Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much old fish, a little overtired, waiting for the big week ahead, listening to one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. I got it a couple of months ahead of its release back in 1992, fell in love with its singer immediately but more importantly it was the arrangements of a lot of great tunes that did me in – Johnny Mandel, doing some of his greatest orchestrating. The album was and is called Shirley Horn with Strings – Here’s to Life. I haven’t heard this in two decades, but it’s like an old friend come back for a visit. Ms. Horn has a gorgeous voice and is a great piano player – she recorded her vocals and her trio first, then Mandel orchestrated to those tracks – and the result is stunning. If you perchance have never heard this album, you really should. This is the kind of perfect album that one always hopes one can effect – where everything just gels and works.
Yesterday was an interesting day. I got up after six hours of sleep – that was interesting. She of the Evil Eye arrived and after a time I went and had a breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and fruit, then picked up one package that had arrived the day before, then came home.
Once home, I listened to more music whilst doing some organizing – a great CD of organist Jimmy Smith and arranger Oliver Nelson’s take on Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf – great sound, great band, great soloist. Also listened to some classic 5th Dimension – a greatest hits compilation, and their Jimmy Webb album, The Magic Garden. Sadly, the latter is so horribly mastered – brick-walled to death with sound that literally will give you a migraine. There is nothing worse than a bad mastering engineer. Then it was more Jack Jones.
After that, I moseyed on over to the Madelyn Clark rehearsal studios to watch a little of our lead dancers in the act one finale of our Sherman event – we’re recreating the entire Charlie’s Place number from Over Here with Pat Birch’s original choreography – pal Scott Thompson is doing the recreation. The two lead dancers (originally Ann Reinking and John Mineo), are great and I can’t wait to see it all put together. They’re doing the rest of it today, but I can’t get over there due to our own rehearsals here.
Then I stopped at Gelson’s and got some of their hot food bar chicken teriyaki – just about three ounces, and a packet of white rice to go with it. I came home, answered e-mails and stuff, and then ate the food all up – it was just the right amount and I only ate half the packet of rice. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.
I just needed to zone out, so I put on something from the Flix of Net and instantly fell asleep for the next forty-five minutes. Then it was more music. Two back to back classics – Ms. Horn and Mr. Mandel, of course, but prior to that the Sony Masterworks Heritage CD of Lotte Lenya singing mostly Kurt Weill. There are a few bonus tracks including all her Cabaret songs. What a great album and what a unique woman she was (I saw her in Cabaret – and you can talk about Sally Bowles and the Emcee all you like, but Ms. Lenya was the heart and soul of the show) – her kind of voice would be laughed out of the theater today – so would Channing and Merman and Mary Martin – none of them would even get a callback today because today everyone looks the same and sounds the same, which is what producers seem to want now. Lenya’s voice has such history and heart and pain and LIFE – no it’s not a proper singing voice, but she doesn’t have a dishonest bone in her body and she interprets beautifully. I have loved her ever since I first met her via From Russia, With Love, where she was amazing as a rather deadly woman. And her performance in Cabaret, three years into the run, was one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen.
Today, I’ll relax until a one o’clock meeting with my stage manager for the Sherman event. That will take an hour, then he leaves and thirty minutes later we begin two hours of rehearsals. Hopefully they will all go smoothly. Then I’ll go eat something fun, and then relax.
Tomorrow, I have to do a lot of stuff here on the computer for the first part of the day. We have a brief rehearsal here for Sami, and then my MD and I go hear the orchestra rehearsal and hopefully the leader has done as I asked and is keeping to the timings I gave him. The orchestra has four pieces in the show, two in each act, and they cannot add up to more than the eighteen minutes I’ve allotted for them.
The rest of the week is meetings and rehearsals and not much of anything else, plus I have to create a lighting script and write intro patter for our off-stage voice. Then on Saturday, I’m in the theater at ten and there until the show is over.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a meeting, have rehearsal, eat, and relax. 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, ready for the big week ahead.