Well, dear readers, it is finally Friday, the day that occurs after Thursday and the days prior to that. This has been a week rather filled with tumult, if you get my meaning and I know you do, because who is smarter than you dear readers, getting-my-meaning-wise? I am sitting here like so much tired fish listening to some rather marvelously marvelous music by Mr. Richard Rodney Bennett, music of the classical kind rather than the film music kind. But before I wax enthusiastic about Mr. Bennett, let me tell you about yesterday, whilst it’s still on my mind.
Yesterday was a bit of a day. We still are on the actress hunt with no luck and I’ve pretty much decided we will live without and have one of our cast do the number and then I’ll reblock the opening number to cover the missing track, which is key in terms of the look of the opening number. That isn’t optimal, but frankly I am very bored of looking, very bored of LA actors who are apparently the busiest actors in show business (not the way it was when I was a young actor – I would have killed to be in a show like this, especially a new musical, and especially that I’d get to appear on a cast album). But the actor entitlement these days is way beyond my ken and also way beyond my barbie. As to the sleep business, I fell asleep around three-thirty, woke up at five-thirty, fell back asleep, woke up at six-thirty, got up, found that the Internet wasn’t working, called Spectrum and they had me unplug the router and plug it back in and that fixed that. Apparently the router and the modem have occasional problems communicating with each other. I have spoken to them about this repeatedly, informing them that communication is EVERYTHING, but noooooo, they get all uppity with each other and stop communicating and I have to fix it. Butt cheeks.
I then called PayPal to see why my debit card had been declined when it should not have been. I got a nice gent in far way India – he checked and said the card was fine, but that at the exact time I tried to use it, they decided to do a system upgrade, a wonderful upgrade that makes using the debit card even easier to use. I explained that when a card that shouldn’t be declined is declined it is not easier to use and it is also embarrassing and would have been even more embarrassing had I not had another card with me. He apologized profusely, and I recommended strongly that if they’re going to be doing system upgrades it might be a nice idea if they let their customers know about it.
Then I went back to bed at seven-thirty and slept until the alarm went off at eleven, then immediately fell back asleep for another hour. I got up at noon after about six-and-a-half hours of total sleep (peels, spelled backwards). I answered e-mails, and then texted Grant Geissman to tell him the heater/air conditioning was not working – no thermostat reading at all, just blank. He suggested I look at the electrical box to see if something tripped, but nothing had. He then thought it might be the battery. I’d tried taking the cover off of the device but it didn’t seem like I could – but then I tried again and finally got it off. I replaced the two batteries and voila, everything was fine. Then I rustled up a batch of spaghetti with butter and cheese, about six ounces of it. That was very good. Then I listened to music – a wonderful Brit composer I didn’t know – George Dyson. I’ve had this CD since it came out and don’t think I ever played it. So, that was a nice discovery. Then I shaved and showered, after which I picked up some packages, then moseyed on over to the theater to shoot a little interview for our show – Doug and I yakking away. Oh, and I got this very sweet letter from some huge MASH fan who wanted my autograph, so I’ll send that to him today.
Doug and I yakked for about twenty minutes. Then our cast arrived, save for one gal, and Kay took the first eighty-five minutes to clean up her two numbers. While she was doing that, I took some folks to the lobby and cleaned up numbers and scenes there, mostly working with one actress because we haven’t found a personality for her character that is in any way working for me. So, I have her some ways to play it – I think they were probably a bit outre for her, but I’d rather start somewhere bold and go from there, than start from nothing and try to go from there. When she did it, it was at least brighter and funnier, so she has to commit to it – we won’t overdo the comic stuff, but the scene desperately needs an inner energy that matches what goes before and after it.
When Kay was done, my intention was to start at the top of the show and run all the musical numbers and the scene changes, since we’re doing a designer run tonight. But the opening number had such fun energy to it that I let them keep going and everything kind of clicked in certain ways – still people fumfering way too much on lyrics, which is beginning to drive me crazy, and as you know that is not a long drive – but just a good drive and energy and it was fun to watch. I just took some mental notes. And by 9:55 we’d actually run everything except the final eight minutes of the show. After, I gave the two or three mental notes I’d taken and then had a tense conversation with the actress I’d worked with earlier. I think she’s frustrated and has a case of the nerves she has to tame, but I just explained to her the way I work, that I just see no reason to not just cut to the chase, and that we have to simply find what’s going to work and lock it down and that all lines and lyrics have to be second nature.
Then I came directly home and began listening to some Richard Rodney Bennett music. I became a huge fan after seeing Far from the Madding Crowd – his score for that was stunningly beautiful and I played the MGM LP over and over again. Then I loved his score to Billion Dollar Brain, and every time I’d hear another score it was love all over again, culminating in what I feel is his masterpiece, Yanks. Around 1992, just before the end of Bay Cities, we issued his score to Enchanted April, a beautiful but short score, so I licensed two tracks from EMI to fill it out – that was most comical, as EMI realized, as both single tracks were over fourteen minutes long.
Then after I’d begun being a real record producer in 1993, at some point a singer called Mary Cleere Haran called me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a Rodgers and Hart album with her. I didn’t know her all that well, but in researching I saw she had a nice following and was always well-reviewed. I think she probably thought she’d produce it herself, but I disabused her of that right away. We discussed band size, and then I asked her who her musical director and arranger was – and she told me: Richard Rodney Bennett. I said yes immediately. I can’t say Mary was the easiest to work with, but we ultimately had a good time once she began to understand that I knew what I was doing. On the other hand, Richard and I got along famously. He loved that I knew and loved all his film scores and that I’d issued Enchanted April, and we had so much fun in the booth. He was filled with good humor and he was simply a gentleman. We stayed in touch for a time, always talking about doing a film theme CD of his stuff, with just him on piano, but alas it never happened.
As to the classical Bennett, he has two faces – the tonal and the atonal. I don’t much care for the latter, but love the former, of course. But even his dissonant work is very interesting and, in fact, sounds like film music. But the tonal classical stuff is gorgeous and I love it large. There are several CDs on Chandos, and a couple on Koch, all worth owning.
Today, I shall do the usual morning stuff, then I’ll eat a little something, hopefully pick up packages, do some work on the computer, and then we have a designer run-through at six that should wrap around seven-thirty if we start on time, which I hope we can. If it’s pretty smooth, I may just give a few notes and let everyone go early.
Tomorrow we rehearse in the upstairs space whilst our set is built and then Sunday we rehearse in the late afternoon on our newly built set. I’m sure that will be illuminating and fun. Then it’s an absolutely crazy next week – Kritzerland rehearsals, a revue music rehearsal, our rehearsals – I’m sure I will be ready for the loony bin at some point, and then we do our stumble-through, then sound check and show.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do stuff, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, do more stuff, and have a designer run-through. 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, many CDs. Blu-ray, who knows? Your turn. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that it is finally Friday.