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!
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.
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. : (
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!
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!