Showing posts from June, 2010

Peter Filichia Mentions The Last Session in his column.

From Peter Filichia in Theatremania:
And there was one wonderful musical revival reading of The Last Session as a benefit for the St. Clement’s Food Pantry and Free Vet Clinic. Songwriter Steve Schalchlin and librettist Jim Brochu headed the cast, and how they beamed when their tune “The Singer and the Song” got the Best Type of Applause: People went wild with handclapping, but after the applause began to abate, the crowd just didn’t want it to cease and wouldn’t let it – so it not only upped the applause to the previous level, but also made it louder than before. Well-deserved! It's true. Maisey totally brought down the house with "Singer and the Song." The tidal wave kept building, lulled, and then went higher than before. It was AMAZING!

And, yes, I know I owe you a whole report from the night. I promise it's coming soon.

Video: New World Waking in June 2010, NYC.

New World Waking!'s New York debut was on a bare "stage" in a tiny little place on lower West Side, Manhattan. The singers were all rehearsed individually, and then brought together on the day of the show to sing and hear the entire piece for the first time in its newest configuration.
This is not professional video, so the quality isn't great, but it is clear. And the performers were beyond spectacular as we sang for ourselves as much as we did for our small, but enormously supportive, audience.
Everyone, afterwards, told me they wanted to be in my "troupe." I didn't know I had a troupe, but I guess I do now, and we keep adding to the troupe every single day! I haven't spoken yet about last Wednesday's The Last Session, but I will. Lots of things are happening there.
Meanwhile, if you're a singer, sing my songs! Either download the sheet music or follow along on these videos below, or both. Then, if you see me at my usual Sunday night hangout…

Community Chorus.

Last night, just as an experiment, I went down to the Salon, now housed at Etcetera Etcetera, overlooking 44th St. -- weird, I didn't bring my camera. Must remember these things, but I was focused on making music and listening to other singers and songwriters. But I wanted to see what kind of sound we could make, everyone in the room.

The thing that's kind of charming about the Salon is that, just like Kulak's Woodshed in L.A., it's an open mic, so you get all sizes, shapes and ages, so some of the acts can be a bit questionable in quality. But Mark also surrounds himself with some of the best singers just bubbling under on the cabaret scene.

He's a great musician who can literally play anything. Most of them have had at least some basic music training or they've done shows.

First, I sang Gabi's Song and mentioned how we had created this "instant chorus" last Sunday night, where all the principle singers met for the first time, literally discoverin…

Drama Desk Video by Michael Stever.

All those big stars, and Jim gets the biggest laugh of the night. It's exactly what Zero would have done. He usually doesn't cuss in public because, you know, he's a classy guy. And, even more than that, on his way to the stage, he saw Angela Lansbury, who was cheering for him -- and Bob Callely. Once that punchline entered his head, he couldn't help himself. He had to say it. And people have been sending us emails ever since.

A Special Anniversary.

I Don't Have Words Yet.

We had dinner with friends last night, and one of them looked at me said, "You produced two shows in one week? How can anyone do that?"

I don't know. But I can tell you this. We created some very moving moments this past week.

We had obstacles to overcome. None of that mattered. We created a community experience, even if it was just a few of us.

See, that's what theater is. It can never be more than a small community experience, when it's experienced, because the intimacy of the venue is the thing that gives it its power.

I am so filled with energy and emotion and love and gratitude and inspiration and energy from back-to-back New World Waking / Zero Hour / The Last Session, it's really overwhelming. Finding words right now is just not possible. But I will. I will tell you every last detail that I can remember. And, hopefully, people who were there will also write something. Some already have.

But I have a huge blister on my foot from walking around. It was m…

Backstage Photo of THE LAST SESSION, NY 2010

Cast of THE LAST SESSION. Theatre at St. Clement's. New York City. June 23, 2010. From l.: Steve Schalchlin, Jim Brochu, Tom Rhoads, Michele "Maisey" Mais, Amy Coleman.

Playbill on THE LAST SESSION tonight.

Last Session Benefit Concert, with Schalchlin, Coleman, Brochu, Rhoads, Presented June 23 By Andrew Gans
23 Jun 2010

Steve Schalchlin

A concert presentation of the 1997 semi-autobiographical Off-Broadway musical The Last Session, featuring the creators and original cast members, will be presented June 23 at 8 PM at the Theatre at St. Clement's in Manhattan.

The evening benefits St. Clement's food pantry and free veterinary clinic. Tickets are $20 or whatever one can afford; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Steve Schalchlin, composer and lyricist, leads veteran cast members from the New York and L.A. companies, including Amy Coleman as the hard-charging tough Janis Joplin-like blues singer Vicki; and Michele Mais (currently starring in Rock of Ages), whose performance as Tryshia, the self-described diva, garnered her the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress. Also in the cast are newcomer Tom Rhoads in the role of Buddy, a young m…

Gabi's Song rehearsal. Tonight is New World Waking!

We have been working for two weeks, rehearsing and pulling together this piece. I've even written a little "script" for it, consisting of quotes from famous people. And tonight, we put it on its feet and see if it works! I'm really, really excited.
Meanwhile, though the sound isn't the greatest, here is "Gabi's Song," as sung by Shannon Corey in rehearsal a few days ago. I love her rendition. It'll be the first time I've heard the song sung by a female. And she totally nails it. Her vocal skills and interpretation are impeccable.

Why Seldes Did It.

I'm not sure how I managed to book New World Waking, Sunday night at the Brecht Forum, and The Last Session, Wednesday night at St. Clement's, in the same week, but finding time to rehearse both casts, print scripts, arrange for sound, and get it all together at once, while rehearsing for Brigadoon at the Shubert -- which was FANTASTIC last night -- is enough to make anyone crazy.

Afterward, we were invited Sardi's and sat at a table with Marian Seldes, who caused a puzzled sensation the night before at the Tony Awards when, after receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award, looked at the microphone, struck a pose and then walked off, saucily twirling her cane.
We had to ask her about it, of course. A. J. Shively, who was sitting on my other side, and who is in the cast of La Cage, said that he was upstairs with the Cagelles, who all were screaming in delight at her "speech."
With a twinkle in her eye, she said to Jim, "They told us, keep it short, keep it short, …

Flyer design for The Last Session


Our New "Buddy"

Here he is. Tom Rhoads is going to play Buddy in TLS on Wed. June 23.

Singing Brigadoon.

We all gathered at the Irish Rep to rehearse this one night only presentation of Brigadoon. I've never sung a show like this, that I can recall. I've only ever done my own shows, or, back in Dallas during the late 70s, musical revues (I was appallingly bad).
Mark Hartman, the handsome kinda Poindexterish musical director, is a dream to work with. He was patient as we tackled learning the sometimes 8-part harmonies.
(And I was such a good boy. I printed out all my pages and put them into folders using plastic sheets. I had everything but a Star Trek lunchbox.)
We also have been making serious plans about moving here. More info on that as we get ourselves settled. But it's just almost impossible to make a living in L.A. in theater unless you're a superstar.
Here, Jim has had such great success with the critics and all the big awards, it just seems like this is where we belong. So, we're gonna go for it. I'll write more about it later.
Today, our landlady is gonna us…

Jim will perform in Brigadoon at the Shubert.

Jim Brochu has just been added to the lead roles in this one night only production of Brigadoon at Broadway'd Shubert Theater. I will be in the chorus.
Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Cake to Host Irish Rep's Brigadoon Concert, Featuring Christine Ebersole, Melissa Errico, Len Cariou.

And now Rue...

PHOTO: Jim Brochu with Rue McClanahan.

Here's how we met Rue McClanahan, and how that turned into a wonderful friendship.

Jim found a casting notice in Backstage for the lead in a new musical based on the plays of Plautus, and that the writer was Rue McClanahan. It was called "Aedipus Shmedipus, as long as you love your mother."

Jim auditioned and got the lead role, a kind of Pseudolus character.

IOW, it was like "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." And, though, she wasn't the best songwriter in the world -- when stumped for a rhyme, she'd just make up a word -- "toodly, boodly, woodly, etc." -- and it was too long, and she couldn't bear to cut anything -- but it was in this tiny space, and it was funny, and audiences liked it, and it was a success.

Jim tells these wonderful stories about Rue as a note-giver. (She was giving the actors notes even after the last show.)

But, it didn't matter. As crazy as she could be -- she would …