Tag Archives: leicester square theatre

London Called!

disaster

Well, I’ve been back in the States for almost 4 weeks since the end of the 4-week run of Desperately Seeking the Exit in London – and it feels like it all happened yesterday. Apologies for the delay in blogging about the London run, but since I returned I had two new shows opening that I directed – one at Ars Nova and one in Los Angeles. Good times!

Joan & Pete; together again.

Joan & Pete; together again.

It was a thrill to perform at the lovely Leicester Square Theatre every night for four weeks (at the same time as Joan Collins); plus two shows in Brighton as part of the Brighton Fringe. Many shows were packed, many not so much; but each audience brought so much to the show which continues to change and grow. We had celebs there, former cast & crew members who participated in post-show talk-backs, gossip-hungry theatre people, and regular folks out for a good time. The talk-backs went so well and people wanted to know so much more, that I added a Q&A at every performance. This will also be a part of the show when it returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this August.

Original DSS cast & crew at opening night party.

Original DSS cast & crew at opening night party.

The show received excellent reviews in London and Brighton, but we learned that 4 & 5-star reviews in Edinburgh translate to 3-star reviews in London. Still, we got tons of pull quotes, lots of press, and a bunch of radio interviews. EXIT continues to be a show that people like to talk about. (see reviews here)

I saw a bunch of fabulous West End shows including One Man, Two Guvnors (starring Kelly Price who played Roberta in SUSAN), A Chorus Line (starring Victoria Hamilton-Barritt who played Maria in SUSAN) and The Bodyguard (another jukebox/movie mashup). In between teaching my Flying Solo classes at the Actor’s Centre, I met up with many old mates, had brunch at Sir Ian McKellen’s house(!), and had many meetings about the future of EXIT. One of the most exciting developments was with a UK publisher who wants to turn the show into a book which would trace the story of the making and unmaking of the musical as well as the story of EXIT.  We hope that this unconventional book will work both as an entertaining journal and as an educational tool. The format will be quite unique and I can’t wait to get started on it.

The London run was certainly a once in a lifetime experience. When EXIT was hatched 18 months ago, I never dreamed that the show would play for a month in London. The story has really come full circle. I’m grateful for my producer Kat Portman who was with me every step of the way and continues to be a champion of the show. My UK publicist, Ann-Marie Baptiste, worked tirelessly to get press for the show. The Spice Girls musical announced its closing while I was there, so all these papers were calling me to get quotes about my “take” on a jukebox musical closing early. Crazy! Oh, I saw that show too and I can see why it closed early. : (

photo credit : David Rodgers

photo credit : David Rodgers

Prepping now for the return to Edinburgh this August. The show will be a bit different from the run last summer as it now has the Q&A, new stories and a pre-show video. We are also in a different venue called The Counting House which is in a much better location than last years’ venue. And again it’s pay-what-you-want. The show is at 6:15 every night for the whole month, save two Monday nights where I can get some rest and see other shows. Quite a few Yank mates are going this year and I’m ready to rock it. This year there are over 2,800 shows at the Fringe! So I am doing more flyering and postering, placing some ads, and creating a huge media event called the Critical Mass Tomato Toss where fellow performers who’ve gotten sour reviews can toss spoiled veggies at large photos of the critics. This outdoor event will certainly get some press and we hope it erupts into a huge food fight. Stay tuned!

beefeater

Thanks again for all of your support. If you’re feeing philanthropic and want a tax write-off, please consider donating to the shows’ Fractured Atlas campaign. Your Yankee dollars will help pay for posters, ads, flyers, food and lodging. And it’s all tax-deductible.

See you in the UK, soon!

xo Pete

 

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G’day, Australia! Cheerio, London!

Just finished a 2-week run of the show at the Adelaide Fringe, which is the largest Fringe festival in the Southern hemisphere – hosting over 900 shows from all over the world. It was hot as hell (average temp 103) and the city was bustling with a number of other festivals. Getting the word out seemed easy at first, as I did several radio interviews from the States at the ungodly hour of 6AM (time difference is 27.5 hours ahead in Oz). But getting the word out there was more of a challenge as there was just so much going on in Adelaide. It’s a busy city in the summertime. And did I mention HOT? But such a beautiful part of the world – even if it takes about 28 hours to fly there. Don’t get me started.

Austral Hotel where the show was.

When I arrived at the show’s venue The Austral Hotel, the show posters and flyers were all over the place. Note: A “hotel” in Oz is simply a bar with more than one floor. No one stays there unless they pass out in the bathroom. Which is entirely possible at this very popular bar on the main drag of the city called the Rundle Mall. I thought with all of the foot traffic and posters that EXIT would be packed every night. And it was. For the first 5 nights. Then the 4 & 5 star reviews started coming out, and less people came in. Weird! Sometimes I played for 6 people; sometimes 50. But mostly, under 10. Which was a disappointment. Then when the festival was over, the show was named BEST COMEDY by the big paper there, The Advertiser. WTF?!

BEST COMEDY ADL FRINGE!

I met some amazing artists and saw brilliant work. Every show was a chance to refine the material as I readied EXIT for the next stop – LONDON. I discovered new bits, new moments, and new ways to connect with the audience to keep the show fresh, fun, and conversational. The feedback was fantastic and I am definitely glad I did this festival. But, I doubt I will be coming back to Adelaide. As lovely a city as it is with its Botanical Park and Gardens and rowdy people, the audience for a show about a musical is pretty small there as they don’t really “do” musicals in this part of the world. Maybe that’s a good thing?

The show will be playing at the Leicester Square Theatre in the heart of Theatreland every night for 3.5 weeks starting April 24. On my two “off” nights, I will be doing the show at the Brighton Fringe, which is an hour train ride south of London. It’s sure to be quite a workout – not to mention that I will also be teaching my Flying Solo workshops twice a week at the Actor’s Centre in London. But I am looking forward to being produced (by Kat Portman who picked up the show after seeing it in Edinburgh) and to seeing how it goes over there … and of course seeing all my mates.

I’m also doing a special “Be My Little Britain” performance of the show on April 14 at 7PM at the Triple Crown. At this show, the audience will be transported to London (and become my “Brits”) so I can try out the London version of the show which is somewhat new – opening with a video montage from the musical plus about 10 minutes of new material. Tickets are the usual “pay-what-you-can” and if you cannot make it and would like to support the show with a completely tax-deductible donation, please go to my Fractured Atlas page. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will be thoughtfully utilized as we take this little show to new heights.

The show has not even been running a year and yet it seems like forever – but the good kind of forever! Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement. I  hope to make you proud in the coming months. : )

xo Pete

DSE LONDON POSTER

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