Sunday, November 23, 2008

hollywood high

First scene...disney cruise, july...Second day on the boat my son wants to go to the swimming pool on the ninthe deck...We wander up,and realize that the water slide dumps into a quarter inch of water. He does that once,and we wander over to the bigger find it packed...and the forty foot screen is playing Disney's cultural phenom High School Musical. You haven't lived until you have seen two hundred kids splashing to "Stick to the Status Quo"...
Scene 2......Disney Cruise,Miles is at the kids club,and E and I are wandering the huge ship. Wewalk by the theatre(First run movies....because we own them all) and we see they are playing Camp Rock...Camp Rock starring the Jonas Brothers...We sit and watch it,and I realize that it is High School Musical at camp. Suddenly a plan takes place. I am gonna write a high school musical satire.
a satire of the squeaky clean disney drugs,no sex, an alternative teen universe

So I just realized that I had already posted this, whereas usually I keep drafting. But hey, it's all experimental anyway. So, I take this concept to the typewriter..a computer actually, and I start to work it. I have 15 kids and a director, My ex student Lexie Papedo. I could blog about her for days. She's that cool. And so I write. Yes, I sit at the computer and I start to get the whole thing going.
Now, writing for me these days is a series of stops and starts. I can get going enthusiastically and then just fizzle(see 12 blogs and then none, for instance) but things start to move pretty fast. I look at HSM with that parodic(should be a word) eye and I am given all kinds of possibilities. I see big hats at the beginning, I want to create some absurd sport for the stud to becomes badminton. and the songs start to flow. I want the show to stand on it's own, so I am going to write a few anthems that we will repeat. I always want songs to get stuck in peoples heads. It has always been that way with my shows. I always think I would be a good jingle writer. I bang out the first 16 pages...and then we get to work.
From a producer's standpoint this is box office poison. 15 kids don't bring in a lot of revenue, and we ,welcome to the world at the end of the Bush Admin, are hurting big time. But the show is gonna be fun, right?
We get the rest of the script nailed down and then we just work. 6 dance numbers,12 musical numbers in all. Lexie, Choreographer/actor Lily Housh and I just chipping away.
And the show is ready to open. Kids don't know all their lines quite, but we are getting there. Lexie and I are sure we will have 35 non laughing people. Our theatre opens and we go people start coming in....130 people later, we start. Great house for a tuesday night....and people love it. The strangest part of it is the show kinda takes a life of it's own. It is not a rip job on High School Musical, but rather a really funny high school of it's own....People who loved HSM loved it, people who Hated HSM<...loved it.
And I realize that the world of high school musical, somewhat sanitized, is not a bad place to dwell. The world of musicals brings people to a happy place. It represents an optomistic view that we maybe need at this moment in time.
And the small crowds? We sold out two nights of four.

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