“The joy of musicals is that there is no perfect recipe; it is what you throw into it.”
Julie Andrews – Interview in Connecticut mag, Nov.4, 2012.
Let’s start at the very beginning…it’s a very good place to start. The idea for this blog sprung from a conversation with Singing Teacher and Artistic Director of Associated Studios, Leontine Hass. It was a month or so after the industry showcase that had marked the end of my year of musical theatre training at Associated Studios. At this point, I hadn’t had any real interest from agents and the general consensus was that my choice of showcase song confused my casting profile/was overdone/agents didn’t ‘get it’. The feedback I got was not negative but nobody was showing any real interest in signing me. I was feeling low, wondering why I hadn’t chosen a different song…which was a stupid thing to wonder, because I actually loved singing it (It was ‘The Beauty Is’ from Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza, which, side note, if anyone is producing PLEASE PICK ME!)…anyway, I was basically doing that thing when you deconstruct, over-analyse and doubt that you have any talent at all. In my head, I was (and still am a bit) “WHY DOESN’T ANYONE WANT ME?” but out loud, I was ‘plodding on’ and telling Leo in jest, “I just need someone to come along and cast me in all of the roles that Julie Andrews played”. She responded, “Yes, you should play those roles” and planted the seed of an idea for creating a ‘Julie Andrews’ themed cabaret. The thought of doing some kind of dress-up-and-sound-like-Julie-Andrews show didn’t appeal to me. I am a soprano and I like singing much of repertoire that Julie made famous, but I don’t sound particularly like her…I have felt certain, from day one, that this is not going to be ‘tribute act’…mostly because I don’t think I’d be very good at that!
Then, ‘What Would Julie Do?’ popped into my head, at about midnight one night and I got very excited and talked at my husband for a good half an hour non stop when he was wanting to get to sleep and he said, bleary eyed, “Yes, it’s a great idea, do it”.
So I started the blog and started brainstorming the ideas for the ‘one woman show’ I wanted to write. The blog has come fairly easily. I’m enjoying emptying my thoughts onto this little space and I love the fact that the blog posts have got me talking to different people. Of course, I also enjoy the warm fuzzy gold star feeling when anyone says that they enjoy reading or that something I have written resonates with them…and when people have other ideas and thoughts to contribute. The show, however, has been tricky.
I feel like I’ve managed to break through the first barrier in working out that I actually don’t want it to be a one-woman show… I want two other performers involved and I want it to have a through-line/story/narrative structure rather than a stand up/cabaret format. Now, I know this, it’s starting to become easier to get ideas onto paper. I’ve got the beginnings of my team. I’ve ignored the books that say you should plan everything first and BOOKED A VENUE: The Pheasantry (Pizza Express Live), King’s Road, Chelsea on Sunday 30th October.
So I better bloody well get on with it.