Sunday, November 19, 2006


I wish all my readers a joyous Thanksgiving Day.

To celebrate this occasion, I offer you a one-minute, online film from Dove.  Trust me.  You don't want to miss this little number.


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The Hollywood Repertory Theatre's production of A Tale of Two Cities is finishing its second week of a five-week run tonight in North Hollywood, CA. 

Ivy Snitzer, my stage manager, reports that the audiences "really like" the show.  Well, there hasn't been a review posted yet, so I can't give you an unbiased perspective.

The show continues to run at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre during the first two weekends in December.  Both the LA Times and the LA Weekly list the show and its times.

If you'd like to reserve seats, please go to The Charlens Company and click on the Ticket Reservations.

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I've seen the show twice since it began its run:  Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11. 

Although opening night felt like a dress rehearsal, Opening Saturday was incredible.  As I sat there amidst a good-sized audience, I felt as if I were seeing it for the first time.  I was on the edge of my seat.  The cast was dynamite, the set was beautiful and well lit, and the story grabbed me and held me all the way through to the end. 

Apparently, audiences since then have felt the same way.

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NEWS FLASH:  Myron Fink, the composer of my new opera Bloody Ground just informed me that he has finished composing the music.

He completed the entire piece in 2.5 months.

"The script made it easy to write the music," he said.  Myron knows how to make a writer feel good.  

Actually, I credit the process.  Starting in July 2003, Myron and I spent three years creating the story, talking about it on the weekends. 

In March 2006, I wrote an extended treatment at Myron's home in San Diego during my spring break -- Myron and his wife were incredible, supportive hosts.

Then in July 2006 I wrote the first draft of the script at the same place -- it only took me eight days. 

In August 2006, the cast members of Hartland Theatre Company spent two weeks developing and producing a staged reading of the show in Green, Ohio -- including four of the musical pieces. 

After that, Myron and I spent another two weeks of work revising it, and then I handed Myron the finished libretto on August 25, 2006. 

Now it's November 18, and Myron has finished composing the piece.

Congratulations, Myron!  You're an incredible collaborator!

Next step:  to plan an investors meeting -- during which we will present some of the music and the story.  Hopefully, an opera company will take on the piece and develop it as a production.

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As director of A Tale of Two Cities, the bulk of my work is complete.  As is traditional, I'll see the show during the first weekend in December to see how it has developed, to see where I can make cuts in the script next time around, and to make sure it's stayed true to my vision.

My co-writer, Steven Huey, reports that he will be going to see it as well.  I'll be especially interested in what he has to say -- since he'll have the most objective point of view.

It's funny.  Because Steven has stayed out of the rehearsal process, some of my cast members genuinely believe that I've simply invented my co-writer -- pulled a Charlie Kauffman, so to speak.

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Over Thanksgiving week, the theatre will be dark.  The actors get a break.  Theydeserve it.

I dropped over yesterday evening before the show to chat with the actors and take cast pictures (I'll post them when they come in).  I also took them peach cobbler -- homemade, more or less. 

After the cast photo, I told this community of talent how appreciative I am for what they have given to the play that Steven Huey and I adapted.  How grateful I am for the way they have loved Dickens' story -- and brought it to life.

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Tomorrow, I continue to write grades.

On Tuesday, I fly into Cleveland, where a good friend will pick me up at the airport.  During Thanksgiving week, I will spend time with friends and family .  I return to Los Angeles on Saturday morning.

I'll spend part of my week working with the board of directors I am choosing for Hartland Theatre Company.  We will begin shaping our new annual theatre festival -- to be held each summer in Northeastern Ohio. 

Hartland Theatre plans to produce three shows in 2007:  Romeo and Juliet, My Fair Lady, and a new untitled piece on the Amish Shooter that I am currently writing.  Auditions will take place during the last two weeks of December.

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I'll also spend a day with my three brothers, working on the old house of my parents.  They've already moved into their new house which the family built for them.  It's a nice retirement home.

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