Best known for the Off-Broadway musicals, "The Last Session," "The Big Voice: God or Merman?" and "New World Waking," a song cycle for peace and justice.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

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 right where Geoffrey points during the Lourdes section (I felt horrible for him) but the young man laughed louder than anybody about the kid falling when he got out of the wheelchair. We also had a preacher from Pittsburgh attend and he thanked Sarah for programing the show - he loved it and said there was lots of food for thought.

Last Friday a young couple sat in the front row and were gone in Act 2 but they won the tix from the local country station and they really didn't look like theatregoers - let alone muslcal theatregoers or ones ready to deal with the content.

On Saturday, there were 5 women in the front row and I pegged one as not going to stick it out and I was right. From the outset, when anything mildly controversial came up - ANYTHING!! - she looked nervously at her friends. And, with this show, that would be a lot of looking. She was gone after intermission.

And on Wednesday night past, a couple - man leading the way - left during The Closet. How disheartening. Except he went downstairs and started yelling about how dare they not let an audience member know about a show with a 'queer Pope and a queer preacher'. !!!!!!!!!!! Sarah had to escort him from the building. Apparently, he was quite loud - thankfully we didn't hear it.

Other than that, we have had great response. A few people getting to their feet to applaud at the end. 19 at the matinee yesterday (Thursday) and 19 in Act 2 and at the end - including a family of 6 - grandparents, parents and 2 teens.

A woman with AIDS - we had our own Annette. A number of gay men - we're everywhere apparently. And a lot of laughter and tears too. Someone who saw Ethel in Gypsy in Detroit and Ethel sat beside them waiting for the 'Sing out, Louise' moment - so the show meant a lot to him.

A lot of churchgoers who praised James and Sarah for bringing it to Bobcaygeon and applauding the message. Not to mention the superb skill of the 2 performers ;) ....

The guitar works great in The Closet as I get to move all over the stage and play to different areas of the audience and, by the time I whip out the uke for Christmastime, well .. we can do no wrong. Christmastime sounds so great on the uke. And when G breaks into his hula in the second chorus, smile erupt everywhere and great applause is the result.

I listen to Long As I Can See The Light before every night before we leave for the theatre to get all Creedenced up in prep and you will always be the embodiment of them for me, Steve.

I think that's about all for now. I hope Olympia is going great. The internet is clearly working better now.

We head home after the show tomorrow night and I shall give you a call next week and we can chat more about it. Don't know if there will be a vid :( . but I'm thinking that G and I should get the ol' Garage Band program going and record a few songs for you so you will have an idea of what we were up to here in the wilds of Ontario.

much love to both of you

Michael Rawley - Canadian Steve xo xo xo
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