Jen and I are super excited about the summer musical, The Brementown Musicians. Jen wrote an awesome script, based on the classic Grimm brothers tale, but with a unique, Jen twist. It goes something like this:
A group of aging animals, who have outlived their usefulness, start to suspect their impending forced retirement. Put out to pasture, so to speak. Only farm animals that don’t earn their keep aren’t put “out” to pasture, so much as they’re put “under” the pasture, courtesy of an executioners bullet. Yes, the Grimm boys wrote some dark stuff.
But these animals are smart, and/or resourceful, and or fortunate, because with the help of someone in the family, who helps them escape or they escape themselves or they just get lucky and affect their manumission through varied means, and the road story begins.
So they band together like the yellow-roaders in the Wizard of Oz and set about finding a new life.
Walking through the woods and they come upon a house and in the house are these robbers and in the Grimm’s version, the animals come up with plan to scare the robbers out of the house so the trekking animals can eat the robbers’ food. Jen wrote such a cool scene here - the details of which I’ll save for opening night - but then it fell to me to write the music. I knew what the feel needed to be: The Robbers Tango. A sultry, wicked song for these wicked men. I could see them singing the tune as they made their meal and admired their freshly-stolen booty of meats and cheese and breads and spirits and gold.
I knew what the show needed and I knew how I wanted the tune play out, but the muse was stingy today and no opening notes volunteered. The wellspring was not pouring fourth as it sometimes does. It wasn’t even dripping. It was dry. Just totally dry.
My go-to, creative fix-all in cases like this is simple: panic, existential despair and the purchase of a hammer and chisel to begin carving the epitaph of my music career.
The muse is, in all cases, smarter than I. I’ll explain:
Panic and despair makes me hungry. Having just experienced the end of my music career, I moved on to the next order of business in my life on that day. Lunch. And after that mid-day meal, I just laid down on my couch and took a little nap. And I had a little dream. A little dream that brought back the music.
I woke with this dream still fresh and vivid in my mind. It was a dream about dollar signs and an array of numbers. Like a Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey light speed tunnel of dollar signs, and I thought, “oh, wow! That is a great image for this song.” And the lyrics began to flow again. My epitaph would have to wait, because the muse was back!
She had never left, of course.
Welcome to Free News, our home for ideas, big and small; lofty and pedestrian. For frank talk of arts and creativity; the process that sustains our lives and crushes our will, often in neighboring instances. A home for the profound and the picayune. This is a place where we will, given sufficient time, eventually discuss many of life’s questions.
We’ll also talk about this venture Jen and I have started called Free Spirit Plays & Musicals. It is simultaneously a culmination and a new beginning. It’s an opportunity for the stories and songs we have created and loved, to exist outside the four walls of our home and theater. A chance to share our vision with other communities, and let those who share our joy for making music and theater adopt our bundles and enjoy them the way we have in our performances.
We will “plug” our shows, of course (though perhaps the phrase, “advocate for...” is a better description) because we love them and because we want this business to succeed so we can write more shows. But mostly we’ll talk about creativity, in all its forms. We’ll talk about the power of creativity, the highs and lows of the creative process, deadlines that motivate and compel, the excitement of creating a new show, etc.
Spending a lot of time in my studio writing music and lyrics and arranging the songs for our upcoming production of The Brementown Musicians in July.
It can be a lonely endeavor and it it has it's highs and lows... It's a steep mountain to climb inside that computer to bring this music out. Good luck to me!!. I've got a few miles to go.
Jen created an awesome script for the Grimm fairy tale, The Brementown Musicians, a story about 3 aging animals that reach the point that their human masters no longer find them useful and want to end their lives. They escape and go off to a town called Brementown to join a band. We are producing this show in early July with a full cast waiting and I have been at work creating the songs and music for the show. It's a big job and sometimes challenging to find time to be creative in this busy life. The show has relevance for all of us who are aging and trying to remain authentic to our true selves. Who are our masters? Do we have time to follow our dreams?