I always said that my biggest frustration with writing the blog had become that it became hard to talk about things OTHER than our main goal… doing big honkin’ musicals. Well – I guess it’s time to put up or shut up, cuz this show is a beast. A wonderful exciting beast… like that flying thing in Neverending Story. But right now that monster fluffy thing is flying too fast, Rich and I are holding on to the fur for dear life, and rather concerned neither of us packed a parachute.
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE!!! WE ARE DEAD!!!
It’s crazy around here… because it’s the first time doing everything all over again. First time we are trying to install a real lighting package (and that expense), first time we need 22 body mics (and that expense), first time we need a scene shop, costume shop, prop shop... (and that… you guessed it, expense). So with all of these crazy ‘starting up costs’ – the chances of us being able to hire HELP is… HILARIOUS. When the time comes for the train to really start moving we have the most amazing team lined up. Our musical director is my boss at Manchester University, our costume designer from NY is wonderful, the stage manager is someone we’ve been stalking to get here for three years. And the cast is seriously, seriously extraordinary. When the train starts moving – it’s gonna be like the Orient Express. However… right now we are trying to put the train together. And the tracks. And the station.
THE ONLY WORK-FORCE AVAILABLE IN OUR BUDGET:
You might ask yourself, why didn’t you start with something small… and easy. With like six cast members and a small bonsai tree.
IN HINDSIGHT, SAMUE BECKET WOULD BE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS EXPENSIVE:
Well, first of all we always said we would open with The Sound of Music. And so people have kind of been anticipating it from us for seven years. But the real reason we chose the show seven years ago to begin with is the simple logistics of building an audience. The Sound of Music is, without a doubt, the highest selling shows most theatres ever have. It consistently breaks box office records, many theatres extend… it’s considered a great show to do for the audience. And, in order to survive, we need to build an audience and get FOUND by people outside of Huntington. So this seemed the safest way to help cover the ginormous initial costs of the first show (whatever it might be). And a way to try and impress people.
"MEH... I LIKED CATS BETTER".
There’s risks – two theatres in state have done the show in the past year. So some people might say they’ve already had enough of The Sound of Music. Rich and I saw both of those productions… and we got a very clear idea of what we wanted to do differently for ours, and what we thought made the show special that some producitons were missing. So… here’s what’s really hard. We have to have visual elements of the show ready well before opening so we can get images out there of how (hopefully) gorgeous it’s going to look. Our primary selling point is going to be, basically, “you think you’ve seen it live…well you haven’t seen it like this”.
That might sound egotistical. The problem is – it would be soooo much easier if it WAS. OMG – we’re killing ourself. We are not “we’re awesome” personalities. Rich and are both, tragically, the exact opposite – we are “oh my god, it’s not good enough” personalities. And without the unlimited finances of a Broadway budget… that means if you don’t want to cut corners (and you don’t have a million craftspeople) that there is going to be a whole lot of crazy BEFORE the cast arrives.
Here's another way we feel we stand out from the crowd... The only regional house in the nearby area is a theatre in-the-round. Which means, by sheer logistics, they don't have much physical scenery (it blocks the audience if they sitting on all sides). So I'm really determined that our shows LOOK like something different. (gettit - Different Stages). For instance - one production we recently saw was just not particularly pretty to look at... The entire set looked like it was set in Beverly Hills. Even including palm trees. Palm trees. In Austria. Palm trees..... And I'm not knocking that production - because that was their artistic choice. Rich and I just want to make DIFFERENT choices (that don't involve yodeling on Rodeo Drive). So because of my background in scenic design, and because I would rather break three ribs than put something onstage that doesn't look 'authentic'... I think people will (if we don't die) see something that looks like a much more 'Broadway-style' physical production.
With lots and lots of detail:
But here’s the good part… it’s a crazy we’ve waited seven years for. I’ve been working on a 12 foot performance space for five years, with nothing but four stools…
It’s been so hard for me because I love large shows… There are brilliant directors who love minimalism. I’m not that guy. So the fact that we get to finally create this big things is wonderful. It’s just so much wonderful at once. It’s like really loving cheesecake and then having cheesecake force fed down your gullet like a fois gras goose. Ok…that still sounds like a pretty good way to die…but still...
On top of the AMOUNT of stuff... none of us are working at full capacity. I was desperately waiting for set pieces to be ready to painting like a horse at the starting gate. And then THE DAY BEFORE the set was ready for a first base coat…I fell and broke three ribs. And now, thanks to Percocet, it is highly likely that I actually feel like I AM in the Neverending Story.
There is so much fun stuff to show you… this is all completely mad. But sanity has never been our strong point. So we’ll try and bring you along for the ride as I hobble like a wounded pigeon towards Austria.
We'll get through it... i'm sure we have something up our sleeve:
More to come shortly...