It is now December, seven months till we open in Chicago- seven months exactly, actually. Right now we're in pre-pre-production, aka, fundraising. We have our battle plan for props, designers, the theater and the publicist, we just need to put air ($$) in the balloon we are painstakingly and lovingly hand-stitching. We have a wonderful pitch video, a terrific intern, and a couple of pending new additions to the cast- which means upcoming auditions in the new year. We are very excited, and for me, this is mixed in with a healthy dose of fear, and probably a not-quite-as-healthy dose of stress. Stay tuned.
Hello to all our Greasemonkey supporters. Our team is very happy to tell you that Greasemonkey: Chicago is offically on! Thanks to a terrific effort by February's production crew, cast and director, we're now looking forward to a month-long run at the Greenhouse Theater in Lincoln Park next Summer. And they've got a marquee!! Thanks for believing in us, and we invite you all to visit us in Chi-town! Other good news: Greasemonkey made it to the semi-finals of the Princess Grace Award in playwriting. We'll keep you posted on our progress. Have a great rest of the Summer, everyone-
I headed to Chicago less than two weeks ago to poke around and take a gander at the notion of bringing our beloved show to the Windy City. I stayed with a dear friend in the neighborhood of Lakeview, and managed to see seven theaters in several different areas, and eat far too much food. Chicago is a great theater town, full of little theaters available to rent, as well as small companies who put up their own shows. There is such a huge ratio of theater companies to available space, that these places, I was surprised to learn, easily book up to a year in advance! Which, yes, is great for them, but knocked my hope for an April run right onto the floor. All is not lost, however. We are now looking at a slightly later run, our director and actors are heartily on board still, and I saw three great spaces that would easily house our beautiful little show. Stay tuned.
What a ride. We had wonderful, receptive audiences, a ferociously talented cast, and the best , right director for this piece. I'd say we had a successful piece of theater on our hands, and we achieved what I'd hoped to: theater that made people think, and made them feel. Our photographer, Ben, gave us beautiful, beautiful production stills. Our friends steeped in to house manage. Our designers gave us set and lighting better than I ever imagined. My favorite part of this (very) stressful process: every night before opening the house up to the audience, all the actors would gather onstage simply to hang out with each other. That's pretty freaking great.
I'm currently looking at theaters in Chicago because...we're taking Greasemonkey to Chicago. After a great and productive post-mortem with Stephen a week later (couldn't wait), the changes we each brought to the table were mutually agreed on, and I am so grateful and excited to put these changes into play. They truly do strengthen the script, and though it resulted in the cutting of a beloved character, a better story is coming out of it.
I'm assembling more folks for the production team and count myself lucky to have these guys on board. I'll be in Chicago for a week in June, and will be pounding the pavement visiting prospective venues for Greasemonkey, and likely eating copious amounts of food with my best friend. Will keep you posted, and be on the lookout for our Fall indiegogo campaign.
When my director, Stephen, said, his voice voice higher-pitched, which usually indicates an idea or suggestion is on the way, 'what do you think about adding some poetry during the two lovemaking episodes?' I admit I was dubious. Not sold. Someone providing commentary during a tender moment which would now be in the background? O-kay. He asked me to pick two poems for the two separate moments, read by two different characters, from the very book which had inspired me in the first place. I do well with specific suggestions, and this man has not steered me wrong in this process, at all. On the contrary. To the book I went, and as I began to pore over these gorgeous poems, I began to see what Stephen was going for, and I became so excited that when I landed on the pieces I wanted to use, I knew they were perfect, and I knew he was right.
What an incredibly full week it has been. We had to replace our costume designer, and now have one who has all but roared out of the gate, which, with 2.5 weeks till we open, is a very good thing. The last six days have seen great strides made in rehearsal, more laughter, more cursing (guilty), more patience (the director), and gradually, more comfortability achieved among the actors. Sometimes, one feels as if they're flying in a scene, and the amnesia afterward indicates that something truly good was happening. To begin with no confidence, and to gradually regain it, is a relief. Trust your director, trust your actors. They're there because they trust you, after all. Funny that.
Rehearsals began last week at Pearl Studios in midtown, a haven for dancers, singers and actors. Anyone who has worked as a performer in the city has had several brushes with Pearl. Our director works quickly, and we are thrilled. Because the show's pacing is so fast, it is fitting. The cast is up to the task, and we are beyond thrilled with the actors who have joined us. I sometimes look around at our crew and cast, and director, and think, 'I have hit the jackpot.' I was unsure of myself, as I normally am so early in the process (ask anyone who knows me and has fielded a mid-rehearsal-process panic call from me) but last night some great strides were made in the room, and I think we're really going to cook.
We are slowly getting to know each other- and we're all very different-and we're beginning to get comfortable with one another. The actors are game to try anything, which is great. Which may or may not include barrel-rolling across a table top, resulting in it collapsing. Awesome. Stephen, our director, has blocked the whole show nearly, which will now allow for the real fun to begin- the true working rehearsal. Once things are 'blueprinted' actors can now play within these lines and see what happens. For me, these working rehearsals are the best part of the whole process. Many actors would say it is the electricity and discoveries in these sessions which make acting so intoxicating and, for me, the reason for getting up in the morning
So! After all these interviews, and decision making- some being agonizing decisions- we have our crew. We've hired a lighting, set, and costume designer, have a wonderful director, our stage manager has been selected, and in about five minutes we'll have selected our assistant stage manager, who will be an intern. It's been a draining, draining month, but worth it. My goal is to have all our ducks in a row by the time my co-producer returns from his stint on the road with a touring musical. It will be nice- but tough!- to hand over the producing reins to someone else. Stay tuned, kids.
After placing an ad in playbill for our technical crew, I received a slew of applicants' resumes and cover letters, and links to websites. I honestly wanted to contact every single person who applied and say thank you, but the number grew to be quite large. After contacting the folks we decided upon, I interviewed prospective designers all day long yesterday, Friday, October 20th. I sat at a little table on the upper east side at Juliano coffee with my notes and the specs of the theater's lighting inventory and spacial dimensions. I had six folks in a row, lighting, costume, scenic designers, some of whom were early, some tardy, some were prepared, some weren't, and, some are wonderfully promising for our production. NYC's got a lot of young talent walking its crowded city streets. The evening before I had two interviews as well for lighting designers, one in person, one via skype, also both great candidates. I admit, the interviewing process is exhausting. I looked and moved like an extra in 'The Walking Dead' by day's end. A video update has been posted on youtube, and stay tuned for more to come.