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June 4, 2017:

THE SITTING AND NOT STANDING NOTES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting writing these here notes because if I weren’t sitting writing these here notes I’d be standing writing these here notes and standing is no way to write these here notes. So, these are sitting and not standing notes, so read them accordingly whilst sitting and not standing. I don’t know what the HELL I’m talking about. And I’m jiggy with that.

Yesterday was a day I like to call Saturday. I could call it Fred, but I prefer Saturday. I was up at nine-fifteen after about seven hours of sleep, then I got ready, stopped at the mail place to pick up one package, and then I went to the rehearsal room. We began with some music review and some choreography review, then we took a break, and then we began our run-through at one o’clock. It was a mostly terrific run-through, with just a few hiccups. The show is running the exact same time every run-through, which is always fascinating to me. There’s still one scene that’s bugging me a little, as it has from the start. Nothing has ever really been clear to me about it, but I staged it the way I thought I should and we made a couple of adjustments to it the day before that seemed to help. I made those adjustments based on what the writer told me was in his head, staging-wise, when he wrote it. I didn’t think and have never thought that that would work for the way we’re telling the story and especially where it falls in the show. But it was the writer’s one and only note today – it’s just not making complete sense to him, and I certainly can see his point, although I do think it sort of works now, mostly.

So, when I responded to his note, I explained why I’d done it the way we had – what the emotion I think the scene needed at that point in the show, and what I think works about it. And the one thing that’s never made sense to me. I said we could either table it until the next go-round, or I gave him a what if suggestion that would cut the one thing in the scene that I think is confusing. If he were to opt for that, it’s a pretty simple fix – anything beyond simple I’m not doing at this point, because it would just be confusing and we wouldn’t really have the time to work on it. For me, it’s not a big deal for this go-round, but I’m happy to try my simple what if suggestion today just to see if it might work.

I gave notes after the run-through, and said some things I think the cast and creatives deserved to hear, namely that it’s just been a complete pleasure to come to work every day and to help shape this show and make it work, which I truly feel it does. We have a great team on this, especially our musical director, Todd, and Kay, our choreographer, both of whom have been great collaborators in shaping the show. And I can’t say enough about our cast – just great. And the writers have been so wonderful about putting their baby into our hands and giving us the freedom to do what we felt we needed to do.

We let everyone go by three, and then a few of us headed over to the El Portal. We saw the basic set, which will look great when it’s all done, and then Kay and I went to the Eclectic Café to talk about the upcoming Sherman Brothers musical, which she’ll be choreographing for me. I had a small Caesar and the rigatoni Bolognese, which was really good. In fact, it was more of a pink sauce than red, which may be a new thing – a splash of cream – it was fantastic and frankly I may just have to go back today and have it again. We shall see.

After that, I had to mosey on over to see an elementary school production of Mary Poppins, starring our very own Hayley Shukiar as Mary herself. It was a long drive, and the way the directions read to me I thought I was looking for a specific off-ramp but didn’t notice I had to transition to another freeway before seeing it – so I just kept driving until I got to Camarillo, about ten minutes out of the way – I turned around, figured out what I’d done wrong, and ten minutes later I was parking my car in the right place.

The show was long, of course, even cut down it ran a bit over two hours, but the kids were just so sweet and willing, and Hayley is a force to be reckoned with. She’ll be with us for the June Kritzerland in two weeks. Before the show I saw Hayley and I called Richard Sherman and he said hello to her and wished her well and told her he wished he could be there – she loved that. After the show, I came directly home – that only took about twenty-five minutes.

Once home, I opened the Amazon box, which contained a big ol’ box that came out a couple of years ago – the complete Columbia and RCA recordings of Stravinsky conducting Stravinsky – he began recording his works back in 1940, and mostly the entire first third of the box are those mono recordings, almost all of which are making their first appearances on CD. Of course I immediately began uploading and listening. All I can tell you is the mono stuff sounds incredible (a couple of the RCA albums are less than wonderful, but there aren’t more than a couple of those), and these early performances are frequently better than their later stereo counterparts. I was especially taken with the suite from The Rite of Spring, but it’s all great music conducted by the man who wrote it. This is a 56-CD set that also includes a DVD called Stravinsky in Hollywood, which I may watch this evening. Mr. Stravinsky was a one-off, completely unique composer and if you like his music, this magnificently beautiful box, which has all the original album jacket art – those early Columbia covers are worth the price alone – is the bargain of all time, less than three bucks a CD.

Today we have our final run-through in the rehearsal room. We’ll do it at noon, I’ll give whatever notes I have, and then we’ll let everyone go early so they can really rest up and have a nice day off tomorrow, too. I’ll probably stop by the theater again, then maybe go to the Eclectic for that rigatoni thing, then I’m comin’ home and listening to music and relaxing.

Tomorrow is a day off and I intend to keep it that way, save for a short work session with the musical director of the upcoming Sherman Brothers musical – and then Richard Sherman will stop by to discuss the score and what we need to do. I’ll eat, I’m sure, but I’m just doing as little as possible, as we obviously have a hugely busy week ahead of us.

Tuesday we begin tech and I think we’re working every night until seven, so for Dial ‘M’ the actors will arrive at seven and run lines until I get there around seven-thirty. The rest of the week is that same schedule every day and night until Friday, when we do our invited dress, then it’s show day on Saturday and Sunday.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, rehearse, visit the theater, eat, and relax. 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, having finished the sitting and not standing notes.

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