Songs in Your Head: The Unintended Consequence of Producing a Musical

It sounded like a great idea in the abstract. A musical, I said. How fun will that be! A blast!

Let me choose one. Hmmm, I want one which would have cross-divisional appeal at our school. One in which, for example, if I didn’t get a lot of high schoolers auditioning, then I could still cast the roles using younger kids.

Okay, what about Seussical – the Broadway smash from 2000 with catchy tunes and colorful Dr. Seuss characters? Perfect. Let’s do it!

I finished casting the show two weeks ago and last week was our first week of full rehearsals. They’ve gone great, actually. Lots of fun, good excitement among the 20 student actors, and real progress. I have been pleased.

All’s good, right?

Well, I have run into one problem, the unintended, yet very real consequences of producing a musical, and that is this: I CAN’T GET THE BLASTED SONGS OUT OF HEAD! EVER! THEY HAVE TAKEN UP PERMANENT RESIDENCE.

I’m standing in line at the grocery store: “On the fifteen of May in the jungle of Nool …” I’m sorry, say that again. How much do I owe you?

My wife is talking to me about hanging the curtains in the house. “… when Horton the Elephant heard a small noise …”   I’m sorry, dear. How high do you want those hung?

These composer have created a hypnotic group of songs. No matter what I’m doing, where I go, or whom I am talking to, the voice of the Cat in the Hat is not far behind.

And here is the harshest of all harsh realizations: the show isn’t finished until December 13. I have two and half more months.

Now I have a question for you? “Who is the biggest blame fool in the jungle of Nool?”

I am. That would be me.


Jumping Deep into My Next Musical

I’m producing and directing an original musical entitled “A Tad of Trouble.”  I originally wrote the book and music to it back in 2008 with a group of students. We produced it in 2009 to very favorable reviews. For the past couple of years, I’ve been wanting to re-do it. To make it better. To make it even more of musical. Well, now we are.

I re-wrote the book last fall, completely changing some parts for the better and fixing some glaring plot holes that we missed the first time around. Hey, I was inexperienced back then. The book is much more vibrant and punchy this time around. It’s a lot of fun. Here’s the synopsis:

A troubled, mute boy, Tad, is sent away with a traveling salesman by his father in hopes of teaching him how to be a man. The salesman turns out to be Obediah Clementine, the evilest and cleverest con man around, pulling Tad deeper into the underworld of mid-America 1903. The con man and his apprentice are followed around by their guardian angels, Olivia the optimist – Zander the pessimist, who philosophize of life and redemption. Zander bets Olivia that Tad will never turn around. One day, as Olivia is singing, she discovers that Tad had heard her. She gives Tad the following proposition: she’ll give him the voice of song if he is willing to write the wrongs. But will Tad be able to re-lease himself from the grip of the master con-man, Obediah.

There’s a lot to love about this script. In act two, Tad only sings everything, making many of the scenes ridiculous and hilarious. There’s some wonderfully vivid characters, including the tom-boy, Temperance who chews tobacco and hates everything girly – much to the chagrin of her uncle, the marshal. It’s a wonderful story of redemption, second chances, and learning how to turn one’s life around. But it’s not preachy or predictable. Not at all. I wouldn’t allow that. It’s fresh, fun, and meaningful.

We have a huge group of people working on it. Check out some of the numbers:

14 actors

5 dancers

10 singers

10 set designers

8 other theatre art students who will be involved in various tasks

6 composers and arrangers

1 choreographer

1 vocal director

1 director

It’s opening in May at the Penang Performing Arts Centre. I hope you’ll be in town for this special production.

I know I’m having a blast producing it.