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July 5, 2017:

THE FIFTH OF JULY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is the fifth of July, the day after the fourth of July. I’m sure there were pool parties, wieners on the barbecue, and fireworks, none of which I was a party to. I did have a pleasantly pleasant day not doing much of anything. I was up only after five hours of sleep because the cough that I thought was abating didn’t abate. And at eight the Sprinkler Man arrived and fixed the leaky valve with a new valve and all was well, sprinkler-wise. I went back to bed eventually and slept another three hours (I just typed three weeks – that wouldn’t be good). Once up, I answered some e-mails and listened to the marvelously marvelous music of Borodin. This guy could write a tune, and Wright and Forrest used those tunes to fashion the score of Kismet. So, whilst listening to the string quartet number two, for example, first one hears Baubles, Bangles, and Beads, and then And This is My Beloved. The two and a half symphonies are wonderful, too, as is the material from Prince Igor. I recommend the set on Melodiya conducted by Evegeny Svetlanov – full of fire and lush beauty. The other set I have by Neeme Jarvi is, like most of the stuff I hear from this conductor, smooth but without any passion whatsoever – and these Russian boys need passion.

Then the Darling Daughter came and we drove around for forty minutes trying to figure out where to eat – we ended up at the Smoke House. She loves the garlic cheese bread there, and she had a Shrimp Louis, which she also loves. I had a small Caesar salad and the fish and chips – they weren’t as good as usual and I kind of wish I’d had the filet mignon. Then we came home, and she went on her merry way to join her friends at a barbecue and fireworks partay. I listened to some more music, then sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on the Flix of Net entitled The Invisible Guest, a rather inane title of a Spanish film called Contratiempo (more accurately translated as Setback, a better title any way you look at it), a thriller in which you are repeatedly looking at the same information in different ways from different viewpoints. I quite enjoyed it and its constantly shifting perspectives, and the performances are wonderful. If you like thrillers give this one a look-see if you have Netflix. There is no DVD or Blu-ray. I found this director’s highly praised previous film, El Cuervo (The Body) in a subtitled version on You Tube, so I think I’ll watch that today at some point, or maybe this evening.

After that, I pulled out the Kritzerland release of Anya, the other Wright and Forrest musical to borrow from a classical composer for its score – in this case, Rachmaninov. I’m listening to it now as I type these here notes. From the first note you just have the sense that this show would flop. Yes, there are some of the great Rachmaninov melodies, including his most beautiful, the third movement of the second symphony, which is the recurring music in this score. We get some of the piano concertos, but nothing I’m recognizing from the third symphony. But it has none of the easy charm of their Kismet adaptation. But it’s almost making me tempted to pull out the recording I produced of The Anastasia Affaire, the smaller version of this musical. I don’t think I’ve heard it since we recorded it – it was really almost my first producing effort and I know I wasn’t thrilled with it even back then. It would be nice to have a breakdown of which Rachmaninov pieces were used.

Today, I really must buckle down, Winsocki and finish casting both Kritzerland and Levi so I can choose the songs for Kritzerland’s show and prepare the Levi reading. I’ll eat, hopefully pick up some packages, and maybe even try to jog, which I really must begin doing again.

Tomorrow I pick up all the dry cleaning I took in, which I desperately need, and then I have tons to do – in the evening there’s a pick-up rehearsal, mostly to break in our new sound operator. Since she’s also my assistant director she knows the show backwards and forwards and I have no doubt she’ll do a fine job. But I won’t attend that. Then Friday we resume performances and I’m hoping we have good crowds for the weekend’s performances. I’m not sure which I’ll attend, beyond the Sunday matinee after which we have a talkback. And then Monday we have our little reading of Levi.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, finish casting, choose songs, eat, maybe jog, hopefully pick up some packages, and at some point relax. Today’s topic of discussion: Of all the big flop musicals and plays, which would you have most like to see? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a pleasantly pleasant fourth of July, and hoping for an equally pleasant fifth of July.

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