This is a ‘work-video’ of my musical “The Golden Cage” that I made for my development collaborator, Paul Gordon. It’s a 12-minute ‘short story’ version – or musical synopsis – of the 75-minute, 2-character show.
When I’m collaborating on the development of a musical with someone at a distance, I have to share the process virtually via work-videos – videos where I just sit down and play it myself, or you record a rehearsal – so my collaborators get a sense of where the show is at.
The actual show is about 75 minutes long, but I created this 12-minute ‘musical short-story’ version so I could share the whole show in person as I start looking for theaters to collaborate with on the workshopping process — and for people interested in investing in the production that’s scheduled for 2019.
Want to know more about the show? Visit http://www.goldencagemusical.com
The idea to make a short-story version of the show that I could perform myself came partly out of frustration and partly out of community. The frustration part is that I have always created by ‘doing’ – my creative ideas bloom while I’m in action, while I’m singing and playing. When I try to ‘craft’ music, I just feel like my hands are tied – so I needed a way to be able to play the whole show myself.
The musicians I work with are used to working with me in a dynamic way now – where things are changing as we go – and rehearsals are a combination of them reading what I’ve written, following their own impulses, letting me guide them in the moment, and stopping-starting, trying over again as I discover what works.
So creating a version of the whole story that I could perform alone lets me reshape as I’m performing it, and experience the overall arc of the show in a short time-period.
I wouldn’t have thought to create a one-woman musical synopsis, though – even though I’ve created whole shows (like “The Frog Princess“) that way. But recently in Boston, at the Advanced Writer’s Lab of NOMTI (“New Opera and Musical Theater Initiative”), everyone in the group gave an overview of their current project for the others. Another team decided to do an enactment of the first act of their musical and I thought “Great Idea! I’ll create a musical synopsis of the whole 75-minute show!”
It was great exercise. What was even better is that now I can play the show for people at the drop of a hat – and I discovered that, after I present this short-story version for people live, it’s always followed by a deep, rich conversation about the themes of the show.
So — please — help me carry on that tradition. Share your thoughts about the theme of the show below in the comments. I’d love to hear them!