Showing posts from January, 2007

Youth Guardian Services: 10 Year Anniversary

10 years ago, Youth Guardian Services began their youth lists, serving over 9000 young people in the peer to peer support program. Additionally, many have made the transition to Executive Directorships and Board membership. The thing that none of us expected was how much this peer to peer support system would turn into a mentorship program, not only saving lives in emergency situations, but training young GLBT persons to take pride in their lives and to become leaders, assuming additional responsibility and learning how to combat ignorance, hate and fear.

I'm very proud to have served as Board Chair for the last few years. We decided early on that the Board would serve only as an adviser. The young people literally do all the work, all the organization, make all the decisions and take responsibility to serve the young people who look to them for help and guidance.

Youth Guard could not have existed before the Internet. Its founder, Jason Hungerford, created it out a need to serve is…

Joe's AIDS Quilt Experience

Don't miss this poignant entry from Joe.My.God about his personal experience with the AIDS Quilt. I have told many stories of my own on this subject, but after breaking down in a mess of tears over the memory of Dickie's death 7 years ago, I'll let Joe's story stand without comment.

It's National Gorilla Suit Day!

Don't believe me? Ask Mark Evanier.

An Atheist Vs. Christian Debate

I've been really fascinated by the open dialogue between atheist Sam Harris and pro-religion blogger, Andrew Sullivan. If you have time to follow along, it's been wonderfully illuminating, respectful and educational. I was raised in a conservative Christian home, but many of the things I was taught are things I no longer believe -- like anti-gay theology, to name one example.

But what troubles me about religion is that it assumes that it should be respected above the kinds of standards we impose upon every thing else in the world. Science is always viewed with suspicion, as if it's trying to pull something over on the world, while religion gets a free pass because we shouldn't say anything bad about stuff that's "holy." Frankly, I'm getting tired of this kind of fascistic thinking. I think we should apply the same standards of "truth" to everything, whether it's been deemed "holy" or not.

That may scare some people, but, frankly,…

Marie's Crisis

I think Tuesday early evenings at Marie's Crisis with my friend, bartender Christopher Morrison, along with Jack Aaronson at the piano (and friends sitting around singing songs from "Tic Tic Boom" and "bare") is going to be my regular hang-out before the show. Come join us if you're in the city. I've always loved Marie's Crisis, although it could use a little better lighting for my video camera. Also, they've been pushing "Big Voice" down there and letting me sing a bit. It makes for a nice way to warm up before the show.

God Hates, er, Loves Fags

One of the recent viral videos that has been going around is a music video by a supposed "ex-homosexual" minister named Donnie Davies who has a song where he smiles that smarmy evangelist smile while singing, "God hates fags." Many outside the Christian evangelical bubble thought it was the real deal -- especially because it looks and sounds like ALL those incredibly cheesy "Christian" videos. But, super sleuth that I am, I knew it was a fake immediately because when you go to his website, there is no link to send donations.


Meanwhile, a friend of mine found this brilliant video called "Evangelists need your money."

Some people think that skewering these hustlers, pimps and snake oil salesman through sarcasm and satire is "disrespectful" to religion. But, I say that there's no reason religion should be getting special treatment in this world right now. The world is bein…

Entire "Going It Alone" Video

Here is the entire video of "Going It Alone" from the encounter at Marie's Crisis. It's not the whole song, but it's all we recorded. Thanks to Amy who held the camera. That's Jack Aaronson on piano.

Homo Haters Get PWNED

Hat tip: Digg.

Victor Gluck Reviews on Theaterscene.Net

Lovely review from Victor Gluck at Theaterscene.Net who asks whether we're starting a new genre of theater.

Ever see an original musical comedy in which the on-stage actors were playing themselves? Could The Big Voice: God or Merman? be the beginning of a new genre? Unlike Elaine Stritch’s At Liberty or Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, the songs here are all new and written specifically for this show. Subtitled “a musical comedy in two lives,” The Big Voice presents playwright Jim Brochu and composer/lyricist Steve Schalchlin, previously represented Off Broadway with The Last Session, telling their own story of two boys who grew up at opposite ends of the country believing they had religious vocations until they accidentally stumbled on show business, and later became collaborators and life-partners after they met on a cruise in the Bermuda Triangle.

Previously seen in Los Angeles and in the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival, The Big Voice is a wise, poignant and entertaining m…

Broadway at Bedtime

I got this lovely note in my email last night:
Dear Steve, I wanted to let you know that I am premiering WHEN YOU CARE on Australian Radio on Sunday evening in our show - Broadway at Bedtime (9-11pm AET).

Steve – I hope you can listen to it or record it. I would love to do an interview with you too. Drop me a line via email and check out what the show is all about at the website – Join up for the mailing list while you are there if you like.

If you are listening, you can shoot me an email while the show is going to air and we will most certainly acknowledge that you are there.

WHEN YOU CARE is one of those songs that leaves one changed, deeply.

Hope to hear from you,


Open Thread Casting Call.

So, if a big producer came along and wanted to bring THE BIG VOICE to Broadway featuring two big name celebrities -- something I am ALL for, thankyewverymuch -- who would you cast as "Jim" and Steve?"

Just a few notes.

Last night's show was one of those very powerful shows where people weren't raucously laughing at first, but when a more obvious punchline hit, they exploded. It felt like they were intensely staying with us, word by word. Funny how that works. You never know what they're going to do. All you can really do is put yourself on the stage, say the words and trust the material. I think people have gotten the word that while the show is very funny, it's also a roller coaster filled with twists and turns. Sometimes it feels like they're hanging on for dear life.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner with a group, one of whom was a TV producer with a major network. She was exorbitant in her praise and was trying to help us look for an "angle" that a network might latch onto as a story. (For those who don't know, not to sound cynical, but most TV news organizations either look for "faces" -- someone famous who will hold the screen, or some newsworthy &quo…

Remembering Dickie

It was January 25, 2000 that our dear Richard Remley died. He was one of the great angels of the universe. Infected with HIV long before there was a name for it, he came and went from death to life so many times, he lost count. Then he began his own personal research into viruses and cells and health. His house looked like a medical library.

He led support groups, was constantly on the phone with people who needed help, was at countless bedsides as friends died, and he watched as countless others came to take their places in those groups and then watched again as they began fading away into walking skeletons. His life, for a time, was one memorial service after another.

But still, he persisted. He fought for life and fought for life and fought for life. Over and over again until, at long last, in January of 2000, his poor, defeated body just couldn't take it anymore. You can go here to read all the details as Gail, his beloved caregiver, stood by him through the worst of it all. But…

Life Changing Theatre

For new readers of this blog who might have come here because of the New York production of THE BIG VOICE, you might have seen the part of the show where we talk about how "life changing" THE LAST SESSION was for us and for the people in audiences everywhere it played. But it also had a profound effect on the lives of many of the actors who played the role.

I learned this recently when I was alerted to a MySpace blog entry by Denver Post "chronicler" and critic, John Moore. John held a trivia contest using a photo of the Denver cast of TLS. Then, out of the woodwork, came two beautiful posts from two of the castmates, the utterly adorable Step Pearce and the luscious Carla Kaiser.

When I read their posts, I was left in tears. It's the kind of thing one dreams of as a writer, that their work can have a real life positive effect on someone's life. This one, first from Carla:
Ohhhh My GOD!!! John I cannot believe you posted this photo! WOW -- the memories! I must…

NY Big Voice Video Diary #18

Jim and Steve do an interview with Frank DeCaro at Sirius Radio. We run into Jamie Foxx on the way out. Then Steve makes a visit to the piano bar Marie's Crisis where he discovers that the piano player knows one of his songs...

Michael Sommers in the NJ Star Ledger Reviews Big Voice

First he describes the theatre and the synagogue, then a very nice review:

Plush, commodious folding seats -- far more comfy than those in many a Broadway house -- handle 199 spectators.

A new two-man musical, "The Big Voice: God or Merman?," is a fitting inaugural show for Actors Temple Theater since it concerns spirituality and people in the entertainment industry.

Neatly written and performed by entertainers Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin, this easygoing yet surprisingly heartfelt musical autobiography details their personal and professional journeys.

Growing up in Brooklyn, the effusive Brochu dreamed of becoming the pope before realizing he was simply attracted to the robes and rituals. Raised a Baptist, the restrained Schalchlin couldn't wait to quit the Deep South for a career with a lounge act. As one of his songs notes: "Country boys don't care for queers/At least until they've had some beers."

The men finally met aboard a cruise ship in the Bermud…

NY Big Voice Video Diary #17

In this final installment of the Ethel Merman birthday celebration, the great Billy Goldenberg tells a wonderful story of the time when he was a rehearsal pianist for her. Then all of us sing happy birthday to the great lady.

A Long Day

Yesterday seemed like the longest day of my life. First, we had a matinee. Then after the show, we race to 46th street where we did presentations of both "Big Voice" and "Zero Hour" for a group from the visiting APAP convention -- producers and presenters or something from around the country. Barely able to scarf down half a sandwich, we finished our "shows" about 6:45, whereupon we ran back to 47th street to don our costumes for a 7:00 curtain. Then, the plan was to go back to the APAP thing and do a 9:00 presentation. But we were so tired, and the attendance was poor, so instead, we just went home.

Thanks to Amy for helping us out. But I never want to do THAT again.

NY Big Voice Video Diary #16

In part two of our 99th Merman Birthday Celebration, Marge Champion discusses how she was designated to put Merman into "Dolly." Then Stephen Cole talks about watching Merman videos with Ethel.

"For The Bible Tells Me So"

A new documentary being shown at Sundance reveals the ways in which the Bible has been used by calculating religionists to foment hatred and prejudice against gay and lesbian people -- and it demonstrates how anti-gay theology is both a modern invention and misused by evangelists to raise tons of cash while destroying the families of people with gay and lesbian members. Here is an article on the film.

Best Off-Broadway Show of 2006

Marle Becker of OUT-FM radio has named The Big Voice as the Best Off-Broadway show of 2006.

Denver Post Remember The Last Session

John Moore of the Denver Post recently held a photo trivia contest asking readers to identify a photo from a previous musical. And the one they chose was the Denver production of "The Last Session." He blogged about it here.

NY Big Voice Video Diary #15

This is the first video diary of the night of Ethel Merman's 99th Birthday celebration. In this one, we see the preparation for the event followed by our first interview: Donald Saddler discussing the time he directedd Mary Martin and Ethel Merman in a big stage event.

Devin Richards

I keep meaning to mention a new singer I've been working with because every time I go over to his place near us to rehearse and show him my material, I get so excited about the music, I forget to take pics or turn on my video camera. His name is Devin Richards and has this astonishingly deep bass voice.

Now, wait, you're saying to yourself. Steve, the tenor, having his songs sung by a bass? Sounds crazy, no?

He's a veteran of numerous Broadway musicals (including the upcoming "110 In The Shade") and, when I was discussing Devin with Mark Janas the other night, we marveled at the fact that Devin's voice actually gets deeper and richer the lower he sings. (Try singing really low and listen to your own voice get smaller and thinner).

The one song he really knocks out of the ballpark is "Beyond The Light." It's absolutely incredible -- but he also sounds fantastic on "Cool By Default," "I Want To Make Music," and "Near You.&quo…

Isaiah Apologizes (ABC News release)

From ABC News:

Jan. 18, 2007 — Statement of apology from Isaiah Washington regarding his recent remarks and actions at the Golden Globe awards:

"I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. By repeating the word Monday night, I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on "Grey's Anatomy." I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I've asked for help.

I know the power of words, especially those that demean. I realize that by using one filled with disrespect, I have hurt more than T.R. and my colleagues. With one word, I've hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted. I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologize in person a…

The Merman Birthday Video

I've been trying to edit the video for the Merman Birthday Celebration down to the usual 5 minute long vlog, but I can't. The stories are too wonderful. So, I think I'm going to do it in sections. Give me a couple of days to get it done. It was such a beautiful night and the stories are so fantastic. I don't want you to miss a single one. Stay tuned!

Jim & Steve To Raise Money for Morgan Rice

Press release:

On January 24, 2007, Will Clark's PORNO BINGO, the popular weekly fund-raising event for the LGBT community, held at the 9th Ave. Bistro (693 9th Ave. b/w 47 and 48 St) from 9 - 11 PM, will raise money for a Memorial Service and other final expenses for Morgan Rice, who died in December 2006.

Morgan was a long-standing member of the New York Gay Men’s Chorus, an AIDS activist, director of special events at Gay Men's Health Crisis in the 90's, and a huge friend of the Imperial Court of NY and the NYC theater community.

Special guest number-callers will include: Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin from the off-Broadway sensation THE BIG VOICE; Brandon Aguilar, and Ms. Trai La Trash, Empress XVIII of the Imperial Court of NY. The 2007 NYCGMC Chorus Queen Brenda Bond and Chorus Butch Sir Brian McComak will also be in attendance to ensure that a Royally good time is had by all.

Bingo prizes will include the usual assortment of erotic items (DVDs, magazines, etc. from …

The Isaiah Washington Flap Continues

Grey's Anatomy won the Golden Globe for Best TV Drama, but the bigger drama is what's happening backstage as Isaiah Washington, who called one of the other actors, T. R. Knight, a "faggot" on the set, continues to deny he ever said it. And that it's any big deal. Well, it was a big deal to T. R., who is a very shy and sweet person, because the story got out and he ended up the focus of a tabloid story. Handling it with grace, he came out and said that he was gay, but that being called a "faggot" was the equivalent of calling someone a "nigger." And if THAT had happened, as in the Michael Richards incident, there'd be a seismic upheaval. Here's T. R. discussing the incident on the Ellen Show.

Happy Ethel's Birthday!

99 years ago last night, Ethel Merman was born. We had a special celebration for the Merm by holding a "Dress Up Like Ethel" contest complete with some wonderful prizes and a celebrity panel of people who knew Ethel telling stories. (And yes, I was there with my video camera which I will edit together soon).

Donald Saddler & Marge Champion.

Marge Champion.

Steve takes video!

Jim Brochu moderates the panel.

Jim, Donald, Marge and Stephen Cole.

Legend Billy Goldenberg tells a great story about playing for Merman. The conductor demanded that he follow him. But Merman had her own pace. Billy followed Merman. After the show, the conductor told Billy he was fired. Merman overheard it and said, "Wrong! The pianist stays! YOU'RE fired!"

Contestant Lisa Berman who performs on Long Island "Berman as Merman" (winner).

Ruthe McKeown (3rd place).

Clover Honey (2nd place).

Her Highness the Empress Gefil Tefish of the Imperial Court.

Christine Pedi from Forbidden Broadway …

Alexandra & Cole

If you want some really fun reading, Alexandra's blog is always great. But this current series with an 8-year old boy named Cole is fabulous.

Have I mentioned Alexandra Billings is the best?

The Lone Hero

"When the story first came out," Mike Jones (the man who outed Rev. Ted Haggard and thus kept the Republicans off balance and the press focused on the self-righteous hypocrisy of the Bush administration -- Haggard being a Bush supporter and constant consultant) told me over dinner as he casually and affectionately held my hands in his, "the only thing the press was interested in were the dirty details of sex. And the headlines blazed PROSTITUTE! PROSTITUTE! PROSTITUTE!"

"They weren't interested in what an escort's life really consists of. All they wanted were lurid details."

I understood. I told him how, long ago when I first was in New York, I played piano in a high class hustler bar on the Upper East Side. Because I was the constant in the club, I became great friends with many of the "boys" working the place. Most of them were genuinely lovely persons, and I learned a completely different side of the world's oldest profession from w…

Mike Jones, Total Sweetheart

Spent the evening at dinner with Mike Jones last night (the guy who outed Ted Haggard, thus keeping the Republicans from taking any headlines before the election) and he is absolutely the loveliest, most kind and generous man. I totally fell in love with him and will be blogging about it soon. But thought I'd post a little pic of us. I can't say enough about how much I adore this sweetheart of a human being. I will write more fully about him later.

A Poignant Blog Entry from Bev

Bev's mom recently had a fall and is recovering in an "old folks home." Bev poignantly recounts the visit in this blog entry.
The rooms are filled with people who are asleep, jaws hanging open, perhaps snoring. In one room a helium balloon floated limply, halfway to the ceiling, slowly losing its hold on life, like the body lying in the bed next to it.

Jim's "Comb-Over" Featured on AOL

My old pal, Denny, sent me a link to an AOL Comedy page where they feature famous comb-overs. And if you click through it, you'll see they link to the video we made of how Jimmy created the Zero Mostel comb-over.

NY Big Voice Video Diary #14

Here is the behind the scenes recording of our NY1 TV interview followed by the actual newscast itself as I was able to pick it up using my video camera off a laptop.

Exodus Without Guidelines

My friend Peterson Toscano has recently gone public with a discussion he has been having privately with Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, about having them establish guidelines for youth working with adults. Peterson received some disturbing reports about "inappropriate" conduct in Exodus-sponsored "ministries" which treat being gay as some kind of disorder that needs to be cured. Peterson, who was, himself, a victim of the "Love In Action" detention camp where teens are locked up simply because they're gay, takes a very cautious attitude towards public criticism of Exodus. He's a measured and careful person who had preferred to keep this problem private, as long as it got solved. Unfortunately, the politically minded Mr. Chambers, who seems to be more interested in his career as a religious politician, is less interested in the welfare of young people than in making sure he has a paycheck. So, Peterson has gone public with the…

The Lion Kiss

I had to include this incredible video of the woman in Colombia who nursed this lion to health and then, six years later, gets the most incredible hug and kiss. Watch it turn into a giant kitty cat. Unbelievable.


Rosie O'Donnell, who I hope to meet and hug some day, is now the most interesting person on television. I love that her little comedy routine about Donald Trump, who is the most sleazy creep on TV has turned into a such a brouhaha. Rosie is the most courageous person on the air because she will say what she means (and what most of us are thinking) and she does so without apology. I especially love how she holds George Bush's feet to the fire on Iraq and how plainly and openly she talks about her homelife with Kelli and the kids.

She also does serious charity work, she promotes Broadway and theater on national television (where it is usually invisible) and she just makes me laugh.

The View is now "must-see tv" thanks to her. Rosie, I'd love for you to come see our show. I know everyone in the world wants you, but I just want you to know that whether you make it or not, you have a HUGE FAN right HERE. Thank you for being your totally bad self and making TV fun again…

Mexicans OK Gay Unions

Joe.My.God. notes on his blog that the Mexican state of Coahuila became the first state to approve gay marriage. It borders Texas and, of course, was met with protests by the Catholic Church and some fundie religious groups (who can't help but butt their noses into other peoples' lives). Hooray for them!

Turn Off HIV?

In an article in
Raw Story
, a press from Princeton University indicates there might be a potential "off switch" for HIV.

Princeton scientists Leor Weinberger and Thomas Shenk hope their work will illuminate the processes by which human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other viruses transition into dormant phases in their hosts. The researchers have discovered a specific genetic trigger that makes HIV fall into its latent phase, where the virus essentially hibernates, relatively harmlessly, but awaiting an opportunity to re-emerge and wreak havoc.

Weinberger and Shenk studied how an HIV protein, called Tat, plays a major part in initiating and also interrupting the cascade of chemical reactions that leads to full-blown infection. Based on their work and previous studies by others, they have proposed that the Tat protein and the enzymes that modify it serve as a "resistor," a component of an electrical circuit that reduces the flow of current.

"The resistor paradi…

Peter Filichia Points Out Musical Bible Lessons

In a humorous (and informative!) blog entry, Theatermania writer Peter Filichia points out in an open letter to Jim called "Jim, Get The Bible" that there are plenty of places in musical theater history where he, a good Catholic boy, could have learned lessons about the Bible.

New York Times Readers Favorites

Our ever-engaged publicist Scott Klein sent us an email noting that on the NY Times website, we are featured as one of the Top 5 Readers Favorites STILL after six weeks on the boards. Hooray for us!

How A Few Words Can Change Everything

This post probably won't mean very much to people who haven't seen The Big Voice, but last night something happened that was totally unexpected. First of all, we had a wonderfully responsive audience. There's nothing like doing a show where everyone is totally into it, laughing at all the punchlines and throwing energy up to the stage. (It's the quiet matinees where an older crowd is studying you rather than jumping into the fray that drive me a bit nuts).

So, last night, I found a key to a song that has been troubling me from day one. It was precipitated by the fact that Mike Jones, the man who outed Ted Haggard (the closeted anti-gay evangelical minister who was seeing male hustlers while denouncing gay marriage) in the last election, is coming to see the show on Sunday night. Mike and I have been emailing back and forth. (Really sweet guy.)

I told him that I really appreciated what he did, putting his reputation and livelihood on the line to fight the good fight, and …

Big Voice Video Diary #13

In this vlog, we visit the night my laptop was stolen. Two sets of police arrive. Then we show the Big Voice billboard on Broadway, tell some funny backstage stories, an interview with Backstage Magazine, in the Gay USA tv studio and the day the Daily News review came out.

Jim & Steve in Backstage

Today, we're featured on the front page of in an article called "Musical Serendipity" by Gerard Raymond. We did this interview at Sardi's and I'll show a little bit of it in my next video blog, which is almost ready.

A Quick Note

We had two wonderful houses today. The Equity Deputy meeting was fascinating yesterday. ('ll tell you more about it later). I'm so tired I can barely hold my head up. This doing eight shows a day is tiring. I promise I'll post more stuff later on. Now I'm going to sleep. Nighty night....

EDIT: Gabi notes in the comments that I said above, "Eight shows a day." Of course I meant eight shows a week. See how tired I was last night?

Now I Know Why...

Now I know why they made me the Equity Deputy. There's an Equity Deputy meeting today that runs and hour and a half. I hate going to meetings. I can't concentrate when someone is lecturing. Should I go? I guess I should. I might have to go see Dreamgirls or Children of Men afterwards, though, since they're playing down there in the neighborhood and I haven't been to a movie since I got to New York.

Merman's Birthday Celebration


celebrates Ethel Merman's 99th Birthday at The Actors Temple Theater on January 16th in style!

Come dressed as Ethel Merman for free admission to the show or bring a "Merm-mento" for $19.08 admission
(the year she was born)

Costume competition judged by the legendary
Marge Champion and Donald Saddler

Mermaniacs unite, and smile baby! In honor of Ethel Merman's 99th birthday on January 16th, the off-broadway hit musical THE BIG VOICE: God or Merman? wants to make the evening truly special.

Audience members are invited to dress up like Ethel Merman for free admission to the show that evening at 8pm. After the performance, there will be a "Merman-off" costume parade hosted and judged by the legendary Marge Champion and Donald Saddler. Marge directed Ethel as Dolly when she went into the show and Donald Saddler directed Ethel many times including her famous show with Mary Martin. The costume parade will conclude with a cake and ice cream …

Lost In The Village

We had a very responsive crowd last night, so I was excited to get down to the Village to Mark Janas' Salon. It was raining softly, a bit on the cold side. I was wearing my fleece. I took the subway down and got totally lost on Bank St. Wandered the streets in the rain for about a half hour. Gave up. Decided to go to the Monster and then tried calling Mark, hoping he'd be on a break. And he was! Finally made it to the Rouge Bar to be greeted by a big out of town group from Charlotte, NC. They were drunk and loud. I was wet and cold. Still, they quieted down enough and I played a few songs, met a couple of very nice singers, gave them some sheet music and then took the subway home.

Not the most exciting diary entry in the world. I know.

ExGay Watch Discovers the Truth Behind The Mission of Exodus

Once again, the superb website, ExGay Watch, shows clearly how Exodus International, the so-called exgay ministry, has completely lost its way. Now, instead of merely caring for their own, same sex attracted people who wish to figure out, for religious reasons, a way to live a hetero life, they have become a political organization designed to destroy the lives of happily out gay people living honest lives.

As I've stated many times, I think that people who live against their religious beliefs harm themselves and the people around them. If they honestly believe that being gay is "wrong," then they should either find a support group and live celibately or change religions. I studied anti-gay theology and find it to be antiquated, wrong and ridiculously misogynistic and homophobic, trapped in a first century mindset. I freed myself from this self-hating theology.

But for those who are still trapped in that theology, the worst thing they can do is get married to an opposite s…

Roger Rees: NY Big Voice Vlog #12

Broadway, film and TV actor Roger Rees visited us in our dressing room last night. So, I turned on the video camera and got a couple of great stories. Jim asked him about the marathon work he did in Broadway's 8 1/2 hour "Nicholas Nickleby." Then he and Paul Kreppel tell a funny story about the time they appeared in a Jewish comedy revue.

A Letter From A Stranger

Dear Steve and Jim,

I just wanted to tell you both how much I enjoyed your show last night. I wasn't sure what to expect--two gay guys, Ethel Merman, Broadway--okay, at a minimum it would be a really good time. I was amazed by your talent and energy and how captivating you were working with so little on the stage. Pretty much just yourselves, your story and your music up there. During intermission, I didn't think things could get any better.

Then you totally blew me away in Act II. Thank you so much for baring your souls and sharing all the emotional aspects of Steve's illness. I don't have words to tell you how much that touched my heart. I am an ovarian cancer survivor currently in second remission and have gone through similar feelings with my husband (along with all the guilt that goes with anger and blame). You expressed it all so honestly and eloquently. I laughed through my tears. I especially loved your message about hope being the best medicine. It is so true!

I …

Jim & Steve on NY1

We will be featured today on the local New York news channel, NY1, all day long today in rotation. It also streams all day long, audio only.

CORRECTION: You can see the video stream at this link.

Vincent Sardi Dead At 91

The Bonus Round Site is in mourning today.

Vincent Sardi, Jr., whose parents created* the world famous Sardi's Restaurant, which we have talked about so many times, and which is featured so prominently in The Big Voice, has died at the age of 91. Last night, after the show, Jim, myself, Amy and L. Jay went to Sardi's to have a drink in his honor.

The Times obit is absolutely beautiful. I can't do better than to quote from it to describe what he meant to the Broadway community.

Mr. Sardi ran one of the world’s most famous restaurants, a Broadway institution as central to the life of the theater as actors, agents and critics. It was, the press agent Richard Maney once wrote, “the club, mess hall, lounge, post office, saloon and marketplace of the people of the theater.”

Mr. Sardi understood theater people, loved them and was loved in return. He carried out-of-work actors, letting them run up a tab until their ship came in. (At one point, Sardi’s maintained 600 such accounts.)


New AIDS Drug Shows Amazing Promise

A new article indicates that there is a new drug for HIV that is showing "phenomenal" results. It's an "integrase inhibitor," which basically prevents the virus from fusing itself into the nucleus of a t-cell. It has had 100 percent good results on patients on regular therapy, and 72 percent success on patients for whom the other drugs don't work. This is great news if it all works out.

(Up until now, most of the drugs have been unable to prevent this action. The protease inhibitor, for instance, blocks replication of the virus AFTER it has integrated itself into the nucleus.)

Vote For Joe.My.God.

One of the very best written blogs on the Net is scribed by my pal, Joe over at Joe.My.God. His hilarious and heartrending stories of life during the Age of AIDS are stunning and provocative on every possible level.

I'm asking all my readers to go over to the Bloggie Awards and submit Joe for Best LGBT Blog. I know many of you would nominate Bonus Round, but the fact is that my blog is less comprehensive and more personal. Joe really has a keen eye on the LGBT community, and his writing makes mine look like scribbles in a child's notebook. Seriously. Vote for Joe! I would be VERY grateful.

Jane Powell Visits Big Voice!

The parade of celebs continues! Jane Powell, the great stage, tv and movie actress was at our matinee yesterday.

iNSIDEout in North Carolina

Recently got a note from my friend, Sarah Glaser's sister in North Carolina, Amy. Amy and friends have assembled a website full of resources for Gay Straight Alliances in North Carolina called iNSIDEout 180. I linked, once, to a story about a North Carolina high school whose students were prevented from forming a GSA. So, it's great that they are forming alliances with each other to fight bigotry and intolerance.


One of the nice surprises about doing the show is that we never know who's going to show up. A few nights ago, we were visited by a handsome couple named Roger and Bokyoung, a beautiful woman. They run a website called which is a really great resource for persons and educators dealing with HIV. So, just wanted to give them a shout-out here from the diary and to let my readers know about them.

A Mention in Cindy Adams Column

The parade of celebs who've been coming to see The Big Voice was mentioned today in Cindy Adams' column in the NY Post.
Rue McClanahan, Stiller & Meara, Donna McKechnie and Charlotte Rae went to see "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" This musical at the West 47th Actors Temple is drawing more celebs than an L.A. plastic surgeon.

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Two More Reviews

The NY Post review this morning was strange. It started out by sounding like it was going to be a pan because the writer seems to be tired of musical writers writing about themselves, but then he says about how we tell our story, "The pair relates the particulars in amusing fashion, with Brochu being particularly funny as he recalls his introduction to musical theater via a recording of Ethel Merman's "Gypsy" and his subsequent encounters with the diva herself. Interspersed throughout are original numbers that demonstrate the duo's talent for sensitive and lyrically incisive songwriting.”
It's the best quote yet about my songwriting!

The gay publication, NEXT, gave us a rave review. It's not online, so I'll type it in here: "No lavishness needed at Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin's THE BIG VOICE: GOD OR MERMAN?, a sweet little autobiographical show that will have religious dropouts and musical theater queens kvelling. Best known for their wri…

History of Broadcasting

The always informative Mark Evanier informs us in his blog that Google Video has been uploading an exhaustive collection of personal histories of television featuring many of the stars and backstage creators.

An Indian Prince Fights Back

LA Times article today about an Indian prince who came out of the closet in a country where it's still illegal to be gay. As I said in a previous blog entry, it is time for India to grow up. Gay people have had enough of being marginalized and locked into prison for the simple act of being in love with someone bigoted straight people don't approve of.
"The headline was: 'The Prince of Rajpipla Declares That He's a Homosexual,' " Gohil said with a rueful chuckle. "The newspaper sold like hotcakes."

In the uproar that followed, disgusted residents in Gohil's hometown flung his photograph onto a bonfire.

His parents publicly disowned their only son, printing notices in the press that he was cut off as heir because of his involvement in "activities unacceptable to society." Gohil's mother has threatened contempt proceedings against anyone who refers to him as her son.

For scandal-mongers, the tale of India's gay prince is an irres…

A Nice Review in The New Yorker

The New Yorker gives us a very nice review. I like that they particularly mention the romantic aspect of the show. Now that we're heading into January, with Valentine's Day looming out there about six weeks from now, maybe we can emphasize the love aspect of our show in marketing it. Money quote:
Together, the couple has created a small and endearing musical about their relationship and their love of musical theatre, a kind of second honeymoon in song performed with an affecting mixture of sarcasm, mirth, and heart.
I like that. "A second honeymoon in song."

A New Year Surprise

I had heard that our stage and lighting designer, Clifton Taylor, and his partner, Peter Vincent, were headed to Canada to get married on this New Years week, but what I didn't expect was this beautiful listing in the New York Times Weddings section for the two of them.

So, since I don't have my computer/camera situation straightened out yet, I thought I'd ring in the new year by celebrating their marriage and to reiterate how barbaric I think it is that so many people in this country can't get over themselves enough to allow gay people the same civil rights as straight people.

But, since our musical is about a big, gay marriage, maybe we can help break down some of those barriers and open peoples' eyes to the fact that we are just as worthy and deserve just as much fairness as (gasp!) heterosexuals. It's even more appalling to me that they do this discrimination in the name of whatever god they happen to be worshiping at the time (as if I'm supposed to foll…