Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Illusion Ends"

Wow, what a night!

Just got back from the MBar in Hollywood where the Academy of New Musical Theatre had the final class of the Performer's Workshop. These performers were also introduced to some of the pieces written for by the Specialty Music Workshop folks that I "accidentally" (?) got into -- I thought it was just another free class, when at the end of the first Saturday, they said "Composers, please stand." So I did. Then: "Lyricists, go get yourself a composer and start writing!"

When they asked for music, I wanted to turn in the song I'd already written wrote for my writing class, "Elephant Man" exercise. The lyricist, Patricia Zehentmayr, agreed, and off it went through the selection process... and three people liked it and considered it for their set! Three months later I find out... yay! It's still in the program!

Sylvin JansonAnd boy did we luck out -- Sylvin Janson was terrific! Truly, one of the strongest performers there, and for my money (she said modestly), he had the best set of all. He walked on there with the confidence that many of the "newer" performers lacked, so immediately, the audience (and my guests and me!) relaxed.

My concern about the song was that it wouldn't work outside the context of "Elephant Man" -- that was what the majority of the notes we were given brought up. "It's haunting, but what does it mean?" Short of completely rewriting it -- well, we did nothing. I crossed my fingers very tightly walking into the venue tonight.

But one of the first people I see is Sylvin. He comes up with a huge hug and I tell him I'm so happy he's doing it. He says he loves it, and based his whole set on it! I gulp. I have no idea what to expect -- except that I know it will be sung well.

Well who knew the guy was a writer too? The "patter" between his songs and their set-ups were handled by an absolute pro... talking about dreaming, illusions, dog walking, paint ("The FUMES!" :)... and to finally end on "Illusion Ends" -- he did more with it than I could ever have imagined. His whole lead-in to the song was beautiful and profound, and absolutely smooth from what came before.

I was so proud -- of me, of Patricia, of the Academy, of Sylvin... my "baptism by fire" could not have ended better. I told him after the show he did wonders, I was so happy, and heck yeah, I want to work with him again! He said over and over that he loves it... what a great feeling that it is for me! I'm finding out that's how these colloborations work... this was a great one.

Now I'm going to write him a thank you note -- and tell GO FORTH and make us lots of money! LOL

Thanks again, Sylvin... you made me forget that I thought I was a crappy composer. Not one muscle or blood cell in me believes that anymore.


EDITED 2/22: A note from Elise, the Associate Artistic Director, to the writers included this:

Sly also did a really lovely job on "The Illusion Ends". I’m so glad you (Patricia) made it just in time to hear Sly’s haunting delivery – and congrats also to Madley. What a gorgeous song. And Sly’s set-up made it all make so much sense in context. I heard several people around me saying "What a beautiful song!"

Beautiful?! Wow, BEAUTIFUL!!! A word I've ached to hear regarding... anything.

Feeling so grateful right now...


EDITED 2/23: A note from Patricia, our lyricist; EDITED 3/18 to remove names:

I got feedback from [SNIP] who all said ours was the best song in the show! [SNIP] They said Sylvin was the best performer.

OMG, this is real! There were mighty big folk at this show.... gulp, gulp... :)


EDITED: 3/16 because you've been asking:

Illusion Ends