Bob and I had a great and enlightening meeting about the next steps for our musical. The path to Broadway is pretty straightforward, although not necessarily easy. There are specific stepping-stones that are wise to take on the journey. Getting to the next step depends on the success of each benchmark. One of the first things we learned is that we don’t want to expose our show to Broadway too soon. We need to make sure we have the best possible script, because you only get one shot with Broadway producers. That means our next phase will include a “Staged Reading” followed by a more extensive “Workshop” or two, with time in between between to continue to hone the book. For those who are curious, a Staged Reading consists of actors (on stage behind music stands) reading our book and singing Victor Vanacore’s arrangements of Dan’s songs. This is the first time we will hear our characters’ words and songs together, guided by a director. The Workshop takes place over several weeks, and involves choreography, blocking, and daily re-writes, allowing the creative team to see the whole production on its feet. If anyone has seen Smash, you know what this entails! By the end of the Workshop, the show should be ready to mount in a regional theatre – the modern-day equivalent of what used to be called an “out-of-town tryout.”
Naturally I asked Bob, “Where do you see us? What regions of the country do you think would be good for Part of the Plan? He generously provided the names of several theatres that are known to the Broadway theatre community as springboards to develop shows for the Great White Way, and then came another twist of fate. Bob said, “You know I have a client who runs a terrific regional theatre in Pennsylvania. I enthusiastically responded, “Well, I’m from Pennsylvania… Any chance it’s in Philadelphia?” And he said, “As a matter of fact, I think it’s outside Philadelphia.” I told him that I was raised in Bucks County and about the historical theatre there, built in 1790, that I went to as a kid, the one that’s been closed down for years. Bob then excused himself, and a few minutes later, returned with a purpose, “It is the Bucks County Playhouse, it’s been totally refurbished and it’s just reopened...” I almost fell out of my chair; and of course, I didn't hesitate to fantasize about the possibility of bringing our show to my old stomping grounds. Not to mention it’s an hour and change out of New York City, an easy trip for the Broadway folks to come see the musical when the time comes. So Bob put us in touch with the Artistic Producer of the Bucks County Playhouse, who also happens to be a Broadway producer. He’s been tremendously helpful in giving us advice, insightful notes on our script, and the encouragement to stay in touch. When the time comes, wouldn’t it be perfect if we found ourselves in the very place where my love of theatre was born?
Between the meeting with Bob, and the calls I had with colleagues in the financial/investment banking world, we were traveling up the learning curve and making the connections that would inform our next move.
After three weeks in NYC, I flew back to Los Angeles. Shortly after arriving home, Jean Fogelberg told us she was showing her new works at an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico – less than a day away by car. Always game for a road trip, Karen and I jumped into her Prius and headed to Santa Fe to support Jean in her latest venture and bring her up to speed on ours!