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January 3, 2018:

PUT YOUR PANTS ON, SPARTACUS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, strongest and most excellent vibes and xylophones for miraculous and major miracles needed ASAP – already had the first irritating e-mail of 2018. Other than that what a fun and productive day it was yesterday and of course we must always accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative – miracles help do that. In any case, I didn’t quite get eight hours of sleep, more like seven-and-a-half, got up at nine-thirty, and immediately left to do the morning errands, which I did in the morning, which is the best time to do morning errands. Then I came right home, showered, and then futzed and finessed about four of the twelve pages or so from the day before. Then it was time for our long Kritzerland rehearsal.

First to arrive was young Mackenzie Wrap. She’s been with us a few times before. We ran her two songs – Much More from The Fantasticks (complete with monologue) and then When You Wish Upon a Star. I gave a few little notes (I do most of the directing at the Thursday rehearsal, unless I really need to get someone on track). She sounded great. Then came our very own Hadley Miller – she did Inch Worm first and then What Do I See from the animated film Raggedy Ann and Andy, a Joe Rapsoso song I really like. We talked about Inch Worm, ran it again, and did the same for the other song.

Then came Sami Staitman, who, of course, knows the drill. Since this is her final young people show (she’ll still do the regular shows) she gets three songs. We began with West End Avenue, moved on to She’s Gone (cut from Side Show), and then a put-together of Hurry, It’s Lovely Here and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. She got tracks for everything and it all went very smoothly. After Sami came Brooklyn Vizcarra, who is new to us. I’d seen her in Mary Poppins at a dinner theater and really liked her. She ran her solo, Notice Me, Horton (from Seussical), and then Brendan and Olivia Knox arrived and Brooklyn and Brendan ran their duet, a put-together of Jolly Holiday and Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious – really fun – Brendan played Michael Banks so they’ve both done Mary Poppins.

Then Brendan ran his solo, Nerd, which is a song I wrote for a musical back in the early 1990s. Then Olivia ran her solo, Sing a Rainbow, a song we’ve never done but that I’ve always wanted to do. Then Hayley Shukiar arrived and we ran the trio with Olivia, Brendan, and Hayley, another me song called One Man Band that I wrote in 1971, I think. It’s really fun and boy do they do it great – it also includes an instrumental section with Hayley on trumpet, Olivia on Melodica, and Brendan on tambourine. Then the Knox clan left and Hayley ran her two solos – One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man (she’s hilarious), and then a Sesame Street medley, which I put together for her.

After Hayley came Autumn Jessel – she’s been to a bunch of Kritzerland shows, and this is her debut with us. She just played Susan Waverly in White Christmas, so she’s singing her song from that, Let Me Sing and I’m Happy, with a bit of Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me thrown in for good measure. Then she did my put-together of In My Own Little Corner and Impossible from Cinderella. Finally, we had Brittany Fisheli – first she did Pink Taffeta Sample Size 10, the cut song from Sweet Charity – we’ve done it a few times, but it’s such a great acting song I always like to give it to young folks. We talked through it, worked on it, and she’ll do it really well. Then we ran her other song, A Cockeyed Optimist – we worked on the intentions of the song and the joy of it and now she’ll work on that. I’m thinking about whether we need to lower the key by one step – it may be easier for her to belt the final notes that way.

It was a long rehearsal – four-and-a-half hours, but really fun. I just love working with these kids and that energy. After that, I immediately went to Taco Bell because I was starving but didn’t want to sit in a restaurant for an hour. So, I got food from there, brought it home, and wolfed it down quickly. Then I futzed and finessed the remaining pages I’d written – lots of little adjustments, additions, subtractions, and lots of smoothing out, but in the end I was very pleased with it. Then I began writing the new pages – that was slow going at first – I did about four pages pretty quickly then had to take a break but by the end of it I’d done a little over ten pages, which is my daily goal and I don’t care if I really do over that – if I do great, but ten is what I enjoy. I did get to a really fun part to write and I really enjoyed writing it and I only hope I like it when I read it this morning. I did laugh out loud a couple of times, which is always a good sign. I really am beginning to think that this book will simply be comprised of two parts with no chapters, just either numbers or stars to delineate time passages.

On the break, I finished watching the Blu and Ray of Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three – I really do think it’s a brilliant comedy and no matter how many times I see it there are always lines and bits I don’t remember that make me howl with laughter. Billy Wilder was a genius writer and a great director.

After the break is when I finished the additional pages that got the total over ten, and then it was time to write these here notes. We did get some fun news that for the third or fourth year in a row, or since they began giving them, Kritzerland won a Golden something award at The Second Disc, this one for Two for the Road, so that was nice.

Today, I have to go pick up some packages and hopefully mail, then I’ll come back and futz and finesse and begin writing new pages. At one I do a three-hour coaching session with a young girl – her mom took that perk in the Levi Indiegogo campaign. So, Alby Potts is coming and we’ll have fun – the girl asked to sing songs from Welcome to My World, so that part will be easy, but I also asked her to bring other songs she likes because it’s good to work on all kinds of stuff. That will be over at four and then I’ll eat a little something and then do at least the ten pages of new writing.

Tomorrow is our second long Kritzerland rehearsal and I’ll write in the morning and after it. Friday I’m having a haircut and we’ll probably do more garage stuff that day. I think I may have something else but who can remember. Saturday is our stumble-through but I also have to go finesse the Levi mixes so we can get that off to mastering. Not sure when that’s supposed to happen, as the stumble-through, for some reason, is at two. If it were four or five, then I could go in the morning and get it done. As it is, I would only be able to get three hours in if I go in the morning, so it may have to be at around four until we finish. Sunday is sound check and show, and at this point we’re just thirteen seats shy of being completely sold out to the rafters.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, pick up packages and mail, futz and finesse and write, have a three-hour coaching session, eat, write, and then perhaps watch something. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, whilst still laughing at the Billy Wilder/I.A.L. Diamond line from One, Two, Three: Put your pants on, Spartacus. Just watch the movie.

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