My show this weekend went really well! Unfortunately my collaborator is still out of the country and couldn't be there, but from what I told her (and from the photos I took) she seemed happy with how the show turned out. When she gets back, we're going to work on it some more and possibly expand it--I think it could be a 90 minute show, instead of the 17 minute one it is now. Besides, working with Hailey is so amazing I want to write as many songs with her as possible.
Aside from being my first non-academic, open to the public, performance of a musical, JADE RABBIT is also my first professional piece, since I got paid for writing it. Not like, an exorbitant amount, but I got a check for writing a musical, which is pretty much the dream at this point in my career. It's funny, I actually almost forgot about that because getting a production alone is exciting enough. Anyway, it was a great way to start my post-Tisch writing career (even though my boyfriend was away at school and couldn't be there...sad face), and I'm glad I don't have to think about the moon landing and Korean folklore for a little while. Now onto modern China and the Cultural Revolution!
I saw SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM a few weeks ago, and I really loved it. My favorite aspects were how the show really went out of its way to stress how human Sondheim is, particularly by having him talk about his writing process. As a writer myself, I found that especially fascinating, and there's something reassuring about hearing Sondheim say he likes to write lying down because it's easier to fall asleep (I fall asleep while writing too!) and how he writes with soft pencils because sharpening them frequently is a great excuse to procrastinate (I make up reasons to procrastinate that I can pretend are productive, too!). I was never someone who ran around idolizing Sondheim--I deeply love a fair number of his shows, but there are definitely some I don't care for--but it's comforting to know that even the man who redefined what musical theatre can do finds the art form difficult.
I also loved the parts of the show that re-created scenes from shows, especially from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. I almost cried when the show started with the MERRILY overture--I hadn't been expecting that at all, and I honestly never thought I'd ever hear that overture in a Broadway house. MERRILY is one of my favorite Sondheim shows and one of my favorite shows, period, so having so much MERRILY love in SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM was incredible. I mean, Euan Morton's "Franklin Shepherd, Inc" is probably the best case for a MERRILY revival (please...make this happen). My only complaint about the show is that there wasn't even a mention of PACIFIC OVERTURES, which is another favorite show of mine, and "Someone In A Tree" is my favorite Sondheim song (sorry, the scores of SUNDAY IN THE PARK, COMPANY, and MERRILY). I feel a little spoiled complaining about this when there was that lovely revival a few years ago, but I was only able to see it once, and I miss it.
I actually volunteer ushered during the show, which was so interesting. I think it's really important for everyone working in theatre to experience as many different jobs as they can, and I'd never really ushered before. Handing out programs for general seating readings was the closest I'd gotten. It was really awesome to be in the house an hour before the show; theatres have a different vibe to them then.
I also loved being able to glimpse what ushers have to put up with from audiences. Not that anyone was rude to me, but it made me more mindful of how I treat ushers and how I can make their jobs easier, which I think is really valuable for anyone who goes to the theatre.
I want to write about ANYONE CAN WHISTLE and EVERYDAY RAPTURE, but I'll save that for later. Before I end this post, though, I just want to let everyone know that Theatermania has a new iPhone app that's available for free on iTunes. I don't have an iPhone myself, but the app looks really awesome. Try it out and let me know how it is!
Plenty of Parking Under the Banner of Heaven
12 hours ago