On Monday, a friend suggested I do EXIT in a warehouse and end it with a dance party. What a great idea – if I had a warehouse and more DJ pals who worked for free. This got me thinking … and by the time I woke up on Tuesday, I hatched a new show idea. Shit! Another show!
So many people in NYC hadn’t seen the Desperately Seeking Susan musical (then again, hardly anyone in London saw it either) and I wanted to present a NYC screening of the London musical, without renting out a theater for 2 hours and 10 minutes. I chatted with a pal about the idea and before I knew it, I had a title: Desperately Screening Susan. I decided to show clips from the musical – musical numbers and book scenes and compare them to the film that inspired it. But why? What was the point of the show? I had no idea; I just knew that I wanted to do it.
I worked on the logo and by Wednesday morning, I booked a date (Valentine’s Day) in the Underground theater at The PIT. I always tell my students that the only way anyone will ever see their show is if they book a space. By securing a theater space you are instantly forced to be accountable to the venue manager and yourself. The show must happen.
So, it was time to watch the rare DVD of the musical. This master shot video was made by the producers as a favor to me while they shot the tight footage for the EPK (Electronic Press Kit). While the quality of the video isn’t perfect, it does give a sense of what the show looked and sounded like. I cringed in a few spots during Act 1 while frantically jotting down notes and ideas and timing numbers. My friend Fritz watched with me, and we wound up talking about the differences and similarities between the movie and the musical, and I determined that Desperately Screening Susan would be about the adaptation process and how the writer of a musical adaptation of a film might use the closeups as songs. How certain scenes have to merge with other scenes to keep the stage action moving. How characters have to be beefed up to justify their songs. How to raise the stakes. How to … the list goes on.
By the time we got to the “interval,” my buddy Fritz informed me that clearly, I already had a two-hour show. NO! I only booked the venue for 70-minutes! And here I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough material.
We watched Act 2 (which I must say is damn near perfect) and picked out a few more scenes and songs. The name “De Palma” was bandied about … using split screen effects to show both versions. Of course. Why not show scenes side by side? Picture in picture? I don’t know. I also don’t know how to do that kind of fancy editing. I don’t if I have time to do all of this. I don’t know if anyone will come to see a show on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if people have $12 to spend. I don’t know if it will be any good. I don’t know an awful lot.
I do know that the show opens in less than 3 weeks. I do think some people will come, as it’s already been blogged about by Blondie and Madonna lovers. I do keep in mind that this is the first time I’m doing it, so it doesn’t have to be perfect and I’ll only learn more about it by doing it and hearing what people have to say. So, I’ll continue to watch the show and the movie and take notes and brush up my iMovie skills and do a whole bunch of editing. And more editing.
The good news is, I have a beginning and an end for the show. And the really good news is that I’m starting something new. And the postcards are ordered. Let’s DO THIS.