Hereafter Musical Reaches $45,610 In Four Weeks!!!
Seven Signs Of The Apocalypse
Can you feel it in the air? Strange things are happening. We had a stock market crash, an earthquake AND a hurricane but perhaps the surest sign that the world might be starting to spin off of it’s axis is that we’ve managed to raise $45,610 in just four weeks! We are three quarters of the way to our $60,000 goal and there’s still 26 days to go! It has been an incredible show of support that is much appreciated by the “Hereafter Musical” family. Now before we get to our weekly ”roll call” here’s a little tease about this special group of people: one of them speaks to G-d on a regular basis (and we believe him!), one of them has a voice that we would imagine G-d’s would sound like if G-d was a broadcaster; one of them interviewed the Beatle who thought G-d “was a concept by which we measured our pain”, one of them serves THE best pizza in Brooklyn (no small feat) and one of them is the head of an entertainment company that has produced some of the best shows on TV in the past ten years (no exaggeration!!!).
Money In The Bank
I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that the amount of money on the home page doesn’t match the amount we’ve actually raised. Well, for the three of you that have been actually reading these updates, you know by now that we’ve had a growing number of what we like to call the “cookie people”. This dedicated group of people is giving the Tea Party a run for their money when it comes to loyalty (hmmm maybe the “cookie” and “tea” parties should merge). The “cookie” people have staged a revolt against modern technology! Frustrated with having to do battle with ominous security certificate warnings and firewalls, they said enough. These folks took matters into their own hands and actually picked up a pen, wrote a check, put it in an envelope, spent money on a stamp, licked that stamp and walked to the mailbox!!!! Wow, now that is an impressive show of support. We’ve gathered all those checks and set up our very own “Hereafter” account at our friendly neighborhood TD bank. TD bills it’s self as “America’s Most Convenient Bank” and for good reason. We chose them because they are conveniently located right next to the “Pret A Manger” sandwich place on 55th and 6th where I get my lunch every single day! I do have to say that I was very impressed with the bank official who set up our account. His name is Jerry Noel. I know, I know it sounds made up. I mean would you hand over checks to a guy with a name that translates into Jerry Christmas? But I did ask him for two forms of idea and he could not have made the process any easier. So easy that when we took this picture that day, we were both unaware that the earthquake was happening at that very moment! Thanks Jerry (if that’s your real name)!
Vinnie with TD Bank's Jerry Noel
Meet The Cast - Meet The Characters [Part 2]
Meet Carolyn Mignini [Mary] – We are so lucky to have Carolyn as part of our family. It should be intimidating (at least for me) to be working with someone with her background. Here she is working with first time writers (on a musical no less). But Carolyn has a way of making you feel like you’ve been working together for years. Her portrayal of Mary is touching and comical. She switches so easily from one to the other and then back to her sweet self all in the blink of an eye. Carolyn has made a career in theater and television, highlights including a Drama Desk nomination for “Tintypes” on Broadway, “Fiddler On The Roof”, “One Night Stand” with Tony Curtis, and Christopher Durang's “Sister Mary Ignatius”. She’s performed on the Tony Awards and appeared on the FX series, "Lights Out". She most recently starred off-Broadway in the musical “I Married Wyatt Earp”.
Carolyn: “I adore Vinnie and Frankie and the talent, spirit and generosity that is part of everything I have ever seen them do. Within a month of my moving back to NY from LA, Bill Hindin introduced me to Vinnie, Frankie and HEREAFTER. When this joyful, ebullient man bounced into the hallway at Shetler Studios, it was love at first sight for me. Then, this tall gorgeous blond blew me away with her humor and musical brilliance. Almost two years and many incarnations (pun intended) later, I'm more in love with them and this project than ever. Mary is such a beautiful character... her story and journey fills my heart and I can't wait to explore her again.”
Here’s a great live performance of “Waiting” from the show featuring Carolyn’s “Christmas” monologue.
Meet Pierce Cravens [Eddie] – When you have credits like Pierce’s you have to have been very talented and have started very young which is exactly the case here. One our favorite behind the scenes highlights from working on the show was when the actress who plays Christina (Alma Cuervo) first met Pierce at a table read. She eyed him up and down and surprised him when she stated “I played your mother on Broadway”. Pierce did a double take then remembered that she was Mrs. Teapot to his Chip in “Beauty And The Beast”. How appropriate that they have been re-united in the Hereafter!
He and I share an interesting connection as well. We had him on the Letterman Show in 1997 when he was just 11!! And for those of you with teenagers, you may have a CD he did with Leah Michele [Glee] when they were both in a group called Broadway Kids. His Broadway credits include the aforementioned “Beauty And The Beast”, “Ragtime”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Titanic” and “Christmas Carol”. He’s also appeared in the films: “Rising Stars” and “The Life Before Her Eyes” and on TV in “Filmore!” and the “Finkel Files.” Pierce just finished shooting the role of Cal Widdcomb who will appear in season two of Boardwalk Empire on HBO. And he's the voice Ronal in Einstein Film's 3D animated feature "Ronal the Barbarian" which is set to begin its international theatrical release in Denmark on September 29th Pierce: “I've been working on "Hereafter" and Vinnie and Frankie since August of last year. They are a dream team; they are my Shaq and Kobe. I'm the newest addition to the cast, but they welcomed me like one of the family. I can't thank Vinnie, Frankie, and the people who have supported "Hereafter" enough! I am so excited to start work on this production made possible by all our supporters on Kickstarter".
Here’s a great live performance of Pierce singing "Nineteen" from the show.
Meet Eddie and Mary – Mary’s overall story is somewhat based on my mother and growing up in a household with parents that had the misfortune of outliving their children (in our case it was two). In the show, Mary is a sixty something woman who lost her nineteen year old son, Eddie, thirty years ago in a car accident. She’s been to hundreds of psychics since he died without any success. She has promised her husband that if Eddie doesn’t come through this time, she will stop seeing psychics…she’s made this promise before. She has put her life on hold since his death. She hopes to make contact with Eddie because she wants to “feel it's okay to laugh again and mean it, you know… not fake it, not feel guilty.... to enjoy my life…whatever is left of it, anyway.” Eddie’s character is fictional but his song was very much inspired by the death of a neighbor, DJ Wheeler (whose family has since become good friends of ours). We’ll be doing a feature on DJ and his family in an upcoming blog. In the show, Eddie is the personification of the average teenager, circa 1969. Wearing a denim jacket, Beatles t–shirt and playing his guitar, he’s the apple of his mother’s eye. In his solo number [“Nineteen”], he sings about the pros and cons of dying young, [“I know it really makes you sad you never saw me married…you know it makes me glad…I’ll never see you die”] and how he will be “forever nineteen” in his mother’s mind.
ROLL CALL OF THANKS FOR WEEK #4
Michelle Torres – Michelle was on our honor roll last week. We thought her name sounded familiar but we didn’t remember who she was. I’m happy to report that she’s just been upgraded from stranger to friend (in other words I’m an idiot). We know her, we’ve met her and she came to our showcase in in August which means we LOVE her…thanks again Michelle.
Tina VanNatta – Tina is family (on Frankie’s side)! She and Frankie share the animal loving gene (the ones with four legs not the Eric Burdon ones). And speaking of Rock & Roll (just go with it) Tina’s husband once played with Blue Oyster Cult....”Don’t Fear The Reaper”…how appropriate!
Glen Grunwald – Some folks may know Glen from the NY Knicks. Some may know him from his time as the GM of the Toronto Raptors! We know him as plain old Glen…thanks for the support!
Dorian Hannaway – Dorian is ADORABLE and FABULOUS and was my guide when I got into the scary world of Late Night TV. Dorian, you said it was going to rough but you never said HOW rough!
David & Grace Andersen – Some people have a casual relationship with G-d. Some are on a need to know basis with G-d. Me, I’ve never met him (but I hear good things). Dave on the other hand seems to being going steady with the big guy. He works with a fine organization called Mastermedia and is the only person that I will let kneel in my office, hold my hand and say “ahhh men”. Wait that sounds weird, I meant Amen. PS his middle name is Christian...I swear to you know who!
Arthur, Sherri, Eric, Ashley & Meagan George – Wow, I think we can fill the theater with this one family! Thanks guys for supporting us!
Larry & Myla Kramer – Larry is a digital guru! We worked together at CBS (where he founded Marketwatch). I hadn’t spoken to Larry in a few years so it was quite a pleasant surprise to get his email (probably not as surprising as our annoying “Hereafter Musical” emails). Thanks Larry and you too Myla…excited to meet you on your next trip to NY!!!!
Paulie Gee – Paulie owns the BEST Pizza place in Brooklyn. It’s called Paulie Gee's and it’s located in Greenpoint. Paulie is an old friend of mine and in a strange garlic twist of fate; our very own Shea Hess did a segment on Paulie for her Hungry In Brooklyn show. You can watch that here.
Barbara Salvadore – I owe my friendship with Barbra through my frequent visits to the fine hospital that both she and my son work at; Riverview Medical Center. Thanks to my pesky little kidney stones, Barbara seem to see each other every few months! Thanks Barbara.
Ludovica Rossi Purini – Ludovica is truly a renaissance woman. She is the president of Compagnia per la Musica in Roma. She is hosting our 9/11 documentary “Rebirth” at a huge event in Rome on 9/11 that I am honored to attend. Thanks for your support Ludovica.
Elizabeth – Here we go again. Another one named pledge. Is it one of several Elizabeth’s we know? Is it Elizabeth Taylor making a pledge for tickets from her own Hereafter? Or is it a plain old Elizabeth from Anytown USA? Whichever we love Elizabeth what’s her name!
Vanessa Taylor aka Levantay - We had a mystery pledge from someone named Levantay. My first thought was “it’s that stripper from Scores I once shared a “dance” with” (relax, to paraphrase Krusty The Clown, there are more rules in a strip club than at a bar mitzvah.). But it turns out that Levantay is the stage name of a dear friend and fellow Brooklyn College alumni Vanessa Taylor.
Grace Lee Helfrich – Grace is a new BFF. We spent an awesome afternoon together. She knows her music so if she bought tickets then you know we’re that good!
Mona & Ray Tropeano – Mona is an old friend. I worked for her in the early days of A&E when all we aired were Nazi documentaries and Evening At The Improv! Thanks Mona!
The DiMartini Family – One of the coolest and most talented families we know. They definitely won the gene pool lottery! And they are not only supporting our show but they are also part of it since their beautiful daughter Jenna has been a big part of it since she was in high school! We’ll be featuring Jenna in an upcoming profile.
Tom and Aviva Bojko – perhaps the smartest married couple we know. They’re both doctors and lawyers! And they haven’t come out and admitted it but they’ve intimated that they might be spies. They’re our very own Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
Dave Price – When I first met Dave he was doing weather in Chicago and told me he dreamed of one day being on Letterman. I politely laughed and discreetly rolled my eyes. Man, I really am an idiot because he’s practically on every week! Here’s a great clip.
Raphael Rodriguez – Now this is down right crazy. Raphael is another member of the Hereafter team investing in a show that he is a part of. He was essential in our very first live performance and just happens to be married to one of our stars (Shea). Thanks Raphael!
Alan Kalter – Alan has that mellifluous voice that you hear every night on the Late Show. He has been the voice of the Late Show and has appeared in hundreds of classic comedy pieces since 1995. He was the announcer of “To Tell The Truth” AND “The $25,000 Pyramid”. He also happens to be the first voice you hear at the beginning of “Hereafter Musical”. Take a listen here.
Hugo Chaviano – The impossibly handsome Hugo is a good family friend who we don’t see enough of because he’s in Chicago (Frankie's hometown!). Thanks Hugo.
Marty Daly – I have worked with Marty for the passed 15 years. I can’t think of a better person to be in a late night foxhole with. And he heads up the best sales force in late night!
Rob Burnett – As head of World Wide Pants this guy has been a part of iconic shows like “Late Show With David Letterman”, “Everybody Loved Raymond” and “Ed”. But better than all of that we can thank him for Sofia Vergara because he featured her in one of her first big TV roles in his show “Knight’s Of Prosperity”. Nice!
Anne O'Grady – Anne is one of the coolest people I have ever worked with. She runs the most creative meetings (in spite of me being there) and is one of the reasons that “Survivor” is still a super popular show after all these years.
Jill and Danica Botway – We met Jill and Danica through a mutual friend. We invited them to one of our video shoots and their appreciation for what we were doing was like a shot of B12! Thanks guys and we can’t wait for you to see the show!
Nancy McAndrew Murphy – Wow! I haven’t spoken to Nancy in over 20 years. She was such a big part of my being able to achieve everything I over promised when I interviewed at HBO for the head of operations job in 1989 at Comedy Channel (soon to become Comedy Central). Nancy and her team designed all of the systems that I needed to do what was an almost impossible job. Incredibly smart and super super patient. She welcomed this low rent A&E “basic cable” brat into the first class “pay cable” world of HBO. This is better than the hot tub time machine!
Alex Bennet – For many New Yorkers, Alex is a familiar name. He was one of the first FM disc jockeys to spin more than discs. A true pioneer in New York radio, Alex interviewed and befriended some of the greats like John Lennon. He has an awesome connection with Lennon. When Lennon was writing songs for “Walls And Bridges” he had the radio on in the background (Alex’s show) and he heard Alex use the expression “whatever gets you through the night” (true story). Next thing you know, Lennon ends up writing what would become his first number one record in years. You can hear Alex these days on SiriusXM Channel 127 7am-10am.
Lynn Barry – This is another insane pledge for tickets because Lynn and her entire family are part of the Hereafter Musical family! She’s an author in her own right (check out her first novel “Puddles” on Amazon) and is the mother of our very own Pat Barry (Pat recorded the first version of “Nineteen” in 2005]. Her kids are crazy talented (the Barry Brothers) but we really know where it comes from!
David Katz and Elvis Duran – Yes it is THAT David Katz (never heard of this Elvis Duran guy…wink wink!). About three years ago we shared some of the music from the show (some really early demos) with these guys. Their reaction was so encouraging and nurturing that it was very moving. Their incredible Kickstarter gesture stunned both Frankie and I. These guys are at the top of their fields…if we’re half as good as they are we’ll have a hit…thanks so much guys.