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Showing posts from September, 2012

My Birthday Is Coming Up.

But I already have the greatest gift of all.

It's happening 8 times a week in London.

Very few writers get this chance, this opportunity. We write alone and suffer over every word and note. We try to get readings. We try to get investors. We try to get attention from ticket buyers. We try to convince the media that's something real is there, and that it's something worth writing about.

So, the road is long and hard. And you have to take responsibility for making things happen. (That's two jobs: creating and producing/promoting).

So, when someone comes out of the blue and says that something you wrote fifteen years ago had such a profound effect on him, he wants to just take it and do it. Do all that. It's the ultimate gift.

I remember when Rob Harris and I first communicated last year. He asked, "What kind of production would you like to see in London?"

I said, "I don't care if you do it on a street corner with a banjo. I'm just so happy you…

Press Night.

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"We don't really have opening nights like you have in America. We have what's called press night."

It was very low key.
In fact, there was no photographers present at all.


We all quietly arrived. Everyone was escorted in. Everyone terrified by the presence of critics.
They actually matter here. I think. I'm learning.
After it was over, a smaller group of both friends and family in the same building, next door -- The Actor's Center -- and drank a few brews together. No big toast or cake. 
We did exchange "opening night" gifts, however. I handmade mine and handed them out. They had cuttings from the original "old red plaid bathrobe" mentioned in the script.
During the show, I couldn't enjoy it as I had the first public performance the day before. Then, I was awash in tears. I was reliving the songs and totally involved in the acting and singing. 
But press night, my stomach was in an uproar. Something that got a laugh last night didn…

And So It Starts.

It opened. The house was packed. I sat in the back. 
My eyes were red from crying. 
And I was crying from the first note. Darren Day is a great singer. He's comfortable in his shoes. It's clear and beautiful. But you can also hear the pain just around the edges. When he sings Gideon, it's from the heart. And rooted in a very jarring bright-eyed world-weariness. An innocence corrupted and lost. And now surrendered.
In this Time Out review, they note "Save Me A Seat." But it's his rendition that's so touching. 
Will Londoners be curious? 
Will American tourists want to see something American in London?
I mean, I wouldn't. I would want to do British-y things. 
However, now just being fair, I might want to see how well the British are "doing" American.
I will be happy to be back in the choir on Sunday. It's the best mediation in the world. And because our choir is good enough, we meet for an hour, learn all the songs, and then perform them.…

Quick post from London

The dress rehearsal went over like gangbusters. Opening night is tonight.

Will write more after I get home tomorrow.

But this is the most amazing cast I have ever seen in any show anywhere. And Guy Retallack has directed a new version -- along with a new script from Jim -- that has exceeded all my fantasies.

Sounds like I'm exaggerating? I'm not.

I will be at the opening of TLS in London.

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Despite everything, I will most definitely be at the opening this coming week of The Last Session in London. If you are a reader and you live in London, find me! I'll be at the Tristan Bates Theater on Monday for tech, then Tuesday afternoon for the dress, Tuesday night for the first preview and Wednesday night for the press night.

My phone doesn't work there, so I can't give you a phone number.

The reason I'm able to go is due to the generosity of Fr. Jeff Hamblin and the members of the congregation of Christ Church Bay Ridge, who pitched in to buy me a plane ticket. And to the producer Rob Harris for giving me his couch to sleep on.

Let me just say, here, how much I love that little congregation in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. They are the kindest people I've ever met, and it's a privilege to donate my services as composer there. Thanks to my mentor, Mark Janas, I've been furiously engaged in composing a Mass in Latin, which we will debut at some point. It's …

Throwing Stones. Firing Bullets.

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"It may be -- forgive me for saying it -- that it's just the aging process and your body is prone to kidney stones."

That was my doc yesterday. I had barged my way in without an appointment because the night before, I was up at 1am with agonizing, intense pain from a stone that had hit me the week before, but seemed to pass. At that time, we were still traveling from London and had hit 30 foot seas. (Jim was, once again, working a cruise).
Since we met on a ship and are veteran sailors, going through rough waters doesn't bother us. But being thrown up and down while doubled over in pain? Not fun. Luckily, my doctor had previously supplied me with some strong pain meds after the nightmare of last month's visit to an ER with another stone. 
Seemingly, the "ship stone" had passed, but it left me really, really weak. Walking like an old, old man. And while there was some residual pain, I thought it had passed. I was wrong.
Feeling beaten up and beaten down…

Darren Day Interviewed about The Last Session

TLS-London Will Be Fantastic.

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Jim and I were able to attend a couple of rehearsals for The Last Session-London and I can tell you now, without hesitation that the show is in safe hands. Guy Retallack, the director, understands the humor and the passion, inside and out. The cast is absolutely first rate. Beyond first rate, in fact.

I sat next to him as he staged the opening sequences. Longtime readers of this blog know that I've actually stepped in and taken over productions where I felt they missed what was supposed to be going on. I literally sat there, needing to say nothing. And when he asked me for input, all I could do was shrug and say, "You nailed it."

I cannot tell you how relieved I am to know the show is in such safe hands.

With Darren Day, we have a genuine rock star in the role of Gideon. He had a huge career in England, faced some personal difficulties, fell out of the public eye and has, in recent years, has been making his way back onto the stage.

IOW, he isn't just "playing&…