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.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Snapshots After Character Man.

Donna McKechnie, Jim Brochu, Rick Stockwell, Pamela Myers.
Ira Denmark, Character Man Director Robert Bartley, Rick Stockwell, Richard Bell.
When Jim called Donna McKechnie, legendary Broadway performer, to come to the tiny Urban Stages to see the dress rehearsal of "Character Man" last night -- the first time we'd see the show up on its feet -- it reminded me that she had once invited him to a tiny little stage to see an experimental musical she was working on called "A Chorus Line." He hadn't even heard of it before going through that door. He just remembered crying for a hour afterward.

"Character Man" is not designed to be that intense a show, but it does have a poignant moment that brings most people to tears and, like "A Chorus Line," it's a true story of the theater.  

Also present, because she was in town from her home in Cincinnati, was Pam Myers, who Jim did a show with -- was it Oklahoma? -- back "in the stone age." Theatrical families are nomadic. Long times apart after intense personal interactions. When you see each other after a long time, all the love comes back, even if it's people you hated. Who cares. Life is short. 

She forever memorialized New York life when she debuted "Another Hundred People" from Company.

Because our production schedule was limited -- there were still little glitches here and there, but it was finally up on its feet and it felt really good. Jim was very alive and present. To which he would reply, "If you can fake that, you got it made."

At this point, you just want everything working right, establishing a rhythm. All the new production elements seemed to add dimensions to the storytelling, using the deliciously large stage to dramatic effect, if it's called for.

Everyone was so happy afterwards, I asked them, along with a few other friends, to pose on the stage for some pics.

All actors! Ira Denmark, Donna McKechnie, Jim Brochu, Rick Stockwell, Pamela Myers,
Richard Bell & Uncle Johny Pool, an old pal who is
now a big morning radio personality on the Elvis Duran Show.

Donna McKechnie, Jim Brochu, Pamela Myers.


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