Volume 3 Book 1 Part 6 of
Living in the Bonus Round

Game Night!
Marcia Rodd, K Callan, Jimmy, Rue McClanahan, Tony Pervis, Steve.

[ Book 2-10 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ]

September 22-25, 2002.
Celebrity Celebrity!
This was celebrity week at Bonus Round. First up was Gabi Clayton, the mother immortalized in that amazing song called "Gabi's Song." So, of course, the first thing I did was throw eggs on the floor. It's a very ancient ritual. (I wonder if Egg Beaters works for ancient rites?). Michael Sugar flew her down to see Big Voice for her 50th birthday since we can't go up there.

Click on this image for a larger version.
I love this shot. Notice Steinbeck (cat media whore)
is front and center.

Then we heard from Rue McClanahan, who has been in New York and Atlanta doing theatre. She asked if we could do something fun like a last minute "game night". So we invited a few other friends over. Usually we play charades. Jimmy's team won. Bah. But only because Marcia Rodd arrived late and started playing for both teams. No, that can't be it.

He played a dirty joke. For one of the "plays" that he wrote down for our team to do -- Rue was on my team with Brian Raines, who had never played the game before. Jimmy had K Callan, who is a SHARK -- anyway, it was my turn and I picked the musical "Oedipus Shmedipus As Long As You Love Your Mother."

Few people know of that musical, but here's the deal. Rue wrote it! That's how we met. Jimmy played the lead role when it was at the Golden Theatre in Burbank a decade ago. So, I get up there and point to Rue and start doing a scribbling motion, trying to say RUE WROTE IT!! But it did no good. Then I tried to get the individual words.

Rue & Marcia laugh at something Jimmy is saying, no doubt.

She never got it. Her own musical. We lost.

K Callan and Jim Brochu playing Charades.

Then we played Celebrity, where you put a bunch of names in a bowl and pass the bowl around. The trick is to get the person next to you to say the names you pick as fast as possible. That's when Jimmy said, "We're playing Celebrity Celebrity cuz we have celebrities playing the game!" (K Callen was on the TV show "Lois & Clark" as Superman's mother and Marcia Rodd is a Tony-nominated Broadway actress).

It's official as of today. We're moving The Big Voice: God or Merman? to the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood. It's only two nights a week, Saturdays and Sundays. I am so excited about this! For one thing, the Zephyr is where TLS was workshopped six years ago.

We will open on there October 12 for a six week run. It feels only right. The difference is that this time I will not be wearing an I.V. This time nobody has to come to the show wondering if I'll be alive the following week.

It's a slightly bigger venue and we are largely producing this on our own (in alliance with the Zephyr's producing team "applearts" and the Blue Sphere Alliance). We have not sought a big bucks producer yet so we are still depending solely on word of mouth for audience. However, we will be playing only on Saturday nights and Sunday nights. Hopefully, this will give us a chance to continue building audiences. It also means that for the first time we will allow critics in to review the show.

Readers of this site have followed along on this whirlwind process as we moved from a quickly written staged reading at the Laguna Playhouse to a workshop production at the Lex and now a full production. And to realize that this has taken place in the space of only a few MONTHS!

Except for maybe some minor tinkering, the script and the songs are now set -- "Call me Miss Bird's-Eye. I'm frozen!" as Ethel is said to have said. Wednesday, we sat with Anthony and trimmed a few lines, sharpened some blocking and changed a light cue. This weekend a lot of important people are coming. So we want to be really sharp.

On Sunday, these two guys came out, saw me and said, "This was fantastic! We were at lunch when some friends of ours called us and said we had to get down to see your show today. So we dropped everything and ran down." They said they had seen TLS twice.

So far, I am tolerating the new anti-viral Viread very nicely. There don't seem to be any side effects. I am totally off the PTL for my thyroid and in a new weeks we'll test to see if the Grave's Disease is in remission. My blood sugar seems to be more under control with the newer meds. What else? Oh, my nephew Jonathan was rushed to the hospital. He's been diagnosed with Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a severe from of diabetes and apparently it nearly killed him. He's still in the hospital as of this writing and doing better, thank God. Poor kid. He's only, like, 15, I think.

And TLS Dallas closes this weekend. So many things happening!

September 26-28, 2002.
Two Last Weekends.
I finally got my camera back from Dallas and have a few pictures to share as TLS-Dallas and TBV-Lex head into their final weekends.

Jeff Kinman, Denise Lee, (Jeff Rane peeking out), director Doug Miller,
producer Craig Lynch (behind),
Scott A. Eckert, Sara Shelby-Martin, Ted Wold.

This was a pose from opening night. I have been in touch with most of them via email for the duration of the run and they are all saddened that this is the end. However, the good news is that in THE COLUMN THEATRE AWARDS -- this production was nominated for 6 awards (coming in second after Sondheim's Into The Woods with 7) including Best Musical, Best Actor (Scott Eckert), Best Actress (Denise Lee), Best Director (Doug Miller), Best Musical Director (Jeff Rane), Best Stage Manager (Jeff Rane) -- and Uptown Players received 16 nominations total, far out-distancing any of the other Dallas companies. So I send my sincere congratulations to a skilled and talented team.

On a personal note, it's thrilling to see The Last Session competing in Best Musical competition with Falsettos, Side Show, Into The Woods and Sweeney Todd. What an honor to be placed among those names.

Other pics were more personal. These are some of my old pals from back when I was with my band in Texas, Damascus Road. (It's a wonder they still speak to me).

Pastor Bob, Trisha Helm, me, Johnnie Helm.

And going back even farther, these friends were from Jacksonville College.

Lisa, Lou, me, and Nancy.
Nancy and I were in the choir together.

My brothr Corky shows article about TLS in Dallas Voice.
He showed it to the waiter and we got a free meal!

Back home in El Lay, we had two packed houses for Thursday and Friday. The phones are ringing off the hook and the audiences are becoming even more responsive than before. On Thursday and Friday, the laughter and the applause were deafening. I've had more than one person (who I never met) come up to me and say, "We saw The Last Session five times!" "We saw The Last Session 13 times!" (Remember, we've done zero publicity for this workshop, so our audiences here have been STRICTLY word of mouth).

We're gonna miss The Lex. It's small and comfy and has a good air conditioner. :-)

Grabbing a smoke before the show.
Notice our poster in the window.

Down on the corner at Santa Monica Blvd is this GREAT Taco stand.
I'm gonna miss going down there for the tacos.

Anthony Barnao said he thought it was funny that people compare theatre pieces by the same writers. "Do people say, I like this Picasso better than that one? No! They just say they love Picasso!" I don't care. All I know is word of mouth is catching fire and it's exciting that we've not only just about sold out this run, but are moving to the Zephyr in two weeks. That's when we'll face the next step: THE CRITICS.

So, two more days for TLS-Dallas and two more days for The Big Voice workshop at the Lex. Both have exceeded all our expectations. Hm. Maybe "the time before" isn't the best time after all. Not when you have this kind of artistic and emotional fulfillment.

Oh, and one more thing. I have stopped wearing the eyepatch on stage. It wasn't intentional. But we got to the theatre Thursday night and I had forgotten it. Too late to go home. I was worried that I'd get dizzy from the double vision or that I'd look cross-eyed on stage. But instead, I actually did well and both Jimmy and Anthony said my face was way more expressive without it -- and that my eye had receded enough back into my socket that the Grave's Disease is barely noticeable. I felt totally naked but it worked.

This is the t-shirt that Jimmy wears beneath his costume.
Just a reminder to him who wears the pants around here.

[ Book 2-10 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ]

© 1996-2002 by Steve Schalchlin.
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