Showing posts from August, 2011

A Little Big Voice.

"Tonight, we have in our audience, Jake LaMotta."

Those words came out of Jim Brochu's mouth as he introduced celebrities in the audience after our performance of "The Big Voice: God or Merman?""

The first thing that went through my mind was, "Oh, man. All my straight friends will be so impressed!"

See, we here at the bonus round are still a very small private club. "Go out on the street and ask the first ten people you meet if they've ever heard of you. I promise you. They haven't." That's what the big PR agents representing The Big Voice said at our first meeting back six years ago.

And, now, here we were down on 42nd street, a few blocks from Times Square.

"And here, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the great songwriters in the world. Fiddler on the Roof. She Loves Me. Sheldon Harnick is here tonight."

The club was jam-packed. They had been laughing almost non-stop at us for 90 minutes.

Just before the performan…
Tomorrow night we celebrate Jim's 65th birthday with a special performance of The Big Voice: God or Merman? 
I made up this graphic because I love that photo. Of course, it makes it look like he's the star of the show. Well, I don't mind. After all, it is his birthday.

A Note from Canadian Steve!

His real name is Michael Rawley and he just finished a run of "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" up there in Canada in a small town called Bobcageon. It was a rather daring move by the producers because gay themed musicals and plays don't always, well... you know.
Hey Steve,

So we are closing tomorrow night. What a whirlwind. This contract has gone so fast and we both wish we could run the show for at least another week.

It has been going great. We have learned so much doing this show - how to play it, how to gauge the audience, things like that.

I would have to say it's been a roaring success out here in rural Ontario. The audiences seem to really be loving it. We have had almost universally good response with only a very few dissenters.

Opening night was great. The audience laughed and really made us feel warm and welcome. We had 2 things from that night: a young man with what we think was CP came because he was really into music and LOVED it!!! He happened to be sitting …

Olympia New World Waking Pt. 3

All I could think, in my mind, was "Look what we did!"

And we did. From our bumpy first day, it all came together in an emotional, glorious concert experience.

All afternoon that Friday, I worked with soloists. They were so great. They'd come in and work with me. Then they'd go into the lobby and listen to the songs, memorizing, memorizing, memorizing.

To be honest, it was probably expecting WAY too much, asking them to sing by memory. But the truth is that you cannot sing a song with full conviction if you're reading it as you sing. A song isn't just words that line up in a row.

I was so focused on getting them in shape, I forgot to spend adequate time on my own show. And that night, I got into the middle of "The Closet," a song I haven't sung in forever.

And I totally went up. I had no idea what to sing next. So, I just stopped in the middle of the song, chuckled to myself and started "Connected." I always remember "Connected.…

New World Waking Olympia, Day Two

Thursday, after running through the songs with the selected soloists, where I did a few adjustments on the selections and gave them notes about the songs and how to sing them, I told each of them that I didn't want Friday night's performance to be a dress rehearsal. I wanted them off-book and into a full performance.

I wanted them to imagine that they were opening in New York and that the audience expected their money's worth.

That night, we went to a restaurant downtown to have dinner with people from the PFLAG-Olympia board of directors.

By now, I was feeling very weak. I still wasn't feeling the kind of intense pain yet, so I kept my fingers crossed that this would be a mild attack, but knowing I had a full day of rehearsal ahead of me followed by a performance that night and one the following night, I was definitely scared.

I tried not to relate this to Gabi and Alec as we drove around, but they knew I wasn't in good shape.

At the dinner, I found myself needin…

Review of New World Waking Olympia

Alec Clayton, putting on his critic's hat, reviewed our weekend. He gets a bit ahead of the story I'm telling, but I loved what he wrote.

Olympia New World Waking, Day One.

Two days.

That’s how much time we, a group of students and local celebrities had to cast, rehearse, stage and perform New World Waking. Twice.

We had Thursday from 1 to 5. And then possibly 1 to 5 on Friday. But, essentially, we had the one day.
I stayed with Gabi and Alec Clayton, as usual. They have four cats that circled me suspiciously the whole time I was there. Finally, they let me feed them fish flakes, AKA kitty crack. So, I got a few chin scratches and ear tickling.
Wednesday night, I was tired and went right to bed.
Thursday morning, my stomach was hurting. I hit the bathroom a few times, but it wasn't helping. It wasn't pain exactly. But it had a very familiar feel. (kidney stones again). No. I refused to believe it. I even tried using my will to make it go away.
I also started drinking a lot of water.

Our set was the black box theatre inside the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts on the campus of the South Puget Sound Community College, nestled in the richly forested…

Olympia Story Coming Soon.

The Olympia weekend was an amazing experience, one I'm only now starting to appreciate. So, I want to take some time to digest it. Also, I do have some video. But I have to give it to the "kids" in the show, at least one of whom was my age. They worked their hearts out and they delivered complex, emotional performances. And to have done it all in two days just astounds me.

So I thank them with all my heart.