Yes, I am going to be doing something theatrically. Don’t faint (I may or may not be talking to myself.)
Sunnyvale Community Players (SCP) put out the call for submissions for an online holiday show – Holidays at Home – A Memory Lane Special.
I submitted my idea, and was invited to do a callback video and was eventually accepted into the show.
I’m very excited; and not a little bit terrified.
I haven’t performed since last January.
And my submission is, to say the least, ambitious.
In fact, it is so ambitious, I am wondering if I may have lost my fucking mind.
Because the theme of the show is special holiday memories, I decided I wanted to do a song from A Winter’s Tale (A Dickens’ of a Christmas Carol) – an original musical version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol that I performed in during the 1980s in Los Angeles. The show premiered in 1984, with me playing Mrs. Fezziwig (and ensemble, and one of the three spirits during one number). Not only did we premiere the show, we did a cast album (which is still available on Amazon!)
This show means so much to me.
For a number of years, it was done at Christmas time. We would even do a show on Christmas Day. After the show, the cast would bring tables (used in the show) onto the stage and we would invite the audience to join us for a Christmas feast. About the best way I know how to spend Christmas.
Cast members would return or be replaced depending on availability; and I made some lifetime friends.
The music is wonderful and I love all of the songs so much.
How was I going to pick one?
There are few true solos in the show. Duets, Trios, and full ensemble numbers; but not a lot of solos.
How could I find something that would let me tell how special this show is?
I decided I would do the opening number. It’s delightful and gives a synopsis of the show. I would sing the three solos (Cratchitt, Belle and Mr. Fezziwig) and have the ensemble singing on the track behind me.
First challenge. Get the tracks I needed.
I have a CD of the show (I also have the original vinyl tucked away somewhere too); but because of the way this CD was done, you can’t just scrub the vocals as you can do with a lot of CDs – as I found out after trying various vocal scrubbing programs.
But I happen to be friends with the gentleman who (with his son and protégé) wrote the show; and the gentleman who did all the orchestrations and arrangements. With their kind help, I was able to get my hands on orchestral tracks.
Then I had to find a program where I could take the two tracks and make one – one with the ensemble singing where they sing and the orchestra only playing under the solos.
Then I had to figure out how to make the program work.
Did I mention I’m a fat OLD lady? I have, indeed, learned some new tricks.
I got a decent version of the tracks put together.
Now, the presentation. I had to sing the song either in a soprano range or a very low alto range. Fuck. My voice was just not settling into the soprano range, so I opted for the low alto range, and then I got a bit of an inspiration.
I would create a book, and read from it, as an old British lady (think Angela Landsbury-esque – not posh but not cockney – just a generic type of every day type of Brit accent (i.e., one that I was going to be comfortable with and that I could, hopefully, pull off without heaping shame and derision on my punkin’ head) inviting visitors to gather round while I read (sang) from my book, A Winter’s Tale, about a place far, far away, called Los Angeles, where once upon a time …
Of course, I am the costume whore; have to have the right costume and accessories. So I got a red velour robe; Christmas scarf that lights up; a hair piece (to help out my scraggly-COVID head of hair) and created a “picture” book for A Winter’s Tale.
We shot a rough of the whole thing, which I was not able to view because it was shot on my husband’s iPhone and my iPhone decided it didn’t like it; and there was a whole adventure getting the file onto my desktop so I could send it to the director – and none of the programs I have on my desktop will show it.
The whole thing has been (and continues to be) an amazing adventure.
And every bit of it is worth it to share a peek into the very special show that I love so very much.
I’ll have more information about the show, how you can see it etc., as soon as it is available.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to worry about putting up our Christmas tree (it’ll be Murphy’s first Christmas tree – Lord (TIDBI) save us), to be my backdrop when we video this sucker.