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February 7, 2019:

OBSESSION

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I do believe I’ve finished choosing songs for the March Kritzerland and all but one of the singers have their music now.  And the one singer should have her stuff today – just waiting on two other songs to arrive so I can make a final choice on her third number.

Yesterday was kind of that kind of day, if you get my meaning, that kind of day-wise.  I didn’t fall asleep until after four, was up at ten but stayed in bed until eleven-thirty. Once up, I answered e-mails, had telephonic conversations, and printed out orders.  I then attended to the Kritzerland show stuff and that took a while but I got it all done.  I kept trying to sit on the couch like so much fish, but things kept coming up – phone calls, e-mails, and all that jazz.  I never got to the mail place and I didn’t eat anything all day.

Finally, it was time to get ready for my dinner with Muse Margaret and her ever-lovin’ Richard.  I got there at six, we chatted, and then Richard and I went and picked up Numbero Uno pizza and salad and brought it back to their house.  We then ate like there was no tomorrow and had lots of laughs in the bargain.  Muse Margaret made some yummilicious chocolate cake, which was yummilicious, and I introduced her to the joys of McConnell’s Toasted Coconut Almond Chip ice cream, which she loved.  After dinner, we hung out and gabbed and then I headed home around nine-fifteen.

Once home, I listened to music, did a few things on the computer, the computer did a few things on me, and then I finished reading a play.  I saw this play in Los Angeles, California back at the end of 1963, just before I turned sixteen.  It played at my beloved Huntington Hartford Theater.  It featured a big movie star and in the female lead an actress I knew from TV even though she was known from the theater.  I thought it was the weirdest and darkest comedy I’d seen, right up there with Oh Dad, Poor Dad, which I’d seen at the Biltmore Theatre.  I howled with laughter, as did the audience, and as the play was headed to Broadway, I figured it would be a smash hit.  Alas, it ended here and went nowhere, and subsequent to its stormy closing, the playwright refused to consider any productions of the play right up to his death.  I believe there was a change of directors before the show opened at the Curran Theater in San Francisco a few weeks prior to coming to LA.  The leading man and leading lady did not care for each other, and there was perhaps more drama backstage than on stage.  But I, at fifteen, had no idea about any of that.  All I saw was two superb actors playing in high style, getting all their laughs easily, a production I thought was stellar, with brilliant sets that involved some fun special effect gags.  The supporting cast was also excellent.

I became obsessed with it, and only wish I’d seen it beyond the one time I did.  At some point in the early 1980s I was at Doug Hart’s movie memorabilia shop in an alley off Sunset Blvd. and he had a few boxes of theater stuff I always enjoyed looking through.  It was there that I found a bunch of LA programs from shows I’d seen here, so I snapped all that up.  And then, in a great bit of serendipity I found myself looking the script of the play I’d been obsessed with all those years.  I was thrilled.  I bought it for five bucks or something and read it, and while it wasn’t exactly as I remembered the play, it was hilarious and dark and wonderful.

Flash forward to seven years ago and I began thinking of the play again. The script (and several other very rare scripts) that I’d had in a box and which I was storing in someone’s storage shed, had mysteriously gone missing.  So, I researched and one thing led to another and I finally got an e-mail address for the firm that handles the playwright’s affairs.  I wrote them a long e-mail about my obsession and love for the play and was there any way to get a script and if I could arrange a production, was there any chance of doing it.  They responded instantly – the widow of the play said it would be okay for me to be sent a script, but wanted to know a bit about me and what I was thinking of in terms of a production.

I wrote a nice e-mail and included a bio, and then never heard a peep and no script ever arrived.  Flash forward to two days ago.  I found that old e-mail correspondence because I was once again thinking about the play and maybe submitting it to the Group Rep as a project for me in 2020. So I wrote again, saying, “Here we are, seven years later” – a very nice e-mail, and when I got up yesterday, there was the script attached to their response, which was to stay in touch and that they were fine if I could get a production together.  So, I’ve been reading it.  Again, I think there were changes made during the tryout as the scene list doesn’t match the script (I have the Playbill), but then again, maybe they just consolidated stuff and lessened the number of scenes.  The act one closing line, which I’ve never forgotten, had a slight different first half – hard to know if I’m misremembering (doubtful) or if it was just what it was in the script.  So, I’m going to ask if there are any subsequent drafts or revisions, or at least some reviews I could see.  I think if one kept it set in 1963 it could still play very effectively. The funny stuff is really funny, and that act one closer is hilarious – the line I’m speaking of was, if I’m remembering correctly, followed by a blackout, but in the script there’s another three lines – but somewhere in the windmills of my mind I’m thinking that might be right.  You’ll note that I have not said the title of the play, the names of the actors, nor of the playwright.  The reason is simple: Prying eyes.  I’m just going to quietly go about my business with this play because I think it will be a major discovery for a lot of folks and if we were to do it and make a success of it, it might lead to other productions for the play and proper licensing.

Today, I can sleep in, then I’ll try to start figuring out a show order, I’ll hopefully print out more orders, I’ll eat, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’m hoping to have the final proofer’s notes so I can see which of those we’ll want to enter, and then I can send the book to Grant and hopefully he can get to work on it.

Tomorrow is more of the same, Saturday I’m seeing a show in the afternoon, Sunday I think I can rest, and then a busy week ahead.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, figure out a show order, hopefully print out more orders, hopefully pick up packages, eat, get the Facebook page for the Kritzerland show up and running, and then relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What play or musical that you saw at an impressionable age were you completely obsessed with? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that my over fifty-year obsession with a play may finally result in me doing a production of it.

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