Read part 1 Here: https://www.hipharp.com/blog/44767
When I was 19, music was my life — but I didn’t know how to read or write it.
That wasn’t a big problem until the story of “The Golden Cage” started building in my mind, and more and more songs kept coming to me.
At first I could just write out the lyrics, put a few notes for chords above them, and that worked fine. But the music became more complex, more songs, and more story came.
There came a point where the story was bigger than I could hold in my head.
How can I remember it all? What if I forget this? If it’s not written down it can completely disappear. I sat there and realized: .
“I need to learn how to write it down. I need to become literate.”
I could speak music, play it, improvise it, invent it – no problem. In fact, you couldn’t shut me up. I spoke music morning noon and night. I just couldn’t read or write it.
I thought: Well, okay, I need to go back to school and learn to read and write … music.
As it happened, there was a harp in that school, and I ended up playing it, but that’s a whole other part of my life.
It so happened that that school – The College of Marin – had an incredible music department, and when I finished there, it was an easy transition to U.C. Berkeley where I continued, getting a powerful music education in composition, analysis, performance, conducting. My goal was always to finish “The Golden Cage” (which was then called “Dream of Waking”) — and in my final year, it was produced as a collaborative project with the drama department.
WOOHOO – SUCCESS!
But … um … now what??
A director friend of mine showed up serendipitously and offered to direct a production of it. We rented a theater in Berkeley, produced it and I starred in it with my great friend Gunnar Madsen.
YAAAAY – SUCCESS!
But … um … NOW what??
Once that run was over, I didn’t know where to go next or what to do with it. I figured if a musical was good enough, it would get discovered and just take off into the stratosphere.
Well, people discovered it but that didn’t change anything. It was just a wonderful show waiting to be performed.
I didn’t know how to get it from the page to a bigger stage.
I didn’t know how to get from point A to point B, and instead of thinking “maybe I’m not literate in that language – of shepherding the show to a larger stage” I began to question the show itself.
I started to think maybe it wasn’t good enough.
Meanwhile my career as a harpist was taking off big-time. I was recording, performing, starting to play jazz (you can hear that story in my TEDx Talk).
“The Golden Cage” went underground. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it: the music, the story, the characters. When I could I would pull it out, play it, edit it, do a reading. In between tours, recordings, shows – if I had time, I’d work on it with a script coach, I’d do another reading, a recording.
But it felt like it would never live a life outside my head. I thought, when I was 19, that what was missing was the skill of getting it down on paper. But now it was completely written out, and it was still hiding in my head.
And the weird thing was … I felt like the show was LIVING itself – like the show itself had started to live a life of bizarrely rich, creative isolation. It seemed impossible to bring the show out of hiding.
And then … Everything changed.
Somehow impossibility transformed into inevitability. And now YOU can see this show April 20-24, 2022. Learn more, buy tickets, donate to the production at THE GOLDEN CAGE MUSICAL show page.
I’ll be telling more stories about that, and how that’s happening, in a series of LIVE ONLINE “Backstage Salons” as “The Golden Cage” makes the leap from page to stage.