Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Busker Alley -- on the Queen Mary II

I was away for a bit -- had a busy 3-4 days. Mostly it involved me going to DC to see and review the repertory of Marlowe plays at the Shakespeare Theater, and the official score is: Edward II, thumbs up; Tamburlaine, thumbs down. And waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much declaiming all around. That said, the Harman Theater is a gorgeous new space, and I love being in DC as I always do. And swanky hotel rooms help, plus hanging out for a day and night with Becky Kemper, artistic director of Maryland Shakespeare Festival. Becky is one of my closest and dearest friends on earth, my best friend from college (and beyond).

But before I left for DC (8am train out of Penn Station...yuck), I attend a press junket on Friday aboard the Queen Mary 2, which docks in Brooklyn. The occasion was the launch of the CD for the musical Busker Alley, which announced (while we were sipping our bubbly) that a Broadway production with Jim Dale will be coming in next season. I ended up having a quick if lovely chat with Jim, who I interviewed when he did Threepenny for Roundabout.

The event itself was a little too long, but great fun. There were about six or seven speeches, including a hearty greeting from Captain Christopher Rynd (yes, the captain of the ship); James Morgan, producing artistic director of the York Theater Company (which produced the concert version of the musical last year that was recorded on the CD by...); John Yap, president of Jay Records; Margot Astrachan, who is the lead producer on the Broadway production; Gregg Sherman, son of one of the Sherman brothers who wrote the Busker Alley score; director Tony Walton, who will also design the Broadway run; Dick Sherman, co-composer-lyricist of Busker Alley, who also played some favorite Sherman brothers songs, -- "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Winnie the Pooh," and "It's a Small World After All," which I didn't realize they had written; the aforementioned Jim Dale...and then there was an hourlong presentation of highlights from the show. Like I said, a little too long, but great fun.

And gosh, what a ship! I was ready to stow away. (And wouldn't the blogosphere be so happy to have me gone!) I ended up having a great chat over lunch with my friends Harry Haun and Charles Nelson, became acquainted with Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, Al Hirschfeld's widow, and caught up with Joe Trentacosta and Shane Marshall Brown of Springer & Associates.

I won't, however, discuss the nightmare of getting from the Midtown to the ship and back. There's got to be an easier way of making such things happen. We were almost two-and-a-half hours late getting back to Midtown. But let's talk of happy things...

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