Save The Date takes shape
By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman (Composer-Lyricist)
I suppose it's time for another update from the Fringe. And I promise it's not because tickets for the New York International Fringe Festival go on sale TODAY at www.FringeNYC.org. I also start this post with the caveat that I am writing it while exhausted in the middle of the night as I have a million things to do as the show's writer/acting executive producer.
Obviously casting is a sensitive subject -- especially when your actor friends are involved -- and I'm limited in how I can comment on our casting process for the show as that stuff is totes private. But I can talk generally, and if there's one thing I learned from our casting process it's this: if you have room in the budget to hire a professional casting director: DO IT.
I don't use the word "genus" often when not talking about Stephen Sondheim or Dippin' Dots, but Mr. Michael Cassara, CSA is a freaking genius. He was our casting director for the show and he brought in the most talented, generous actors we could have ever hoped to have seen. Without his work, we wouldn't have the most amazing cast we could've asked for. Seriously, I'm in love with both him and them. And I've already told them I love them, so I know you're finding out on the internet, but you're welcome, Michael.
The one specific insight I'll give you into casting from my experience is this: if the writer in the room is anything like me, when you read your side they are thinking: "OH MY FUCKING GOD I WROTE THAT??? I'M THE WORST WRITER IN HISTORY!! I SHOULD NEVER WRITE ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!!!" This has absolutely nothing to do with you or how you're reading the side, this has everything to do with how insecure we writers can be about our own work. Luckily there are other amazing people in the room like the Director and Music Director and Casting Director who are paying attention to the actor and not the text. I was so judgey of my own work during casting, I'm so glad I had other amazing people on the creative team who were further away from the material when it was time to read sides.
P to the S: it was even worse when we had the cast do our first read-through. I wanted to take my entire script and shred it into pieces. It's okay though, I'm slowly judging myself less and less. By opening I'm sure I'll love my work. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Or whatever.
We touched on fundraising last time, but what I'll add in this post is that if you have the time/patientce to throw a fundraiser, DO IT.
Obviously a fundraiser like the one we put together takes a lot of time and people who are dedicated to making it work. But you'd be surprised at how much you can raise if you get enough donations. I must thank my producing team for putting that whole thing together.
The big thriller of our fundraiser was that even though he only learned the song the night before, our amazing cast member Noah Zachary agreed to perform a song from the show for those in attendance. Which goes to my larger point: surround yourself with talented, motivated people and things will start to fall into place.
Also, often there will be leftover alcohol after a fundraiser. And if you're the acting executive producer it ends up at your apartment. Just saying.
There's not much to say about rehearsing this show thus far except that I love doing it. We've begun music rehearsals and hearing such amazing singers sing my music is something I have difficulty putting into words. Suffice to say: it touches me in a very raw place. I feel blessed, and that's coming from a secular humanist.
Here's the insight I will give: I've been developing this show since 2008. After five years with this material and knowing in my heart of hearts that it's past due that it be seen in a full production, I am so grateful to those around me who are helping that become a reality.
Yesterday I sat alone in my apartment, 3-hole-punching some sheet music for a rehearsal later that day. I starting thinking about how we open in less than a month, about the real events that inspired the piece, about the journey I went though then and the one I'm going through now, about what opening night will be like, and seeing the cast at curtain call... I pictured it in my head. This cast that I love. Triumphant. Having just completed the journey from page to stage. And I burst into tears out of sheer joy and sense of accomplishment. Seriously. Alone in my apartment, I just started crying like a little bitch. I felt all the feelings. God help me when we actually open. Someone will have to be on standby just to hold me up.
Those are your updates for now. Now buy your damn ticket!
GREGORY JACOBS-ROSEMAN is a composer/lyricist and theatrical sound designer. His musical Save The Date: A New Musical Wedding Comedy will premiere in the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. www.savethedatemusical.com
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