“A Tad of Trouble” – Less than two months away!

Below is the first flyer for our new production of our old musical play, “A Tad  of Trouble.” This one keeps the original artwork done by Sophie Shin back in 2009. The picture is of the mute boy, Tad, being symbolically muted by the crooked traveling salesman, Obediah. It’s a really fun story with some great original songs. It’s been greatly expanded since it’s first run in 2009. It’s now a full-fledged musical with a cast of 29 including singers and dancers. It’s going to be a ton of fun, but it’s also going to be a lot of work.  But you know what they say, when you love it, it’s not really work.

The countdown is on. Less than two months.

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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.

The “Boardwalk Melody” Story through Photos

“Boardwalk Melody” – An Original Musical

The Story in Photos:

Frederick, the fisherman, has been chasing Minnie, the ice cream lady, for years. I think she secretly has a crush on him, but she’s most definitely playing hard to get.

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Benedict (blue) works in his aunt Gert’s tourist agency. Gert has hired two girl-crazy teens for the summer. She most definitely regrets it. Rosie (blue) also works there, but the term “work” must be used loosely because she wants nothing more than to be Benedict’s girlfriend. Benedict is not amused.

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Enter Amelia, and her two disciples. She rents a space next to the tourist agency for the intention of opening a revolutionary swimwear store. The prospect of such a shop gets Perry and Tony quite excited.

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Amelia’s conservative feminism comes into an immediate clash with Benedict – prompting him to sing a song accusing her of being a follower of Chairman Mao. Amelia sings in reply that he an ego as big as Lincoln of Rushmore. (It’s a fun song, really.)

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When Frederick sees Amelia and Benedict fighting, he gets an idea. He bets Minnie that he can make those two fall in love. They make a wager where if Frederick wins, Minnie agrees to go on a real date with him. If he loses, he’s never allowed to tie his boat on this pier again. The game is on. Let the plotting and scheming begin. JStef-17Apr2014-7154

 

But every show needs a villain, so in walks billionaire developer Cornelius Summers who intends to raze the shops on the boardwalk and build a casino. Margaret, his fiance and soon to be 6th wife comes in tow. And there might even be a strange connection with Amelia here. Could she really be in on his scheme too?JStef-17Apr2014-7121

Cornelius and his future casino girls perhaps?JStef-17Apr2014-7114

Of course, we have some wonderful dancers who just make everything amazingly amazing. JStef-17Apr2014-7178

 

Fifteen original songs. Seven choreographed dance numbers. Nineteen amazing young actors.

“Boardwalk Melody – An Original Musical.”

Opens Friday May 23 @ Penang Performing Arts Centre.

An Indie-Author-Drama-Director Wannabe

I love writing.

No secret there. I love crafting stories, but I also love writing plays.

And then I love producing those plays and bringing them to the stage.

I have no business being a drama director. I have had no formal training in theatre and don’t pretend to know much.

But experience is quite a good teacher.

I have had the distinct privilege to find myself in a position where I not only get to write plays and musicals and whatever I like, but I, simply by the fact that I was in the right place at the right time and said “yes”, also get to bring them to light with a wonderful group of talented actors.

They deserve better than me; that’s for sure.

But I’ve never let a lack of credentials stop me from doing what I love. And as I have said, there is something to be said for experience.

I am now only three weeks away from producing and directing my eleventh full-length theatrical production which I have either written or co-written.

My, how we improve! And learn. And grow. And make mistakes.

But it is the process which makes it all worth it. It’s the smiling faces on the actors, the laughs we elicit from each other during rehearsal, and ultimately the buzz that I hear from them when I crack the curtain and check in on them during intermission. There truly is nothing like the theatre to stand your nerves on end and to elicit emotional responses which you never would have expected.

Theatre is a mirror into our lives, and I cherish every minute I get to spend writing, producing, and rehearsing with this amazing group of kids.

There is a long way yet for me to go, but I’m so happy how far I’ve already come. I never want to stop learning, and I hope no matter where I go from here in the future that the theatre will always be apart of my life.

Twenty-two days until the world premiere of “Boardwalk Melody: An Original Musical.”

I simply can’t wait.

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