Saturday, June 28, 2014

Week-end Off?

The one thing I learned on Broadway is:  "job one" of a show that is currently performing is promotion.  There is never a time you can stop promoting a Broadway show.  
My sister-in-law has been in Chicago for 17 years give or take, and she is still called upon to do publicity almost on a weekly basis.  You would think a show that has been running that long would not need to remind the public, but that is not the case.
The first run of a movie is less than 6 weeks. They may lead up to the opening day with months of publicity, but by the week that it opens the publicity machine switches. Three weeks after the opening of a movie you will rarely see the star on tour or doing the Kimmel show. Not so with Broadway, there are eight shows a week you have to fill if you want to continue to run.  
I was talking to some actors in New York last week and they said something that is a sign of the times. It seems, in today's world, during the audition process one of the things they consider when hiring someone is the number of followers they have on Twitter.   Two actor/singer/dancers that are equal in all other areas of talent will finally be judged by the number of social media friends they have.  Perhaps the new lyric for the song in "A Chours Line" should not be "Tits and Ass" but  "Tits and Followers" that make the difference in getting the job.
It used to be that one could throw money at a show and get the name out there.  A few full page ads in the Times, and some well placed (expensive) billboards and you would attract the curious. Direct mail used to be the bread and butter of Show business promotion.  The big ad agencies used to say that direct mail was the best value for the buck.  They claimed an average return of 20% on direct mail. Direct mail is no longer top of the budget heap.  Direct texts, Facebook blasts,  and targeted email has replaced the color postcard in the mail.  Still people are more likely to make a decision to see a show based upon someone's tweet rather than a review from the paper.  The goal remains the same, "You need to get thousands of people saying positive things about your show."  However, instead of going to one media outlet to reach thousands of people,  thousands of people have to independantly "share."  The process is so new there are no hard and fast rules about how one gets anything to "go viral".  
With that said, I have spent all week trying to figure ways to reach the 55 million households which will soon be able to view "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" as a pay per view.  (AUGUST 1st on iNDEMAND) 
So here I sit at my favorite Coffee Bean and Tea feeling the Broadway anxiety of constant promotion without the thrill of doing the show nightly.  It's the week end and I really want to take the day off to write about something else.  But with a promotional/marketing budget that is non-existent, all I have is a couple social media accounts and my words. Have a great weekend.
As you were,

Friday, June 27, 2014

I want my, I want my VOD

The problem with instant communination is the shelf life.  It used to be a Circus could put up posters around town with the date and time of the performances and everyone would mark their calendar.  Back then it might be months before any other announcement posters would detract from the Circus.
Today we get the equivalent of a circus poster announcement with every other Facebook post.  And even if the post is not about an up and coming event it still competes for attention with every other puppy picture, cat pose and funny YouTube on the Internet. 
So with the attention span becoming smaller toward information which is expanding, how do you get the word out?  I suppose you have to keep publishing digital posters on a regular basis.  I am trying to do that on a daily basis.  If someone has to be reminded of an event on more than a daily basis, then perhaps the task of finding a place in that person's schedule is hopeless. 
Here is the deal. Starting AUGUST 1st you will be able to see "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" in HD super rez from the comfort of you own livingroom any time you decide to watch it.  It will be offered to 55 million households, along with every other iNDEMAND event.  The only viewers who will try to find it are the ones that know it is available. And those who know that it is available will have to decide when they want to watch it. 
In the coming days we will be announcing a "Virtual Opening Night Premier". This will be a specific day you can mark on your calendar with a time and see "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only."   Sort of like the day the Circus will come to YOUR town.  But you don't have to dress up or drive to the theatre to be part of the celebration. iNDemand will bring the Circus to you including the monkey.
This will be a major event and perhaps we can cover the red carpet arrivals of the stars of the show via a live video feed.  (Think Skpye from the hallway of my house. I am pretty much the only cast member who can actually "walk" the red carpet so... it will be short.) 
Those who particapate in the "Virtual Opening Night Premier" will be part of a greater digtal audience who will be experiencing the show at the same time in the comfort of their own living rooms linked in a cyber theatre.  Attending this premier in pajamas is acceptable and encouraged. 
However, in the mean time please virally let everyone you know that AUGUST 1st  the day the show will be exclusively available on iNDEMAND.  More later from these same viral stations.
As you were,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Correcting the Course of the TAO

After circulating the WWW for a day, several of my detail oriented friends noticed this typo on the DVD Cover art. To a dyslexic like me I thought "the wonder fart of ventriloquism" was a new hip term for throwing your voice. (words like new and hip are rarely associated with ventriloquism). Actually that correction had already been made, and it was me who posted the incorrect proof.
Although several people noticed the "wonderfulart" typo, only one noticed that the original Broadway producers names were left off the credit list. That mistake was caught, of course, by one of the original Broadway producers.
So...37 days before you can "pay-per-view: Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!" and help children of the forrest. Yes the proceeds for this iNDemand release will go to aid the Home for Wooden Children of Encino. AUGUST 1st-.
As you were,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Twelve steps to see The TAO (The Two and Only)

Yesterday we started the process of announcing the World Priemer showing of "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" on iNDemand.  AUGUST 1ST... Check your local "pay-per view". And remember profits go to benefit the Home for Wooden Children, Encino Chapter.
I would not say the information went viral, but it was interesting to see how many times it was "shared" and how it looped back to the original.  I know why the metaphor for the information highway is a "web" .  Things don't go in a straight line but connect and interconnect in unexpected ways. 
I also noticed that there is a direct relationship between the speed at which we get information and the time it takes to forget. The quicker you can get a factoid the quicker you forget it.  In the prophetic words of Albert Einsten "Why remember what you can look up?"
Now that we can "look up" anything we want on a smart phone... why remember anything?  I think our knowledge is growing but our intelligence is shrinking.  We know how to let computers do more and more thinking for us as we lose the skill to think and remember for ourselves.  
This tacet connection to information is cause for many conflicts.  
There is confusion over "on-demand" and "iNDemand". iNDemand is Pay-Per-View, which is sometimes in the OnDemand section of your cable provider. Most major cable providers provide iNDemand.  One of my friends said that Time Warner in Dallas did not carry iNDemand.  I went to the iNDemand web site and noticed that Time Warner was one of the affiliates.  I clicked on the Time Warner logo at the iNDemand site and it took me to Time Warner ONDemand section.
So we are starting to avoid the confusion by just saying, "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only will be on Pay-Per-View starting August 1st."  
Unfortunately that caused another type of confusion as someone commented, "I've never heard of Paper View." 
Since we have a month or so before we have to find out how to "Paper View" I have decided to release information in a more metered way.  And, I have decided to make it a 12 step program. 
I shall call the program the PVA (Paper view Anonymous).  It is for those who may be having a problem with demanding what they want to see on television,  but don't want the social stigma attached.  (I'm talking to those of us who never could program a BETA Max and still call them "music albums")

PVA: Twelve Steps to TAO (Two and Only)

Step 1: Prepare
 Mark August 1st on your calendar.  Resolve that you will invest 5 bucks to see a show that
cost 25 times more to see at the Helen Hayes Theatre (if you were quick enough to even get there).  The next few steps will give you the tools to find "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" and download or stream it for a modest fee..( All profits benefit the Encino Home for Wooden children).  So... step 1... prepare.  Tell everyone you are going to watch JJ:The Two and Only August 1st.  This will spread the word and it will reenforce the date of AUGUST 1st in your memory.  

Tomorrow:  Step 2- How to keep from forgetting step 1.

As you were,

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Two and Only - iNDemand

Click here to see a Preview
Jay Johnson:  The Two and Only!
Worldwide Premier on InDemand VOD – August 1, 2014

POP TWIST ENTERTAINMENT announced today that Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! will have its worldwide premiere through InDemand VOD. It will be offered in 54 million cable and satellite homes throughout the United States and Canada beginning August 1st.  InDemand will also sell the program on a download-to-own basis in advance of its DVD window.

The Tony® Award-winning theatrical memoir and stand-up comedy show features Jay Johnson, arguably the world's most famous living ventriloquist.  Johnson rose to fame playing the schizophrenic role of Chuck and Bob on the groundbreaking TV sitcom, SOAP.

The filmed version of Johnson’s Tony® Award-winning Broadway show of the same name was directed by Bryan W. Simon, and produced by Marjorie Engesser. It was shot at the historic Thalian Hall in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Since its beginnings at Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre, the live show has toured nationwide.  It will now debut for television and video.

Pop Twist Entertainment is offering all rights worldwide.  A producer's representative for hundreds of films and TV programs, PTE president Doug Zwick will launch international TV, DVD, DIGITAL and VOD sales at MIPCOM in October.

InDemand provides the VOD content for the majority of North American pay television homes, serving more than 100 million viewers. As a worldwide premiere, Jay Johnson: The Two and Only will be offered as a featured comedy event. 

“What a treat!  Jay Johnson dazzles us with his magical gifts and comic savvy.”   Leonard Maltin

"One of the funniest shows of the year!" — The New York Times

"Serious laughs… a surprisingly moving as well as highly funny evening."   The Hollywood Reporter

"Very entertaining!  A sheer feat of virtuosity!"  Clive Barnes, New York Post

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Death of Vaudeville...

Recently at the Abbeville, SC Opera House I saw this sign back stage.  It is left over from the day when the theatre was a stop along the Vaudeville circuit.  It points out how far we have come from what Vaudeville considered proper or entertaining.  I am not sure there is a comedian working today who could do a show and also follow these rules.  I know that I would have difficulty even thought I have what is considered in the business a "clean" act.
It is too small to read in this photo but here is what is says: 

"Notice: Comedians -  Our public expects the cream of vaudeville and a weekly certainty of seeing a good show, perhaps even a great one.  Do not say "Slob" or "Son-of-a Gun" or "hully gee" on this stage unless you want to be cancelled immediately. Do not address anyone in the audience in any manner. If you do not have the ability to entertain the audience without risk of offending them, do the best you can.
Lack of talent will be less open to censure than would be an insult to a patron.  If you are in doubt as to the chareacter of your act- consult with the local manager before you go on stage for if you are guilty of uttereing anything sacrilegious or even suggestive you will be immediately closed and will never again be allowed in this theatre.
The Management
Abbeville's Grand Opera House
October 10, 1908

Happy Throw back Thursday .  I have to go and take all the "hully gee's" out of my act before show time tonight.
As you were,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Bloody Pink Dress

CNN is broadcasting a series on the 60's. It was a time when the baby boomers came of age and innocents was lost.  Of course one of the episodes deals with the Kennedy Assassination.  When Sandi realized that I was watching yet one more special on that subject her eyes crossed. "What is there that can possibly hold your attention after all that you have read about that event?"
You might think that she was right.  I have even blogged about my obsession on that subject here at TWIAS. Kennedy
But right there in the CNN special there was something that I heard in context which made me spiral out of control again.
I am sure I heard the quote from Jacqueline Kennedy before, but I never knew the context.  Mrs. Kennedy would not leave the side of the casket bearing the presidents body which was basically kidnapped from Parkland Hospital.  In 1963 it was not a federal crime to kill a president of the United States.  Kennedy's assassination was technically a local crime to be handeled by the local athorities, which included the autopsy.  In what some people describe as a tug of war with the casket, the Secret Service took the body to Air Force One. 
Jacqueline Kennedy was still wearing the blood soaked pink dress that has become an icon of the moment.  Once on the plane one of her aides asked if she wanted to change clothes for the ride to Washington.  She said, "No I want them to see what they did to my Husband?"  Who did she mean by them?  The people on the plane?
It would seem that at least for a moment she thought that the people on Air Force One were involved in some way.  As I remember Mrs. Kennedy never did express an opinion on who had committed the assassination. The only time Mrs. Kennedy was ever asked offically about the assassination was in June of 1964 for the Warren Commission Report. Some of that interview was even deleted before it was published.  There was no questions about who she thought was responsible since it would not be relivant information.  She was never asked directly if she thought the head wound was a front of rear entry. A slight reference to "holding his hair on" was redacted.
So, back to the question at hand.  When she was asked if she wanted to change clothes for the plane ride she said, "No I want them to see what they did to my Husband?"  This could only mean that she was referring to the those on the plane at the time. Perhaps for a moment she was considering that LBJ, and the Texas powerbrokers had participated.  I guess we will never know.  That certainly won't stop me from wondering.
As you were,

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Today is introspection day.  It's all about me so if you want to skip this one... it's okay. No hurt feelings and your Karma will not be effected. Most of these kind of blog posts end up in my journal and I am the only reader.  But there comes a time when you have to say something out loud, in public, to own it.  Edward Albee said, "I write to know what I am talking about".  That is surely true about this post...(and don't call me Shirley)  Also, you never know.... thoughts are things that float around and maybe this same "thing" has caught your attention as well.
I think I know what the word success means.  And the word is a part of almost every aspect of my life.  I want to be a successful Husband, Father, friend and human being.  It also applies to school and career; whatever I find myself doing in life I want to be successful, I want to have success.  Have success, like it is something one can possess. 
Possession is sometimes thought of as the direct result of success so it is easy to beleive it can be owned.  If I am successful then I can, __________ (fill in the blank). 
And perhaps most of us, like I do, dwell on the perks of success. We dwell on how it will be and what I will do with success when I own it. Unfortunately that daydream is not a complete picture.
To attempt a metaphor, you can not have the joy of riding a bike without the effort of pedaling.  If the pedaling gets to be too much for you and you quit, there will come a time when your momentum stops and you crash.  In fact if pedaling is so unpleasant to you, then the thought of having to "go through" that effort might keep you from ever getting on a bicycle. If riding is success then pedaling is the cause,  one follows the other. They exist together.
On the cusp of something exciting happening in my experience I usually can talk my self out of it unless I am very careful. In essence, I fear the success because I know, at this point in my life, it will involve pedaling.  
Most of the time it is not conscious. After the fantasy of "owning" the success cools then the reality of what that success brings kicks in.  If you win 300 million dollars in a lottery, you might pay 100 million in taxes.  If you are concerned with that kind of a tax bill then you are already starting to fear success. Success is part of life and life is constant change. Embrace the change and enjoy the success or refuse to make a move and evenually be covered in the dust of those rushing past you.  

Here is an affirmation for self:  By constant contemplation of the things that might go wrong in stepping forward you are rehearsing the negative.  If you are going to rehearse that which is yet to manifest then rehearse the joy of the bike ride not the stress of the pedaling. 
As you were,

Monday, June 16, 2014


I didn't know what to expect last Saturday night.  I was at the Belasco Theatre to see Neil Patrick Harris no other reason was necessary. I know Neil fairly well from LA.  We performed together in shows for the Magic Castle when he was the President of the Magic Academy.  And I would run into him and his family during happy hour at our favorite sushi restaurant on Ventura on occasions.
The show, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." in which Neil was starring  was not so familiar to me.  I had seen the movie more than a decade ago but hadn't thought about it since. But here I was in New York and this was definitely the hot show starring Tony Award Winner/aquaintance/friend Neil Patrick Harris.

Didn't we all watch Neil Patrick Harris grow up on television? I certainly did.
When he was on Dougie Howser, MD. I said to myself, "Cute kid."
Later when I saw him in the road company of Rent I said to myself, "He sings. Wow. He's got some chops."
When he was cast as Barney on "How I Met Your Mother", I said to myself, "He really is a good comedy actor. Great timing."
As I watched him host Tony/Emmy/Tony Shows, I said to myself, "Geez, he has great connection to the audience and the quick wit of a Stand up Comic. Way to go Neil."
Then last Saturday when I saw him perform Hedwig at the Belasco Theatre, I said to myself, "Muther Fucker... why did he get all the talent."

Although Hedwig is not a one person show, Hedwig delivers 98% of the dialogue in a concert setting where there is no fourth wall. I know a little bit about carrying a 90 minute Broadway show with no intermission. I didn't have to jump around the stage in heels nor sing energetic rock songs but 90 non stop minutes is exhausting. Neil does it in platform heels, over done wigs, jumping on an off an abandoned car hood center stage, while never breaking an over the top character that makes Lady Gaga look Republican.   Instead of a matinee on Saturday Neil does a performance at 7:00pm and 10:00 pm.  One of his abilities must also be marathon athletics.
For the first few moments one is stunned by the transfomation a familiar actor makes to become a woman.  That is very soon forgotten and one becomes engaged in this exotic performer on stage.  
There is camp for sure, dick jokes and non-dick jokes to make a San Francisco drag show seem elementary but beyond the obvious, the show makes a compelling statement. Ultimately  it makes you question the stereo types of gender and what gender has to do with love? Some of my conservative peers might find it uncomfortable, but even if you don't go for the message of the show, go to see a master showman play a crowd like a concert violin. NPH is a rare talent that can do it all extremely well.... and like Ginger Rogers in high heels.
As you were,

Monday, June 09, 2014

Monday Tonyversery

Congratulations to my friends Jamie deRoy for her Tony win as Producer of "A Gentleman's guide to Love and Murder", Neil Patrick Harris for his best Actor win and Beowulf Boritt for his win as set designer for "Act One."  
It was a bit of a flashback to celebrate my Tonyversery at a party in Los Angeles last night.  Every time there was a discernible camera shot of the audience at Radio City Music Hall Sandi and I would try to figure out who it was sitting in "our seats". (Aisle seats sixth row stage right section of the audience.)
In the excitement of the process and contested nature of the program it is hard to remember that it is after all a marketing tool for the shows and Broadway itself.  Never was it more evident than when they presented numbers from shows that were "Coming Soon" to Broadway.  Jennifer Hudson sang a song from the show "Neverland" which was one of those vague coming attractions.  However, don't be looking for Oscar winner Hudson to be a part of that show.  They hired her to do the number because they have not cast it yet.
The same applies to Sting's song from a new show about Gloria Estafan and her father.  Not sure how the Estafan's well know Hispanic ethnic heritage melds with Sting's Irish jig. To my knowledge that show is in the process of being done but not completed on it's journey to the great White Way.  
I say why not have some coming attractions to live theatre like they do for the movies.  But.... to accommodate that advertising at least two Tony Awards of note were awarded before the telecast and presented as "bumpers" from commercials.  Notably the Tony award for choreographer and the one for best book (writer) of a musical were not given air time so Sting and Jennifer could basically do a "Staged audition reading" for new shows.  That I don't think is right.
Next week Sandi and I are returning to NYC to attend the High School graduation of our niece. We hope to get to see some of the winning shows.
As far as I'm concerned everyone was a winner who attended last night even if it was only a nomination.  Just to get there represents a tremendous achievement and a special honor.  Live theatre is and always will be my favorite form of entertainment on and off the stage.
As you were,

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Art of the Tony Awards

Once a year theatre itself is in the Limelight, and that's because it's Tony Season. Theater deletants are allowed to quote statistics that would rival a baseball fan or the owner of a fantasy football team. What show, what actor, what writer, what choreographer and what composer will join the ranks of the celebrated and win a Tony. I was never much on statistics, but do feel the need to contribute to the general knowledge of the theater to justify my own Tony Award. So here goes.
 There is a type of theatre called the Opera House. Now Opera can be done on most any stage but just performing Opera in a theater does not make it an Opera House.  Although it has a connection to how big the theatre is, even small towns can have a 300 seat Opera House.  I never knew the correct destinction before playing the Abbeville Opera House in Abbeville, South Carolina.
In a fund raising event last night the manager and artistic director of the theatre was explaining about his theatre to a group of prospective patrons.  
Michael Geniveve said it is an Opera House when the working area of the stage, including the wings is bigger than the area alloted for the audience.  This is to accomadate the large sets and production of an Opera. I was not a drama history student so I never heard that before.  I guess if something interests you, you never stop learning. 
It is like the difference between a Broadway Show and an Off- Broadway Show. I always thought it had to do with geography but it does not.  It's not how far from Broadway or 42nd street, or even Times Square.  An off Broadway house is a theater that has less than 500 seats.  A Broadway theatre has more than 500 seats. 
The Tony Awards Show is Sunday night on CBS.  I will be experiencing a little dejavu as I once again relive a unique moment in my career.  The arts are the life blood of humanity, the shine on the finish of compasion.  It is so easy to cut the budgets of arts programs in schools because the value in arts is a silent knowledge. It comes into use when you live the facts you have learned in school.  Maybe if kids have a chance to find an outlet in creativity there will be fewer who think their only alternative is to take a gun to class. Support the arts, go to the theatre, see a play, experience a musical, feed your soul. 
And to my friend Neal Patrick Harris.... break a leg and have your speech ready,
As you were,

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Last Beer

My flight to Greenville was cancelled out of New York JFK thirty minutes before we were supposed to leave.  It is Murphy's law that states, "The probability of having a flight cancelled is directly porportional to how early you arrive at the airport."  So after a couple of hours at JFK,  they sent me to LaGuardia for a flight to Cleveland connecting to Greenville.  
The layover in Cleveland was more than an hour and the gates were next to each other.  I was looking for a place to hang and there was an airport bar between my two gates.  It was a Gordon Biersch Brewery/Restaurant. 
They had free wifi and a full line of beers on tap. It seemed my day was getting better and better after the cancellation. 
Steve, the bartender came up to me and said, "What will you have?"  I picked some obscure brew from the long list on the menu. He said, "Sorry we don't have that." I asked for another and he said they didn't have that either. In fact he said that he only had two kinds of beers available. Before I could comprehend that statement he said, "We have a limited selection, because we are closing... this is our last day. Actually we only have two beers available."  At first I thought, no wonder you are closing if you only stock two of the 32 beers that you have on the menu.
I asked if the bar was changing companies and he said, "No, they are closing this entire terminal. " All the vendors are gone after today. Everyone is out of work tomorrow."
I said to Steve.."How long have you worked here?" 
He said, "Since 1981." 
My attitude sank a little as I added up the years Steve had been the keeper of the bar here at Hopkins International Airport. There was a real sadness to the rest of the staff as they tried to pretend it was just another day.
"Where will you go after this job?" I asked Steve.  
"I'm not sure. This has been my job for so long. I am so near retirement I thought I would be here till then."
With that information I immediately starting writing this blog.  Steve came up to me and said, "Another." I said I had to catch my flight and needed to pay the check.  I was upset I didn't have more time to complete this post.  Just as I was about to pay my bill my smart phone dinged.  "Your flight to Greenville has been delayed."  I said, "Steve, hold on... I think I can have one more before you close. My flight has been delayed."  Steve's eyes lit up..  "Delayed?" he said, "That is great. This means we will get more more people in here."
He got my beer as I walked across the terminal to see what was up with my flight.  The agent said they were fixing the plane and check back every 20 minutes because "you can not hear my announcements in the Gordon Biersch Brewery."  (How did he know that was my new office.)
There were several other businessmen who were delayed by the mechanical problems as well.  I said to them,
"This is the last night for the Bar right over there.... you have to come in and celebrate."  In a thick mid-eastern accent they said, "We will." 
I would love to say that the bar filled up but only 4 or 5 new people came in.  I don't know when the normal closing time for the bar might be but I know  we are getting close. 
"How about a shot?" Says Steve.
"Sure" says me. 
Of course they have a limited selection of shots since the bar is closing. Steve says he likes Jeagermiester. I say I never liked that but we found an acceptable substitute.  He says "I wish I could have a shot with you...but I'm still working." Even in the final hours he would no break the rules.
Just as he delivers the shot and I am ready to sing "The party is over"  the agent from the gate walks to the edge of the bar and says, "The plane is here and we are going to Greenville."
 I quickly get the check from Steve and try to express the strange emotions I feel for his job and his career coming to an end. I hand him a credit card because I am low on cash. The bill comes to $6.42, I say, "Really."
He says "Yeah".  I signed the credit card voucher and gave him a cash tip that  was much greater than the  bill and hustled to my plane. 
And with that I am off to South Carolina, knowing that I have been a part of a major event that I was not invited to, but got to celebrate none the less.
Isn't life full of surprises like that ?
Yep, that's why they call it life.
As you were, 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tony Season

Jamie deRoy was one of the producers of "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only", and she also produces a cabaret show in New York on a regular basis entitled "Jamie deRoy and Friends".  I am proud to say that I am one of Jamie's friends. After hanging out in  New York with Jamie  for three days it is hard to find anyone who is NOT Jamie's friend.
On Monday night Jamie's show was a "Celebration of Tony Award Winners" and I was honored to be one of the Tony Award winning participants.  I was in very talented company. Other than my friend Ron Able, who was the musical director for the show, the only other performer I knew was Rick Lyon. 
Rick and I met years ago at an airport baggage claim waiting for our puppet partners to arrive. It is a bonding experience that only puppeteers can truly understand.  We remained friends and evetually ended up on Broadway together. Rick was creator and master puppeteer for Avenue Q playing three theaters down from us that season.
In Jamie's Show Rick performed the character Nicky with Jennifer Barnhart as Kate Monster. Later they took the stage as the iconic Bad News Bears (my personal favorite characters from Q).  
Adriane Lenox belted out some Pearl Baileyesque numbers and Karen Ziemba stopped the room with her Tony Award winning voice.
Then Richard Maltby, Jr. sang a song written for a show he called "the worst idea in show business". The show may not have made it to the footlights but the Maltby and Shire song is hysterical.  It was hard not to gush around Richard Maltby.  I am a huge fan of Richard's work, and I told him that if I have an audition song it is "I don't Remember Christmas" which he wrote. It is a song about a person finally getting over a broken relationship.  Richard suggested that I have Bob sing the song to me.  It is a very funny idea and I told him that I would work it up and do it for him some day.  
Jamie kept the entire show moving with charm and grace as the perfect hostess.  She sang a funny twist on a Sound of Music tune,  a more up to date version of 16 going on 17... "60 going on 70".
The next day we attended a charactature unveiling at Sardi's for Fran Drescher who is currently in Cinderella.  After her ceremony we asked the bartender where my charactature was, he actually knew.  He said, "Oh Yeah the ventriloquist.  It is down in the main room on the east wall." That was a couple of floors down from the presentation so we went down to visit it.  I am honored that they still have it in the main dining room but my actor's inscurity makes me think there is some other reason.  Jamie agreed that it looks like Bob but doesn't much look like me.  They probably keep it in the main room because they think it is John Tesh and Bob.
Today I am trying to get to South Carolina.  My early morning flight was cancelled at JFK. I was rerouted to Cleveland and then to Greenville out of Laguardia.  I think it has been a decade since I was at Laguardia. But with this five hour delay... I am soaking it in now.
As you were,

Sunday, June 01, 2014

New York, New York

I suppose if I had a novel to write or a script assignment I would like to be in some exotic place. Some cabana on the beach or some cabin on the mountain would be great to find some isolation to write,  a place where concentration is really important. For projects like that you need to have calming and bucolic images to look at.
But so far that is not the kind of writing I do most often.  Mostly I am just living life and trying to explain it to myself within the limitation of words. For that kind of writing I can't think of anyplace better to be than New York City.
I started this blog while living in New York City.  I found that New York was a constant source of inspiration.  All one needs do is get out onto the street.  Suddenly this stream of humanity is passing by close enough to smell. The energy of that experience can amuse, insult, horrify or mystify but never fails to inspire.  New York inhabitants are just in your face. At any given hour of the day or night there are crowds, hoards, throngs of New Yorkers going about their hurried lives unaware that anyone is watching, or at most uncaring that they are being observed by a curious ventriloquist who likes to write.
Like this morning for example.  I was at the corner of 57th and 7th ready to cross the street.  The pedestrian light was down to three seconds. There was a large truck half way into the crossing. I looked at the light, considered the truck and decided not to cross.  At just that moment two tough looking guys on the other side of the street make the opposite decision and cross. But they don't rush they stroll like they have all day. Evidently they took notice of my hesitation and say loudly, "Oh come on you had three seconds."  Welcome back to New York. 
A block away I run smack into a tourist who is not paying attention to where she was going.  Rather she is looking skyward with ear buds on narrating a skype video tour of Times Square on her iPhone. 
Yesterday I walked around my old neighborhood Mid town.  I passed by the David Letterman theatre at the corner of 7th and "Senor Winches Way".  Since Letterman used to be the Ed Sullivan Theatre they named that section of 50-something after that frequent ventriloqual guest of the Sullivan show. 
I will do a tribute show to the Tony Awards tonight and then be off to North Carolina. Big happenings there as a theatre troupe is doing a staged reading of a play I co-wrote with my partner. It will be very interesting to hear other voices speak those lines for a change. I am getting tired of the ones in my head.
Okay. Time for another session of inspiration, so I shall leave Starbucks at 51st and Broadway to wonder the busy streets. Tune in tomorrow for that event.
As you were,