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April 27, 2018:


Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I spent last evening with another Carlisle Floyd opera, this one called Willie Stark, based on All the King’s Men.  It’s never had a recording, which is a shame, because this would be one you’d want to hear with a phenomenal cast.  We don’t get that on the DVD that’s available.  What we get is a student production – very talented young folks, but young folks, most of whom are too young and too unseasoned to be playing the roles.  The fellow who plays Willie is super talented, singing-wise, but there’s just no there there, really.  The student orchestra is also filled with talented students who are not quite up to the demands of the score.  The set was irritating, the direction strictly by the numbers, and the video direction was horrible, with pick-ups on a handheld camera gone berserk roaming around the stage and getting in everyone’s way – those shakycam shots are hideous and because they’re pick-ups they don’t even cut in and out very well in terms of matching.  Compared to what we have on the Blu-ray of Levi, it’s strictly from amateurville, and yet a regular label saw fit to issue it, which is interesting.  I’ve watched two-thirds of it, and the opera itself is excellent.  Apparently there was a PBS broadcast of a Houston production that was great, but it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, at least that I can find.

Yesterday was an odd little day.  I only got about five hours of sleep.  Once up, I answered e-mails, worked at the piano and began a new idea for a song, and then I simply had to buckle down, Winsocki and write the commentary, which I did over the next few hours.  I’m sure I’ll be finessing it closer to the show.  I made some rigatoni with red sauce and sautéed onions and shared it with Grant.  Sautéed Onions – that’s the title of my next novel.  I didn’t have many snacks after that, just a low-call pineapple fruit bar, an apple, and about eight potato chips is all.  Then I had to prep our new release.  The original plan, Stan, was to release one show and one soundtrack, but I noticed that the other soundtrack labels decided they all needed to have a feeding frenzy week so I decided to only announce the show and hold the soundtrack. If things calm down, I may put that out next week.  But even without it, we’ve announced five titles this month and that’s more than we’ve ever done in our entire history in one month, although we really did need to catch up and get back on track.

So, our new release is a really fun cast album of a musical revue with perhaps the longest title ever devised for a musical – Ben Bagley’s The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen through the Eyes of Cole Porter.  The previous CD release has been out of print for well over a decade and goes for a nice chunk of change.  For this release, we’ve really spruced and polished up the sound quite a bit.  The original LP was produced by one Thomas Z. Shepard, and the cast is fantastic – Kaye Ballard, Harold Lang (he of Pal Joey), Carmen Alvarez (the original Moonbeam McSwine), William Hickey, and Elmarie Wendel (who I see from time to time here in LA).  There’s a ton of bonus tracks (they were all on the previous CD) of live performances, plus my favorite bonus track – Tammy Grimes singing Tale of the Oyster from the LA production of the show.  In New York, this played in an intimate theater with two pianos and percussion.  In LA it played the 1400-seat Huntington Hartford Theatre so it had actual sets and wonderful costumes, and orchestrations by the great George Bassman. Tale of the Oyster is a number I remember vividly, due to Ms. Grimes’ absolutely brilliant rendition, which you can hear here in all its glory.  Here is the cover.

Only 500 of these puppies so move quickly. Even if you have the first release, you’ll want this for the much improved sound and the much prettier packaging. After that, I sat on my couch like so much fish again and watched the Corpus Earthling episode of The Outer Limits. It was superbly directed by Gerd Oswald, and had great performances by Robert Culp and Salome Jens.  This is the kind of episode this show did best. After that, I got our eBlast ready to go and then relaxed.

Today, I had to cancel my haircut and rebook for next Friday because a surprise meeting came up for the Richard Sherman thing and it’s at the theatre, and I have to be there or decisions would likely be made by those who should not and cannot be making them.  Not sure if I’ll go grab a light bite before that or wait until I get home around three.  We shall see. Otherwise, I don’t think anything else is happening.  Oh, hopefully I’ll print out a LOT of orders, hopefully I’ll pick up some packages, and hopefully I’ll do some work at the piano.

Tomorrow morning I have to be at the Group Rep for our ten to one musical theatre workshop, which I’m looking forward to.  After that, I’m sure some of us will grab a bite to eat, but if not, I’ll just come home and relax.  Sunday is a ME day from start to finish.  Monday we have our first Kritzerland rehearsal, then the rest of the week is writing music and lyrics, our second Kritzerland rehearsal, meetings and meals, a haircut, our stumble-through, and then sound check and show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a quick bite, hopefully pick up packages, have a meeting, work at the piano, hopefully print out a LOT of orders, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Friday – what is currently in your CD player and your DVD/Blu and Ray player?  I’ll start. CD, lots of projects, plus more American operas.  Blu-ray, The Outer Limits, and more Twilight Time releases.  Your turn.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, eager to begin writing Sautéed Onions – a tale of treachery on the high seas and the low valleys.

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