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September 9, 2018:

PRAY FOR ROSEMARY’S BABY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, not going left, not going right – it’s like I’m losing my mind.  What am I, Stephen Sondheim all of a sudden?  There, I just went left and then went right so I’m not losing my mind anymore.  Of course some would posit that my mind was lost many years ago, but that’s another story.

Yesterday was a day in which I maybe got four hours of sleep, which let me tell you was not enough for the likes of me.  But she of the Evil Eye came and I went and had some eggs and bacon, picked up no packages or mail, did a few things, and then came home.  Once home, I put out a feeler to a performer for the October show and am waiting to hear back if the timing will work.  I did some work on the computer, I listened to music, and then I sat on my couch like so much fish and read a new book on the making of Rosemary’s Baby, entitled This Is No Dream.  About a decade ago, maybe more, a book came out that featured marvelous Bob Willoughby photographs from the set of the film.  This book has all those and lots more photographs by Mr. Willoughby, who shares the author credit with James Munn.  It’s quite a handsome book, about 212 pages.  The text is fine – it covers the basics of the book and the film – I’ve heard most of these stories before, and one suspects that the author didn’t really talk to anyone involved, but rather cadged from interviews from over the years.  Or maybe he did talk to people.  One wishes that it was a little more detailed – the actual text probably runs less than eighty pages.  It would be nice to know who the nude body double for Mia Farrow was and how that was for her, at a time when on-screen nudity really hadn’t been done quite like that. And there are little nitpicks – at the end of the book several sentences have letters that jam into each other, and when talking about the films up for awards that year, he calls Planet of the Apes THE Planet of the Apes, whereas he gets that title right earlier in the book.

As most here know, the book is a personal favorite of mine – I think it’s one of the greatest twentieth century novels ever written.  And most here know that I got to be friends with its author, Ira Levin, when I recorded his musical, Drat! The Cat!  He was also gracious enough to blurb Benjamin Kritzer and wrote me a wonderful blurb and better yet really loved the book, which was a huge deal for me.

I saw the film on its opening day with my about to be then-wife and I loved it and went back several times.  I was already a fan of Mr. Polanski from Repulsion, but nothing could have prepared me for the perfection of the film, which is the greatest novel-to-film adaptation ever done.

Of course, after I finished the book I had to watch the movie.  I got about halfway through it and it’s just brilliant, not a false move anywhere.  And one really can’t say enough about Sidney Blackmer as Roman Castevet – Ruth Gordon got all the accolades, but Blackmer is her equal.  Maurice Evans is also wonderful as Hutch.  It’s Mia Farrow’s finest hour, and even though Polanski had huge problems working with John Cassavetes, he’s perfect, too.  And the photography by William Fraker is great, as is the production design of Dick Sylbert, the costumes of Anthea Sylbert, and the score, the amazing score by Christopher Komeda.

One of the interesting things in the book – one doesn’t know how embellished it is, but apparently Paramount, despite the book being a huge bestseller, didn’t know how to sell the film.  So it was given to an ad agency, who came up with the great poster art and the even greater tagline that has entered the popular lexicon: Pray for Rosemary’s baby.

After all that, I went to Gelson’s and got a couple of small chicken tenders and a bit of mac-and-cheese for my evening snack.  Then I relaxed and listened to more music.

Today, I have to read a play, then I’ll be relaxing, praying for miracles both large and little, I’ll eat, I’ll try to figure out the rest of the cast, and that will be that.

This week is all meetings and meals and trying to survive crazyland or I will not be going left or going right and I will be losing my mind.  So, pray for Rosemary’s baby.  We’re also having more auditions, this time outside the company, to try and finish casting, especially for our leading man.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, read a play, try to finish casting, pray for miracles both large and little, 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, not going left, not going right, and hopefully not losing my mind – in other words, pray for Rosemary’s baby, baby.

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