Volume 4 Book 2 of
Living in the Bonus Round
Steve on the keyboard live in New York.
October 3, 2004.
The Last Show.
I felt totally different this morning as I sat down in the breakfast area at the Chelsea Pines eating the last of my oatmeal. The excitement and energy of yesterday's full house, the thrill of hearing that we had "buzz," the joy of feeling that we had actually accomplished what we set out to accomplish was overwhelming.
There was this peace and calm feeling all around me. The stress of the past two weeks was lifting and all I could feel was jubilation.
I went and had breakfast with my pal Matthew Nash, a leading choreographer in town. Sweet guy who's been dealing with a lot of misery in his life. It was nice to reconnect. He said at the performance he attended, everyone in the balcony was crying.
I had to quickly dash off, though, because it was time to move yet again. Luckily, Jimmy found a nice hotel near Central Park on 7th Ave. that had an amazingly cheap rate through Priceline. We packed up all our stuff and moved uptown. However, check-in wasn't until 3pm, which meant that we'd store all our stuff there about noon and then have several hours to kill.
So first we went back to the Polish Tea Room where I ate some of their great matza ball soup -- not available in the south growing up -- and and we hung out a bit. And who did we run into?
Rip is an old friend who attended the very first run-through of The Big Voice just before we went into workshop. So I considered his appearance a good luck charm.
John Sparks, Theatre Building Chicago.
When we got to the theatre, once again we learned that we had a full house. God, I was so relieved.
At intermission, I gave the camera to Jeramy who snuck into the balcony for the last show. Here are stills from that piece of tape.
"That's why I wake up at 4 in the morning.
So I can listen to the big voice while the big mouth is still asleep."
"How do you fall back in love?"
"The divorce failed!"
The audience response was overwhelming. (Thank you, folks).
Later that night, we headed down to the Chelsea Piers for the big party for all the shows. It was held out on the pier -- and me without a coat, I was freezing. There was a big tent, however, at one end with disco music blasting. Soon, the organizers got up and toasted the crowd -- and recognized all the people who helped organize this astonishingly successful festival.
Kris Stewart, Executive Director, speaks to the crowd.
Tim Jerome Festival President.
Geoff Cohen, Executive Producer.
Marketer Miranda Lundskaer-Nielson and (not sure).
There was an award handed out, an audience award that was won by the show CALIGULA. And no, I wasn't jealous. Believe it or not, what I felt in that tent was a comraderie with all the other creators, that each of us with our wildly differing shows were part of a new wave of musical theatre.
Okay, I'm kinda getting philosophical here but indulge me a moment. (And forgive me if I sound pretentious, which I probably do).
On all the theatre lists and boards over the past year or so, the most consistent feeling I've been hearing is, "The musical is dead." It's lost its way.
Furtherthing this feeling is the fact that this fall, only one new musical will debut on Broadway. Everything else? Revivals. So, the feeling has been one of despair and depression. Suddenly this little festival appears out of the clear blue sky and maybe the next Sondheim isn't here, but what is here is remarkably good. Apparently, the Festival selection process worked. From big shows to little shows, from traditional musicals to cutting edge, NYMF managed to find quality in almost every area -- and now more than a few of the shows are already being extended or moved to full off-Broadway runs.
I know I could be imagining all this. After all, as I said previously, to be in a show is to see the whole world in the context of your show, but I'm a romantic. I'm also practical. I feel that every successful show that comes out of NYMF reflects back on the other shows. We can proudly list NYMF as a credit on our resume.
"Oh, you were a part of that first NYMF? I heard only good things from that!"
What I do know is that the festival organizers pulled off a little miracle in the heart of Manhattan. Our show will benefit from being a part of it, I'm absolutely certain. And hopefully, they will be able to one day proudly say, "Ah, yes, The Big Voice, that worldwide sensation. We discovered them, you know."
NEXT: A birthday opportunity for a million.
© 1996-2004 by Steve Schalchlin.You have permission to print from this diary and distribute for use in support groups, schools, or to just give to a friend. You do not have permission to sell it.