This adventure is on the heels of a quite successful work week with my Houston colleagues on The Gold. I first joined the team on this musical in 2008. Phil Yosowitz is the composer/lyricists and original book writer. Inspired by the Holocaust survivors he met growing up, he created the story of an athlete, a boxer, who is Jewish and intent on competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His Olympic hopes are dashed as Nazis gain power. In his original conception, he imagined following the story of this man through the Holocaust to the founding of Israel and on to Israel's Olympic Team in Munich 1972. Phil and his daughter, producer, Laura decided they wanted to work with another book writer and I was recommended to them. I said yes because the scope was so extraordinary and kind of insane; I wanted to see if I could do it. They had funding for a workshop presentation the following May. As it happened, I was gearing up for my first off-Broadway production of Looking for the Pony and Rolling World Premiere at Vital Theater in NY and Synchronicity Performance Group in Atlanta. We had to carefully plan our work schedule aroudn my other demands. By March, we had a new script that went all the way to Munich. Would it work? We had no idea, but we went into rehearsal determined to try. We presented it two times at the Miller Theater in Houston to very warm audiences. We learned a lot about what worked and even more about what didn't. Between my work schedule and that of the Yosowitzs, we talked as months turned into years, but we didn't dig in again until this past summer. Finally, the pieces came together in such a way that we all got comfortable with a new completely different approach to Act Two much more focused on relationships and with about 20 years lopped off. With this many changes, I urged Phil to sit back and wait for me to write "a play" of the Act without music. I wanted to start as fresh and clean as I could even though I knew some of the songs we had would still work. I completed the play draft of Act Two and we all read over the fall and discussed and adjusted. We then made the plan for this week to work on integration of music and scene. Phil had taken a number of my scenes and musicalized them. I love when songwriters do that and great discoveries resulted for both of us. We've really grown into a nice collaboration that we all are enjoying. We ended the week with a bunch of singers/actors learning the music and singing/reading it for us and a group of invited guests. It was thrilling. We learned a ton. We're very excited where we are. I have about 4 and 1/2 notes that are excellent and will take us that much further. Next we want to ask a few close friends to read and share their feedback.
It was a great week. I'd be happier if I had already landed in New York. But for now, I'll be grateful for all I have and trust that I'll be home eventually.