The Last Days of Cleopatra
Here it is Wednesday. Sept 16th: I am home.
We: the cast, crew and producers put on two readings of The Last Days of Cleopatra on Monday and Tuesday. I am so happy with everyone’s performance. I cannot imagine that you could see this and not have some sense that it is a viable commercial and artistic piece of work. There were moments of absolute bliss. If you are reading this and you were not there, I can only say that you should never ever miss an opportunity like this again.
Even the after-party was wonderful. Dick Kaufmann treated us all to drinks across the street at Tredeci. I think the only one of our cast who wasn’t able to come was Laura Marie Duncan who had to toddle off to play Nelly Forbush at Lincoln Center. So she had her own enchanted evening. The rest of us stayed to drink and hang on to the Cleo experience as long as possible.
While this was going on I was missing the DC premier of “Coal Country” , Phylis Geller and Mari-Lynn Evans’ stunning documentary. I was truly sorry to miss this. Apparently the crowd was great and the response wonderful. This is the second film by these two talented women that I have scored. The New York premier is on October 20th at Town Hall!!!! whoa. The film will be shown along with a concert by Kathy Mattea, Justin Townes Earle, and others who were featured in the film’s soundtrack. I won’t miss this.
The premier airdate is Oct 24th on Discovery Green.
Last night I met Reggie Marshal at Sweet Rhythm. This old jazz club is in its last week of existence. Sonny Fortune is recording a live cd there for the next few nights. Knowing Reggie allowed me to hang with Sonny for an hour befor the show. What a trip he is! He played wit Elvin, Miles, Cannonball, you name it. And he has the stories. I could have listened to him talk all night. His set- the one I heard- was intense. And I’m pretty sure he was just warming up. His drummer Steve Johns is terrific. Steve has a 13 yr old son named Daryl who has played bass with Sonny. I didn’t hear him. But everyone in the band had and agreed that the kid can really play.
This was the perfect break from the Broadway Bubble I’ve been in. A beautiful unreformed beatnick who sat with us told me she felt sorry for people so square they couldn’t dig Sonny’s sound.
New York is just grand some nights.
Gia Mora, Matt Bogart, Van Hughes, Paul Anthony Stewart
End of the Day On Friday
Paul Anthony Stewart as Montgomery Clift, Matt Bogart as Rock Hudson, and Van Hughes as James Dean. They play characters in Liz’s mind. Quite an amazing leap that Joe has put into this book. We are rehearsing “I Can Do”. The three “imaginary boys” have two songs together. The other is “That’s the Kind of Friend”. In both they have this very funny chemistry. They are ghosts, or figments of her imagination who don’t quite realize they are imaginary. I know that it sounds odd for a musical, but Joe has somehow made this work.
Reggie Marshall is coming to New York tonight to see one of his other clients, Sonny Fortune. I am going to go to Sweet Rhythm (a jazz club here in NYC) to see him with Reggie. Sonny Fortune has been a well know sax player for nearly 50 years. I’m looking forward to this.
Saturday- tomorrow- we also rehearse.
Gia Mora and Clarke Thorell
After Lunch Break
I am watching Steven Skybell and Mark Lotito play Mank and Spyrous. What a hoot! They are like a vaudeville act. Their big number is an eleven O’clock number called “The Way They Should Be Run.“ I hope someday I get to hear this song with a soft-shoe included.
Act II is feeling good. Certainly not enough time in this 29 hour reading to address everything that is screaming for attention. But the cast is so good – top to bottom- that they are able to pull it off.
We are moving on to the last song of Act I “Everything I Want” It sounds huge. Really amazing to hear the amount of volume a roomful of good singers can put out! Gia Mora is sailing out over the chorus just like she should. her chemistry with Clarke is great.