I’ve written a musical and I
think hope pray know it’s amazing… Now what? For me, this question seems to surface when nearing the completion of the first full draft. Maybe it’s my brain putting off those final bits of work – before the rewriting begins, of course. Or maybe, for the first time, so much of the show is actually written, it finally seems real. It exists. Not just in my head where it’s been for some time, but on paper. It’s suddenly possible to visualize actors stopping the show with the songs, to imagine audiences laughing at the jokes or being moved (to tears?) by the characters and the story.
Bleeding Love began with a desire to write something that offered audiences a huge emotional experience. I brainstormed a list of my most peculiar fascinations – anything that ever elicited a powerful and preferably mysterious response in me. This included Brooklyn brownstones, the sound of a cello, Klaus von Brücker from the films of Bruce La Bruce, my childhood piano teacher, the fairytales of Oscar Wilde, my mother’s greenhouse, the line art of Aubrey Beardsley, longhaired men and punk goddess Nina Hagen, to name more than a few. Hoping this unusual combination of elements might have a similar effect on others, I fashioned them into a narrative, but the result was so rarified, it seemed no one but me could possibly appreciate it.
Harris (lyrics) and Art (music) initially rejected my “rose story.” “We want to write something commercial,” Harris said. But as the three of us continued to talk about it, Bleeding Love’s very strangeness seemed to be its greatest selling point. And commercial or not, it was a show all three of us wanted to see. A year later, when we sat down in a New York rehearsal studio to read it through beginning to end, it was still starkly unique, but our collaboration had transformed it into something bigger, something more accessible, and – dare I say it? – something commercial. Now what?
Bleeding Love was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award and now, the first public performance of any kind will be at NAMT’s Festival of New Musicals. This is an extraordinary opportunity to present a show with a first-rate cast and director before an industry audience. Because of this, Bleeding Love has the best possible chance of finding the right developmental path, whatever that may be. NAMT’s guidance will allow us to find the right home and the right audience for our show. And personally, it’s a thrill and an honor to be in the company of an amazing roster of writers whose work I have loved and admired. Or at least read about on playbill.com.
The crazy list that started this journey did not include writing musicals, but it should have. For me, NAMT’s recognition and support is a dream come true. Now what?