Loved both Corey Cott & Laura Osnes in “Bandstand” — their chemistry together wasn’t as sizzling as I wanted, but their individual character portrayals were really great. Derek Klena in “Anastasia” grew right into your heart as the story went on — loved him. Maybe those aren’t iconic roles, but outstanding anyway!
I would like to bring Mae West back to Broadway and revive her play “The Pleasure Man.” (already have permission from the estate) It could be made into a “juke box” musical with a 1930s Playbook or original music. It was shut down for obscenity (female impersonators) after only 3 performances and Mae was put on trial by the State of New York. It was never revived tho always her wish. I have an adaptation almost finished.
I find that the key to costume changes in theater is to have knowledgeable and focused dressers. The last thing an actor needs is to be worried about a costume change. The dressers have to be fast, focused and fearless. They have to know how the costume works, and how it goes on and off. Having ample time to get the costume ready before the actors is even done with his or her line is very important. It doesn’t matter if you are standing off in the wing for what seems like for ever, at least you are ready. In our recent production of Funny Girl Fanny Brice has about 5 quick changes that happen in less than a minute. One quick change happened in less than 30 seconds(Off Stage). As the curtain was closing I followed the curtain to Fanny helped her down the stairs started to unzip her dress as she is walking she met the other helper in the wing. When we met the helper at the wing Fanny put her arms in the dress and the helper wrapped the dress around her as i was taking the other dress off. I attached the back of the dress together and out she went for her next scene. There was hidden Velcro all down the back of the second dress so that all the actress had to do was stand there and we did everything. I as well as the helper had practiced that many times before the run. Those quick changes are scary, but also thrilling. It gets a little hairy when a wig change is involved as well. I have used magnets, and Velcro, which I hate to hear on stage, and snaps in previous costumes. It all depends on how fast the change is and what they are wearing. Another good solution for a quick change is layering. It can work for guys, but can be tricky for women if the dress underneath is longer than the dress on top.
LOL…I remember that bus trip to Chicago for A Chorus Line…It was a whole other world! The first High School show I saw was Camelot when my sisters were already at Juneau (at that time it was grade 6 – 12 in one building) and I was still in grade school. I remember being particularly taken with Merlin. It took a while, but I eventually joined you on stage at our High School in a couple of shows.
My first tour was Hello Dolly with Carol, front row center at the PAC in Milwaukee. We had neighbors who gave their tickets to myself my friend who lived across the street (and next door to the ticket benefactors). Our parents had to drive the two of us downtown and pick us up afterwards. It was a glorious adventure! Now, I have tickets for Bette next spring for the revival…
My first Broadway show in NYC was Sweeney Todd in 1979…blew me away…I remember being frightened by Len Cariou, and I was sitting in the balcony…Angela Landsbury holds a special place in my heart and memories as Mrs. Lovett…there is nothing like jumping in with both feet for a first time experience!
As a performer and an audience member, I despise canned music. Some nights, when the stars align and gods of theatre are being generous, a performance is more on fire than another night. On those nights everyone in the place needs everything to go just the tiniest bit faster. I’m not talking a major tempo change, just 2, 3 maybe 4 beats per minute quicker. Those magical performances can’t really happen with canned music because electronic equipment can’t feel the energy in the room.
As a producer, canned music is sometimes a necessary compromise.
Theatre at the Center in Munster Indiana had a matinee performance. The lead actor in Fox on the Fairway broke his leg in act one. Audience sent home. I was called shortly thereafter. Crossed a state line to Indiana. Had a very short hour long rehearsal for a 2 hour physical comedy farce and went on without script for the evening show. Audience loved me and it went very well. The following day everyone including cast thought I was performing the final show that Sunday. Dressed and ready to go the lead actor shows up in crutches and goes on much to my disappointment. I had people in the audience to see me but there was a miscommunication and the lead went on in crutches.
Actually, there’s a hilarious musical version of RICHARD 3RD in THE GOODBYE GIRL, titled RICHARD INTERRED. My collaborators, Jeffrey Lodin and Richard Vetere, and I used MACBETH as the inspiration of a musical about BENEDICT ARNOLD that premiered in his hometown of Norwich, CT, a few years ago. RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET was based on THE TEMPEST. CATCH MY SOUL was a B’way musical version of OTHELLO in which, if I’m remembering correctly, Desdemona was strangled with a mic cord. YOUR OWN THING was a 60’s take on 12TH NIGHT set in a disco. OH, BROTHER! was a wacky farce based on THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. THE MERRY WIVES OF WINSOR moved Falstaff to the Old West (and Off-B’way) in LONE STAR LOVE. Let’s not forget ROCKABYE HAMLET! And, of course, numerous operas based on the Bard.
Actually, there’s a hilarious musical version of RICHARD 3RD in THE GOODBYE GIRL, titled RICHARD INTERRED. My collaborators, Jeffrey Lodin and Richard Vetere, and I used MACBETH as the inspiration of a musical about BENEDICT ARNOLD that premiered in his hometown of Norwich, CT, a few years ago. RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET was based on THE TEMPEST. CATCH MY SOUL was a B’way musical version of OTHELLO in which, if I’m remembering correctly, Desdemona was strangled with a mic cord. YOUR OWN THING was a 60’s take on 12TH NIGHT set in a disco. OH, BROTHER! was a wacky farce based on THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. THE MERRY WIVES OF WINSOR moved Falstaff to the Old West (and Off-Way) in LONE STAR LOVE. Let’s not forget ROCKABYE HAMLET! And, of course, numerous operas based on the Bard.
Hi Larry, All that you are doing is certainly helpful for the process, but as someone who has done this many times with different collaborators, producers, theatre, directors, etc. the key is always having a real audience.
At first that can be 5 good friends, but ultimately and sooner rather than later, you need regular people who will either laugh or not, applaud or not…etc. Then and only then do you know what you have. Dive in after you have a whole act and do an invited reading. If you can afford it, do several.
Of course actors are not that cheap, but they must be the best you can get. You want to know that anything not happening is because of the material and not because someone is miscast or inadequate, (and boy, does that happen).