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May 14, 2017:

THE MOTHER OF ALL DAYS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, first of all may I just wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there in the dark, and you know who you are. I, of course, had a mother. I can’t say I was ever close to her, as those who’ve read the Kritzer books know. She was – difficult – and I’m sure I was equally difficult. I’m sure she meant well, but that didn’t make it easy to be around her at times. And of course if you didn’t live in our house, I’m sure she seemed like a peach, but I DID live in our house. And my Darling Daughter has a mother as well as a father, and no matter how blah the marriage may have been for the fourteen years I was in it, anything that produced a Darling Daughter such as mine was not only worth it, but essential.

Yesterday was a day in which I was disoriented for the first hour I was awake. Once again, the iPad alarm app didn’t go off – what happens is if someone calls my cell for some reason I cannot fathom it comes through to my iPad as well. And when that happens, it closes the alarm clock app. So, I slept past eleven right up until noon. That wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if I didn’t have to be somewhere at one. So, I got up quickly – thankfully I’d shaved the night before. I got dressed, brushed the teeth, and was out of the house by twelve-twenty. As I drove to the freeway I realized the motor car needed gas and I didn’t want to chance it going as far as I had to go, so I pulled into a gas station that had the temerity to be charging an entire dollar more than my usual place for gas – but there was no one at the pumps, so I just put in ten bucks and was on my way in two minutes. I had to go down to the Hancock Park south of Wilshire area – there is no easy way to do this. So, I took Vine, which becomes Rossmore, and went all the way to Wilshire. But the traffic on Rossmore was sickening and, of course, pointless.

I ended up getting there about five minutes to one. It was a large house, but certainly not one I’d care to live in – just something about the layout and feel that is not for me. There were quite a few people in attendance to hear the first act of this new musical, which is based on a popular film from the 1980s, one written by two people I knew then and still know now. They’ve writing the book for the show, and I have other friends who are writing the score. I knew most of the folks attending – ASCAP’s Michael Kerker, friends Lissa Levin and her ever-lovin’ Dan Guntzelman, Adrienne Visnic’s nice parents, Andrea Marcovicci, Michael Karm, and others I’m too tired to remember. Then I knew most of the cast as many of them were and are Kritzerland veterans, including Adrienne Visnic, Kerry O’Malley, Michael Shepperd, Zach Ford, and there was also Inside Out veteran Stephanie Fredricks. In any case, no need to comment on a show that’s this much a work in progress, other than to say musicals are hard and figuring out the story you’re telling is the hardest part of all sometimes. So, I’m sure they’ll get lots of feedback, including mine own, and mush on to act two.

It ran long, so I had to really hurry back home – I stopped for a minute and picked up a package, and got home exactly five minutes before my meeting with Kay Cole. We went quickly through the script of the musical I’m directing and she’s choreographing. There’s not all that much dancing in the show, but we decided where and when it would occur. And an idea I had that everyone loved for the wedding scene that’s close to the end of the play, is going to work out really well because Kay completely “gets” what I want and what I’m trying to do. The authors loved the idea but kind of misunderstood why it was funny – so they’ll see what we’re up to when they see an early run-through.

I hadn’t eaten all day, so I went and had a bowl of matzo ball soup and then a small “personal” pepperoni pizza. I could only finish half the soup and about half the personal pizza, so I had them box the remains up. Then I came home and decided I wasn’t in the mood for a motion picture. I finished listening to the Kondrashin/Shostakovich box, which is just loaded with terrific performances of the symphonies, sometimes in good sound, sometimes not – it’s pretty hard for me to get past distortion and tape dropouts, so I probably shan’t revisit certain performances, but happily my favorite symphonies all come out pretty well, sound-wise, especially the eleventh symphony, which I absolutely love – the Kondrahin is now my new favorite of that symphony. Then I dove into the other Shostakovich box, a recently released set on Melodiya of the fifteen symphonies in various recordings from the 60s to the 80s – four of the Kondrashin performances are in this box, but it’s the other conductors I was interested in and so far it’s a very enjoyable set with some of the greatest Russian conductors expertly having their way with Shostakovich.

I also did another few pages of the Sherman Brothers musical script. I had to laugh – I have my marked up script next to me to work from in terms of my notes. In the scene where I stopped, I laughed because the stage direction calls for two live mules onstage. And next to that, writ large in my penciled handwriting is: NO! It’s no wonder no wanted to produce this before. In a movie it’s simple. Onstage? Mules?

I put the motor car in the garage, finished the pizza and soup, and that was about it. I’ve also replaced everyone in the Kritzerland show – several of the people I’d cast couldn’t do the date change – and in a way it’s working out fine – I have four of our five ladies and they’re terrific – and I have an ask out for the fifth – someone completely unexpected, an actress I was crazy about in the late 1980s – I was going to direct an all-star comedy back then (the idiot producer was a pathological liar and never really had the money locked up and we obviously never made the film) – and this girl was my first choice for the young female lead. At some point she found me or I found her on Facebook. And last night I PMd her and she got right back to me, remembered me from all those years ago, and said she’d love to do one of the shows – so I asked her to see if June would work – if not, we’ll bring her in in August. Most don’t know she sings, but she started out as a singer and she’s got a husky and quite good voice. Really hoping it works out for June.

Today I get to relax and mostly prep the script for the musical we begin rehearsing on Tuesday. It’s really not that much to do – just a few notes here and there regarding transitions and where exactly I want things to live on the stage. I don’t block on paper – in fact, I don’t even read the script that much, which I know is unorthodox, but I do that for the same reason I don’t outline for my books. I want to see where the material takes me, where the actors take me, and I just am very spontaneous when I have actors onstage. Just as when I write, I futz and finesse scenes until I’m completely happy with them visually, then I move on. I don’t even talk about performances or give acting direction until the show is blocked. Then we go scene by scene and I do that kind of detail work, when and IF it’s needed. I’m sure I’ll eat and I’m equally sure I’ll watch a motion picture.

Tomorrow I continue prepping, I’ll do some more work on the Sherman Brothers musical, and relax and rest, because beginning Tuesday we go on the mad adventure that’s known as my May and June, wherein I direct a musical, a week later I begin directing a play – musical from ten to five, play from seven to ten, six days a week, plus prepping the June Kritzerland show, which thankfully now happens after the musical is finished.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, relax, prep a script, work on the Sherman Brothers musical, eat, and watch a motion picture. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them. So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, and we all celebrate this Mother of all Days.

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