If the end is right, it justifies the beans. By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman (Composer-Lyricist)
So I may or may not havepostedabout the Into The Woods film adaptation on the blog already. In case you can’t tell, I’m very excited about this film. One of my favorite things to do when a musical makes the leap from stage to screen is to read film blogs – especially ones where they have no previous knowledge of the source material – to gauge reaction of the roll out of the film (currently I'm having fun doing so with both Into The Woods and The Last Five Years). As a occasional producer, it gives me insight into how a marketing campaign is working or is not working, and how a new audience is responding to a work written originally for the stage.
Little Red and the Wolf on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.
This week ITW lovers got some special treats and sneak-peaks from the upcoming movie. On Wednesday we saw four different Entertainment Weekly covers dedicated to the film as well as new production stills. One cover revealed the look of Johnny Depp’s Wolf (more on that hot button issue in a bit) and another revealed what Meryl Streep’s Witch will look like in her “former state of youth and beauty” post-transformation – which puts to rest my speculation that the transformation might not happen. Long story short: it was very difficult to see in the teaser trailer whether she hat transformed or not in the millisecond clip with the giant, and that reason is that Colleen Atwood (who did the costumes for the film) did a fantastic job, making the “old, ugly” Witch’s look and the “young, beautiful” Witch’s look variations on a theme rather than two completely different costumes. I love it.
The season of being cold and tired is upon us. By S. Dylan Zwickel (Lyricist/Librettist)
So, the thing I've learned about rainy days in New York is that they suck. No matter how big of a sweater you're wearing, you just want to be wearing a bigger sweater. No matter how hard you try to avoid stepping in puddles, you're gonna get soaked. And if you spend all day in a building without any internal food source... forget about it.
But the other thing about rainy days, is that they are bleak and cloudy and make you even more tired than you already are, so you find yourself sitting in the lobby of your grad program and you're faced with the prospect of writing a blog post and you're just like... uh, no.
(This dude I saw on the subway was feeling the umbrella struggle.)
So you outsource. Here's what happens when you ask a bunch of tired musical theatre writers what they have to say on the topic of this infernal rain:
Manda Leigh: "I was outside earlier and I had my bullshit Target umbrella and it was like, wind tunnel (Josh was there), and there were too many people with umbrellas, and I just wanted to have a bigger umbrella so I could take them all out."
Clayd: "I won't carry an umbrella if it doesn't match my outfit."
You didn't ask for it, but I'm giving it to you anyway. The highlights of my week. By Geoffrey Kidwell (actor)
I don't know. Some weeks are just rough.
Some weeks I float around this big nasty (and I mean that in the Ms. Janet if you're nasty way) city of ours and think, "Hell ya! I'm doing it. I'm such a champ." It'll be like audition..BAM!...dance class...BAM!...day job...BAM!...gym...BAM!...dinner with friends...BAM!...awesome night with my boyfriend...BAM!
I'm juggling all of the balls without the slightest amount of hesitation or reluctance and feeling pretty damn proud of myself - living it up in NYC the way I dreamed I would.
This week was not that kind of week.
First of all, if you live here in New York and you're an actor then you know it's been super slow. There just aren't many shows looking for actors right now. And the shows that are up and running? Well, no one leaves them because the job market is even more uncertain than normal. (I'm looking at you Wicked friends. Come on! Step aside. I want to belt high As and wear bizarre wigs too!)
Of course, when the audition scene is slow I have no excuse to not pick up any and all day job shifts that come my way. Also, I like eating and drinking, which cost money. Also, I like things like toilet paper and laundry detergent. They also cost money.
So this week has been all day job. Saturday I worked at a wedding at the library from five in the afternoon until two-thirty in the morning. Want to know what a wedding at New York's main public library looks like? Well...
In which all good things must come to an end. By Erica Slutsky (Writer/Singer/Songwriter)
I struggled with how to end this serial, but it seems fitting that I’m writing this deeply personal story one year later. I didn’t think I’d ever be proficient on a musical instrument, let alone four, or skilled enough to sing while playing all of them. I have a long way to go, but it feels good to say that I did something valuable with my time after making a relatively huge sacrifice. It feels better to acknowledge that, after fifteen years of battling clinical depression, I’m happy.
Of course, there were plenty of low points that I deliberately left out and I can’t say that all of them have been resolved...yet. But here are some of the best things that came out of finding a community at Old Town.
Exploring all things craft and crazy/cool with the new mad geniuses of musical theater. By Michael Ruby, Writer
And now for something a little bit different. Behind The Madness is dedicated to getting perspectives on writing from the cutting edge of musical theater. This week, we get some brilliant perspective from a writer who sees and produces more emerging musical theater than just about anyone in New York – Jennifer Tepper.
Jennifer is a musical theater historian and the author of “The Untold Stories of Broadway,” a multi-volume series that will examine 40 legendary Broadway theaters in total through interviews with over 200 theater professionals - actors, directors, producers, stagehands, designers, ushers, and others. Jen is also currently the director of programming for 54 Below. Previously, she was director of marketing and communications for Davenport Theatrical with Broadway credits including Macbeth, The Performers, and Godspell.
When I sat down with Jen in the green room on the 12th floor at 54 Below, I was excited for the turns to have tabled and put her on the other side of an interview. But it started off as one of those days where everything was off a step. For me, it was my glitchy computer repeatedly freezing when we tried to start the interview (What the heck, Mac Book Air? Can’t you cut a guy a break?). For Jen, it began with missing the chance to see her Dawson’s Creek crush James Van Der Beek live in the flesh by just four minutes (What the heck, ABC Studios? Can’t you cut a girl a break?). Finally, with iced coffees and Diet Dr. Peppers in hand, we got the chance to dig into what was a wildly entertaining and insightful conversation.
Jen, it is awesome to finally sit down and talk to you for more than a just few minutes! In a nutshell, how did you get here and to be doing all the things you’re doing? I grew up in Florida completely obsessed with musical theater. I saw touring companies that came through town, but my exposure was mostly through cast recordings. I’d see an album and say, “What is this?! Can I read the liner notes?” So, I got into musical theater weirdly by studying it, as opposed to people who live in New York and go to the theater.
Didn’t you study dramatic writing at NYU? I did. I went to NYU for dramatic writing because I loved theater and writing. I knew I wanted to work in theater, probably in producing, but my experience wasn’t so defined by my major. It’s interesting – how much does your major really affect the jobs you can get? Not really at all. It’s about the skills and the experiences you can get. That said, I did write an adaptation of Everything Was Possible, one of my favorite books, by Ted Chapin. When Ted was in college, he was an assistant on Follies and kept his notes and turned them into a book. So, my way of getting to do musical theater history was to adapt a work of musical theater history.
That’s very meta of you. That is so meta! And it gets more meta: while I was writing the adaptation, I interned for [Title of Show], and when it went to Broadway, I became an assistant director. I thought, “I am Ted Chapin! I am doing the new Follies!” Well, not really, but the parallels were funny.
My observation of the Broadway community’s support, compassion, and authenticity in regards to a book release I attended.
By Victor Legra (Producer)
For the past few months, I've had the great pleasure of working as Seth Rudetsky's assistant. Let me tell you, he's one of the funniest guys I know. If you don't know who he is check him out. In other words, he's a walking Broadway encyclopedia.
Why humanity needs to cool it waaaay down. By Rozzie Heeger (Student/Writer)
Sometime within the past few days, unless you’ve been living under a rock, impermeable to pop culture controversies, you may have come into contact any number of pictures of the monstrosity, the absolute horror, that is...Renee Zellweger’s face?
It seems that between recent public appearances, Renee Zellweger has had a liiiittle bit of work done. All right, a LOT of work.
Oh, the humanity! Guard your children! NSFW!
But by merely reading a selection of facebook posts and tweets about the matter, one would think the girl tattooed a picture of Mel Gibson to her face.
Here are some very real things that have been said, accompanying links to news articles (this is NEWS, people!) about the subject:
What I did on my autumn vacation. By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer)
When I was younger, I remember reading Camryn Manheim’s book Wake Up, I’m Fat! and instantly connecting with it. Not only is it a memoir of what it’s like to grow up fat in a society that doesn’t want you (something to which I relate), but it also is a great memoir of being a performer in an industry that doesn’t know what to do with you. She also proves that she’s a BAMF, riding around New York on her motorcycle, hooking up with jugglers while working at the Ren Faire, and generally leading the sort of grown up bohemian Ramen-noodles-can-be-beautiful-but-I-have-my-shit-together life I always dreamt of. But here’s one sentence that, for some weird reason, always stuck with me: “Every couple of years I like to schlep over to London to catch all the new plays so when they come to Broadway I can say ‘Seen it’.” I always hoped that one day that would be me.
Okay, I’m not at that point in my life. I am, however, at the point where a friend and I can find a cheap flight and an Air BnB in Vauxhall, and save up to go to London for a week to queue up for day seats (a.k.a. rush seats). With the price of day seats (£10-£20) plus the purchase of a program (no free playbills in London, so that’s an additional £4 per show), I ended up seeing 5 shows for the price of £100 (about $160). Considering you can pay that much for a single seat to The Book of Mormon in the rear balcony, I think I did okay. Here are some thoughts.