One question my good angel (or is he on the other shoulder?) Steven Jones of Lyric Stage asks, “Why should there be a musical about this?”
When I was first talked of After The Hat I told Steven that it was the story of a bar band’s journey. Parts of which I lived. When he mentioned that the music sounded like the 70’s (I think he really likes the music), I told him our story could be placed in just about any era. When he again asked why this should be a musical, I further explained that it would explore drug addiction, the battle for stardom and of course, L-O-V-E. Like A Star Is Born. Heck! That’s what the story’s about, right? And good golly Miss Molly our story and music would blow the doors off any rendition of High School Musical or the Jonas BrothersCamp Rock movies, right?
But it’s apples and pears. Similar look; different tastes. Steven Jones doesn’t want to make Camp Rock 3 although I’d bet he’d pocket the money and revive some warhorse musical if he did. 😉 He wants to be entertained with a story and clever songs. He brought The Road To Qatar to Dallas and it ended up off Broadway. It’s a funny story with clever songs. We need Hat to be able to play Broadway if necessary. Can’t imagine High School Musical or Camp Rock on the Great White Way. (But with Disney you never know!)
I’ve listened to the music from Hat literally hundreds of time. I’ll bet Patsy has listened even more. The music is just that GOOD. And we will get it on stage! People hooked on this music each find a favorite. And when they hear these wonderful songs all dolled up, arranged for the stage and sung by the proper characters? I think they will fall further in love.
As we reinvent Hat with the “Bard version,” I see our earlier attempts creating contrived drama as a big problem with the script. That, and a story which no one seems to give a flip about. Patsy and I will just have to do without songs like I’m Coming Home, Dark Days and maybe Hey, Hey Baby that only add to the contrived drama. (Gonna reserve judgement on Hey, Hey Baby til we decide who gets what with the Kate and Petruchio romance.) We’re now creating a lighthearted musical that’s just plain fun, right?
So when Steven Jones asks me again why this musical should be made, I’ll say, “Audiences have loved Taming of the Shrew for centuries. We’re updating the story to 1975 as a light hearted musical-comedy with that incredibly catchy music you like.”
I’ll conjecture he throws Kiss Me Kate back at me. To which I’ll reply, “There were 5 songs during the “play within the play” section. And Brush Up On Your Shakespeare was sung by the gangsters and doesn’t count. Plus, Cole Porter created period pieces with those songs.” I’d ask Steven, “If you watched a double feature of Kiss Me Kate followed by 10 Things I Hate About You, would you see any resemblance?” Hoping for a grudging nod of acquiescence and 20 minutes to pitch this show. 😉
I stated in my last blog it takes guts and a cavalier attitude to write a musical. Just like hopping in a shopping cart and careening down a dangerous street. Sometimes the struggle to “stay on course” seems overwhelming. Even downright terrifying. But once the path is clear, watch out! While Steve-O is whooping and hollering as his shopping cart races toward destruction, we’ll be cruising toward the Tonys with our launch of After The Hat (Working Title)!
Special note: Here’s hoping my lovely-and-talented writing partner Patsy Hester Daussat–PHD-d as I lovingly call her–is able to write again as Fall nears. Between caring for her 92 year old father, a sister suffering a divorce, eldest son moving out the area and the incredibly busy social calendar she maintains, we can only wish her well and pray she’s back to work soon!