TradRad Pictures has been created to be a profitable company. We analyze budgets like a baseball card collector studies the back of a pristine Mickey Mantle rookie card. The budget for Middletown is getting beyond what I believe our potential market will currently bear, in terms of cost versus ROI. A cast of 32 actors plus the associated production costs? We’re looking at over 3/4 of a million dollars! Not that Hollywood would bat an eye, but for an untried production company going after a niche market? Pretty iffy.
American Muse, as Baby Bear once said, “is just right.” Eight actors, great story with mass appeal, wonderful music with some “ah moments,” minimal sets, a decent budget for costumes, hair and makeup. Add (hopefully) some terrific actors and you have one fine show! Thus far? About a third of what Middletown will cost. Not to mention a perfect vehicle for Mike Gallagher to take on the road if he chooses! (While Mike won’t be the “hero,” his role will be a major part of an ensemble story.)
Having written a number of stage plays, I’ve learned that a great script can be developed faster and better by enlisting co-writers. Friend and theatre soul-sista Patsy Daussat is a Samuel French published author with her play, The Makeover. Pat Reeder, author of Nine Hallmarks of Highly Incompetent Losers and other humorous book, the driving force behind The Comedy Wire comedy service and Head Writer of The Huckabee Report heard on nationwide radio, is a comedy genius. He’s also a HUGE aficionado of musical theatre.
I’ve passed off a working draft of American Muse to these professionals. Say hello to one kick-ass script! Patsy will put flesh on the characters I don’t have the time or talent to develop. Pat will punch up the humor where we may not have seen it. It excites and motivates me to write and arrange music to compliment their efforts.
Musical collaborator Stephen Taylor has already provided a couple of his famous “ditties.” Whenever I hear one of Steve’s melodies I can’t help but think of Lionel Bart or Meredith Wilson. Simple, catchy, repetitive. And with some tweaking? Perfection.
My challenge is to cash in on other masterful melodies from America’s greatest composers. What to feature as complete (Public Domain) songs? Where do we allude to one of these great melodies to drive the character to support the story? And what “album cuts” (if you will) from the 1918 era will provide entertainment for the audience? Not to mention how to arrange the music to make it fresh and interesting.
Where Middletown is a well crafted family musical, American Muse serves a dual purpose. It’s a cost effective, fun production. And it allows us to poke a stick in the Left’s side in a fun and non-offensive (they may disagree) fashion.
If we were to attempt a “meaningful” musical like White Noise, we’d be preaching. We prefer to provide a positive, upbeat look at America. Doubt Broadway will endorse it. But they’re not our audience. So screw ’em! Flyover country? This one’s for you!