Friday, October 28, 2011
Learning more about Little Did I Know.
Here is the story of an unforgettable summer. Set in Plymouth, MA in the late seventies, Little Did I Know is the tale of a young man with an outsized dream – to refurbish a dilapidated but historic theater and produce a season's worth of vibrant musicals. A recent college graduate, he fills his cast and crew with people he has come to love and trust in his university life, and with others whose talents and personalities prove undeniable. Yet, while the productions drive his ambitions, a local woman drives his passions, and their romance is fateful, star-crossed, and ultimately more than either of them expected. Told with with, compassion, and the kind of insider's access to the theater that only someone like Mitchell Maxwell can provide, Little Did I Know is a novel about coming of age in the spotlight and embracing one's entire future in a single season.
You can read my review here
Excerpt from book
“Promise,” they all said in unison. That was enough for me.
Now my promises of weeks ago, the pledges made on that inebriated celebratory night, needed to happen, to take flight, to live. So as my silly tasseled hat hit the ground, it exploded in a burst of fire, color, and endless pyrotechnics of promise and winning.
Years ago I did a musical on London's West End where it became a big smash hit. After we danced and celebrated and the thanked the theater gods toasting each one with a fresh pint we came to the sober realization that we had a show that was the buzz of Piccadilly and beyond. Within days we had offers to take the show on tour in the UK, remount it in NY were offered a lucrative guaranteed tour of Japan. Has I had come to learn "hits are fun".
So, we loved the British company and decided to keep them for the remount in NY and then bring them to Japan. Saving money and keeping the family together. Unfortunately the unions would not allow the entire company to make the journey so we were forced to choose who we might replace and went about the process with a sense of joy mixed with melancholy. We all agreed on one actor that "had to stay" even if we had to throw down the gauntlet to the gods of the union. So on the day of auditions whenever an actress walked in to sing for this "taken" role her chances were slim and none.
And then I learned something that stays with me every time a performer walks in and has the guts and resolve and courage to audition. You just never know where you will find magic or goose bumps or electricity in a performer so strong it can light a city.
This young woman stepped center stage, gave her name, which was barely noted and said she was going to sing a song from BALLROOM. Out of professional respect we listened and then within a moment, a heartbeat, a breath taken away we all knew at once that something special had happened and our plan had changed. Talent is a gift, professionalism is a craft but when God gives the ability to stop the world and have it pay attention and you are lucky enough to be in the room . . .well remember it is better than a real job--sort of like a snow flake --never to replicated, unique with its own power to be remembered.
I have auditioned hundreds of actors and so many of them are good. They are pleasant and special in the own way. But when a rocket ship walks in and fires up I have learned to get on and enjoy the ride.
That's how you discover art, your own gifts and your own insights. The journey is fluid, the play is the thing and goose bumps is the goal.
I have met hundreds of actors --I remember talent most, then character and how when we shook hands did our eyes meet and register a connection. The good ones come back and it is fun to be there when they do.
To read more about this book and another excerpt go My Rocky Mtn Mommy on October 30th.