This blog is a GREAT idea I said!
I can TOTALLY juggle this with everything else I said!
And then I laid in bed until 1pm today.
I can't really be too harsh on myself at the moment. I had forgotten how time consuming and exhausting doing theatre projects on top of full time work can be. On the other hand, doing local theatre is WAY different than say, putting up a production of your show you've worked on for 15 years with professionals for a New York audience with potential investors coming to watch. Now THAT'S a different ball game. Not to mention as I previously wrote about, I have an entire other score of someone else's 'baby' that I am responsible for learning and successfully coaching some very notable Broadway stars through to perform for THEIR potential investors who will be hopefully shaping the entire Broadway run future of this show. Oh and I'm bar tending full time to keep a roof over my head AND continuously waiting on this silly green card for my Canadian husband who I have not seen in weeks. NO STRESS AT ALL!!!!!
I am not writing this for sympathy from you, our nice readers. But I think this process doesn't get brought to light much for the writers of shows with Broadway ambitions like ours (and kind people like our Ghostlight friends) and just how HARD and time consuming this is. Let me elaborate a bit to help you understand where we're coming from as this blog is here mostly for this purpose!
Here's some stuff you don't see....
Caleb and I get up VERY early for work at our regular jobs. I can't speak entirely for him, but I am on my feet for a good 7 hours a day in a very busy bar/restaurant in Soho. It's tiring in of itself! So then after a good almost hour commute home (because local transit is definitely not the same as getting in a car, blasting your music and having some nice alone time on your way home) you want to relax of course! But here is the reality....that's NOT the reality! Lol!
Any given night/day off for us reads kind of like this:
Writing writing and more writing. Whether that be on the script, or the music or lyrics we have been nit picky perfectionists over this. We converse on things that may seem alien or trivial to most... Is there a better way we can say this particular line? Is there a lyric that conveys this emotion better than what it is now? What do we think of this chord with a minor third thrown in? Should we be doing a big arpeggio in this measure or do we want to keep it to a clean, concise chord? What key should this character be singing this in? Does this song need a new bridge? Is this scene necessary or are we cutting out months of brainstorming that we thought was going somewhere?
It's painstaking. Possibly boring to you....but have you, music theatre lovers of the world, ever wondered how your favorite shows got to the place they're in? This is it. Oh and there's more....so much more!
No one quite understands the intricate dance that is getting your work heard and seen and at best accepted by theatre peers ESPECIALLY in an atmosphere so prevalent with tons of insane talent. And it's almost ALWAYS right place and right time driven. Our show got picked up because a good friend emailed me and said 'You should submit to THIS'. It was the reading series we are currently in. I submitted and our heads almost exploded when we got a 'YES' back from the producer. It's an incredible honor. But what now? This is only two performances. And this guarantees NOTHING. The amount of pressure involved in making this count is intense. So what do you do?
You first cast the show. Now, back to those audition rooms. The importance of the RIGHT people to play roles is a lot of pressure. And if they don't show up to your audition you have to literally go hunting in the city. Yes, you can throw a rock and hit an unemployed actor/singer/dancer almost anywhere BUT that does not make them right for the job. So you can imagine our absolute relief when we found every.single.person we wanted for every part whether that was in the casting room or on scouting operations! But then you have to teach them.....and we have FIVE (yes that number is correct) just FIVE rehearsals to do that in. So the amount of faith you HAVE to put in these people to not let you down is astounding. And most of them you have NEVER met in your life and all of the sudden they are helping hold the future of your lifetime dream in their hands to a certain degree. So then you give up your day off to spend as many hours as you can teaching these people until they're confident with the material as well as you feeling confident with their portrayal. Whether that be in your rehearsal space or even once again, coming home from a long day at work and spending the entirety of your evening with cast members in your home polishing those roles!
And then there's the harassing marketing.... The facebook posts, the blog posts, the photos, the video OHHHHHHMYGOODNESS the videos! To edit a 10 minute video with underscoring and such usually takes a good 3 hours of your life. Wrangling your casts bios and headshots from their hands is a chore in of itself! Lol! And yes you're STILL writing and fixing things on top of all this! DAILY!! And let's not forget that now that you're heading somewhere with that you are dealing with the pressure to change and re write and alter your show even MORE than you already are!
And while this is all going on you are doing the dreaded task of networking. This is what can really make or break a show. To get investors and producers and people of any sort of monetary/social influence to come see your work is intimidating at best. So when you DO get some of them it puts even MORE pressure on you to get this ALL RIGHT because let's just be honest, these opportunities do not come along often and are most definitely not the easiest to come by!
And of course with all this chaos in place, the day to day of trying to keep up with your family and your friends and act like a functioning member of society AND earning a paycheck can make you a bit nuts! I have not worked out in weeks yet my body feels like a truck hit it....then backed up and hit it again....and maybe one more time for good measure! Once again...no sympathy! It's just a fact of dealing with this lifestyle!
So why WOULD we put ourselves through this you ask, because yes this is ALL very stressful. And when the people around you don't understand the time commitment and think the good luck fairy just slapped you with her magic wand, you DO want to scream. At least I do... because despite the fact that I love what I'm doing, the perception that this is something that is simple makes me beat my already pounding head against the wall repeatedly....which obviously does not help!
So yes, this is hard. This is the hardest I think either of us have worked for something. This is the most love and passion and commitment and time we have ever invested. It seems daunting and crazy. But here's the thing.... I had multiple drama/music teachers/coaches tell me the same thing over and over again 'ONLY do this if it is the ONLY thing you can absolutely positively do with your life'. When we were 16 years old, this show came to us. The story, the characters, the songs, everything and we felt like the world had officially given us our calling. It took years and years of working at everything else in this industry to get back to it and realize the love we have for this thing and it IS what we feel like we are supposed to do. Everything else seems to have been a vehicle for this to happen. That does not mean we don't have a LOT of work ahead of us or that we have not already worked very hard. But when your heart and passion is in something that you love, it just feels right. I couldn't imagine right now doing anything else with my life. We're very lucky to have the support system we do have, for each other in this crazy adventure, for a beautiful cast and people who are interested in seeing this.
This is going to happen. All this ^ work....it's totally worth it....even when we're crazy tired!