Thursday, April 29, 2010

New World Waking: A Community Sing?

I've been thinking a lot about "New World Waking" and its next evolution. I kept thinking that it should be more open source, more "community sing." In other words, announce a performance and anyone who wants to sing in it, just show up.

I've also been informally testing the idea at the Sunday night Salon, which Mark Janas created, and which is now at Etcetera Etcetera. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I got this room full of New York singers singing "Lazarus Come Out." Previously, I had gotten them all singing "My Thanksgiving Prayer." Both times, it sounded glorious!

So, these experiments have been fun, but now someone has approached me about possibly performing New World Waking as part of a performance festival next month.

Next month.

So, I have asked a couple of the singers who performed with Jim at the Easter Bonnet competition to join me, and I'm going to ask more. There are a number of great solos we can rehearse, and then let the chorus join in, with maybe one or two simple rehearsals.

At least, that's the idea.

I'm also looking at the list of songs. I have other numbers that might fit. At this point, it's only 45 minutes long. I could see it comfortably going a hour.

And I have one month to make it happen. Piece of cake.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photos from BroadwayStars' Michael Portantiere.

Another photo from the Easter Bonnet competition. Jim Brochu with Jeanne Lehman and Kurt Peterson.

Bonnet Day Two.

On Tuesday, we did the Easter bonnet competition again. This time for the judges. I took a quick snap of the final pose, with all the show's bonnets in place.

If you look closely, you'll see Jim. We were the only group that built the bonnet, in front of the audience, during the number. In fact, I think someone said we were the first to ever do that. So, yay us! He's fourth from the right.

But look under the big, pink top hat and you'll see Jeramy, who substituted, at the last moment, for Leslie Jordan. His show and ours were the only two Off-Broadway shows to make presentations.

Jim was even better on the second day. The audience went crazy for him and laughed at Amy's lyrics and jokes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Final total: $3745.48

Last day of fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

From Don Myers, stage manager:

Jim did the painting auction himself today following the performance because Steve was not able to be at the theatre today. Unfortunately no one seemed to bid for the painting which surprised all of us so Jim thanked the audience and went off stage. As the audience was leaving a woman came out and said that she was interested in purchasing the painting although she had not spoken up quick enough so I asked her to wait there and I went down to get tell Jim. He came up a few minutes later to sign the painting. That woman paid $250 for the painting and then we sold another one from a previous performance for $20. We collected $61.75 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $3745.48. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated in helping us achieve this incredible accomplishment in fundraising.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My New Favorite Photo of Jim.

Judith Ivey is one of the great actresses of this generation. She and Jim are both up for the same award, Best Solo Show, from the Lucille Lortel Awards. And her show was written by our dear friend, David Rambo. This photo is from a reception at St. Bart's.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Easter Bonnet Competition.

Don Myers Stage Manager Report:
Today’s painting was auctioned off for $90 and we collected $42 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $3065.73.

Hooray! We broke $3000!

Every year, the Broadway community holds, for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a big "Easter Bonnet Competition," which is the culmination of several weeks of fundraising. You've been reading about it here on this blog, as I've posted photos of the people who've bought paintings from Zero Hour.

The woman in the photo above saw Jim at the Dutch Treat Club. She bought the painting for $85 after beating out another man, who was trying for his second, and who promised to be back again next week to try again.

But here's the problem. The auctions will end this weekend. As much fun as they are, it's really an imposition upon people's time to "hold" them for a few moments after the show is over (not that people can't leave, and have). Plus, people don't come prepared for a fundraiser. That's why I don't do a big guilt trip when I make the pitch after the show.

I just say, "Our company has been touched by this disease, and we have friends and family who depended upon them in times when they were really sick. So, this is our way of giving back. If you can make a small donation on your way out, we would greatly appreciate it." And then we auction off the painting.

Plus, I do believe the paintings are a wonderful keepsake of the show, and have grown as a fundraising opportunity for non-profits, and maybe even for the show itself. We don't have a lot of money for promotion, for instance. Now that we've raised money for our community, maybe we could even raise a little money for ourselves, money that can go into promotion and marketing, which everyone knows is the bane of producing off-Broadway in New York.

Last Monday, we attended the Lucille Lortel reception for all the nominees, and Daryl Roth, whose getting a lifetime achievement award, and who owns the theater where we're playing, said something about being one of the few who still believes in Off-Broadway. And she's right.

There was a big article in the Times not too long ago, about how all the producers are "realizing" that the only way to make money is by throwing your show on Broadway because you need a Broadway-sized budget to make a dent in being present.

A NY Times listing -- not even an ad, a listing -- is $500 a day. More on the weekends. But audience members don't know this. A lady told me last night that she thought we were closed because we weren't in the listings that day. She thought they were free.

Anyway, we have assembled a group of 13 people for our number. Amy Lynn Shapiro wrote a specialty lyric. And we're going to do it on Monday. I have photos from our rehearsal, and a little video. Soon.

Oh, what's the song we're singing, you ask? Well, picture Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof with a bonnet on his head.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ellis Nassour on Zero Hour.


    From now on Jim Brochu will be remembered for his vivid, spot-on impersonation of the irresistible, irascible, legendary, and famously volatile comic actor Zero Mostel in his one-man play Zero Hour.

    Brochu gives the performance of his lifetime, one of the best ever, On or Off, in this vastly entertainly play that's a must-see for theaterlovers.


    Following its acclaimed run Off Bway,Zero Hour is now at the DR2 Theatre [103 East 15th Street, east of Park Avenue South]. .

    The play is 90 minutes of edge-of-the-seat explosive theater.

The Butler's Song

One of the great classic comic songs of the stage, sung by the man who introduced it on Broadway in the musical Enter Laughing. George S. Irving at the Players Club on Sunday night at the Hall of Fame dinner. We sat with Richard Thomas!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday's Painting Auction Results.

Stage Manager's Report:
Saturday matinee:
The post show painting auction was amazing today we had two people bidding against each other for the painting. It was finally auctioned off at $95. The woman that won the auction also bought another painting from a previous performance for another $50. We collected $94 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $2430.02.

Saturday night:
The post show painting auction was amazing again tonight. Steve is doing a great job connecting with the audience and everyone is having fun with the auction. Tonight’s painting was auctioned off for $100 and we collected $105 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $2635.02

One more week to go on the Broadway Cares auctions. If any readers want to purchase a painting, just write me a note.

A Genuine Mostel Painting.

Last night, two fans of Zero Hour presented Jim with a genuine Zero Mostel painting. Ira and Paulette, who saw the show last week, told us that her father had known Zero back when he was still at CCNY. Zero gave this painting to their father, along with another, and they wanted to give it to Jim in honor of his performance.

Click on the photo to see it enlarged.

I got a little sun glare at the top.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The post show painting auction brought us $50 for today’s painting and we sold a previous performance’s painting for another $40. We collected $15 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $2191.02.

More Paintings Sold for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

We sold two paintings. With bucket donations, that brought us to $148.74. This brings our grand total to $2086.00.

Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of gays

Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of gays.

This, to me, is one of the simplest, and most compassionate things Obama has ever done. And it won't cost one single dime.

It's also an issue that reasonable conservatives agree on, that people who are in a relationship deserve hospital visitation rights. During the AIDS crisis, the horror stories that came back through our community, about parents swooping in and banning the partner while the other was dying.

Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you to all the activists who kept the pressure on to make this happen.

Coming Out To The Evangelical Community

Coming Out To The Evangelical Community - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Jennifer Knapp:
It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a "struggle." The struggle I've had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I've been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I've always approached my faith.
For the longest time, I didn't care what church people thought about me. I was so angry at how I perceived they thought about me, all I wanted was to be AWAY from them.

I'm glad I can sing in churches again. People of faith seem to get something from my music. But so do people of unfaith, and that's perfectly all right with me. Frankly, I don't see any difference. People is people is people.

However, what's really on my mind is going back to my alma mater, Jacksonville Baptist College, and doing something. I should put in a call to Fred Phelps. He'd be all over this.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Singing on Sunday Night at St. Clement's.

It's a little late getting this out, but I'm singing for an event this Sunday night, April 18, at St. Clement's in New York City. It's the Annual St. Clement's Cabaret.

An annual cabaret, raising money for St. Clement's Church's partication in the Pride parade - any money left over goes towards St. Clement's other ministries.
Hosted by Sidney Myer - Accompanist: Darryl Curry

$30 ticket includes all you can eat, all you can drink (beer, wine and a specialty pitcher cocktail TBA), and an evening of entertainment by some of New York City's most FABULOUS performers:

Steve Schalchlin, Bill Goffi, Barbara Purdy-Guess, Jennifer Wren, Allison Rae Kane, Jessica Pruett-Barnett, Lenore Manzella and John Fitzgerald

See and click on Events

Friday, April 09, 2010

April 8 Stage Managers Report

From Don Myers:
Great show tonight. The audience response was great and Jim received a standing ovation during the curtain call.

We had a theatre party group in the house tonight. After the performance and the painting auction, Steve hosted the talkback. Jim came back to the stage after changing to his street clothes and they both did a 20 minute talkback with the audience.

Tonight’s post performance auction of the painting went for $45. We also received a check in the amount of $55 for a signed painting that someone ordered over the internet and we collected $64 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $1401.28

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Peter Filichia Discuses Promenade, featuring Jim.

This next Monday, Jim is going to be participating in the staged reading of an old and very peculiar Off-Broadway musical called Promenade. It's a show he knows well, having seen the original back in the late 60s. I've heard a lot of the music, and it's really, really strange -- and weirdly compelling.

Minor key, nonsense songs that seem to come out of a weird consciousness than any genre or style, though I suppose it's best described as psychedelic English music hall. It has a rock sensibility, but it's not rock. It's... well, it's its own thing.

From Peter Filichia's column.
[Ed Gaynes'] concert version of Promenade plays next Monday night at New World Stages. His director Pamela Hall has assembled quite a cast to do it, too: Loni Ackerman, Jim Brochu, Gene Castle, Brian Childers, Tim Ewing, Victoria Mallory, Andrea McArdle, Dale Radunz, Virginia Seidel, Neva Small, Ron Spivak, and Haviland Stillwell.

The show originally opened on June 4, 1969 to terrific reviews, headed by Clive Barnes’ Times notice: “If you want my advice, go to the box office … as soon as practicable.”

“Then,” says Gaynes, “on our very first Saturday, Madeline Kahn called in that morning and said that she was sick and just couldn’t do either show. Now at that point, we didn’t have any understudies, and because of the great reviews, we were sold out with lines going around the corner. What were we going to do? We had two shows to do, and two more on Sunday.”

He emits a little laugh before he starts the unlikely story. “So our stage manager Larry Whitely took over and assigned Madeline’s songs and dialogue to other people in the cast. It was the equivalent of Oklahoma! with Aunt Eller singing ‘People Will Say We’re in Love’ and Jud singing ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top.’

Fundraising report.

Comments from the stage manager's report of ZERO HOUR, Don Myers:

We had a large theatre party group in the house tonight. After the performance and the painting auction, Steve hosted the talkback. Jim came back to the stage after changing to his street cloths and they both did a 20 minute talkback with the audience.

Tonight’s painting went for $100 in the onstage auction. We also sold another 3 painting for a total of $217 dollars in paintings and we collected $128 in the BC/EFA bucket from audience members leaving the theatre. This brings our grand total to $1084.28
And I forgot to have the camera there to take more pictures. Ack!

It's not easy to coordinate the auction, get to the lobby with all the required materials, including extra paintings, remember the camera, sell more paintings, etc.

But it's great that we can add value to the evening, and raise money for Broadway Cares. Not to mention the fact that the people really like having something this concrete to take home.

At this point, we have a number of them from previous performances, but soon we're gonna run out. Luckily, we get at least one new one per day.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Times of Vito Russo.

You probably don't know his name, but the history of gay people cannot be written without the name of Vito Russo. This video is 20 minutes long, but well worth the viewing.

ACTIVIST: The Times of Vito Russo from Jeffrey Schwarz on Vimeo.

Jim Wins Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor

Jim being congratulated by Eward Albee and Terrence McNally, two of America's greatest playwrights, for his Helen Hayes win of Best Actor. And who won Best Actress? Cate Blanchett. Not bad company to be in at all.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Winners of Broadway Cares Zero Hour Painting Auctions.

After each show, during fundraising season, we hold an auction for the painting that Jim completes during that performance. These are three of the winners.

Easter Blossoms & Gandhi.

I found a statue of Gandhi in Union Square, coming out of a grove of trees which were rich with pink, aromatic flowers, as if sprung to life by his steps and his words and deeds. Non-violent resistance to oppression. Justice. Dignity. It was the same set of principles I was taught growing up as a Christian. The same principles I heard at the University of Judaism when I sang and spoke with the students there.

"My optimism rests on my believe in the infinite possibilities of the individual to develop non-violence...a gentle way to shake the world." Gandhi.

Infinite possibilities. Like this?

Friday, April 02, 2010

ZERO HOUR Nominated for Lucille Lortel Award: Outstanding Solo Show.

Outstanding Solo Show

A Boy and His Soul; Vineyard Theatre, Producer; Written and performed by Colman Domingo.

Let Me Down Easy; Second Stage Theatre, Producer; Written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith.

Nightingale; Manhattan Theatre Club, Producer; Written and performed by Lynn Redgrave.

The Lady With All the Answers; Cherry Lane Theatre, Producer; Written by David Rambo, Performed by Judith Ivey.

Zero Hour; Kurt Peterson and Edmund Gaynes, in association with The Peccadillo Theater Company, Producers; Written and performed by Jim Brochu.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Some Blog Love from Positoid.

Positoid Shawn Decker is showing Zero Hour a little blog love today about how we auction off the Zero Hour paintings for charity, and about our long mutual history as we pioneered blogging.

As I said, it's nerve-wracking to interrupt applause and then make a fund raising plea. I hate it when it's done to me. I really do. But, look, there was a time when Jim and I stood in line at the Food Bank at AIDS Project Los Angeles. It's not an easy thing to confess, but it's true. The disease destroyed our lives -- and we had to slowly rebuild "from nothing" from that point forward, one step at at time, just like Mitties is doing with her pneumonia.

But I needed help. I found help. I survived and thrived. And so I go up there. And we raise a little money that might make life easier for someone who's in desperate need or in pain.

Jim often will say that he's not an artist, but that he loves to paint. Whether the portraits are "art" or not is in the eye of the beholder. But as a piece of theater memorabilia, we thought they can be priceless to someone who was there and loved the show. I mean why throw something like that away?

Anyway, thanks, Shawn. And yes, we will have to do a new round of Hemo2Homo. Maybe it's time to do it video!