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January 7, 2018:

FINALIZING THE MIX

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we had a pretty damn wonderful stumble-through yesterday. We barely had enough chairs for all the parents to sit in, along with our nine cast members, Doug, and me. These kids really knew their stuff, and I have to tell you the couple of flubs that were made were totally covered so professionally. One girl totally went up on her song in terms of its order, confounding Alby, but the girl never missed a beat and I had no idea that she was the problem because she just owned it and never stopped and covered it beautifully. THAT is a pro, my friends. The show structure worked well and despite there being eighteen songs it never seemed long – it really just flew by. I had only a handful of notes – some tempo notes for Alby, and minor notes for most of the kids, but really minor. This is really a terrific group.

Prior to the stumble-through, I was up at nine-thirty after seven-and-a-half hours of sleep. I futzed and finessed a bit, then went and had some bacon and eggs, after which I picked up some packages and mail. Once back home, I continued futzing and finessing – I added two new pages to what I’d written, otherwise it was the usual adding and subtracting and smoothing. I showered and got ready for the stumble-through.

I gave what few notes I had very quickly, and I was out the door and on the freeway by three-twenty. Thankfully the traffic wasn’t too bad and I got to my engineer’s place by 3:45. He had everything ready to go. I spent a nice chunk of time on the ten-minute opening number. He’d already done what I’d wanted to hear – the sound field for the band, which I had specific ideas about. I was very happy with it and so was he. We got the opening sounding great and I made one editing decision. After that, everything went much more quickly – just a matter of tweaking this or that instrument and getting the vocals at the right levels and having everything sounding alive and dynamic – the polar opposite of the way today’s cast albums are produced, with dry as dust sound, small and tinny. That’s not a cast album, that’s a radio show. I must say, for a live album this thing sounds fantastic.

In the number We Know Why, which is very long onstage with a lot of dialogue, I opted to make two big edits in it, losing most of the dialogue. It just played better that way. We got through all of act one in exactly two hours, which was amazing, actually. I was expecting to be there until ten or eleven, but we finished act two at eight-fifteen, also amazing. I made a few dialogue cuts here and there, but I’d already done a lot of that work previously. I stopped at Gelson’s for some snacks on the way home, and I was in my house at 8:45.

I answered e-mails, then began writing new pages. It was slow going, but by midnight I’d done between seven and eight pages, and will do two more before I go to bed. I’m still averaging over ten pages a day, so that’s nice. I also took a hot shower, got a good idea whilst doing so, made those notes, and then it was time to write these here notes.

Today, I’ll be up by eleven at the latest, more likely ten. I’ll futz and finesse, write as many new pages as I can, and then relax until it’s time to get ready and mosey on over to The Federal for sound check at four. We’re eight seats away from being completely oversold. After sound check, I’ll have my artichoke, and then we do our show. After, some of us will go have a bite to eat at Little Toni’s.

Tomorrow I print out however many pages I have, I’ll get them Xeroxed, and then bring them to Muse Margaret, and pray she enjoys and likes them. The rest of the week is writing and waiting to hear if we’re doing a February show and a March show – both our first Sundays don’t work – Super Bowl Sunday and then the Oscars. So we’re trying to do those two months on the first Monday, but I haven’t gotten final word on that.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, futz and finesse, write, relax, have a sound check, do a show, and have a bite to eat. 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, happy that the Levi mix is finalized and off to mastering.

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