Saturday, August 14, 2010
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN AND STEVE MARTIN TURNS SIXTY-FIVE!
Twenty-six years ago while I was still young at age thirty five. I wrote a musical at the request and invitation of Mark Shipley who at that time owned and operated the Gallery Theatre in Ontario, California. Mark had seen a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in New York on Broadway and came back inspired that I could turn the "Cheaper By The Dozen" story into a musical. We received conditional rights but were barred from using the "Cheaper By The Dozen" trademark name. My regular collaborators at the time Randy Ames and Eddy Magee Clement didn't like that idea and had passed. I turned to a young brilliant composer by the name of J. Eric Schmidt that I had met strictly by chance through an ad for putting another of my musicals on called "The Invitation". He saw the ad for finding actors and was applying to do music for that show. I couldn't use him at the time, but I remember I was very impressed after talking to him. So after Randy and Eddy passed, I gave him the challenge and he accepted it. He was and remains today an extraordinary talented and personable professional and was just about the most dedicated individual I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He lived in Valencia at the time and literally after a hard days work drove all the way from there to Ontario to teach the kids all the songs from the score that we had composed together! We had a lot of wonderful memories and a few big conflicts with Mark, himself who simply wanted a simple show to put on that he could make a quick buck with. And oh he made lots of money! He filled that theatre more times than you can name and made a tidy profit! We didn't, but that's another story! And now, we have a chance to produce it again at the New Hope Theatre. We have yet to get the okay, but all of us including my newest partner John D. Nugent hope that our proposal is accepted. Actors, directors, choreographers and stage technicians will actually get paid the equivalent of what non-union dinner theatre pays. Not bad! So we cross our fingers! We found out today that there will be another version of the Steve Martin version of the movie franchise in 2011 which bears the title "Cheaper By The Dozen" but bears no resemblance to the actual story of the two people who invented such things as "touch typing" and having a nurse hand a doctor his instruments during surgery. They saved the Remington Typewriter Company and Lever Brothers from absolute bankruptcy. Transversely today is Steve Martin's sixty-fifth birthday! He is now an official senior citizen. Steve started his career by working in the Magic Shop at Disneyland and at the Birdcage theatre at Knott's Berry Farm. That was where you could see a grand old fashioned mellerdrammer in which you cheered for the hero and hissed at the villain. I will keep you posted on our progress of making our dream happen!