Wednesday, April 08, 2009
FIRST REHEARSAL LITTLE BIT OF BROADWAY
It's been a long time since I actually put on a musical of mine, but I never dreamed how difficult all of this would be. We have had more roadblocks than any other production. It is taking the purest form of tenacity on my part to stay in this whole thing. Actors count lines and quit if they feel the part isn't large enough. Actors balk at putting on ageing makeup because current casting directors who attend their performances won't "see them" as they really are and won't cast them in current commercials because they don't. There are actors who commit to a part, are truly excited about a part and then they never show up for a rehearsal. And they don't respond to cell phone calls or e mails. I call it "the great silence of the Internet generation" No actor today wants to give their address or city on an information form (how would I send them a check if I were a paying producer or if I wanted to reward them later on down the road because I had done well with a later production and wanted to share the wealth with the original cast?) The Hollywood Fight Club has much potential here, but it lacks a very important word. And that word, dear friends is communication. And now the Artistic Director that John and I were hired under was fired by the owner. All because she didn't communicate and couldn't handle the stress. How can a Harvard graduate and a former captain in in the Air Force not able to handle stress? But our show goes on--for now. We need to cast a few more actors and with God's help we will, but wow! The ego of actors today is mind blowing! And the excuses they give are absolutely amazing. I've heard it said that an actor can justify "anything" in his head". I know that now to be so true. But this is going to be an amazing show. The cast loves the script and they love the songs and every time I think of wanting to quit I say a little prayer and I remember the sheer tenacity of my friend Tony Westbrook in New York City. God I wish he were here! Tony has had some of these same problems directing shows out here.And so the first blocking rehearsal is today at noon until four pm. Think good thoughts for us. And maybe just maybe, we can really pull this off. Now trust me, many years ago "Skylark" had a lot of the same problems of ego, but it was a totally different kind. And we were also dealing with a school of the arts who were pretty clueless when it came to theatre business. Back in those days, "Equity Wavier" didn't cost a producer anything except for a promise that if the show went on to Broadway, the original cast had to be offered the Broadway role or two weeks Equity scale pay. Today the producer of the show must pay Actor's Equity a fee of $500.00 and guarantee each actor a stipend of $25 or more each per performance based ion the number of seats you have in your theatre. When we were having great difficulties with some members of that particular cast, the director of the School of the Arts putting on the show (who held a PHD in theatre no less) thought the answer to his problems would be solved by dumping the "Equity Wavier" status, firing the equity cast who were working for free and going "Non-Equity"-- no difference in those days except for the "Broadway commitment' if the show went on to bigger and better. I'm still laughing over that one! Twenty-five years later! So I'll keep you posted here on our progress.