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April 2, 2019:

THE FUN FIRST REHEARSAL AND THE FILM MUSIC OF ARTHUR HONEGGER

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, April is flying by, like a gazelle doing the Peppermint Twist in hot pants.  We had us our first Kritzerland rehearsal – there’s a bit of really obscure material in this one so no one was really that up on their material completely, but it’s going to be a really funny show and I’ll be able to do my work at Thursday’s rehearsal in terms of interpretation and a bit of staging for a couple of numbers.

First to arrive was Miss Fay DeWitt, ninety years of age.  We ran her two numbers, which took a bit of time for our musical director to get used to, since her charts are all marked up like crazy. She’s doing two numbers she’s performed regularly – the first is a revue number called The French Song and it’s really funny.  The second is Who Gave You Permission, from Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, which she does wonderfully.

After her came Robert Yacko.  We began with the put-together of two great movie songs by Johnny Mandel, The Shadow of Your Smile and Emily.  Robert had asked if he could do the verse to Shadow and I thought about it and realized if we took the verse and used it as a lead in to the second song, which is Emily, it would work perfectly, and so it did.  He sounds great on them.  Then we ran his What If, which opens the show.  He’d accidentally printed out the first version I’d sent, but I’d revised it pretty heavily, so he has to just learn the adjusted lyrics now, but it’s going to be really funny, I think.

Then Ashley Fox Linton arrived and they did their duet, You Must Meet My Wife, from A Little Night Music.  Robert left, and Ashley ran her two solos – It Might as Well Be Spring and Old Friend from I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it On the Road.  Then Brittney Bertier arrived and we ran her three songs. First was I Am a Stranger Here Myself, a song I really love.  Then it was My Love is a Married Man, a rare Lerner and Loewe song that’s pretty funny. Finally, she ran her What If and that will work great.

After Brittney came Roger Befeler.  We began with a put-together of another two great movie songs – first The Tender Trap and then Pocketful of Miracles.  Then came his other solo, Dance a Little Closer.  His ever-lovin’ Kim Huber joined him for An Old-Fashioned Wedding – fun to do it with marrieds.  Then she ran her two solos.  First it was The Feelin’ Too Good Today Blues, a weird but fun song by Lieber and Stoller, and then the beautiful April Fooled Me.

Finally, our two young teens arrived – Autumn Jessel and Abigail M. Thompson.  We ran their number, I’m Blue, Too, from Henry, Sweet Henry, and they’re just great. And that was finally that.

Prior to all that, I got six hours of sleep, finally got the news that the books had shipped, which was good news, I picked up a couple of packages, got a foot-long Subway club for lunch and I also got a six-inch Spicy Eyetalian to eat after rehearsals.  So, once everyone was gone, I ate that all up, so just over 1000 calories.  I listened to a lot of film music by Arthur Honegger, part of the twenty-five CDs I brought in from the garage.  These were all done for the Marco Polo label.  I bought them all back in the late 1980s and I don’t believe I listened to a one of them.  But I’ve been on a Honegger classical music kick, enjoying his symphonies and smaller works.  Well, this guy was a MAJOR film composer, very ahead of his time.  He did the first French film version of Les Miserables, a great score, so great, in fact, that I read up on the film and it’s apparently the one that’s closest to Victor Hugo and the longest, originally released in three parts and running a bit over four hours.  It was released on Blu and Ray and I found a cheap copy on Amazon UK and it’s on its way to me.  But every score on these five CDs is fantastic, and his music for Abel Gance’s Napoleon is amazing.  I was truly bowled over by these CDs, despite the band and conductor not being top shelf.

Today, I’ll be up by ten, and books should be here soon thereafter, but other stuff is coming, too, so I’ll probably go have a bite to eat at eleven-thirty, then go pick up whatever’s there.  The helper will have already prepared the priority envelopes, so she’ll come here in the afternoon and get the books and the little extra stuff I’ll be including. Very excited to finally get these to people.  After that, I’ll just relax, read through the commentary and make any adjustments it may need, and then I’ll watch more episodes of Aquarius.

Tomorrow is more of the same, Thursday is our second Kritzerland rehearsal, Friday I’m not sure about, then Saturday is our stumble-through and Sunday is sound check and show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by ten, eat, hopefully pick up the books and whatever else is there, come home, ship out books, and then relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What dance crazes did you love when you were young?  And what classic dances do you love to do?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a fun first rehearsal, and to have discovered the film music of Arthur Honegger.

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