“The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B."
A few weeks ago we found out that Leenya, our Victoria for September, booked a job playing Aldonza in Man of la Mancha out in South Carolina. While it wasn't surprising that someone with Leenya's talent booked a job, it did mean we had to find a replacement for September.
So, while we've been casting kids, working multiple jobs, and prepping for our first public showing of Helen, we have been looking for another Victoria. And, great news--we found one! Joining us this September will be the lovely Erica Schroeder. Erica is the wife of my friend and colleague, Ken Kacmar, a very talented composer. (I won't even tell you about the great rock musical he has in the works based on a Shakepearean play, because it's such a great idea, I'm afraid someone else will steal it. And they better not, because his music is good.) Erica is beautiful, talented, the mother of two of the most beautiful children on the planet, and a Broadway and Off-Broadway veteran. And we are thrilled to have her on board with us.
Something else happened while we were looking for a Victoria. We started to reevaluate our plan for September, which had been to present a full reading of the entire show. With limited rehearsal time, limited funds for rehearsal space and performance space, and knowing the power of leaving something to the imagination, we decided to prepare a one-hour "teaser" of the show. That way, we would be able to put our best foot forward, and actually do two performances in the same day. It would also be much easier to get our young performers on board if they didn't have to miss a day of school.
You know what? It was the absolute right thing to do. There have been so many interesting discoveries since we've made that decision. We realized that we will now be able to give the kid's music the rehearsal time it needs, since it's pretty challenging material. We can continue to fine-tune some of the other scenes and songs we aren't presenting, before they are shown to the masses. We can give people a taste, without giving all the goodies away.
And on Saturday, we did a timed read-through of the "cut" version we created, me with a stop-watch in hand, and realized that what we thought was an hour, was actually almost an hour and a half. So, we happily realized that we've got a nice, solid, one hour and forty-five minute musical on our hands. As we sat and did more cutting to get it down to an hour, the process of distilling our musical to it's absolute essential core really helped me as a writer and dramaturge to determine what needs to be in the play and what doesn't. When you have to decide what is absolutely necessary in order to tell your story in an hour, it's much easier to detect the overwritten parts in scenes or songs that Robby and I have grown attached to, but that aren't essential.
So, I encourage you all to embrace Plan B if you have to...or even if you don't have to. Who knows what great discoveries you might make or what happy accidents may occur if you do. Take it from me, our Plan B definitely turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Just an addendum: Leenya is meeting with us this week to sing through two of Victoria's songs. We could not be more grateful to her for lending us her gorgeous pipes for a few hours. We can't wait to hear her sing our songs!