Rewriting…

It’s been a while, but David and I have been rewriting. We’ve had a couple of readings since NYMF 2015: one at Princeton University in February 2016 (special thanks to Princeton Latinos y Amigos and ALPA!), and one in New York City in September 2016. We’ve taken in a lot of critical feedback from people with considerable theatre and musical theatre experience. We’ve gone back and forth about scenes, song moments, character development versus plot action. We’ve argued about how long it takes to get to the “I Want” song, and is page 14 too late. And we are beginning to go a little crazy. So it’s time to start showing off some scenes and rewritten songs to others. Little by little we will be revealing what changes we’ve made, and participating in the Musical Theatre Factory’s Writers of Color group. I am super excited to be in the room with such talented individuals. And kudos to the moderator who is critically exacting and unabashedly enthusiastic! We’ve also submitted our work to the O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference (finalists 2016), and are under consideration for the Musical Theatre Madison (WI), and Pallas Theatre in Washington D.C.. It would be such a trip to do this show within a short drive of the current President.  We should invite him. I think he would “enjoy” tweeting about it later that evening. ;-D

Look for us at the TDF Performeteria (#Performeteria) at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on March 24th, and the Princeton University Latino Alumni Conference on March 30th. We will be presenting short excerpts from the show at both of those events.

Rewriting – cutting characters and actors

This process is hard because the actors did such a good job with all the roles. But I have to cut 2 actors from the cast – so that means I am cutting characters left and right. Once I get the cast down to 8 actors the musical will be more likely to be produced elsewhere after our NYMF production in July 2015. Exciting news on that front, but not sure I am allowed to tell….

Rewriting is hard work! You have to be ruthless. I find it useful to pretend someone else wrote this, and it is my job to fix it. So far I have the cast down to 9 actors. It will probably stay that way for a bit. And once the changes settle in, I can cut one more…oh the agony! I don’t know how that is going to work out – I’m hoping there is a producer out there who is not afraid of a 9 singer/actor musical cast.

Ok – enough stalling for me – time to get back to the script.

Winner of Bryce Harper signed Baseball!

Part of the support for our developmental reading of “Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty” came from an online raffle of a Bryce Harper (Pitcher, Washington D.C. Nationals) signed baseball. The raffle closed on July 5th, and of course I was incredibly busy with the NYMF 2014 reading, and life afterwards, and the excitement of being invited back to NYMF in 2015 with a full production. But I am a woman of my word, and I just drew the lucky winner’s name from a completely randomized, shaken-up-many-times box of names (as witnessed by my husband who videoed this). So congratulations to Jonathan Libman on winning this coveted prize, and thanks to all who supported the reading.

Special shout out to Michael and Erica for providing this prize!

We did it! NYMF 2014 Developmental Reading!

Wow! We did it! We did three sold out public readings of “Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty” at NYMF, and got great audience response from all three shows. So grateful to NYMF for the dramaturgical support, the guidance, the great venue, staff, etc! And so grateful that the developmental reading format includes an audience questionnaire for people to fill out to help guide us with the rewrites. We are extremely proud of our show, the work we’ve done, the cast and musicians and creative team who collaborated with us to deliver the best possible incarnation of the show.

So a picture is worth a thousand words – here are some photos from the last rehearsal on July 9th.

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The creative team: Howard Post (Composer), Elliot Meyers (Stage Manager), Mary McGinley (Assoc. Prod), me (Book and Lyric Writer), José Zayas (Director)
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Carlo Albán (Manuel), Lisa Franklin (Statue of Liberty)
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Ensemble: Blanca Camacho, Danny Boman, Diana Carolina Pou, Jessica Crilley, Gabriel Sloyer, Byron Meyer, Kevin Wood, Rachel Green
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In the middle of a song…
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Gabriel and Jill playing sportscasters that follow the fight. Lisa’s focus is undisturbed.
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Yes, Danny Boman (as the Ref) really is that funny. Carlo (as Manuel) must endure such slings and arrows.
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Blanca as Manuel’s mother blessing him in song.
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Kevin (as Professor Walsh) and Jessica (Honey Girl) singing up a storm!
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Howard with the musicians.
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N: No more cuts to my fabulous script! J: I’m sorry but this part makes no sense. It has to go.
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My name is Mother of Exiles, baby!
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Elliot and Howard wondering how I snuck that cut back into the script.

 

No illusions – we are ecstatic it went so well, but we know it is not done. This is just the beginning. We have lots of ideas for rewrites which we are beginning immediately. We learned a lot about the piece in putting it together for the reading, and listening to the actors and their questions. And José helped refine and cut the script down, so the story was less cluttered. We were blessed with a great team all the way around! (special thanks to Rey Rosa for the photography)

Press Releases

There are certain milestones that give me mini heart attacks, and the press release is one of them. I want to be accurate, and make sure anyone who reads it knows exactly what they are getting into if they come see the show. I want them to know it is a political comedy, the music isn’t typical musical theatre fare, and the hero defies all kinds of stereotypes. But I also want to promote the hell out of this great opportunity of being in #NYMF2014, so of course I want to exaggerate, and put all kinds of stuff in the press release that will bring people in to see it (like how you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll leap out of your seats, it’s edgy, or educational, or both, etc.).

So I unloaded the whole angst filled responsibility into the very capable hands of Mary McGinley, my Associate Producer. She can be more objective because she has a little distance from the project. Plus, she has about 14 seasons experience of doing this sort of thing for the Carolinian Shakespeare Festival. Needless to say she did a great job. You can read it below, and if you want to print it be our guests!

MANUEL VERSUS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY                         Press Release

For immediate release

 

Contact:

Mary McGinley

manuelvsstatueofliberty@gmail.com

PRINCETON PLAYWRIGHT IN NEW YORK FESTIVAL

PRINCETON, NJ: The Drama Desk Award-winning New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) has chosen to include “Manuel versus The Statue of Liberty,” by Princeton playwright Noemi de la Puente, in its festival of events this coming July. The musical, which features music by Howard Post with book and lyrics by Noemi de la Puente, will be presented as a staged reading at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St., July 10 at 4pm and 8pm and July 13 at 3pm. Admission is free.

“’Manuel’ is a musical comedy about illegal immigration,” states Ms. de la Puente, “I was inspired by the true story of a brilliant Princeton undergrad who received a Rhodes Scholarship, then got into trouble because of his immigration status. The situation was so ridiculous: the bureaucracy and waste of talent. I felt if I didn’t laugh I would cry. So, I was compelled to turn it into a musical comedy.”

Composer Howard Post, whose musical composition is often featured on television and in films, was up to the challenge of working on this political satire. The music combines Latin rhythms, American pop, rock, and gospel in the score. Mr. Post is a teacher of classical guitar and jazz, who performs regularly throughout the tristate area as a musician with his jazz ensembles.

Ms. de la Puente is a Princeton graduate (MSE), with an MFA in Theatre Arts – University of Iowa (Patricia Roberts Harris Scholarship). She is a founding member of the Dramatic Question Theater and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Director Jose Zayas will lead a cast of professional singers and actors for this staged reading. Mr. Zayas has directed over 80 productions in New York, regionally, and internationally. He is currently the Resident Director at Repertorio Espanol in New York.

Tickets are free and released to the public on an as-available basis beginning 48 hours prior to each performance. Platinum or Diamond NYMF Members and NYMF Patrons may book tickets online now. For more information about purchasing a membership, visit nymf.org.

To learn more about “Manuel versus The Statue of Liberty,” visit nymf.org/manuelversusthestatueofliberty.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America’s greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience.

Now in its eleventh year, the Festival is the largest musical theatre event in America. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theatre fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in 48 states, and in more than 20 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work “creating and nurturing new musical theatre, ensuring the future of this essential art form.”

NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. NYMF 2014 is presented in association with Fuzzrocket, TheaterMania, and Production Resource Group. NYMF is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

NYMF Memberships, which combine charitable contributions with valuable, flexible ticket packages and perks like early seating and tickets to individual events, are currently available for purchase at (212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org/member.

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Graphics and photos to accompany this article can be downloaded from this link:

https://sites.google.com/site/manuelversusthestatueofliberty/photos-press

Donor Appreciation Party

How to show gratitude? How to fundraise?

The party on December 8th should be a fun combination: an opportunity for people to donate, and a way of showing how much I appreciate the donations. Open to all past, present, and future donors to “Fountain of Youth”.

I have a fun little contest planned out to get people talking about the aging process, and the wisdom that (hopefully) accompanies it. And I have prizes at the end of the contest. It’s totally random, totally bizarre, a combination of a collage, and pin-the-tail-on-the donkey. The three great prizes are:

A gift basket of handmade, herbal skin care products by Natural Herbal Blends.

A set of three kirtan CDs by Wah! (hear some cool samples at wahmusic.com)

A one month membership at Golds Gym in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Everything at the party will tie into the theme of eternal youth. Ron is cultivating the menu. Maybe it will include some “elixers” and “juices”. Debra Lambo is coming out from the Princeton Senior Center to offer wisdom and insight from the program she does there.

Looking forward to the fun  from 2 – 6 PM on Sunday December 8! And if you want to donate, click on this link. And then head on out to the party!

 

Another grant application

Another $5,000 grant application just posted on line with the New York Musical Theatre Festival (nymf.org). All on line, all paperless. We live in an amazing time! This grant app is for my musical comedy about illegal immigration.  I recommend you check out the festival – lots of great new musicals. The organization is a wonderful breeding ground of new work in the genre. I saw 9 musicals last July and all of them were incredibly different, fascinating, and inspiring. Some of my faves: Standby, VolleyGirls, and the Icarus one set in the Depression era carnival.

Special thanks to the actor/singers who performed on our demo recordings. They made it possible.

And of course, special thanks to Howard Post, the composer – we totally invaded his recording studio for this. And he catered the sessions too! http://cooperstreetpro.com/