Well, dear readers, Dial ‘M’ for Murder has Dialed ‘C’ for Closed. It was a terrific seven-week run that did very well for the theater, especially the final weeks and especially the final weekend. The cast was very consistent and I really didn’t have to give many notes after week two, which was nice. We had a terrific group of players, and while some of the rehearsal period and personalities were a trial (not the cast), in the end it’s only the work that matters and I was very proud of the production. Like Li’l Abner, I was convinced that modern audiences would really take to and be delighted by a brilliantly constructed play with wonderful writing and great characters. And as with Li’l Abner, I was right. The audiences loved the show because we did it with the right style, and I directed it to have a fast pace and end in exactly two hours WITH the two intermissions. The show looked great, thanks to the sets and costumes, and it was very slick and professional. In fact, we had a critic at the show at yesterday’s closing matinee and he already wrote his review – it’s not too long, so here it is:
“Congratulations to Group rep on their production of Frederic Knott’s Dial ‘M’ for Murder, which closed Sunday August 13 at 2 pm! Slickly directed by Bruce Kimmel, who loves murder mysteries – his attention to detail shows in every scene – the play had a brisk pace throughout.
The entire ensemble was perfectly cast. Adam Jonas Segaller was superb in the role of Tony Wendice. Totally playful, whistling on his entrances and making the audience totally aware of his lack of care for his wife Margo (Carrie Schroeder), he made the money hungry husband deliciously fascinating to watch. Schroeder was divine, charming and wonderfully straightforward. TV mystery writer Max Halliday (Justin Waggle) is perhaps one of the more difficult roles in the play. He is friendly with Tony, yet concealing a secret love affair with Margot. Waggle starts slowly but builds to a forceful climax. Doug Haverty as Inspector Hubbard has one of his finest roles and Michael Robb as Captain Lesgate/ Swann essays the blackmailed attempted killer of Margot with great intelligence, giving the conman an unforgettably edgy quality. Hisato Masuyama-Ball effectively completes the wonderful cast as an assistant policeman. J. Kent Inasy is responsible for the attractive London apartment set design.
It is difficult in these times to produce a play of the 50s written in 3 acts with two intermissions. Group rep carried it off with panache. Kudos to one and all!”
So, that was lovely. Anyway, I had a grand time doing it and it was so much fun NOT to do a musical for a change. So, onward we go to Levi!
I got about seven hours of sleep, I think, did the usual morning stuff, did some work on the computer and at the piano, had a telephonic conversation, figured out today’s schedule, then moseyed on over to the theater at around three-thirty. It was about five or six seats shy of a completely full house and they were, I was told, a good audience. Certainly the reaction at the curtain call was great. Doug had made a Bundt cake and brought champagne, so that happened backstage. I said goodbye to the cast, save for the one gentleman who either didn’t like me or who just never felt like being social with me – which is fine, I felt the same about him. He did fine in the show and that’s all I care about. I know that the four leads are really going to miss the show, as they all WERE social and vocal about it.
Then Doug and I went and had a meal at Mucho Mas whilst discussing a little project we’re working on. I had a cheese enchilada and a beef taco and a tiny side salad, all good. Then I came home and sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I finished more Hitchcock Hours and skipped a couple after seeing who wrote and directed them. I mean, when I see “Directed by Harry Morgan” I’m done, sorry. The two I watched were a retelling of the famous tale, The Monkey’s Paw. I would have shut it off but the direction was quite excellent (Robert Stevens) and I do love Collin Wilcox, but it was just bad. But the subsequent episode, entitled The Second Wife, was fantastic – starring the wonderful John Anderson and June Lockhart. It was directed by the excellent Joseph M. Newman (who made some really good movies before he moved into TV) and shot by a great cameraman named Ray Rennahan, who shot a few movies in his time, little things like Duel in the Sun, The Paleface, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Drums Along the Mohawk. The suspense was wonderful and the ending was great. Only two more episodes to go and one of them sounds really bad, so I’m sure I’ll finally be through this set very soon, like today.
Then I relaxed, did a few more things on the computer, had another telephonic conversation, and relaxed.
Today I have some banking to do, we’ll be shipping out the flash sale CDs, I’ll have an early meal, hopefully pick up some packages, then we have a run-through of Robert’s act, I’ll give some notes, then Lanny Meyers and Richard Allen come at four – Lanny’s orchestrating Levi and we’re going to play through the songs and decide on what the band will be, so he can actually begin his preliminary work. After that, I’ll watch stuff and relax.
Tomorrow I will have to deal with the cloven hoof of negativity at some point, so do send excellent vibes and xylophones for Tuesday, but I’m going to try and just push any further discussion for about two weeks. Then we do a run of Robert’s show at seven for about ten people. The rest of the week is meetings and meals and doing and going and on Friday I go up to Coachella for Robert’s opening. I’ll leave here around eleven-thirty and it should take about two hours to get there. My original plan was to stay overnight and come back the following day, but I’m now thinking that depending on what time we finish the show, I may just drive back. I’m at this weird place where I just don’t want to stay anywhere but here.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, maybe bank, ship CDs, have an early meal, hopefully pick up packages, do a run-through, have a work session, then relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite 1950s three-act plays? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had such a nice and successful run of Dial ‘M’ for Murder.