WEEK 2, DAY 3 MONEY MAKES THE SHOW RUN LONG

Money. As important to art as, well, art. But more on that soon. First, the art.

Right now, up on stage, Sarah and Toxie are about to sing their big-ass love ballad, Hot Toxic Love, and it boasts a kick-ass song cue — a Helen Keller joke. As far as I know, no song in the history of musical theatre has ever had a Helen Keller joke as a lead-in (Hm, “Did I Feel Pretty” have a HK joke as a lead-in? Maybe, maybe, maybe. Note to self: goggle that.) But we got one. And it somehow perfectly captures the tone of our show. And if you’re wondering what the joke is — keep reading, dear readers, keep reading.

In one of my earlier, fantastic blogs, I waxed rhapsodic about our leading man, Nick Cordero, so let me take a moment to wax about our leading lady, Sara Chase. Sara did a reading of the play last spring, and she was, in a word, so-freakin’-funny-we-could-barely-stand-it. We wanted her to do our try-out production at George Street Playhouse, but she had already signed up for last season’s Broadway version of “Godspell,” which, as you theatre fanaticss know, was abruptly cancelled by the producers the day before rehearsals began (which meant that lots of folks were suddenly unemployed. Which sucked. And Sara was also suddenly unemployed. Which doubly sucked, since we had already cast another actress to play her role.)

However, the Godspell-suddenly-cancelled story has a happy ending (for us, anyway) ’cause Sara did come to see the show in Jersey and we happily snapped her up for New York. Besides having a huge singing voice, she’s a great, great comedienne. If you’re a comic writer like yours truly, you find yourself lucky if you get to work with actresses who can always find the funny in any moment on stage. I’ve had the great fortune of working with some of these rare talents already (Jennifer Simard, Kerry Butler, Nancy Opel, Leslie Kritzer, to name just a few) so it’s a thrill to watch another great comedienne making my lines funnier than they often have any right to be.. Remarkably, Sara’s largely unknown to NY audiences, but Toxic should hopefully change all that. Oh yeah, she also sings the hell out of David’s melodies.

In other Toxic news, we’ve just realzied that our weekly nut (which is the amount of money it takes to run the show each week) is somehow ten percent overbudget. Not an uncommon problem in the wacky world of commercial theatre, but now is the time to make sure that the show doesn’t become too expensive. The more controlled the expenses are, the better shot the show has at having a a nice, long run. So, we’ll do a little soul-searching and cost-cutting, and all should be well. Rgardless, our five-person show has the look and feel of a much bigger, splashier production. David and I both believe in giving the audience the biggest bang for their buck, and we’re bangin’ away at New World Stages, baby.

Oh yeah, as for the Helen Keller joke:
“How did Helen Keller burn her hand?”
And as for the answer to the Helen Keller joke:
Well, I suppose you’ll just have to come see the show now, won’t you? (insert evil laugh here.)

With love and hope and peace and joy and more love and a little fondness but not too much,
Joe