This is the sixth in a series of “behind the scenes” posts about the stuff that really goes into producing a show in NYC. You can check out our previous posts here and click here to be notified when the next one goes live.
A lot has happened since last we checked in! Our fundraising campaign is over 75% complete, we’re building our production team, and the most exciting thing of all: our first day of rehearsals is only two days away.
It still hasn’t really sunk in for me yet, that this show is going to be having its first fully-staged production in one short month. I don’t know when it will start to feel real. Maybe it never feels real and every produced writer just feels like a big phony. (Not to be a downer.)
I do have a hunch when I walk into the rehearsal studio and see professional actors holding copies of the script Becky wrote—and lovingly photocopied and hole-punched!—and hear them starting to rehearse my songs and take ownership of them… I bet that’s gonna feel very real. And also a little terrifying!
Here’s what we’ve been doing to prepare in the meantime:
“Friend-through” and rewrites
“Friend-through” is a silly term I coined for a “read-through with friends.” A few weeks ago, Becky and I gathered a small group of friends, dramaturgs, and fellow writers to gather in my living room and read the latest version of the 210 Amlent Avenue script out loud.
First of all, I knew the friend-through would be useful for Becky and I just in terms of setting a deadline for the revisions we knew we wanted to make. But also, we were able to solicit feedback from our friends and also director Sami, who came to listen. And boy, did we get feedback! (If you ever want notes on your project, get a room full of writers. Oy.)
My rewrites look less like this, and more like blank computer screens and stacks of old sheet music. I would never crumple it up like that!
With a certain amount of teeth-gnashing, we decided which notes we would incorporate for this summer, which to throw out completely, and which to put on the “maybe-later” list. That’s sort of the bugger with creative work: it’s never finished! (And everybody’s got an opinion. Which to be fair, we asked to hear.) A few new song and script rewrites later (coming down to the last minute, because we are writers after all), we have locked down the version of the show that we are going to bring to rehearsal. We’ll probably make some adjustments once we see it on its feet, but the big pieces of the show are ready to start being seen, heard, and interpreted by our cast! Speaking of which…
Becky and I attended our first ever EPA (that’s “Equity Principal Audition” – there we are at that big table on the right!) and saw about two hundred amazing performers sing songs of their choosing for about one minute each. We also held a few callbacks to hear certain folks read and sing particular excerpts from our show, and we are so so close to being able to announce our cast. Trust me, no one wants to spill the beans more than me, but we have to wait until our press release drops to tell the world. Which reminds me…
“Make my monster growwww”
(Please excuse the Power Rangers reference.) Our production team has been growing! We now have a publicist and photographer, a stage manager and various production assistants, plus designers who are going to craft our set, lights, and costumes.
A few statistics
Since finding out we were selected for NYMF’s Next Link Project, I have had 856 separate email conversations related to the show. I have been to the gym 0 times so far.* In an ideal world, those numbers will be more balanced…
Songs heavily rewritten: 2
Songs cut: 3 (bye bye!)
New songs: 2 (hello!)
Days until first rehearsal: 2 (here we go!)
And something tells me it’s only going to get crazier from here. Thanks for coming with us on the journey!
– Karl 🙂
*Since writing this, I went to the gym twice. Because of guilt. Our music director does extreme-temperature yoga 800 times a week, so… I have a lot of catching up to do.