A Big Week Ahead

Alot of research, planning, and work culminates this week with some exciting things. We’re changing notation programs, installing acoustics improvements in the studio, and completing vocal tracking of Mike’s demo with a visit from a Tony-winning Broadway star.

Switching to Sibelius

I’ve had misgivings about Finale’s seriousness toward the Mac ever since Sibelius released their Mac OS X native app 18 months before Finale. Some of Finale’s OS X implementation (i.e. printing parts as PDF) is still broken even 5 paid upgrades later. Finale’s yearly upgrades are $100, the file formats are not backwards compatible so upgrades are essentially mandatory, yet serious bugs remain unfixed and new features are rarely worth the cost (either pandering to the education market or playing catchup to Sibelius). In addition, I couldn’t even launch Finale 2008 (a “MOTU bug“, they said), but it mysteriously fixed itself in Finale 2009.

We’ve demoed Sibelius 6, tested MusicXML file transfers out of Finale, and had our friend and professional music copyist Alden Terry give us a quick walkthru of Sibelius. The tipping point was Sibelius’ support for ReWire — a potentially exponential timesaver letting us sync vocal arrangements in real-time to our DP projects. We’re convinced, and today we start our transition.

Most of the Sibelius vs. Finale posts I came across were horribly outdated, so I will be live-blogging our transition — warts and all. Look here for my series of blog posts about switching from Finale to Sibelius.

Acoustic Improvements

Last fall, we reconfigured our studio (featuring a snazzy custom desk from KK Audio). This new layout made the acoustic imperfections in our room even more troublesome, but theme park season and general lack of acoustic theory kept me from addressing it.

I saw a college friend’s studio pictures on facebook, and he pointed me in the direction of RealTraps. Mike and I had been reluctant to just ignorantly plaster our walls with (honestly, ugly) acoustic foam, so the panel design already appealed to us. I’ve been corresponding with RealTraps’ on-hand acoustics expert “JWL” who looked at photos of our room and was really helpful in identifying what configuration would give us the most improvements.

I’ve measured our room’s frequency response in its current state, and I’ll do the same afterward. Look here for the results!

Broadway’s Alice Ripley

Mixing is progressing nicely on the 3-song demo for the new Kevin Del Aguila/Michael Shaieb musical, “The Protagonists“. The last vocalist is now confirmed, as Mike wrote earlier.

This Thursday, we’re happy to have Alice Ripley (Next To Normal, The Rocky Horror Show) joining us in the studio singing the part of “Eagle Woman”.

(Fans of Go-Go Beach will also know her from demo track #14: “The Love That Cannot Be”.)

Alice recently won a Tony award for the role of “Diana” in the Broadway musical Next To Normal, and we’re thrilled to have her back again.

Where to find us in ’09 (and a 2008 wrap-up)

2008 ended with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus’ premiere of Mike’s oratorio Through A Glass, Darkly being cited for “Outstanding Achievement in Opera” by MN’s Lavender Magazine (Thanks! But…opera?). At least five more choruses around the country have expressed interest in staging their own concert productions in the near-future.

“Last Days of Left Eye” was released on DVD on September 9.

Go-Go Beach played a few more places including high schools in Australia and Metro Detroit, bringing us to 107 lifetime performances spanning 4 countries and 12 US states.

I wrote the music for a full-length dance show conceived and choreographed by Jeff Shade called “Playground” which was presented in December at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.

Here’s a quick overview of some things coming up for us in 2009.

  • March 25-29“Go-Go Beach” at Centennial High School in Roswell, GA.
  • April 18 – Mike’s newest choral work, “I Want More Life”, will be premiered by the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus for the occasion of the Tony Kushner Celebration at the Guthrie Theater. Commissioned by the Chorus especially for the Kushner Festival, the work is a TTBB setting of a monologue from Kushner’s play “Angels In America: Perestroika”. The performance will be at the Festival’s Community Kick-Off event prior to the opening of “Caroline, or Change”.
  • May 3“I Want More Life” will be performed by the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis at a concert in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Minneapolis-based professional chorus VocalEssence. The TC-GMC was invited to join five other choruses to mark the occasion. (tickets)
  • May 8-9, 15-16“Go-Go Beach” at ShowBiz Starz in Taylor, MI.
  • May 15 – The second performance of “I Want More Life” in conjunction with the Tony Kushner Celebration at the Guthrie Theatre, performed opening night of the world premiere of Kushner’s new play “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures“.
  • June 2 – The third and fourth performances of “I Want More Life”, for the Guthrie’s “Talk-About” series.
  • June 6-7“Through A Glass, Darkly”, performed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC at Lisner Auditorium – GW Campus, Washington, DC.
  • June 8 – The fifth performance of “I Want More Life”, prior to Tony Kushner’s “Global Voice” talk at the Guthrie Theatre.
  • June 19-20“Through A Glass, Darkly”, performed by the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus at the Miami Beach Colony Theatre.

That’s not to say I’m not doing anything… just nothing with dates yet. Ben Britten, Mike, and I are writing an iPhone game, hopefully releasable by mid-year. Being our first game together, we really don’t have any idea how long it will take to complete, tho. I am also developing a theatre-related website with some folks, but it’s too early to talk about that. And a few music projects in mind, once the paying work clears up.

Mike is also scoring a short film by filmmaker Andrew Lund and edited by our film cohort John Daschbach. It is looking to be a serious contender this film festival season. There are some rumblings about possible future choral commissions, too. More as things develop.

Big Week In Review, In Pictures

Through A Glass, Darkly premiered on PBS in Minnesota last Saturday night, while Go-Go Beach simultaneously turned 100 (performances…ever) the same night.

"Darkly" video producer Emily Goldberg with Mike at a TPT screening in Saint Paul

“Darkly” video producer Emily Goldberg with Mike at a TPT screening in Saint Paul

Sunset falls on the 100th lifetime performance of Go-Go Beach, which happened at the Showboat Majestic, Cincinnati OH

Sunset falls on the 100th lifetime performance of Go-Go Beach, which happened at the Showboat Majestic, Cincinnati OH

More photos, including a rare Lorie Line sighting outside of the Christmas Season, are seen in this photo album.

And if you missed it in Minneapolis, Through A Glass, Darkly DVDs are on-sale. Order now from the TCGMC website. The video is *amazing* with the concert portion bookended by incredibly moving and personal interviews with some of the cast and artistic team. Get your copy today!

Duke Kahanamoku’s Roadsters and Jalopies

Duke who? (Duke ka-HAH-nah-MO-koo.) Here’s a short history and photos of his statue on Waikiki Beach. He’s called by many the “Father of Surfing” and a hero to most any surfer, including Woody, the lead character in our stage musical “Go-Go Beach” (book & lyrics by John Wimbs).

Woody’s big plan for the gang after graduation centers around a Used Car Lot he is about to inherit from his girlfriend’s father. A few scenes later, their flower-child pal Bulldog returns from San Francisco and has a few things to say about the blasphemy of naming a used car lot after the Duke, but until then it’s just the boys having some fun in the 1966 California sun!

Austin Miller as "Woody" in the new musical GO-GO BEACH, book and lyrics by John Wimbs, music by Michael Shaieb and Brent Lord, at the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2006. Photo © BEN BRITTEN SMITH.

So, here is Austin Miller, star of the 2006 NYMF production of Go-Go Beach, and more recently “Hot Danny” from the NBC reality show “Grease: You’re The One That I Want”, singing the song “Duke Kahanamoku’s Roadsters and Jalopies”.

Exclusive stage performing rights are represented by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. Hey theatre folks — put Go-Go Beach on your next season!

Duke Kahanamoku's Roadsters and Jalopies
Lead vocal by Austin Miller
Add'l vocals by Mike, Matt Hinkley, and a lot of other folks that helped out on "Surf's Up"
Lyric by John Wimbs
Music by Brent
Produced by Brent
(c) 2001 (p) 2007 John Wimbs, Michael Shaieb, Brent Lord

New demo track coming soon

Austin Miller was in last week to record vocals on a new Go-Go Beach demo track “Duke Kahanamoku’s Roadsters & Jalopies”. I am mixing the track this week, and we’ll be posting it online soon right here.

Fans of the show will recognize “Duke’s R&J” as a revision of “Surf’s Up!”. Changes to the story line before last year’s NYMF production called for a song to lay out Woody’s big plan for The Gang after graduation. All the good stuff from “Surf’s Up” is still intact tho. Stay tuned!

“Broadway Bullet” podcast interview with John, Coleen, and John

Volume 4 of “Broadway Bullet” just (aired?) on the nextbighit.com website and features interviews with John Simpkins (director), actress Coleen Sexton (Mindy Chinchilla) and bookwriter/lyricist John Wimbs and excerpts from the show. “A Boy Like You” and a sneak peek at the brand new Mindy Chinchilla hit “His Smile Told Me So”.

Podcast overview is here and/or subscribe to the Broadway Bullet enhanced podcast (with handy chapter markers) in iTunes here.

Casting official – tickets onsale (at midnight?)

Casting is official – David A. Austin, Michael Buchanan, Amy Goldberger, Austin Miller, Erin Leigh Peck, Colt Prattes, Chandra Lee Schwartz, Coleen Sexton, Timothy Smith, Shelley Thomas, and Savannah Wise. Check out their bios on our nymf.org show page. (UPDATE: no permalinks for NYMF 06 shows)

Tickets go onsale Sept. 1 — that’s in less than two hours here in NYC. Does TheatreMania do online sales at midnight? We’ll see. Go to gogobeach.com/nymf for ticketing links.