Independent Musician Stories: 1) The Artist's Way and My Musical
Here are some pictures of the actual pages I wrote back then (click to take a closer look):
I began recording all the songs myself, while I was writing them and still going through treatment, even though many of them required multiple "characters" singing different parts. It took me a year to get through all of my treatments, and about the same amount of time to finish all the songs. You can hear those original recordings here:
Once I finished all the music, I started looking at writing the book, or script for the musical. Since I had never written a musical before, I enlisted the help of a friend, Jonathan Uffelman, who had a Masters of Fine Arts in theater. He suggested I write the main outline of the story first, then we'd go back and forth in emails with edits. I had already submitted my new musical to about six local theaters, three of which expressed some level of interest. This pushed us to write the book quickly, and we finished our first version in about a month. As it turned out, nothing with the three theaters panned out, and I got discouraged and let my new musical collect dust for several years.
Finally, my experiences with my music "career" over those years reached a tipping point for me. I decided that I wasn't really doing what I wanted to do with my music, and that I had been sitting on this body of work I had done that I was very pleased with that I needed to get in front of an audience. I (half) joked that I needed to do something with "Turning Thirty" before I turned forty. So I set about scheming how to make a show possible. I knew what I didn't know, which was how to stage a musical, so I turned to someone who did. I met Bill Duncan at my kid's school doing a fundraiser show for the arts department. I approached him about my musical, and he graciously accepted the task of helping me turn it into a show. Ultimately, together we recruited about ten other people to help make the show a reality. We presented the live debut of Turning Thirty on October 25, 2008. It was recorded, and I created both a CD and DVD of the performance. We had an audience of close to 150 people and received a standing ovation. You can hear the recordings of that show here:
and watch a video trailer of highlights here:
Since then, we have performed variations of the show three more times, and it has raised over $6000 for charities, mostly for the American Cancer Society. You can find out more about the show at the website turningthirty.org. I've started dreaming up new ways to take it to the next level, but, as with most experiences in my music career, some of the attention I got from this show led to other music opportunities. More on that in some future post.
I hope you enjoyed the first post in my series on independent musician stories. What did you think? I'm thinking about doing this as a podcast as well - would you like that option?