i should be sleeping…

1.
it so bizarre to see that the last time i posted was january.
on that day when the cameras came to film our rehearsal.
in many ways thats right when the madness began.
2.
i can’t describe here what has happened between then and now.
but thank god i’ve been taking notes.
one day i will write it all down.
Heidi said all this we are going through now is probably best
looked back on rather than experienced. Because there is no way we can
possibly grasp it all in real time. That is the wisest thing that anyone has ever said
about what we’re going through. Most people say: “enjoy it while it’s happening.”
That’s bullshit. I guess when you sky dive for the 80th time you probably can “enjoy it while its happening.”
But the first 79 times i’d just be thinking: “whoa shit, i’m skydiving. I’m crazy.”
3.
i’ve been operating under the radar for my entire career.
and enjoying it.
i’ve never tried to write a top 40 melody or carve out a lyric
that i thought would be easy for lots of people to understand.
i’ve always tried to write only what i would like to hear.
not what i thought you wanted to hear.
i wanted to write the song that nobody else was writing.
i never thought goodness or greatness had anything to do with mass appeal.
which is why it’s so lost twilight zone episode #527 that i am now, after 30 years of
being underground and loving it, now living in a world (albeit temporarily) where mass appeal
is the name of the game.
i’m not comfortable with it.
4.
don’t get me wrong:
when we (band/actors) are doing our thing: creating in real time, grooving, communing,
stretching and connecting i feel like broadway is a really cool job.
but when we are doing all of the above
and not getting back that call and response love
that comes so easily in the club
i, because i am not an actor, can sometimes get a little testy.
my punk rock club-rat instinct comes out
and it can be somewhat unsightly
as such behavior is decidely inappropriate for broadway
and has nothing to do with the great white way
entertainer’s credo that seems to be
“please love me, i am desperately trying to entertain you
as i look skyward and sing mock sincerely
like some pathetic dork that you’d run screaming from after 2 minutes
if they behaved like this in real life…”
5.
the weird thing here is that we are not pretending to play
rock music nor are we pretending to be rock musicians:
we really are rock musicians.
and that means sometimes the aggression that comes with playing that music
and being that real person has to come out. And sometimes it feels as absurd as being
a Shakesperean actor going into CBGS and saying: “ok everybody, shut the fuck up while i
rock some Hamlet monologues.” Actually, come to think of it, i’ve known some rock audiences that were
cool enough to handle that. If it was mixed with the appropriate amount of bass.
6.
tonight i got aggressive at the end of the show because i felt the crowd was unresponsive and kinda dead
throughout the entire show. But afterwards every single person who came backstage or who i met
waiting outside said that the crowd was actually quite stunned and moved and that they were just taking it
all in. And there is alot to take in. There’s about a million more things to take in in this play than in your
average broadway musical. All the musicals i’ve seen are pretty simple. I don’t mean that as a diss. I just mean you could understand them even if you were deaf and couldn’t read lips. But my point is I ended up feeling bad about having gotten so pissy once I learned that the crowd actually dug the show. I guess the standing ovation should have been a tip off.

7.
performing in a rock club is like making love: you know how good yer doing every second.
but if a lover responds to your kissing like a cold fish but then afterwards
gives you a standing ovation, what does that mean? I guess they could say “There was alot
to take in.”

Comments (31) to “i should be sleeping…”

  1. Funny – I was at the show last night. I am pretty shocked by your perceptions. Maybe even insulted. I was completely blown away by the show and overwhelmed by my own reaction. I guess that’s why I even came across this blog today as I was genuinely interested in finding out more about the incredible talent and ‘real’ people on that stage last night.

    Not that it matters, but i’ll add that i am about to reach 40 yrs., a life-long ny’er, a lesbian in a 9 yr. long relationship and I’ve been running from or avoiding who I am by throwing myself into my work as a trial lawyer representing defendants in civil litigation, such as drug companies. I got here by fear — fear of continuing on a path I found early on — hanging out in the streets of NYC, partying hard and working hard on various human rights issues, such as womens’ health and on the successful campaign to have the U.N. recognize rape as a war crime.

    I got scared, I betrayed myself and ran into the safety of convention in a post-conventional way.

    The performance drove me inward and I cried to my partner like a child last night. The power, energy and rawness of the show for me was akin to driving a 100 miles an hour into a brick wall. I’ve known for a while that I can no longer mask all the pain, run from myself or find something in nothing. I have struggled for a long time, and the void can’t be filled with the bs of my reality.
    So yeah, it was a lot to take in. I did. It meant something to me as I have found words to attach to some very real issues.

    Based on your comments, I presume you may believe that I’m just an asshole -undeserving to take anything away from the show or maybe you think I missed the entire point and blow it off b/c why would some comformist like me get anything, anyway. Afterall, I’m just a sell-out and I was part of the audience that you felt didn’t give back to you or respond in a way you expect.

    If you haven’t noticed, you are now performing down the block from Disney dribble and other various pablum. Your show adds another dimension and is a vital respite.

    You may want to try to cut some of us a break. Not only is the show aboveground – it’s on Broadway. And to expect something real as opposed to something selling itself as real, is indeed alot to take in.

    Or maybe it’s not that at all – that would be disappointing.

    warm regards…

  2. about “one day i will write it all down.”

    stew, it feels like i’ve been a fan of yours forever now, and i find the newfound mainstreaming of your peculiarity, quixotic, wonderful art to be profoundly incredible but inevitable. you tap into something really amazing and your fame is great.

    i wonder about the “quiet” audiences — i wonder if there’s a way to let ’em know — hey kids, feel free to dance in the aisles, feel free to holler amen, and show us how you feel. maybe dangerous, but it might be a way to open the conversations on those nights. i dunno.

    then again, maybe it’s just fine, and it’s something for you to learn about how broadway works for passing strange. it’s just this odd thing.

    two great regrets of my life is that i never saw “the negro problem” as an entity (just the cover problem) and i’ll probably not see passing strange on broadway due to my own cash constraints.

    but i remain a fan, and look forward to your work. and more? i know i’m not alone. not by a longshot.

    godspeed passing strange!!!!

  3. It can be extremely unnerving for an actor to have a demonstrative audience on one night, and a silent but appreciative audience the next night. The former shoots the actor full of real-time feelgood: emotional crack. The latter makes him wait for the rush, and when it’s not there, he starts jonesing. It has to be grokked and overcome. Every actor knows this.

    Let’s notice that Stew said he felt bad about getting pissy, so maybe he’s still adjusting to theatrical audiences as opposed to club ones. Let’s all give one another a huge break, and a hug besides.

  4. […] My hero stew blogged today! He doesn’t blog very often, but he, and his latest project, a broadway play called Passing Strange are getting a whole lot of attention these days. For one thing, it’s been running for a while now, and some real strange stuff has been happening. From way over here in California it feels like this—first Spike Lee showed up, and next it was that First it was on April 17th, Whoopi Goldberg wore the Passing Strange sweatshirt on The View. […]

  5. Stew and Crew,

    Just saw your fantastic play/rock thang, “Passing Strange,” with a friend of mine, and we both had a great time and loved it! Each cast member and the musicians were perfect. Watching your production tonight was some of the best hours I’ve spent in my life, and I’m 51 and have done much. Thank you for your art and imagination!

  6. Seems like it’s hard for audiences to give up their conditioning.. Responding with the group at the end is SAFE.. not REAL. I saw the show and “Amen”ed,shouted & laughed alone at times but of course it was “All Right” BRAVO

  7. Stew,

    I wouldn’t be freaked if there isn’t a lot of feedback during the show, but your show is also more fun when people get into it – the nights that the place is insane are my favorite.

  8. I have been watching the progress of “Passing Strange” from my little burg of Sacramento with growing sense of awe. I am so completely kicking myself for not coming to Berkeley when you were trying it out. But reading the news today about the Tony nominations and seeing the clip from “The View” … yeah, considering last time I saw you was in a coffeehouse with about 30 people watching I could see where you might think it kinda weird. Good on you two anyway …

  9. i’ve seen the show quite a few times now and have seen different audience reactions each time. i don’t think people come in knowing what they’re going to expirience, and the shock of something that’s so unconventional may vex them a little so much that they really can’t begin to digest what they’re watching until much later. hell, i first saw the show on opening night and for a week wondered to myself ‘what the fuck was that?’ it took me about that long to realize i had seen something wonderfully strange (apropo) and different and it made me really happy. PS is sort of a fish out of water on broadway but i have enough faith in people to believe they can accept it for not being mama mia or wicked (not to bash anyshows). but shit, look at all the awards and nominations you guys have gotten-SOMEBODY’S paying attention! anyhoo, my point being, don’t let it bring you down.

    it’s 6 AM and i’m running on no sleep so that might not make a lot of sense when i look at it later. ah vell.

  10. Saw your show back on March 16th (Sunday show). It rocked. However, I must saw that although I was rocking the first half of the show, I and I thought the rest of the audience was a bit sober in the second half.

    It wasn’t that we didn’t enjoy ourselves, it’s just the story that is layed down in the first half, that so many people identify with… it just really pulls at your especially at the end. It’s sobering. It’s I’ve been there… I’ve done that. I was chasing my dreams and trying to find that undefinable “quality” or “the real” when that person I cared about really died. And it’s like reliving that again. So you’ve gotta process that in the theatre and enjoy the play.

    P.S. Really digging the cast recording that came out on iTunes. Thanks a million for releasing that, and good luck at the Tony’s!

  11. stew
    saw the show. loved the show. think the show, and your solo and TNP work are brilliant. still, i have to say this post is kind of bullshit.

    YOU brought the show to broadway. want a club response? keep it in clubs. its like asking why high-church anglicans aren’t rollicking about and speaking in tongues like pentacostals. its not because they’re not feeling the lord… its because they came with different perceptions, expectations, comfort levels and culture. that’s WHY their there instead of there. it just seems so, well, simplistically sophmoric to be all “these uptight broadway types don’t get it man… we’re here to rock!!” instead of meeting them halfway and realizing that they can be opening your eyes (and be deserving of your respect) at the same time you’re opening theirs.

  12. first of all JOXN,
    my comment is not bullshit. you calling my comment bullshit is bullshit. you wouldnt use that word if we were sitting across from each other at a table over a few friendly beers i
    suspect. so have a little virtual respect.
    2. i wrote…

    >>>And sometimes it feels as absurd as being
    a Shakesperean actor going into CBGS and saying: “ok everybody, shut the fuck up while i
    rock some Hamlet monologues.”>>>
    So as you can see i acknowledged the very situation that you strangely attempt to enlighten me to. Dude you cant tell me ANYTHING about what is going on up here. I am the expert on that. I’ve talked to and partied with more audience members/journos/critics/celebs/artists/playwrights/ who’ve seen this show than you could ever imagine. I know who is out there. I’ve even used the “two different types of churches” analogy in tons of interviews. I hope thats not where you got it from! (i’m kidding) 3. I didn’t bring it to broadway pal, the producers did. I didn’t lift a fucking finger to bring this show to broadway. 4. the way you make new and interesting art is by not sitting on your hands and going “This is the way it is done, it’ll never change so i guess i’ll just smile and play along.” Fuck that. I INSIST upon the fact that PS is a “concert out of which a play emerges” (Annie Dorsen, director/collab) and maybe if you’d been there on a night when audience members actually rock with us you would see why it is my DUTY to insist upon this. That is how we do it. That IS our play.
    This is a HUGE part of what the play is about, my friend. I am responding the way an actual rock performer would respond because that is what i am. Get it? And besides, within a year or two you’ll see a broadway show or three that synthesizes and waters down our techniques that will have everybody singing along like its a Paul McCartney concert. 5. and now that i have read my email again i have to say that it is in fact YOUR post that is bullshit and I would say that to your face. Because in my post I ADMIT that my approach to this situation is flawed and i felt BAD about having been so pissy. So what the fuck are you talking about exactly? I PUBLICLY wrote about this problematic situation of mine precisely because i thought people might tune in to the blog after they’d experienced that pissy show. I was trying to be open about the issue.
    Can you not handle when an “entertainer”
    tells you what he thinks of you as an audience? And then practically apologizes for doing so? 6. have the balls to quote me when you are trying to make a point instead of writing shit like: “these uptight broadway types don’t get it man… we’re here to rock!!”
    I never fucking said that in my post. It’s exposes a lameness on your part when you need to invent a quote for me to make your point.
    my email was way more nuanced than that.
    /s

  13. Jbreck wrote:

    Saw your show back on March 16th (Sunday show). It rocked. However, I must saw that although I was rocking the first half of the show, I and I thought the rest of the audience was a bit sober in the second half.
    ——————
    that’s cool with me. i don’t really expect much from the crowd at all in the 2nd act. it IS the sobering section. in fact i like the feeling that after the 1st everyone kind of settles in to listen.
    /s

  14. jan wrote:

    i don’t think people come in knowing what they’re going to expirience, and the shock of something that’s so unconventional may vex them a little so much that they really can’t begin to digest what they’re watching until much later.

    ————–
    stew:
    yeah, shortly after my “pissy show” i asked the actors to advise me on my anger management issues and many of them said exactly what you just said above…
    ——
    jan wrote:
    PS is sort of a fish out of water on broadway but i have enough faith in people to believe they can accept it for not being mama mia or wicked
    ————–
    stew: i totally agree with you. i’ve experienced proof of this

    ————-
    jan wrote: you guys have gotten-SOMEBODY’S paying attention!
    ——–

    stew: who are the “SOMEBODY”???
    Me and Heidi’s work has been acknowledged by the Sundance Institute, the Public Theater of New York, Lincoln Center, Berkeley Rep…long before we got to Broadway i feel we’ve had cool people interested in us. I guess you mean “famous” people???
    /s

  15. slotz wrote:

    Let’s notice that Stew said he felt bad about getting pissy, so maybe he’s still adjusting to theatrical audiences as opposed to club ones.

    stew: thank you slotz for having actually read my email. much appreciated. /s

  16. hey stew… saw your response to my comment over the weekend on my wireless. spent most of the weekend thinking up clever/sincere/witty responses.

    instead i read in the paper this morning about some little 3 year old beaten to death by his caregivers. i feel terrified and sick to my stomach at how fucked up the world is. this may seem appropos of nothing regarding your post and my comment, but i’m just feeling perspective about what’s worth getting worked up about.

    i sincerely apologize if you felt offended by my comments. i have nothing but respect for the difficult and daring thing you and your colleagues do night after night, and truly i can’t imagine how hard it must be putting your soul out there for dissection eight times a week.

    i guess i was just hoping–for you and your band– that you would feel the “broadway” response not as a lack but as a difference, and that there might be an opportunity there for some additional dimension of mind blow for you in the same way you are bringing a new dope slap to audience only experienced in the old forms.

    but you know this, and i should have made it more clear that i know you know this. hope to have that beer someday.

    peace to you brother

  17. Stew wrote:
    ——————
    that’s cool with me. i don’t really expect much from the crowd at all in the 2nd act. it IS the sobering section. in fact i like the feeling that after the 1st everyone kind of settles in to listen.

    ——

    Trivial question. Took in the Sunday show last time, but I’m going to come in and take a show in late August if it’s still running. I heard rumors of crowds on Fri/Sat nights being pretty energetic, good time to come and see the show?

    —-

    Yep, it’s awesome. I took in the Sunday show last time. I think I’m going to swing by in late august (I think it’s still playing). I heard Friday and Saturday nights are suppose to be pretty cool crowds?

  18. I tried to send this initially to the email address, but it bounced back. So it is not really a comment on Stew’s initial post.

    My family and I saw Passing Strange last Friday night. We talked with you (Stew) briefly afterwards. I knew Heidi from my days in the Unclaimed. And you and I talked a bit about Jeff Kauffman.

    I just read the interview with you in Salon. I hope that you know how good Passing Strange really is. It is clear that you know what its strengths are and you are right that it is about doing coke with transvestites at 4:30 AM, and how that is more common that many let on. But it is also — and importantly — about how to reconcile the drive to be good with the drive to be real; the desire to make something out of yourself while recognizing that so much of that self was a gift from others. Your play is amazingly and powerfully articulate about that tension. It is not just about a boy and his women. The women were important conduits for that gift of self. Which is why Youth was in love with them–even Mom.

    Anyway, that is part of what moved me so much about the play.

    One last bit–have you read The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers? It shares quite a bit thematically with Passing Strange. At least as I understand both.

    Thank you for your work,

    Barry Shank

  19. in reply to ‘who’s SOMEBODY!?’

    please give me more credit stew, i don’t mean ‘famous people’. i mean the audiences in general. i made that comment because your post made it seem like you were unsatisfied with the responses you were getting from your audiences. if it sounded like i was being condescending towards you or heidi, that was unintentional. just felt the need to clear that up. best of luck to the PS family tonight.

  20. how can you not get riled up at a Stew show? It’s a good thing I cant afford to go see Passing Strange on Broadway. I’d be gettin all crunk, dancin and shit. Very un-broadwaydik I guess. but I’m mamesh trailer trash I guess.

  21. Wow, not used to that intensity. I concur to the person who dissed you Stew. Honestly when I first saw it I thought hmm… this is not Broadway it is too rock and it should stay in clubs. But then afterward you look into it more. And realize it is truly a great story and great music! I think the CD really helped me see the “real” Passing Strange. Now this is one of my favorite musicals!

  22. Stew I’m not very articulate. I love your work and I can’t separate it from you. I love Stew. You got in their face at the Tony Awards. Between the on-stage epic punk rockness bring down the house and the plastic nose mustachio and eye brows. That was cool. I loved the disguise. You looked very Dali-esq, irreverent, bohemian, downtown, supper I don’t give a fuck! That’s cool… And with the anger thing. You are my proxy. Every time you give it to’em, there’s a little of me in you metaphorically speaking. I never understood the sensible serious ones stiff and detached. I don’t get it, never have, never will, never want to. I’ll stay here in my spider hole drawing inappropriate scribbles of debauchery and menace constructing nonsensical noodles on my four track cassette machine circa 1980 laughing like a loon. While you go for it. Be a fucking artist in public man! – On national TV. And the critics are hip -way cool. A word to the wise, Spider holes aren’t that bad. As long as you can cram drums and an amp into them. Late– JB

  23. Stew, Johnny B could not have been MORE articulate. My sentiments exactly!

  24. joxn wrote:

    >>i read in the paper this morning about some little 3 year old beaten to death by his caregivers. i feel terrified and sick to my stomach at how fucked up the world is. this may seem appropos of nothing regarding your post and my comment, but i’m just feeling perspective about what’s worth getting worked up about.>>>

    STEW: that 3 year old story is, of course, appropos everything. and good point about perspective and what’s worth getting worked up about. Heidi would tell you I could learn alot from that observation. and i apologize for getting worked up. i am really not good at this whole business of intimate exchanges
    over the internet. you and me could probably sit 80 nights in a row at the bar and i’m certain i would never get as angry with you as i got with your email. You are not your email. I hope nobody confuses me with my email. Although I would like to have my email’s waistline.

    joxn wrote:
    >>i guess i was just hoping–for you and your band– that you would feel the “broadway” response not as a lack but as a difference, and that there might be an opportunity there for some additional dimension of mind blow for you in the same way you are bringing a new dope slap to audience only experienced in the old forms.>>>

    STEW:you hit the nail on the head. that additional dimension is what i search for every night. i’ve had to invent a new way for me to perform in front of these people – (old dog, VERY new trick) and i’ve had to invent this new trick in real time… in front of hundreds of paying customers every night. It’s nothing you can rehearse at home. it’s exhilirating and maddening and terrifying like a good horror movie in that nobody gets hurt but it’s still a little scary…in a very fun way. i’ve pretty much given up on putting the mic in the audience’s face and trying to get them to behave like it’s a rock show. now i just keep the party onstage while reminding them they’re invited. They seem to like it.

    Jbreck wrote:

    >>>I heard rumors of crowds on Fri/Sat nights being pretty energetic, good time to come and see the show?>>>

    STEW: I have to say these days we never know. Fridays can be very quiet sometimes and we have had matinees that totally rock.
    We can’t really predict it anymore.

    Barry Shank wrote:
    >>I hope that you know how good Passing Strange really is. It is clear that you know what its strengths are and you are right that it is about doing coke with transvestites at 4:30 AM, and how that is more common that many let on. But it is also — and importantly — about how to reconcile the drive to be good with the drive to be real; the desire to make something out of yourself while recognizing that so much of that self was a gift from others. Your play is amazingly and powerfully articulate about that tension. It is not just about a boy and his women. The women were important conduits for that gift of self. Which is why Youth was in love with them–even Mom.>>>

    Hi Barry. Well, I wouldn’t label “how to reconcile the drive to be good with the drive to be real; the desire to make something out of yourself while recognizing that so much of that self was a gift from others” as more important than doing coke with a tranvestite at 430am, since doing
    coke with a tranny can, and often does, encompass those very two things that you find so important about the play. But I absolutely get your point. You’ve eloquently pointed out two major themes of the play. I think I was just acknowledging alot of the important things that are NOT in PS that never made it to the stage that were a big part of Berlin and A’dam for me. The transgressive experimentation done in both cities was an important part of the whole “trip” as it were. Many spiritual quests have taken place and epiphanies been delivered in dirty public bathrooms with folks of unspecified gender sharing powders of ill repute. I wrote two or three very intimate scenes for instance with Venus and the Youth that had that 430am confessional glow (ala Arlington Hill) that I’d love to put on the stage someday or in a book. And god, there was a whole dark side to A’dam that I left out because I wanted it to contrast with Berlin more.

    >>>One last bit–have you read The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers?>>>

    STEW:I dont know it but i will look for it now.

    >>>jan wrote:

    >>in reply to ‘who’s SOMEBODY!?’
    please give me more credit stew, i don’t mean ‘famous people’. i mean the audiences in general. i made that comment because your >>post made it seem like you were unsatisfied with the responses you were getting from your audiences. if it sounded like i was being condescending towards you or heidi, that was unintentional.>>>

    STEW: i understand. so sorry for the misunderstanding.

  25. >>Josh wrote:

    Wow, not used to that intensity. I concur to the person who dissed you Stew. Honestly when I first saw it I thought hmm… this is not Broadway it is too rock and it should stay in clubs. >>>

    STEW: I would love to someday explore that first thought: “this is not broadway…too rock…should stay in clubs…”
    Fascinating.

    >>>I think the CD really helped me see the “real” Passing Strange. Now this is one of my favorite musicals!>>>

    STEW: I’m really glad. My guess would be that the CD was a purely musical experience that allowed you to get to the heart of the show, i.e. the music. And speaking of cast albums, I’ve heard people say that andrew lloyd webber is not cool cuz he has released cast albums BEFORE the play came out. But I can’t really see what is so wrong with that.

    Johnny B wrote:

    >>I’ll stay here in my spider hole drawing inappropriate scribbles of debauchery and menace constructing nonsensical noodles on my four track cassette machine circa 1980 laughing like a loon.>>>

    STEW: More power to you. I feel completely connected to everything you wrote in your post. And shit, I’m still looking for a tascam porta-two in great condition!!! It was the only machine that never got in the way of me making music on it.
    I totally feel your sentiments and I think me and Heidi have simply had our spider hole dragged into the Public light by people who like us and have some pull. we never tried to be top 40, rich or famous. That’s why I think PS trips people out: they’ve never seen the spider hole under the big lights…or at least not in a long while.

  26. Rock on Stew! PS is very moving intimate and real. I read somewhere you feel as though you are living someone else’s dream. That must be kinda wild. And you might feel a little detached from all the goings on. I must be quite a ride. Take notes… late JB

  27. Hey Stew…TheTiny (one of your FOH ushers btw )….no opening (show) comment today (from you?), and a pretty short Keys/Amsterdam…of course, we that see you practically every night, notice these nuances! No judgement here, because your troupe’s amazing REAL energy every fucking night since Feb,has boggled my mind. When do you know when to conserve or not? I’ve talked to many actors over the past 3 decades about this, and (“famous” or not), they say it’s an absolute necessity in order to give your paying customers what they came for. Now, I am assuming that you may have been tired, or displeased with the smaller audiences this week, but trust me, you all sound freaking better than ever. All of you…And this is 5 months into the run…sort of like hitting the wall at the NYC marathon at 20 miles? Just peaking, but getting a little resistance from the “quieter” crowds. I concur w/some of the other posters here that today’s Bway auds. are too much in a “comfort zone”. However, everyday I speak to an amazing eclectic bunch of people that are thankfully shocked into ATTENTION! Again, the 70 and 80 year olds GET IT! I love some of those octogenarians. They have lived! Often I am asked about the show, ’cause let’s face it, there’s many people who buy tix to something they have NO idea about, except, maybe it was on the TKTS board, and they were waiting in line for hours. Those are the MOST grateful! At the end, they’re all congratulating each other on picking the greatest show on BWAY!
    Go figure…
    Anyway, I’m 55 and your little show is my life (except for the BWAY part!?) Like time travel to my fave decade – the 60’s – a new twist on the conglomeration of everything I love.
    Advice: From reading the press, your blog, other stuff, etc., ALWAYS DO IT YOUR WAY! Of course you don’t need me to tell you that. Even though I’ve seen thousands of shows, this (PS) is the epitomy of organic art. I love your comment to a poster about THEY (the: Public Theater, I guess, and The Shuberts) asking YOU to develop this thing. You were, sort of like: WHATEVER! Love that. $$$ and phony fame, and Bway will never change your initial intention of creating beautiful words/music/art. You’re too much of a ball buster, and I mean that in the best sense! You luckily have an inherent GIFT of performance, and the ability to KNOW what’s theatrically right. In closing, sorry for the long “rant”, the only regret I have is NOT knowing about you, The Negro Problem, etc. long before now.
    I am a musician, too, but never could make a living at it…STILL my passion, banging out the BLUES (or Chopin) on my 100 year old piano on a cold winter night, alone…there’s nothing better.

  28. “There’s about a million more things to take in in this play than in your
    average broadway musical. All the musicals i’ve seen are pretty simple. I don’t mean that as a diss. I just mean you could understand them even if you were deaf and couldn’t read lips.”

    I saw an interview recently where you said you’ve about 2 broadway musicals….and then you make a statement like that. You are one pretentious dude.

  29. I SAID:
    “There’s about a million more things to take in in this play than in your
    average broadway musical. All the musicals i’ve seen are pretty simple. I don’t mean that as a diss. I just mean you could understand them even if you were deaf and couldn’t read lips.”

    MARY SAID:
    I saw an interview recently where you said you’ve about 2 broadway musicals….and then you make a statement like that. You are one pretentious dude.

    Dear Mary,
    I guess I should be flattered that you even bother to notice such perceived inconsistencies in my statements. I hope you do the same with our politicians. For those are the guys to really watch.

    Now hear me out: The number of musicals, broadway or otherwise, that I have seen was the topic of far too much interest on the part of journalists interviewing me when PS was running. Early on, during rehearsals i think, I made some frank statements about the musicals I had seen that my producers had given me free tix to. My statements reached a few NY newspapers and my producers freaked. They explained to me that on broadway one didn’t diss other shows publicly. They kindly and respectfully asked me to refrain from doing so. I respected the protocol and began dancing around the issue every time the topic came up. And it came up ALL THE TIME because journos wanted me to diss shows cuz it made good copy. So i began saying publicly that i had seen far less shows than I had really seen. Because then i only had to talk about the ones I liked: Chicago and…can’t even remember what else. Anyway, I couldn’t publicly say I had seen (and sometimes walked out in the middle of) 5 to 7 musicals. That would have offended people.

    Now that said, I have seen nearly every big important film version of the great broadway musicals and I am familiar with the story lines…and i can tell you that my statement you quoted is totally true. There is nothing in Phantom or Oklahoma
    or Chorus Line that makes us think “What the hell is going on here? Where am I? Who are these people?” Most americans aren’t familiar with german anarchists, amsterdam hash bars, or black american women who speak two distinctly different types of english. I could name 30 other things that PS has in it that weren’t typical of a broadway musical. Like Black people not being stereotyped or comic relief, for instance. But i digress.

    Also, it wouldn’t take a theater expert to make the statement i made. Broadway is about selling tons of tickets. It’s mass culture entertainment. You don’t make mass culture by being even slightly complex. Otherwise Sondheim would, as he deserves to be, as or more popular than Lloyd Webber.

    But i suspect your real reason for trying to “trip me up” is that like some
    broadway fans i have encountered you are
    disturbed and/or insulted by my attitude
    towards the broadway culture. If this is the case with you, and i apologize if it is not, please note that I was as disturbed by many aspects of broadway culture as you have been by my “pretentious” statements.
    /s

  30. Dear thetinymagic,
    thank you for that post. i’m just now reading it today. who knows if you’ll ever get this response. the show i believe you are referring to was a rather dark weekend
    for me in PS land. It had nothing to do with a small house. I just wasn’t feeling it that day. Personal life stuff was getting to me that day. It wasn’t easy being in a play with my ex 8 times a week. And one of the disadvantages of not being an actor is that i can’t fake it. Of course thats one of the advantages too.
    thank you for all your hard work for us,
    love,
    /s

  31. maybe i’m a little slow, or maybe it’s the nyquil kicking in, but i just cracked up re-reading stew’s post item #7! good one stew! can’t wait to see the movie!!!

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