Bill Persky Comes On Board As Director, Major Hollywood Figure Takes Us To Our $60,000 and 80's Rock Star Makes Us A Profit!
September 24, 2011
It’s A Numbers Game
We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is that this will be the final mass mailer in awhile! The bad news is that it will be a long one. But trust me, it’s well worth it. When we started this whole Kick Starter campaign on July 27th, the idea of setting a goal of $60k seemed ridiculous (and the idea of achieving that goal was just plain crazy talk). In fact, Kick Starter recommends that you set a target dollar amount that is less than half of what we set. They know from experience what works and what doesn’t. But we really had no choice. There was no way we could put on our show for lest than $60k. And while that number is not an arbitrary number, we sort of backed into it. We knew we needed a 199-seat theater in NY for two weeks. The going rate for a theater rental of that size is about $10k per week so there’s $20k right there. The show will have eight actors, three singers in the choir, a five-piece orchestra, two stagehands, a director and a dance captain. Let’s call those costs about $20k per week so that’s another $40k. Oh look, this all totals to $60k and we haven’t even factored in lighting, sound, scenery, marketing, rehearsal space etc.!!! But we figured if we at least hit our target number, we’d scramble to make it work (including kicking in my own money to make up the difference which I’ve been doing for the past six years). Wait, the sound you hear is my wife Debbie screaming “Noooo”! But truth be told, there was an unspoken “Who are we kidding?” vibe in the beginning. I mean, how could we possibly sell $60k worth of tickets for a show that is not even in production yet? [Dramatic pause] Boy, were we wrong. As you can see by the photo below WE MADE IT!!!!!!!
This feels like that moment at the end of “A Chorus Line” when the actors have been told they made the cut and the director is telling them all of the details about what’s to come but they’re kind of not listening because they are all beaming with pride. That’s how our entire company feels like right now (but without the Capezios).
We Are Not Done Yet!
Even though we hit our goal there are still PLENTY of tickets available. The “ticket window” closes at 2am tonight. So if you haven’t pre-purchased your tickets yet, this will be the last time that you will be able to get the “Hereafter Musical” Kick Starter Package of Ticket, CD and T-shirt for one low price of $50 (when did this become PBS???) And after you’ve made your purchase keep checking to see how we’re doing (drink plenty of coffee, it’s going to be a long night)! WE ARE LOOKING AT MID TO LATE APRIL FOR OUR TWO-WEEK RUN. We will lock in those dates asap and when we do, we will coordinate with you the exact dates that you will be attending. We cannot wait to repay your generosity with what we know is going to be an amazing show.
Be Careful What You Ask For…
Yes we are THRILLED that we hit our goal. But now the real work begins. Guess what Frankie and I will be doing for the next six months? Thanks to the amazing response to our campaign, 271 people purchased 1017 tickets, 726 CDs and 515 T-shirts. We will be busy packing and shipping out the CD and T-shirts over the next few weeks. We should have everything out by the end of October. In addition to that, I will be making 98 “pledge fulfilling” phones calls, hosting 23 lunches and hosting 12 screenings of the infamous “Debbie Tapes”. This involves showing 15 minutes of intimate home video of me trying to impress Debbie thirty years ago in my tighty whities. I have seller’s remorse!!! We may have to give those 12 people their money back!
So How The Hell Did We Do That?
$60k is a lot of money. We did have several incredibly generous supporters who purchased large blocks of tickets, but by far the most popular premium was the $100, two ticket/CD/T-shirt package. We knew that to be successful, we needed to sell lots of those. And even though we have a huge mailing list, this whole Kick Starter thing can be somewhat complicated on several levels. If you expect people to buy something (especially tickets to a performance) you usually are working with actual dates and a simple transaction process. As we’ve mentioned before, lots of folks had problems with “cookies” which kept them from ordering. There are also some folks who still don’t get what we’re trying to do with the pre-selling of tickets (and we don’t blame them)! So here we were, just days before the deadline, thousands of dollars short of our goal (many thousands) when I get a message that the boss wants to see me. Now when I say boss, I don’t just mean my boss, I mean everyone’s boss. The “capo di tutti capo”. The boss of all bosses (in a totally legal way!) Leslie is the President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation. A true TV legend who among other things was the driving force behind classic TV shows like; “Friends” and “ER” (in the same season!) when he was the head of Warner Brothers TV. Not to mention his complete re-boot of CBS when he came here in 1995. His accomplishments at CBS are so long that to list them all would require it’s own web site so I’ll link to that here. So suffice it to say that I get a little, what’s the word I’m looking for, “anxious” when he calls. We’ve worked closely together for fifteen years but this is a pretty busy guy. He runs the company!!!! I was wracking my brain as to why HE would be calling ME. It couldn’t be about the 7th floor-bowling league meeting that night because he’s on a different floor. I took a deep breath, made the sign of the cross and called. He took my call right away (now I’m even more scared). Then the rest of what he said had me so dazzled that I had an out of body experience. But not a cool one where I astral planed to different lands but one where I was just a few feet away, looking at myself. No wait; it was just my reflection the mirror. But from what I can remember, he said that he’d heard that I was short of my goal and he wanted to make up the difference! He asked me what the amount was and I stammered it and he said that a check from him to “Hereafter” would be ready shortly. And I swear, it felt like I could have said any number and he would not have batted an eyelash (and the number I gave him was quite high!) I took the express elevator to his floor and to quote Harry Chapin’s great line from the song “Taxi”…”I stuffed the bill in my shirt”! And as I walked away from his office with the weight of the world off of my shoulders, it finally dawned on me what CBS stands for…Check for Broadway Show!!! Thank you Leslie for your incredibly generous support and for taking us to the magic number that even we said we’d never hit! And thank you for adding a good five years to my life…whew!
And Another Thing…
In week full of amazing milestones for our show here’s another great one. It took 271 people to pre-purchase tickets so that we could make our goal of $60k. And it only took one person to help us pass it and represent what will be many, many years of “profit”. And we couldn’t think of a better person to have that honor then the one and only David Pack! Fans of our show already know that David is from the great band Ambrosia. They also know that he covered one of the songs from our show (“Talk To Me”). Thank you David!
This Is Show Business Not Show Fun!
So let’s take a moment to acknowledge some more special people. For any show to be properly work shopped and prepped for off-Broadway, you need more than to just sell tickets. You need investors or as Broadway likes to romanticize them, “angels”. And apropos of our show, we have two great angels who backed us early on; Joe Poletto and Louis Maione. These two guys put up some up some serious angel money (and they expect it back and then some!). They and are on board as Executive Producers along with me for this next run. They are both at the top of their respective fields (which for some strange reason they won’t let me in on). They believe in our show and will help me mount the best production that your money (and theirs) could buy. I am very excited to be working with them. Though I am worried that the combination of the names Favale, Poletto & Maione on the poster will get us on the FBI’s organized crime watch list. This is the first time I am are taking in outside money so as a precaution I have employed the services of two people; super entertainment lawyer Steve Mark and super accountant Shelly Fried. This is just in case Joe and Lou form an alliance against Frankie and I. Steve is such a good lawyer he once successfully sued himself. And Shelly still works with an Abacus…I think I’m in great hands!
Remembering DJ Wheeler
It is sad to think that it took the death of someone I didn’t even know to set me on this path to the creation of “Hereafter Musical”. Simply put, if DJ Wheeler doesn’t die then there is no show…something I would gladly trade in. I read about DJ’s passing in our local paper. He died on November 21st, 2003. His story moved me and rekindled memories of the loss of my two brothers, years earlier. My heart went out to DJ’s parents and especially his two sisters. The loss of a sibling is hard to describe. In most cases you have a situation where the parents are so rightfully consumed with grieving for their child, that the siblings have to find their own way. I wanted to reach out to them but couldn’t because I didn’t know them. Shortly after the accident, I was driving my son to soccer practice when I noticed roadside memorial that DJ’s friends set up where the accident occurred. I would pass it back forth every weekend cause it’s a heavily traveled road and I couldn’t get the image out of my head. Over time I was inspired to write a song called “Nineteen” as a sort of release. Before I knew it, I had written sixteen songs about what life is like after someone dies from the perspective of both the living and the dead. Several years later, I finally got to meet DJ’s amazing family through mutual friends and had the honor of playing them the music from the show. It was very special night and we have since become good friends and they have attended every showcase. And through them, I also got to know DJ and what a great son and brother he was. His sisters Alison and Erin speak at high schools every year about the dangers of drunk driving as part of the “Rude Awakenings” program. And bringing things full circle, the three of us made a music video that celebrates DJ’s life and features “Goodbye” (one of the songs from the show). Joanne Wheeler [DJ’s mom]: “whenever I listen to "Goodbye" I cry…but that's a good thing…it lets me know I can still feel."
DJ Wheeler Home Video ["Goodbye" from "Hereafter Musical"]
Roll Call Tease For Week Seven
Three of this week’s pledgers are related to a fictional character from the show, one of them wrote a book with me that currently sells for .49 cents on Amazon (plus $2.00 shipping!) and one of them spent a wild weekend with me in Lake George.
Meet The Creative Team…Major Announcement!
Over the past six updates you’ve met the cast and the characters they play. Now let’s meet the people behind the show…these are the ones without whom with there’d be no how! And we are going to start off with a bang!!!
"Hereafter Musical" Creative Team; Vinnie, Frankie, Bill Hindin and Bill Persky
There’s a newspaper term called “burying the lead” which is exactly what I am about to do here. Frankie and I have had a legendary, creative mentor working with us for the past three years (did you guys really think we were that good on our own!!). We are SO excited to announce that the director of Hereafter Musical’s off-Broadway run will be none other than the legendary, FIVE time Emmy Award winning writer and director, Bill Persky! For those of you on this email who know Bill, enough said. For those of you who don’t, Bill is THE perfect captain to steer this ship. And he’s not just a director here. He’s someone who has invested many hours of his time in helping us develop the story and the characters. Every change that he has suggested has made the show measurably better (and some of the changes were very painful for us to make)! And now, as our director, he will be able to bring the figments of Frankie and my imagination to life. Bill won two Emmy Awards for the “Dick Van Dyke Show” where he wrote some of their most classic episodes. He co-created “That Girl” for Marlo Thomas and then went on to produce and direct over 100 episodes of “Kate & Allie” (where he won the Emmy for directing). In addition to being one of TV’s top writers, he also owns one of the most legendary streaks in TV. From 1975 to 82 he directed 22 television pilots, of which 16 were put on the air as series, (including "Who's The Boss?" and “Lotsa Luck”). Bill has worked closely with some of the greats (including Julie Andrews AND Orson Welles). His comedic instincts are stellar (obviously) but the thing makes him so special as a human being (and for this project) is his heart and his sensitivity. He brings so much of that to his work and we are so excited that we will have front row seat as he helps our little show find it’s legs. We could not be in better hands. Frankie on working with Bill; To herald Bill's many accolades from the years of television I, and all of us, grew up laughing with and quoting lines from even today would be easy. But Bill is not easy. He is complex. He is Kind. He is thought provoking. He is generous. He is fascinating. He is one person that with his pedigree could sail off and retire, relax and enjoy the fruits of his masterful mind. Instead, this man set aside many hours of his days, listening to our many, many rewrites patiently-never criticizing, but just merely making sensible suggestions that we would ponder and then often times, utilize. If I had limitless time and no worries as to what would pay my rent, I would rent a roaring fire, have the finest brandy in a snifter with its expensive legs making their way down the crystal, and beg Bill to tell me stories until I passed out. That is how much I love Bill Persky.
Meet Bill Hindin [Musical Director]
Bill is on the very, very short list of people that we can only say is a key member of the thing we call “Hereafter Musical”. Without Bill’s patient role as the music director, song whisperer, music arranger and go to guy for every musical thing we do live, we’d be nothing more than a pipe dream. His extensive background in musical theatre and his encyclopedic knowledge of the American songbook has been a godsend to Frankie and I. And his music skills are second only to his humanity (I know, it sounds like he’s getting the Nobel peace prize). But it’s true. The way he balances his hectic life, the way he takes care of his family and they way he takes care of us (his musical family) is such an inspiration. And now after living with the show for three years with just piano, Bill will get to bring all of this beautiful music alive with the little orchestra he will be putting together for our run. He is a true musical genius and his piano work on the demos is rich and multi layered (just like Bill). Frankie on working with Bill: To hear Bill put it, when he first walked into Vinnie's office, he saw me and my dear friend Francesca, sitting there, and he said, "I'm gonna love this Job!". Well, after 3.5 years, I can say with complete certainty, it is I who love this job and a large part of it has to do with Bill Hindin. Not only is he a fantabulous musician, he is a "Song Whisperer"....to hear him say it, he will often tell you he knows friends that are far better players, musicians, etc....but it's so much more than being a good musician. It's a chemistry and understanding that can't be taught. It is an intangible that is either there or it's not. That's what Bill has. Combine that with the fact that he is one of the most compassionate and fascinating human beings I have been so fortunate to now call friend, he is an enigma. A rare and special talent that WE are the lucky ones, not Bill. Take a listen to some of Bill’s best work from the show. These are all instrumental versions so that you can truly appreciate what he’s done.
We already know about Frankie’s role as one of the stars of our show [as Anita]. But she is so much more than that. She is both my writing and music partner in every aspect of the show. Her vocal arrangements are my favorite parts of the songs. One of the funniest songs in the show (“The Toe Tag Tango”) was co-written by her. Her intricate background vocals are layered throughout every demo and sound like an angel’s choir. Some of the biggest laughs in the show come from her very unique sense of humor. Her dedication of time and talent to a project that has yielded very little in the way of financial security is something I will never forget. And the fact that she set aside her ego and took her vocal tracks OFF of one of her own character’s songs (“Someday”) because she felt knew there were three singers that could do a better job just shows how important this project is to her. And her original vocals were excellent! Take a listen for yourself.
Meet Vinnie Favale [Book Writer, Music & Lyrics]
Frankie on working with Vinnie: One paragraph won't give me near enough time to sum up 3.5 + years of working with Vinnie P. Favale. As we often joke, but now I'm beginning to actually buy into, we share a brain. When I first met Vinnie, I remember thinking to myself, "is it possible to meet someone as off the wall crazy as me?" After all this time, I realize, it was. It's hard to believe that an email sent to the wrong address that finally found its way to me, would result in many days and nights of collaboration, which would eventually end up as what we now call, "Hereafter". If I had to pick one word that would describe Vinnie, (although it would be very limiting!) it would be Generous. It's not easy when you have an idea for a show and have been nurturing it close to the vest like an only child, when someone like me comes along with approximately 3,000 ideas that are so far fetched you really want me to take a long walk off a short pier. But instead, Vinnie (who from this point further shall be referred to as, "the poor man"), listens to each one patiently, and actually sees the core of my idea and makes it work. This poor man has spent countless hours listening to me say, "Wait!! wait!!! hear me out, I have one more idea!!" and actually figures out a way to "give me what I want" as he puts it. And now, 3.5 years later, I've come to see the full extent of this generosity when my ideas and the many voices in my head have not only been patiently listened to, but now have been allowed to come to life in "Hereafter". To trust someone with one's child is the highest compliment, and to this, I say, I am humbled.
Meet Eric Garner [Music Consultant].
Eric’s title as music consultant to our show is an understatement and does not to justice to what he truly means to our show and to me personally. Eric is the first person I turned to when I made decided to write this musical. I first met Eric when he covered one of my songs (“Restless, Restless”) for a Howard Stern contest. What he did was totally original (he just used the lyrics) and I was an instant fan. I reached out to him to tell him how great his version was and we became fast friends. I felt an instant bond and when I told him that I wanted to write a musical and I needed someone to help me translate my music and lyrics into demos he said yes before I could even finish the sentence. You can also check out his amazing body of work here. Frankie on working with Eric; I have never had the honor of actually meeting Eric but I feel such a connection with this fabulous talent. I know that before I came along, Eric was the man who believed in Vinnie and his dream of making "Hereafter" a reality. It is with his instrumentals that the fully realized songs gave life. So when you find yourself humming a song that you can't shake out of your head from the show, there is a good chance, Eric has a large part to do with it. His magic is all over the soundtrack and his original demos are still some of my favorites. He plays all the instruments and sings on every one of these songs. Take a listen.
Family, Arrangements, Engineering & Voices From Heaven
These are some very very special people who have each made (and continue to make) major and lasting contributions to our show.
Debbie, Jonathan & Brooster Favale – Simply put, without the rock solid support and emotional backing (and financial!) of my wife Debbie, my son Jonathan (and don’t laugh…my dog Brooster) this project would never exist. I not only have Debbie’s unconditional support, she has actually allowed me to use her and her mother’s story (which is a huge part of the show). I won the lottery when I married her!
The Fried Family - This family is the first family of Broadway to us. They run the box office at every show we've done. And they help me manage the endless paperwork involved in keeping a production like this going. And their work will only increase now that we've made our goal...boy do we owe them. Thanks Marcia, Shelly, Randi, Michele & Archie!
Jenna DiMartini – Jenna has literally grown up with the show. I met her through my son Jon when they were in high school. She is an accomplished actress (she did a three-year stint on “All My Children” until her character was abducted by aliens). She has a GORGEOUS voice and has not only sung in every single one of our performances since 2006 but she also was there when many of the songs were written. Here is a beautiful, acapella performance of Jenna singing “Goodbye” shortly after it was written followed by her recent cover of Big Star’s “13”. We are so lucky that she is in our lives.
"Goodbye" - Jenna DiMartini from "Hereafter Musical" [NJ 073106]
Dani Donadi – Dani is a very special musician. I can count on two fingers the amount of times we have been in the same room. Yet together we have made some beautiful music over the years. He orchestrations on some of the songs have truly captured the soul of what we are trying to do here. And his work performance on “Talk To Me” still resonates after five years!!! Here is a sample of his genius work on our show.
"Talk To Me" - Dani Donadi from "Hereafter Musical"
Amy Baer – Amy is a new member to our creative team. She has done sooo much beautiful work in such a short amount time that I can only imagine the amount of magic we will make together. Take a listen to these two orchestrations for “Waiting” and “Space & Time Reprise”…they are stunning. We love “Waiting” so much that we will be shooting our first music video to this song in February.
Danny Aiello – What more can I say about this Oscar nominated actor who has been a true angel to our production other than a heartfelt thank you. He’s participation casts such a HUGE halo over our project. Has already contributed so much of his talents and continues to do so to this day. His covers of “Talk To Me” and “Heart & Soul” are two of the most popular videos on our Youtube channel. And he just recorded a new version of “Talk To Me” for his new CD! Here’s a sneak peek! We love you Danny.
Francesca Vannucci – Francesca is an amazing talent and holds a very special place in our hearts. Frankie, Bill and I spent two glorious weeks together three years ago in a burst of creativity that she was a big part of. We actually haven’t spoken in over a year because we are both so busy (and also because I’m an idiot who really should be making more time for special people like her). This is a great video of Francesca and Frankie (with Bill on piano) performing the first demo of “Life & Death”. We love you Francesca.
Alan Kalter – That voice from G-d that you hear at the beginning of “Life & Death” belongs to Alan Kalter. His contribution to our show as both the “Narrator” and “Robert Welby” is immeasurable and we are so honored and excited to be working with him on this show.
Sandra Huff – Sandra has been part of our company for years. Her voice lifts the voices of our choir every single time we do a live performance. And as far as I’m concerned, her performance on “Someday” is one for the books.
David Cooper – One of the true heroes of our many incarnations. Some people know him as Frankie’s boyfriend. Lots of people know him as the gifted writer who has more books in the pipeline than Stephen King. His latest on Jack Youngblood is excellent. But I know him for one thing and that’s for being an incredible friend, supporter and wise council on every area of our show (and our lives now). You’ll come for Frankie and you’ll stay for David.
MP Kuo – Last but not least is out brilliant engineer MP. You have no idea what goes into recording these demos. MP is THE gatekeeper of the hundreds of voices in Frankie’s heads, our large cast and hundreds (thousands) of hours of session work. Her attention to quality and details is outstanding and if she ever leaves us, we’re just gonna fold up the tent and join her. Frankie on working with MP; Patience is a virtue. Such an overused expression if you ask me..but in this case, she warrants every example of that phrase. A good engineer is nice. A great engineer is rare. MP is a GREAT engineer. It is more than a job for her. She has taken "Hereafter" to a level we could have only dreamed about, sacrificing her own time to make everything sound as good as she can make it with her Golden ears. From this MIA (made in America) singer, to my MIC (Made in China) engineer, I am so thankful for your selflessness. You make us all sound better!!
Unsung Heroes [And Heroes Who Sing]
This is a long list of people of have lent their great talents to our show over the years. Some have been with us since the beginning and some have just joined us. The nature of theater lends itself to people coming in and out of your life. Schedules don’t always match, characters in the show get killed off, people get other shows etc.… But the one thing they all have in common is that they very talented and they are part of our growing. And if I’ve left anyone off this list I promise I will make it up to you!
Muriel Remo - Muriel is a new member of our family. She just recorded two songs with us and we are thrilled to have her with us!And we love Gabby and Gil too!
Samuel Zanger - Anyone who has seen our videos or come to our website has seen the beautiful illustrations that Sam has done for us. His work was the first time I saw our characters come to life. We are looking forward to working with Sam again as our show develops.
Charity Dawson – There was a point in the show’s history (for like fifteen minutes!) that we had an angel character! And Charity brought it to life beautifully.
Mike Zdeb – An oldie but a goody. A high school friend of Jon’s who lent his guitar talents in the early days of demos!
Heidi Torvik – Julliard trained flautist who was the first to record the memorable intro to “Lost”.
Kimball Gallagher – Excellent piano and violin player who performed on the demo of “Goodbye”.
Elizabeth Stallmeyer – Super talented photographer who has documented our show over the years with some beautiful photos that we will treasure forever.
Vito Catalano – Another amazing photographer who makes a career of shooting (with a camera!) Presidents, heads of states and us!
Lisa Orban – A truly special person and talent. Lisa was there from day one. She sang on so many demos and contributed so much to the songs early development that her smile flashes before me when I hear many of the songs. She was actually going to play one of the characters in the early days but we killed that character off (the character was already a ghost character!). A true gem who made us feel like we had something special even when we had so very little.
Mike Stallmeyer – Wow…Mikey!! Mike is a very close family friend. He also went to school with my son (I know, the “Hereafter Musical” backstory is starting to sound like Glee meets the Disney Channel. But if you knew Mikey’s talents you wouldn’t be surprised why I worked with him. He played on so many demos and was there when we work shopped many of the earlier songs. The only thing that got in the way of us spending more time together on the show was a little thing called NYU! We owe Mikey a huge debt for his contributions.
Jon Harris – By day, Jon is a major exec at Sara Lee. In his spare time, he possesses this amazing, soulful voice that I tapped into for two memorable demos.
Mariel Larsen – Another stunning singer. Muriel worked with us in the early days on a few demos. She’s an amazing jazz singer whose work you must listen to.
Sue Kiley – Sue is such a special member of our company. She wqas the first person to sing the title song shortly after it was written. She has been part of many recording sessions and live performance and is our go to person when we need excellence. A beautiful, pure voice (and person!)
Eddie Crosby – Eddie is Sue’s son and gave a memorable performance on one of our recordings. If he focused on music as a career you would all know him the way we do.
John Titta – Before there was anyone else on Hereafter there was John Titta. John had a HUGE part in work shopping several songs from the show. His imprint is on sveral numbers to this day. And if he weren’t one of the most successful music publishers in NY, he would have played an even bigger part of this show.
Diane Leung – Diane is a Juliard trained musician who lent her considerable talents to development of the songs “Talk To Me”, “Goodbye” and “Hereafter”. Diane is a true talent.
Anthony Papandrea – We met some great musicians through Anthony (whose not so bad himself).
Lynn Shaw – When I first met Lynn she was a Broadway producer who was about to expand into TV. I was a TV guy with a dream to create a Broadway show. Her guidance in the early days was priceless and is still much appreciated to this day.
Leila Nelson – Leila and I go back to day one in the development of the show. We worked on some of the earlier numbers together and she was the first to sing “Lost”. She’s a very special person and I’m lucky to have worked with her when I did.
Steve Bartlow – Steve is our lifesaver. He’s a family friend who just so happens to be a great actor and singer! When the one of our actors dropped out at the last minute for our concert, Steve stepped right in and did an awesome job.
Jonathan Cerullo – This guys does it all! Acting, directing, choreographing! He is an amazing theater resource and we are lucky to know him.
Emily Stern – Emily sang for us on an early demo of “Hereafter”. A beautiful voice and an amazing spirit.
Roman Naziov – This guy is available at all hours, regardless of the weather or traffic conditions to get us from one place to another for six years running now! It helps that he lives in his car!
Janille De Guzman – This person is our secret weapon. She’s a recent addition to the family and she ain’t going nowhere. If she tries to get away we will find her!
Mary Cole – This is the real boss of things. Mary keeps all the aspects of my life coordinated and does it with the most beautiful smile. I know for a fact that people are just calling me so that they can talk to her (it’s true!).
Emily Comisar – Another new member to our family, Emily is a theater major from Northwestern who knows more about what we’re doing than we do some of the times!
Lauren Cartelli – Lauren did an awesome job stage-managing one of our concerts and gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to be organized!
Stephen Benson – Stephen was one of the first outside musicians that Bill brought in and also gave us a glimpse of how great our music will sound like when performed with a band!
Kristine Johnson – By day she anchors the evening news on WCBS and in her spare time she hosts our concerts! Our words sound so much better when she says them!
John Moss – John’s a special part of our company. He originated the roll of our psychic Jason for six sold out shows last year (and on short notice!)
Don Johanson – John was the reader of our debut showcase last year. John’s energy and talents were a big part of that success.
Allison Seidner – Allison is a super talented cello player and her performance of two of the numbers from the show at our last reading were the first time we heard those songs live and all we could say is…wow!
Bill Shuman – Bill was our reader at the last showcase and also did an amazing job.
Patti Mariano – Wait, another reader! Why can’t we hold on to these readers!!!! Like I said earlier, it’s the nature of theater. People come and go and we are lucky to have had Patti.
Lorraine Serabian – A true Broadway legend. She made her debut in Kander & Ebbs “Zorba” and was nominate for a Tony. She originated the role of Sypie in an earlier version of our show. An amazing actress with a beautiful voice.
Scoop Slone – Scoop originated the roll of Eddie at an early workshop. He truly brought Eddie to life to his infectious, lovable, high-energy performance.
Pat Barry – We have spoken about Pat before. He was instrumental in the early development of our show. He’s still very much a huge part of our company and we can’t wait to make more music with him in the future!
Apolonia Davlaos – Talk about Angels! Apolonia was instrumental in making our first showcase a success (she worked at the theater where we died the shows). And thanks to her, we met Amy (our orchestrator) who is now also a big part of our company. Thanks Apolonia.
Andrea Andert – Andrea was part of our chorus for our very first showcase. It was a huge showcase and she did us proud.
Mara Milkis - She played a beautiful violin solo on an early version of one of our songs.
Richard Weinstein – A very gifted artist, Richard did our first poster. You’ll see his work when we premiere off-Broadway in the spring.
Liz Allison – Another beautiful voice (and soul) that we were lucky to work with. The only thing that goy between us was geography!
Karen Bernod – Karen’s performance of “Someday” and at our first reading and second concert is etched in stone. A great talent and we’re luck to have access to her brilliance. Karen is the first singer in the video.
Carol Dennis – Talk about legends. Carol is the voice you here on Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody”. Carol starred on Broadway in “Huckleberry Finn” and “Color Purple” Carol’s performance on our song “Someday” is legendary! She’s the third singer in the video.
Shana Wiersum – Shana was a huge help at one of our concerts and is a true theater lover.
Jim Josselyn – Jim was a big part of some of the earlier studio demos we made. If we had the luxury of more time together we’d be writing a ton of songs. We did write one great song together called “Samantha’s Song”. Jim wrote the music and I did the lyrics and we are both very proud of it!
Ramsey Norman – Ramsey is another high school friend of Jonathan’s who played drums on an early demo. An excellent drummer and a great guy!
Cliff Shwarz – A true friend. Cliff engineered some of the earlier demos from the show and (we’re talking like six years ago) and we still play those versions.
Bill Riley – Bill is a world-renowned vocal coach to the starts and we were so lucky to have him with us in the early days.
Eddie Davis – Eddie is a key man on our team. He was a big part of making our live sound so good during our first showcases.
Ivy Ermert – Ivy is THE make up person you want to work with. She is so much fun to work with that we’re going to hire her even when we don’t have a show. She’ll just follow us around and tease our hair!
Mitch Kaplan – Mitch was in the room the very first time that Frankie and I worked together. We had an amazing time together and once again, geography keeps us apart!
Marni Nixon – I know that I throw the word legend out there a lot but it’s not bragging if it’s true. Marni is THE voice you hear singing for Deborah Kerr (“The King And I”), Natalie Wood (“West Side Story”) AND Audrey Hepburn (“My Fair Lady”). You have been lip-synching to her beautiful voice for the past fifty years!!! And she sang one of our songs! This is a video of her and Frankie work-shopping “Goodbye”!
Tom Ruff – Tom engineered all of our live concerts and is still a big part of our family. With Tom on our team we are in excellent shape…everything sounds better filtered through his hands!
Raphael Rodriguez – Raphael was a huge part of our first few concerts. There were lost of moving parts and he ran them all so smoothly!
Rohit Sang – Rohit is a force of nature. He has helped us in so many ways with the show that I can’t list them all here. But when the “making of” is produced, he’ll be all over it!
Brittany Sager – Britt has done lots of theater production for someone so young. Frankie and I brought her on for a workshop we did and she was great to work with. But I think we scared her away cause she was in the room when Frankie and I had our first big blow up! Come back, Britt, Frankie and I made up!
Roll Call Of Thanks For Week #7
Katkat – Ok we are going to start off with a bang. We have no idea who Katkat is. We have no idea what a Katkat is. All I do know is that it’s wreaking havoc on my spell check. But we are so grateful for the pledge we are telling Microsoft Word to not only ignore it but to add it to our dictionary! Thanks Katkat!
Mel Hagopian – Mel is a returning customer! She loved supporting our show so much that she came back for more! Can you imagine when she actually sees it? She may end up buying all the tickets!
Stephanie and Lilli Balik – These guys are related to the Sypie character in our show. I know it sounds weird to say someone is related to a fictional character. Maybe they’re not even real themselves. Wait, what if this whole thing is made up and we’re all just characters in someone else’s story? If that’s the case then I demand a re-write!!! Thanks guys, you are the best family that anyone could ever marry into!
Eddie Brill – OK, this guy is so funny that he gets paid for it. He’s that funny! If you’ve ever been to a Letterman taping he’s the guy that hosts the pre-show. And if your lucky enough to be his friend he’ll actually come to your house at 11pm and warm you up for the broadcast.
Tom Ruff – Tom is one of the best sound engineers around. I met him on the bus going into work one day and we’ve become very good friends. We graduated from a bus relationship to a working one when he sound engineered our very first workshop AND our first live concert. He’s actually part of our team so I have no idea why he’s buying tickets…unless he’s scalping them! Thanks for always being there for us Tom.
Adam Gold – It’s a shame that Adam lives so far from me cause he’s a great guy, old friend (he’s about 95) and he always makes me laugh. He’s taken to calling our show “Springtime For Hereafter”! Trust me Adam, you’ll love it!
Jeffrey Tucker – I met Jeffrey through work and his support has bee amazing. We don’t even talk that much but he’s always there every time we do a show. Thanks Jeffrey…my resolution is to spend more time with you!
Domenica Da Silva – I love the name Domenica because it means Sunday. And I love the name Da Silva because it means “from Silva”…now if I only knew what it meant we’d have something! Thanks Domenica!
JP Saunders – I don’t think I know this person. I’m guessing that he or she owns a brokerage house or is a one-person law firm. And I think JP may be British. I wonder if JP knows James Bond?
Samantha Drazin – Sam and her family have been HUGE supporters of our show. They’ve seen us live a bunch of times. Thanks for the longtime support!
Fred Graver – Fred and I should really know each other better. We’ve only been together a few times but I’ve always liked him and admired his work. We know lots of the same people, we’ve both worked at the same places at different times (Letterman where he won three Emmy awards and MTV) and I think we’re on each other’s call list for the alarm company. Everyone that I know, who knows Fred says he’s the greatest guy. I wonder what they’re saying about me! Thanks Fred!
Art Bell – We go back so far that we actually wrote a comedy book together about this new thing called “the internet”! The book was called “Websigthings” and you can still get a copy at Amazon for either $48.99 or a $1.00!
Susan M. Burke – At first I didn’t know who Susan was. Then someone reminded me that we spent a weekend together at Lake George! There was another couple involved and no we didn’t sleep together….well ,we did sleep together but not in the same bed…wait, we were in the same bed but not at the same time (we took shifts). Now she’s married…hmmm something tells me the sleeping arrangement is a lot more interesting now!
Meghan Riley – This name sounds so familiar it’s killing me. It’s the kind of names that people choose for characters in books and TV shows. I may not know her but I’m really good with tracing names to homelands and if I had a farm I’d bet that she’s Jewish.
Tom Keaney – Now Tom is someone that I do know. He’s another one of my friends that sits in a dark room for an hour with me. We laugh together, we cry and every once in awhile we form a prayer circle. If your in a jam Tom is your go to guy…he’s the MacGyver of the PR world!
Walter Kim – Walter is part of two well-known couples. By day he’s one half of the Walter and Jay team that keeps us live on the Internet. And in his non-working time he takes second billing as part of the Nancy and Walter team! Thanks guys!
Mark M. – Here’s another person we don’t know (or at least we don’t think we know Mark). I wonder if M is his middle name and the “period” is his last name? Kind of like Prince.
Jim Josselyn – Jim is a great guy (notice how everyone is a great guy…even the girls?) Jim is an excellent musician and has been part of our team for years. We also wrote a great song together called “Samantha’s Song”.
Kelli Raftery – Kelli is one of the coolest people I know. She’s funny, she’s beautiful and she has the best stories. Someone should just follow her around with a tape recorder and write a book. Thanks Kelli!
Javier Damien – I love saying Javier’s name. It makes me feel like Antonio Bandaras when I say it. Try it, you’ll see. You just can’t stop…watch; Javier, Javier, Javier. Thanks Javier (there I said it again!)
Laura Lackner – Here’s another great name. I love alliterations except “Keeping With The Kardashians”. Exactly what are we “keeping with” them (and why are we keeping it with them in the first place! Sorry Laura Lackner for my digressing dissertation (there goes another one!) Thanks Laura!
Kim Izzo-Emmet – Kimmie and I have been “work married” for the past 15 years. She’s just like a wife; she laugh’s politely at my jokes in public, she has to apologize for me all the time and she makes sure that have an umbrella when I go out for lunch. This is starting to sound like that old Geritol commercial (“my wife, I think I’ll keep her”). I made Kimmie sign a pre-nup before we tied the work not. I’ve got 25 years of office supplies that she’s not getting her hands on!
Duncan – We don’t know Duncan. If don’t even know if Duncan has a last name. But Duncan is such a cool name that I don’t think he needs a last name. Thanks D!
Cindy Guardiola – Speaking of work wives, Cindy is my ex work wife. We were work married for many years at Comedy Central. We split up in 1996 but have remained friends. We do share custody with a file cabinet that we adopted years ago. Look, I’m on fumes here…it’s a long list of names and I’m making lame jokes about office supplies! Cindy deserves better! Don’t tell Kimmie, but I still love you…meet me in the mailroom.
Robert & Joyce Feinberg – I haven’t seen these guys in such a long time. I can’t believe we ae at the point where people have to pay to see me! I feel like Wlliam Shatner at a Star Trek convention!
Iris Burke – Iris is also related to the Sypie character in our show. She’s real-life Sypie’s niece. Her son is a super talented drummer (he’s in Brad Paisley’s band). Thanks Iris and Ed…couldn’t ask for better cousin-in laws!
Stephen Hildebrandt – I know Stephen pretty well but mainly through my blackberry. We even use the blackberry to communicate when we are in the same room. No one write LOL the way he does. And you should see how clever he is with making faces out of punctuation marks. Here’s one he just showed me this one *<|:o)> I think its Santa Clause!
Ben Hasler – We don’t know Ben! But if he had a Broadway show, we’d invest in it as well!
Heather Huttes – Heather is another “re-pledger”. Either oer fans are suffering from short-term memory or they know something we don’t…wait, I just figured it out…tax write off!!!! We’ll take it! Thanks (again) Heather!
Donna Dees – I’m in alliteration heaven when I say Donnas name. It’s up there with Lois Lane! Donna upped her pledge from three weeks ago. I’m glad our subliminal (up) marketing (your) plan (pledge) is working (buy) so (more) tickets.
Karyn Karmin – I swear to G-d that I am not making these names up. That’s three alliterations in a row!!! Here’s another one that just rolls off the tongue! I know Karyn a long time. I’ve been trying to get her to drop the “y” and go with the “e” like everyone else! Thanks Karyn.
Pat O’Keeffe – Pat and I go back a long way. We go back so far that we don’t even communicate by email (it’s too impersonal). We are old school and we fax each other all the time. Every once in a while we’ll communicate using quilt writing instruments. But the odd thing is that all of her communication to me is in numbers and not words. I think she’s speaking in code and when I crack it, I will write her back immediately! Thanks Pat!
Jude Brennan – If I had a sister it would be Jude. Only a sister would put up we the things she has to put up with! Thanks Jude.
Teresa Snider-Stein – Teresa and I have several interesting connections. We worked together for many years at Letterman where she was a costume designer (she even dressed me once!). She left there a few years ago to teach theater at Brooklyn College, which is where I went to college! We’re a lot like those freaky similarities between JFK and Lincoln! And get this, Teresa and I both had Vice Presidents whose last name was Johnson!