It’s been an odd week, and Monday and Tuesday nights I had dreams in which I was performing. Don’t worry: I’m not going to use this blog for self-analysis. But I guess what’s on my mind (day and night; night and day) is that when you’re a musical theatre writer, there are times you have to do things that aren’t writing.
Such as performing. You can be like so many people who say “I can’t sing. I’ve a voice that could stop a clock” but too bad: you have to sing. At some point, you’re going to have to communicate what the singer is supposed to do. This week, I was in a recording studio, ostensibly to lay down an accompaniment track. The singer hadn’t yet learned the song, so I was asked to provide a vocal track. Eventually, the singer will add his voice, and the wizard of an engineer exclaimed, more than once “I can’t wait to orchestrate this.” And he’ll do that through the magic of software.
Yesterday, at a rehearsal for a benefit, I had to sing half of a duet because one of my singers wasn’t present. A friend stood in for the missing player, miming as I sang, so that the number could be lit. The director and tech person couldn’t have gotten the idea of what the song should sound like without me.
My participation in the benefit involved rehearsing two of my duets. I chose the performers; there was no director. The fund-raiser was for Artistic New Directions, a company that helps shows to happen; they’d sponsored the 2006 private reading of Such Good Friends. As I left the stage, I got a broad appreciative smile from Karen Ziemba. One of the tasks of a writer is to get your work out there, to let the world know you exist, and I’ve never been particularly good at this task.
Which brings to mind Gilbert & Sullivan (the fathers of us all):
If you wish in this world to advance…
You must blow your own trumpet
Or, trust me, you haven’t a chance