Tag Archives: musical theater

Just a quick hi!

I’m just popping in to regale you with a few photos!

As loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, I am now under a SUPER tight deadline to revise my one-act theatrical version of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story by September 17th, when I must speed mightily toward the great State of New York in my tiny Honda Fit, in order to see Sandra Caldwell on the opening night of her new play, and hand her the revised script of the above-mentioned Tell My Bones.

In short, I have little time for posting to the blog right now!

However…. Photos have come into my life this week that I must share!

First and foremost, a couple of really high-quality digital photos of some of Helen LaFrance’s paintings that will be in my play, Tell My Bones. Be sure to click on them so that you can enlarge them and see the astounding detail that her paintings are famous for.

Canning Peaches by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University
Pete’s Place by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University

Next! Some cats on my bed yesterday!!

Clockwise from top left: Tommy, Huckleberry, Daddycakes, Doris, Weenie, Lucie. (I love the dramatic pose taken by Daddycakes here! Click to enlarge.)

Next! Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I once had an ideal patio here in the Hinterlands; a patio that filled me with bliss, which was sweetly appointed with numerous pots of impatiens that a lovely deer and her equally-lovely fawns decimated in early July…

I then moved all the flower pots to my front patio, since it is closer to the house and I didn’t think the deer would be likely to come up so close to a human dwelling place… [Dramatic foreshadowing –Editor]

The impatiens rebounded with gusto and were once again blooming like mad, even though I rarely hang out on my front patio and enjoy them!

Several days ago, a bunny rabbit happened along during the night and made good progress with devouring one of the pots of impatiens that was lower to the ground. Then, this past Wednesday morning, I awoke to discover that the deer had returned! WOW, did they do a good job of getting rid of my pesky impatiens!!  (Click below to get a close-up view of some of the carnage!)

Three of the 8 impatiens planters after the deer.

Honestly, though, I don’t really care that much. I thought it was really funny when I looked out the huge picture window early Wednesday morning and saw what was left of my beautiful flowers. And this was after having watered all the flowers the evening before, marveling at how fully the plants had recovered and at all their many riotous blooms… My only lament that morning was that I didn’t get to see how cute the deer were, munching away leisurely until every blossom was gone!

I will keep watering the plants and they will likely bloom again before any frost comes, a few months from now. But now that I know I have to move away, I am emotionally detaching myself from this lovely place and nothing means quite as much as it did only a few weeks ago, when I thought I would be able to stay here indefinitely.

I also completely detached myself emotionally from my back patio. Not only because I had moved all the pretty flowers to the front of the house, but more because I kept asking people around here to come over and hang out on my cool back patio and have a beer and watch the fireflies and the stars come out, and absolutely no one accepted my invitation! It just got very sad and lonely and frustrating. Once the many melodious robins had moved on and the fireflies burned out and the intense humidity came along with the mosquitoes, I stopped spending my evenings outdoors and now I only go out to water the plants in the evening. And I dream of my next heavenly abode.

But it’s all good, gang, because better things are truly on my horizon. Another move to some awesome place does indeed loom large. And I’m sure I’ll make new friends somewhere, somehow, some way!! After all, I’m not dead yet!

All righty. Gotta scoot! Deadlines also loom large on my horizon! Hope you have a terrific weekend planned, wherever you are on the planet! Thanks for visiting. (Oh, and enjoy the upcoming Great American Solar Eclipse, New Moon, and various trining planets! I’ll be participating in some sort of world-wide meditation, as usual.) Okay. See ya!

Watson’s General Store by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University.
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Requiem for a Comet

Gang, I simply cannot believe that Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 is being forced to close Labor Day weekend.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog know just how excited I’ve been about getting into NYC to see this show. I had not even had time to post here yet that I had indeed managed to get a ticket for the Sept. 19th show (with much help from my ex-husband, Wayne Lewis) when I go briefly to NYC for Sandra’s opening in Charm, at the MCC Theater.

I had my prized ticket all of 24 hours before they announced that the show would indeed close.

I will not go into why the show has to close. If you are not already aware of everything that coalesced to bring this sudden ending to an unbelievable production, you can google it.

So sad. So disheartening.

The thing about theater, especially the amazing production of a Broadway show — once it closes there is simply no recapturing it. It’s not like a movie, or a TV show or anything you can stream forever.

All right.

If you are a writer, or an artist of any kind, you should head over to the Copyright Alliance website, where I answer 5 questions about the importance of copyrights and my long, illustrious writing career! I did the Q&A several months ago, so I don’t really remember what I said, but I’m guessing it was super lofty!

Seriously, though, if you are a creator, you need to understand the importance of protecting your copyrights, so check it out.

I am almost done with the rewrites of my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV Pilot. I alerted the head of production in L.A. that I should have the new draft to him by the end of this week! (I’m not sure if I’m crazy or not, but I feel pretty sure that I can actually achieve what I’ve promised. By Friday, we’ll all know for certain.)

And did you see that full moon last night??!! Wasn’t it spectacular? I was participating in a world-wide guided meditation last night (online), because there was an auspicious alignment of the star Sirius, the Orion constellation, and the forming of a Lion’s Gate over the pyramids at Giza in Egypt, along with the full moon and a lunar eclipse. It was quite an amazing meditation. (You can google 888 Lion’s Gate Meditation for all the various events that went on and what it meant.)

I have to say, it really was an incredibly powerful meditation for me. Or should I say, I was very deeply into it? And when the meditation was coming to a close, what to my wondering ears should appear, but the loudest train whistle ever. It felt like the train was getting ready to pass through my bedroom! Loyal readers of this lofty blog know how much I love trains and the sound of train whistles. So I took this as a sign that the Universe was chiming in on that amazing meditation.

My cats, however…. Man.  At the absolute very moment the meditation was beginning, they got into a truly horrific cat fight. They have never done that before. It was not only alarming, but they brought it right into my bedroom, under the bed I was beginning the meditation on. It was really too weird. But eventually they settled down.

On other somewhat disturbing fronts… Turns out, I have to move again. This house I’m renting is going up for sale and I cannot afford to buy it. (That is putting it really, really mildly!) I’m going to stay here in the Hinterlands, though, because I love it here!  I have been so happy, for the first time in my life. I mean, really, really peacefully happy. (Except of course for Bunny dying the moment I got here…)

Bunny by Val in Brooklyn

I’m trying to look on the upcoming move as an incredible new adventure. Finally, I will be able to settle down and unpack all the boxes that contain 95% of my life…

Okay. Gotta scoot. I have a ton of re-writes to do around here today!! (Although, I must add that I am really, really happy with how it is all turning out.)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are. Let’s close with this, okay, gang?  Watch it — it only lasts about 1 minute. You will be amazed that this spectacular show is actually closing, in less than 1 year on Broadway and after 12 Tony nominations. Okay. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

It’s all about the coffee!!

I used to know HTML with my eyes closed. I used to know how to build entire web pages, including sourcing images, colors, fonts, links, anchored text, etc., by simply tippy-tapping away on my mammoth desktop keyboard. Out it would all come, no additional code needed. Even Java Scripting was only just getting underway back then.

Of course, this was in the era of the Flintstones; back in the Stone Age of the late 1990s, when the mystical World Wide Web was just beginning. Back when Google wasn’t even around, Yahoo was just getting started, and we searched with things like Alta Vista and Lycos.

But now that most things online have become convenient, user-friendly templates, with no HTML knowledge needed, trying to get a template to do anything even slightly different from what it was meant to do, has become stupidly complicated.

I just spent the past 2 hours trying to get an image on the Buy Me A Cup of Coffee page (in the header bar above) to redirect to an outside page.

It should have been simple as pie: Insert a small bit of HTML into the pre-programmed code at the proper place, close the HTML and then, voila! New page! But au contraire. It led only to emptiness and consternation. So, 2 hours later, I settled for an even older-fashioned text link and was done with it! Now there is simply a leading-nowhere image on the page that looks just like this:

Yes, at long last, I have joined a crowdfunding site! 

Ostensibly, you can now easily buy me a cup of coffee — with the help of Ko-fi.com. However, you can also, in the grander scheme of things, contribute to the many coffees I will buy on my increasingly frequent trips to New York City to work on my many theater projects with Sandra Caldwell.

I want to thank my colleague in Oakland, CA., Lori Selke, for inadvertently pointing me in the direction of a crowdfunding site made for buying me cups of coffee.  I subscribe to her really wonderful Earworm of the Month Club (a free monthly article about culture that is generally tied to music in some way), and I saw just how easy it was to buy her a cup of coffee!

What a terrific idea, I thought to myself. And so, here we are, the following day…

However, because of all this  screwing around with HTML and source codes and other such nonsense for 2 hours, I am now really, really behind in my schedule for re-writes today, so I gotta scoot.

I leave you with this, though. Yes, this is the actual brand of coffee I drink, and have drunk for decades!! I love it, gang!!

The heavenly coffee! New York’s Coffee since 1932.

And when I first moved to New York City, 37 years ago, these shops were all over midtown:

New York coffee of yesteryear! Go in, buy a cup of coffee for mere pennies! Then go on your way!

But no more! Now we need total blog-reading strangers to support our New York-coffee-buying-habit.

All righty, gang! Thanks for visiting! See ya! I’m off to the kitchen for another cup o’ Joe.

Because nothing says successful writer like a good cup of coffee!

Such good things!

Only a ten-day absence this time! Pretty good! (Of course, it’s still nothing like the years & years & years where I blogged every single solitary day, including Sundays & holidays! But onward!)

Okay! Remember that great news I couldn’t discuss in my last post? Well, it is now official and so I can share it.  And I am so happy about it.

Sandra Caldwell, the actress in New York City that I write with/for, has just landed the leading role in Charm, a play by Philip Dawkins. It will be having its Off-Broadway debut as the fall season opener at Manhattan’s MCC Theater beginning Labor Day weekend.

(I’m planning on attending opening night and I’ve already bought a new dress for the occasion — one of those Calvin Klein floral fit & flare dresses that everyone is wearing these days.) (Although I might change my mind at the last minute, since I am usually a plain black sheath-wearing sort of gal… We’ll see if I ultimately opt once more for living in the past, or taking a bold leap into being like everybody else!)

I’m excited about this show for many reasons. One being that Sandra is my friend and this is her return to the New York stage after a long hiatus.  Another reason being that her decision to focus again on stage work was made a couple years ago, wherein she hired me to not only help her with her one-woman musical, but also to be the head writer for her production company, with a focus on theater.

Charm was very well received in Chicago and promises to be a real winner in New York, as well, and it looks additionally promising that the one-woman musical Sandra and I have been working on for several years will get produced and find an off-Broadway stage in New York in the near future.

Even though I was a singer-songwriter for many, many years — in my halcyon days in New York, before switching to full-time fiction writing in the 1990s — theater was always my first love, ever since I was a wee bonnie lassie.

I love all kinds of theater: Jr. High and High School theater; college theater, Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway theater; and even the occasional “go down these dank ancient stairs and enter a clammy, dark, hell-hole abyss theater space” to watch stupifyingly experimental theater where none of the actors even get paid. I love it all.

And even while I’m really excited with the progress I’ve made the last several years with my TV Pilot scripts and TV MOW scripts, theater still excites me, probably even more. So with Sandra’s upcoming success (I know she is going to be superb), will come more and more opportunities to write theater projects for her.

Dare I say that I couldn’t be happier?? (Let us return briefly to the unbridled joy of the American Housewife! If my soul could project onto a screen or perhaps a hologram, it would look like her!)

Well, all righty, gang!!

And in terms of re-writes for my TV Pilot/MOW script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge — I have made great progress in re-thinking the story. Not the plot, not the characters, not the setting; but the story itself and how it gets told. I’ve been re-watching tons of old Midsomer Murders episodes and getting delightfully re-inspired.  Even though graphically violent & angry police procedurals are all “the rage” now (excuse the pun) (and even the more recent Midsomer Murders have gone more in that direction), the older shows, with their intensely quirky characters interest me a lot more and that’s more in keeping with how I envision the Tea Cozy Murder Club characters. So off we go!

Okay, thanks for visiting, gang. And have a wonderful weekend, whatever you wind up doing! I leave you with this little ditty from Mame, it’s a song that I’ve pretty much lived my life by since childhood, come what may!

See ya!

Better late than never!

I know! How many weeks has it been since I last posted here??? (It’s been so long, that I actually don’t know how many weeks it’s been since I last posted here!)

Yes, it’s all about more & more re-writes over here. Some of the best news ever, though, is that the “final” draft of the one-woman musical I’ve been working on with the NYC-based actress, Sandra Caldwell, is finally complete!! After how many years??? (About 3 or 4.)

I put “final” in quotes because this means it is only the final version of the draft we are willing to send out and let other industry people read. I’m sure it will see other drafts before it finally hits the stage. We are extremely excited about this script/play/musical, and even more-better news is on its way, but I can’t discuss it publicly yet.

Stay tuned to this oft-unposted-to blog for all the current news on that un-discussable topic!! Yay! (Seriously, though, it is GREAT news.)

I think I mentioned (many moons ago, when I last posted here), that I am currently taking the Shonda Rhimes TV Writing Masterclass, while I begin the revisions of my TV pilot, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge. That’s partly why I haven’t had much free time to post here. The other part is that I also began re-writing my memoirs for upcoming publication by the gang at  SomethingDark.eu. Too many things needing my complete attention. But it’s all good! For a change…

And to those of you who are loyal readers of this lofty blog — may I say that I actually remembered to make a copy of the first draft of the Tea Cozy Murder Club script BEFORE I began re-writing it!! You have no idea how smart this makes me feel!

In non-writing but extremely exhausting news, I also finally managed (with the help of friends & family) to clear out my self-storage unit over the past weekend, and so now all 95% of my life that was in storage 30 miles away, is now here with me, packed in a quite unwieldy manner in the basement.

So now I can say that I am 100% completely living in the Hinterlands. And still loving it, gang.

But on that happy note, I have to get back to work here. I have one more hour left of my daily writing time, so I need to get back at it.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday wherever it finds you and with whatever you’re doing. (Oh, I also want to go ON RECORD that I firmly support Johnny Depp‘s right to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day.  He earned it, folks.)

Okay! See ya!

(Honestly. You can find everything on the Internet!!)

 

 

 

What a relief!

Finally, last night — just mere moments before the airing of the newest episode of Riverdale on the CW — I finished my revisions of Act One of Cleveland’s Burning.

I think I’m happy with it, but I’ll know better once I go over it again here this morning. Last night, however, I was extremely happy with it.

As an aside, I want to say that I really loved how, at least for now, they’ve done away with the pesky problem of pedophilia in Riverdale [Spoiler Aert!!] by simply forcing Miss Grundy to leave town… I guess we’ll see how that pans out. (And, you know, back in the day when I was in high school, they never asked heterosexual teachers to leave town; they basically just told the teenagers who were sleeping with their teachers to “knock it off.”  Ah, the 70s! Gotta love ’em!) (If you were a gay teacher, however, your life was essentially over and they would have put you on the front page of the newspaper.)

Anyway. Back to the topic of re-writes. It is a strange phenomenon, and one I go through with every single project I write — I know exactly what I want to say, yet getting it onto the page can take, literally, forever. At first, I go merrily along, typing, typing… And then suddenly, I hit an impasse and wonder how on earth to get words onto the page. I don’t know why that happens, but it always does. It’s not as if I suddenly lose my vocabulary, or my sense of how grammar is structured. I can see what the characters are doing. Yet I just can’t get the words out!

It makes me INSANE.

However, I can look at all my completed, published projects (of which I have many), and see the proof there that the condition is always temporary, so I stick with it, grueling as it is.

What tripped me up yesterday was having my character go into a diner and order a cup of coffee at the counter. It felt wrong. At first, I thought it was the counter attendant’s age — so I changed him from a teenager to a 50-year-old. Then I had my character pay for the coffee with a dime. (In 1963, a cup of coffee cost a dime.) Then I had him leave a tip. Then I deleted the tip because it was taking up precious screen time. But then the neighbor girl puts a nickel in the jukebox! Suddenly all this screen time is being “spent,” as it were, on dimes and nickels.  It was really just ridiculous. So I stopped everything and walked away. I flopped down on the bed and read several chapters of Peril At End House, c -1932 by Agatha Christie and all was right with the world again.

So back to the desk I went and I realized that the character is simply at the counter drinking a cup of coffee! For heaven’s sake, just get rid of the counter attendant altogether, along with all the dimes and nickels. And finally, the rest of the scenes came and the act was over! Commercial break time!! Yay.

And last night was a great feeling — to finally finish Act One.

Act One in a one-hour TV drama is the longest chunk. Everything else after this gets shorter and shorter, so I really do feel a great sense of relief. Especially since, this coming Tuesday, a mere 5 days away, the notes for Tea Cozy Murder Club will be coming my way… And the final, final, FINAL edits for the one-woman musical I’m working on with Sandra Caldwell in New York are sitting atop my desk, awaiting my attention…

It’s no wonder I wake-up tired.

Okay!! Have a happy Friday, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! And, as always, thanks for visiting! See ya!

No trick left unturned!! Gotta love it!
No trick left unturned!! Gotta love it!

 

 

Nothing pithy or enlightening today

Just saying hi and letting everyone know I’m adjusting to the new house and to the loss of Bunny, so close on the heels of the loss of Fluffy.

The other cats have adjusted just fine and enjoy gamboling across the wide hardwood floors…(at all hours) (but particularly in the middle of the night)

I love living out here in the bucolic rolling tree-filled hills of non-urban, non-suburban Ohio. I’m not sure my beloved 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium Sedan is as happy as I am, though. I’ve already had about $1500 worth of work done on the car in 2 weeks and also need to invest this coming week in a set of brand new tires… But I’m hoping that will be that for a while and that the car will be around for a lot longer. I’m racking up hundreds of miles  on this poor car, really quickly.  It wasn’t really meant for this kind of tootling around. But so far, so good.

I’m trying to get back on track with my various writing projects. The one-woman musical (Hiding in Plain Sight) with the actress in NY  (Sandra Caldwell) is going superbly!! We are both verging on getting giddy about it. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again — man, these revisions and re-writes and re-focusing stuff takes FOREVER. But… it is worth it.

Next, I get back on track with The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport, illustrated by my friend, Val, in Brooklyn. There have really been a lot of intense challenges in both our lives this whole year, but we are finally feeling able to tackle this project again. I will work on that while I await revision suggestions on the two TV projects I’m tackling with folks in L.A.

Yes, life is good.

Okay, I leave you with what Ive been listening to in my car lately!! Remember Lou Bega? He’s still around. I love Lou Bega. And I love this old song of his from the 90s: I’ve Got A Girlfriend Everywhere. Give it a listen — preferably at top volume, while you’re driving around! And, as always, thanks for visiting, gang!!

See ya!!