about tomorrow’s auditions for Dial ‘M’ for Murder – my producer’s mom is having health issues, so my assistant director was handling things that she hasn’t really had to handle before. But we got it all straightened out and we should be seeing at least ten people tomorrow.
Then I went to work on the script for the Sherman Brothers musical. I got through over half of act one. I did a lot of rearranging, expanding songs in terms of how they weave in and out of the scene and dialogue, writing some lead ins to songs (the writer doesn’t really understand how to set up a song and make that transition natural and smooth – I think he’ll be happy with what I came up with), and then got to a really difficult sequence, the first half of which I turned into something I think is quite magical (no actual writing, just repositioning everything, cutting and pasting, and making it seamless. The second half of the same sequence is even more problematic and I made a bunch of notes about how to make it work and I’ll probably tackle that today. I read ahead to the end of the act – it, too, is very problematic in terms of storytelling, too many characters, a reprise that’s not going to work, and stuff like that. I called Richard Sherman a couple of times and told him I needed an extra four lines for a song and I read him a version I came up with just to show him what it should be like, but he liked that (it’s basically their words rearranged with one line added by me) and set it to music instantly. And the other thing he also did instantly. So, it’s getting better every day and I think we’ll have a pretty decent version to do a private reading of in July.
I then did a lot of video uploading and that always takes a lot of time. The fact is, I was literally at the computer most of the day and evening – didn’t watch anything, ate some snacks, and just worked and worked, occasionally listening to Shostakovich. I finished the Rostropovich cycle – I like some of the performances very much, but the way too wide dynamic levels are just too irritating. There are times that the soft bits are completely inaudible but you can’t raise them because then the loud bits would blow out the speakers – that is just inept mastering – you have to make something that is true to the conductor’s dynamics while also making it a LISTENING experience that requires no fiddling with volume knobs. I knew I had the Ormandy versions of some of the symphonies – I’d uploaded them at some point and then nuked them, but I uploaded again and I have to say he is one of the most maligned conductors by a bunch of prissy know-it-alls of today. Well, when he was great he was VERY great – the fact is, he gave the world-premiere of Shostakovich’s fourth symphony and I’m listening to it now and it’s a corker with some of the best recorded sound you’ll ever hear. And that Philadelphia Orchestra is just magnificent. I also like the Barshai version of this, but thus far out of all the fourths I’ve heard, this one is tops. I’m looking forward to his renditions of the first, fifth, and tenth symphonies, too, just to see how they compare to the others I’ve been listening to.
Today, I’ll be working on the Sherman Brothers musical, I may just eat stuff I have in the house, then I’ll hopefully pick up packages, and then we have a two-hour casting session. After that, I’ll come home and watch a motion picture of some sort.
Tomorrow I think we’re seeing one final person for Dial ‘M’ – otherwise it’s a day of prepping for the musical I’m directing, which goes into rehearsal in exactly one week. I didn’t print out today because we got yet another version of the script – I told them no more versions until after we’re in rehearsal and we see what’s working and what may need tinkering with. Thursday I’m not sure what’s happening other than prepping, Friday I have several things to do, Saturday I’m seeing a reading of a new musical plus meeting with Kay Cole. Sunday I’ll try to relax as that may well be my last day to relax for quite some time.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and work on the script of the Sherman Brothers show as well as print out the script for the musical I’m directing, have a casting session, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite opening numbers for musicals? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have shared the videos from Sunday night’s Kritzerland shows – we’ll have more tomorrow.