Friday, September 5, 2008

Auditions, call-backs, music and getting the word out

Auditions & Call-backs

Last night we had a third session of auditions and first session of call-backs for "Song of Extinction." We started around 7pm, over at the Howard Fine Studio, just off Sunset, where Heidi teaches. We finished at 11:30pm. (Coffee and ibuprofen are my friends this morning, at the office.)

Casting is a mysterious sort of alchemy. Who will become these characters I made up in my head, and bring them into full life for the first time? How well do they work, both alone and in tandem with each other?

Who was in the room? Me (playwright), Heidi Helen Davis (director), Kim Glann, Cece Tio and Steve Lozier (producers). A gal named Kat was helping Heidi, and some of Heidi's acting students sat in on some of the auditions, to learn how they work.

We saw some wonderful actors. We'll be seeing more next week. But we're closing in on our final selections. Very exciting. Cece said I was sitting there smiling all night -- and I don't deny it.


I e-mailed Geoffrey Pope today. He is a talented young composer who wrote a piece of music called "Disembarking" for "Song of Extinction." We need to work together to do some final touches, getting his music ready to put into the play.

That was a whole adventure, there -- finding a composer. Early on, before I'd really written much of the play, I knew I wanted there to be music in it. It was called "Song of Extinction," after all! So I decided to find myself a composer. Working at USC helped -- I called over to the Thornton School of Music and asked them to post my "call" to their composition students. I also put a notice on the "Big Cheap Theater" list -- a Los Angeles yahoogroup for theater-makers who are trying to make big theater on a small budget. I had about a dozen responses, and collected resumes and music samples from all of them. Then I did interviews. Geoffrey stood out -- and not just because he's tall! I felt like he really got the character of Max Forrestal, a kid who composes and plays the viola and is falling off the edge of the world. It's several years later, now. I researched and wrote the play, and started sending it out, and had readings, and finally this production. Geoffrey finished his bachelors degree here at USC, and has just started working on his masters degree at Eastman, in New York. But we've kept in contact throughout. It's going to be very exciting to put the final touches on the viola piece he wrote for my play, and to hear it as part of our final, full production.

Getting the Word Out

Here are a couple important links. Feel free to pass them along to friends, and even theater-going enemies!

The Brochure for [Inside] the Ford's 2008-2009 Season

Moving Arts

A press release went out the other day, announcing the plays that were selected for the 2008-2009 [Inside] the Ford Season: "Song of Extinction" (Moving Arts), "Battle Hymn" (Circle X) and "Home Siege Home" (Ghost Road). Various places are starting to pick it up -- see the links below. This is good. We're doing a six-week run, five performances per week, in an 87-seat theater. If you do the math, you'll find that this is... a heck of a lot of seats to fill. Luckily, we have an amazing marketing team. Moving Arts is producing my play at [Inside] the Ford through a special "Winter Partnership" with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. All three groups are working with all three theater companies to help our productions to succeed and find an audience. A big thank you to all of them!

From the press release:

The Ford Theatres complex, operated by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, is best known for the May to October summer season of music, dance, theater, film and family events in its 1,245-seat outdoor amphitheater. The majority of the 100 plus performances in the Ford Amphitheatre are produced through the Summer Partnership Program; Los Angeles County-based producers and performing arts organizations, chosen through a competitive application process, receive significant promotional and technical support to present their events and keep the lion's share of the box office. Now, for the first time, this successful formula is being applied to presentations at [Inside] the Ford, the 87-seat indoor space that is one of L.A.'s most surprising small theaters. Embedded within a 1929 historic structure, [Inside] the Ford boasts 21st Century lights and sound, comfortable seats, and a decades-long history of nurturing new theater. "This program addresses the dearth of affordable spaces for small theatre companies. It makes it possible for three theater companies without permanent performance spaces to present in a state-of-the-art venue," said Adam Davis, Managing Director of the John Anson Ford Theatres. "The productions that are premiering are theatrically compelling and timely. We are proud to help bring new challenging work to the public in our first [Inside] the Ford Winter Partnership Season."

Broadway World

Theater Mania

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