The time has come, dear friends, for me to suspend weekly additions to this blog. I’ve always worried that jotting down these musings would eat up time that I’d otherwise be spending writing musicals, and it seems the tipping point has been reached. Six months ago, I set myself a deadline for completing a draft of a show, and it’s still not anywhere close to cooked. When I ask myself why, I answer, “I haven’t had the time” and yet I’ve had the time to put up a new entry here every five or six days. What’s wrong with this picture?
This is my 247th post, and the average length is 1000 words. So, from one perspective, I’ve written an entire book on musical theatre writing – a rather long one, in fact – with over 500 illustrations. When you click those, you’re led to a new window – usually a video, sometimes an audio: those are my Easter Eggs. For anyone who misses regular new posts, I suggest you go back and read some old posts. I started this in the fall of 2010, and I doubt anyone remembers them so well that a re-read would produce any déjà vu. I realize that there’s no organization to these musings – in this the blog is very much unlike a book. I’m not too good with the tagging/filed under thing. What happens is, every week, I’m inspired to muse on a different topic. Sometimes, it’s a review of a show I’ve seen. Sometimes, I’m rehearsing something that will provoke a post. When my shows are produced, it’s prime time to say something about the process that led to their creation. And I try to acknowledge the major anniversaries of my fourteen shows, as well as the deaths of my heroes. Which makes me think I’ll come back on with obituaries – so many of my favorite musical theatre writers are well beyond 80 – but that’s not a pleasant thought, a pleasurable way to use this blog.
For a long time, I’ve followed conversations about musicals on-line. It’s likely one of those will be on a topic I’ve already commented on, so, instead of creating a comment, I might simply post a link. And there’s a certain amount of blog maintenance I’ll continue to do. Links and, often, images, go “dead” because the site originally posting the content has evaporated. Here in my sixth month living in the suburbs, father of a precocious two-year-old, I find I can’t make it to the theatre nearly as often as I once could. And the new musicals I see, even readings, are likely to inspire posts. But that brings up a different existential issue:
Have I said it all? Have I jotted down everything I can think of to say about how musicals are made? I’m limited in what I can say here in two basic ways: One has to do with music theory. You readers may know a lot about the subject, or next-to-nothing. If I go into too much detail about chord sequences, accompaniment figures, orchestration and the like, I’m likely to lose you. I actually think of myself as someone who knows far too little about theory myself; when I post about music, I can hear the clucking tongues of the many who know more.
The other has to do with naming names. Some writers write badly. Some musical theatre people do bad things. From time to time, I’ve been treated fairly shabbily by some of the most famous names in our business. But I’m constrained: I don’t want to use a public forum to badmouth folks, even if they deserve it. And you never know who you’ll end up working with tomorrow, or who your wife will. There are stories you’ll tell to a trusted friend that you just don’t tell to you, the anonymous masses who read this blog. I’m reminded that someone I worked very closely with died and I thought I’d write up a couple of my favorite stories about him. They’re very funny stories, but they don’t show the deceased in a positive light. Now I’ve gotten closer to a relative of his, and a portrait of the late-but-not-so-great, well, it never seems like the right time to put that up.
But you never know. This isn’t goodbye. You never know when I’ll feel an unbeatable compulsion to write about something here. You just can’t look forward to the stalwart regularity I’ve stuck to for over two and a half years. Until we meet again!