Our Last Weekend.
I have such mixed feelings going into our last weekend. Part of me is sad that we have three shows left to perform. I have loved our time here in New York. From the first scary days where we wondered how New York critics would take to us, the first previews where audiences walked into the show not knowing what they were going to be seeing, feeling them begin each show with a "Okay, we've seen it all. Show us what you got" skepticism to the first chuckles of laughter to outright falling down laughter, to hearing the sniffles and the tears to the big roar that comes at the end. It was nerve-wracking every single time.
Our preview period was short. We didn't have a lot of money in the production budget. All we could do was toss the show up on the stage, open the doors, invite the critics and cross our fingers. After all, no matter how well we might have done with critics in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and elsewhere, none of that matters when you come into New York.
I still remember the night we stayed up until 1 am, after opening night, to read the one everyone says matters the most: The NY Times review. And what I remember most was our utter elation that not only had we matched our out of town reviews, but the New York reviews EXCEEDED them. It was like a bowling game from heaven, where every pin got knocked down, paper after paper, reviewer after reviewer, gave us startlingly great notices. There were also naysayers, of course. But what I noticed was that the negative reviews were just as viciously negative as the positive reviews were triumphant in their praise.
I took that as a kind of badge of honor. I would rather be despised than ignored. Reviled than dismissed. And the critics in New York either LOVED us or HATED us. No one was lukewarm. They tell me that this is what art is. Something that is both praised and hated. And, after all, the NY TIMES did say, "Art is achieved with light hands." I like being art!
So, this weekend, we reach our 100th performance. A milestone. Another show is moving into the space soon. But because of our great success, the producers have negotiated a stage-sharing deal where we'll run three times a week, allowing The Big Voice to continue on. And best of all, the dream we had from the very beginning, to eventually replace ourselves with great New York actors, will come true. Carl Danielson and Dale Radunz aren't just good. They're fantastic. Jim and I are going to stay an extra week to help them get comfortable with the music and the staging. We'll see them open on the 17th, and then we'll make our way home on the 18th for what I feel is a well-deserved break.
We also have some big news for people in Houston in San Francisco. But that's for another blog entry.
The Sunday matinee will mark our 100th show. Tickets are going fast but there is still space available. Then afterwards, we are all going to march down to the Village to the Rouge Wine Bar at 100 Bank St. and for The Big Voice night at Mark Janas' Salon where anything can happen...