I'm Sitting on a Business That Has Zero Growth Potential

We start High Fidelity rehearsals tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited! Well, excited and scared...

Scared because pop music is not my home turf. Theatre music is. I only listened to mainstream pop music during one period of my life, senior year in high school through sophomore year in college, 1981-1984. During that time I listened to Casey Kasem religiously -- especially the year-end countdown! What suspense! (I hope you know I'm kidding. A little.)

But I've slowly been giving myself a History of Rock education over time -- early 1950s rock & roll for Grease; 1960s protest rock and acid rock for Hair; 1970s glam rock for Hedwig and Rocky Horror... I totally recommend the Time Life 10-part documentary, The History of Rock and Roll -- it's really good... tons of performance footage...

But High Fidelity is just amazing, a really smart, interesting, truthful, emotional show about the power of pop music in Americans' lives. Anybody who came of age after the early- to mid-1960s experiences music differently than those who came before us. Before that, pop music was an accompaniment to life; after that, it was an elemental part of life. I know some folks will argue that the 1950s were like that, too, but they weren't for most people, only for the dedicated few who understood and appreciated early rock & roll. But even for average, suburban teenagers, from the 1960s onward, music wasn't just fun; it was autobiographical.

To this day, the Top 40 songs from my senior year in high school pack an enormous emotional wallop for me because they carry with them such associations. When I hear the introduction to Kool & The Gang's "Celebration," I am once again cruising down Big Bend with my best friend Dave Englehart and we're singing at the top of our lungs. When I hear Alan Parsons' "Time," I'm back in the fall of 1982, after all the rest of my friends had left for college, but school didn't start for me till mid-September. I was so miserable, left alone with almost no friends, and "Time" would console me.

(Or did it make me sadder? Sometimes I wonder about that. To quote Rob in High Fidelity, did I listen to pop music because I was miserable or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?)

I understand the characters in this story on a gut level. I think this may be one of those shows that a certain portion of our audience will only partly understand, but for its target audience, it will connect to them in a way very few shows can.

This is going to be the most wonderful adventure, and I have an amazing cast to share it with. The whole cast is terrific (along with eight new people!), but my four leads are people I just love spending time with -- Jeff Wright as Rob, Aaron Lawson as Dick, Zak Farmer as Barry, and Kimi Short as Laura. We are going to have so much fun, we probably won't even think about how little money we make doing this...

I'll write more after the first rehearsal -- Lawson's on his way over to smoke some weed... Wait... I mean... uh... to talk about character and motivation... yeah, that's it...

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I LOVE MY JOB!

Long Live the Musical!