Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...


An exciting thing happened this week:  I got to meet one of my idols.  Goodspeed Musicals has commissioned a musical adaptation of a charming children's book by Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, "The Great American Mousical."  The new show is slated to have its first production at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester this fall.  It is a valentine to Broadway and a wondrous tale about a company of mice putting on a show in a crumbling old theatre that is about to be demolished.

This week, a group of us actors from the "Mame" cast were asked to do a first reading of the script (written by Hunter Bell), which is still very much in development, along with the composer and lyricist, Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, who performed the still unfinished (and marvelous) score.

The kicker was that the reading would be done for a small group of Goodspeed artistic staff, the show's musical director, the casting director, and YES!-- the director of the show, Julie Andrews herself.  I don't think I need emphasize how incredible it was to meet Julie Andrews, nor to gush about the influence she has had on my life and my love of theatre and film.  She is --and this expression is used far too often-- a living legend.  And she is everything one would expect-- gracious, eloquent, a lovely lady.  I managed to shake hands with her and her very kind daughter and co-author, Emma, and beg a photo with them. What a moment!!

As for "The Great American Mousical,"  I have no doubt that it will be a magical show.  The material, in these very early days, is already beguiling, clever and full of heart.  And Goodspeed is decidedly excited about this, as this is the first musical they have ever commissioned to be created from the ground up here.  It has enormous promise and I was delighted to be a part of the reading and to get a first glimpse of it.  Look for it this fall at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester.

As for me, nothing has yet materialized as a next project beyond "Mame" but I am looking forward to having some summer vacation following our run here-- a nice break to enjoy family, sun, sand and relaxation before charging 'once more unto the breach' in this mad business of show.

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