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May 30, 2017:

THE RELAXING DAY OFF AND OTHER ADVENTURES OF NO IMPORTANCE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I must admit here and now and also now and here that having a full day off was rather a lovely thing, even if it’s over all too soon. And what did I do on my day off, which was also Memorial Day? Well, first thing I did was sleep ten hours, which I really needed. I didn’t get up until just before noon, so I did miss the morning hours but when you need to catch up on sleep you need to catch up on sleep.

Once up, I just lazily was lazy. I answered a few e-mails, had a couple of telephonic calls, listened to some more music, and at two I went and had an omelet and a bagel for my meal o’ the day, after which I returned home.

I then chose some songs (actually I chose most of them, only two left to go), one of which I recently found and which will be a world premiere performance. Back when I was regularly writing my What If parodies in the late 1990s into the new century, I was, even way back then, pondering the possibility of putting them all into a revue called What If, which as you know I eventually did in 2004. In 2000 I wrote what would have been an opening number for it, cleverly entitled What If, which explained the conceit of the parodies. It was a clever lyric. Back then I’d done our splendid recording of Claibe Richardson and Stephen Cole’s musical of The Night of the Hunter and had become close with Claibe, who was a wonderful composer – he began in revues with Julius Monk, then wrote The Grass Harp and other stuff. I issued The Grass Harp on CD (and may well issue it again), which Claibe was very grateful for. He wasn’t doing much back then, so I called him and asked him if he’d like to set my lyric to music. He jumped at it, which was wonderful. As most of you know, I don’t normally collaborate on songwriting – I love doing both music and lyrics and the only times I’ve collaborated are with Richard Sherman and on one song in L.A. Now and Then, where I wrote the tune for The Black Dahlia to Adryan Russ’s lyric.

A few days after I sent it to him, he sent me a cassette and sheet music – it was classic Claibe and wonderful music that captured the lyric completely. I put it away and didn’t remember we’d even done it when I put together the revue or I would have used it there. I recently found it and it’s just as much fun as I remembered it. I have to adjust only a couple of lyrics as they were referencing then current shows that no one thinks about anymore, like Martin Guerre. So, I thought it would be fun for one of our gals to sing it, and since it’s short, then do the what if Sondheim instead of writing Company had written Bye Bye Birdie, which we’ve never done in full. Claibe passed away not long after writing this tune – I believe it was the last music he wrote and it’s very special for that reason. And to further honor him, I thought we’d do Chain of Love from The Grass Harp, too – it’s a beautiful song, truly.

I listened to a lot of music, from more Shostakovich (ballets, string quartets) to the Bruno Walter Mahler 2, and a few other things, before diving into the big Satie box set of ten CDs. It’s wonderful music – clever, completely original, and completely delightful. If he’d only written his beautiful three Gymnopedies he’d be one for the ages, but that’s just the tip of the Satie iceberg. Each disc is VERY full so this will take quite a while to get through. At some point I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched most of a two-hour documentary about Sibelius – a bit dry for my taste, but a lot of music conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, and some interesting things I didn’t know. I did fall asleep about three times, hence having to keep going back and hence not quite finishing it, which I will at some point soon.

Then it was listening to more Satie and writing these here notes, which I decided to write well in advance of midnight, so I could go right to bed after posting them, as I have a long day and evening today.

Today, we resume rehearsals for the musical. We’ll review choreography and music and then begin a run-through at noon with our songwriter and co-book writer in attendance. When we finish, I’ll give notes, as will Kay and our musical director Todd. Then I’ll run any problem spots and we’ll let the cast go at four. Then we’ll have an hour with the writer, to get whatever his thoughts and/or notes are, which I’m hoping will be positive and not many. Send excellent vibes and xylophones for all that to go smoothly and, more importantly, easily and positively.

Then Kay and I will sup, and then rehearsals resume for Dial ‘M’ for Murder. I’m just a few pages away from finishing act two and then we’ll dive right into act three and hopefully get through at least half that – that way I can finish act three tomorrow night, which would be great.

Tomorrow is more of the same, Thursday is more of the same. Friday I hope to lock the musical and I’ll have the evening to myself. The two weekend days will be two run-throughs each but the evenings are mine, all mine. I believe while we’re doing that, they’ll be loading in at the El Portal so we can begin tech on Tuesday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, rehearse, eat, rehearse, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite off-Broadway musicals and revues? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a relaxing day off.

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