Rock Your Soul

I'm walking on sunshine...

Amanda Green, lyricist for High Fidelity, flew in from New York today just to see our show. Afterwards, we introduced her to the deep-fried mac-and-cheese balls at the Cheesecake Factory. My favorite! You can just feel your arteries clogging!

Having her come see us was cool for me not only because we'd get to hang with one of the show's creators (and she is fun to hang with!), but also because to me, Amanda Green is Broadway Royalty. For those not in-the-know, her mother is Phyllis Newman, stage and screen actor, who's done a number of Broadway shows, including Bells Are Ringing, Subways Are for Sleeping, The Apple Tree, On the Town, and others. And her father was a real Broadway God, Aldoph Green, co-writer with Betty Comden of the screenplay to Singin' in the Rain, as well as lyrics for On The Town, Wonderful Town, Bells Are Ringing, The Will Rogers Follies, On the Twentieth Century, Applause, and many other shows. Amanda comes from strong musical theatre stock.

But she kicks ass and takes names all by herself. Her lyrics for High Fidelity are smart, honest, emotional, funny, beautiful, all of it. Like her two collaborators, she was exactly the right person to write this show.

But the best part of all is that Amanda really, really liked our production. She complimented us so profusely, and was particularly complimentary about Jeff, Kimi, Zak and Aaron, Margeau, Nikki, and Todd. She talked to me at length about how much she loved Jeff's performance, how real the character feels, how beautifully Jeff navigates Rob's ricocheting emotions. If you haven't seen Jeff's performance yet, you really should before we close on July 5. The whole show is terrific, but Jeff is giving the best performance I've ever seen from him.

I think she was really pleased to see that the show works this well when it's pared down to a very minimalist production. She was happy with the humor of it and the sadness of it. A whole lot of her compliments started with "I was so happy to see --" and she told me several times that she could see that we "got it." That's my favorite thing to hear. Sondheim always says the most important thing for a show is not to be liked, but to be clear. I think with this show we found everything important and wonderful about it, everything the creators labored so hard to weave into the fabric of this story, and we figured out how to communicate that clearly to an audience.

I think that's my job, first and foremost.

Amanda was also very pleased to see my background and analysis essay in the lobby. I think it means a lot to both her and Tom Kitt (the composer) that we've taken their show seriously, that we've treated it with respect and love. I think they were both very hurt by the show's nasty reception in New York, and I think in a small way we've redeemed the show for them, and proved to them that what they wrote is as good and smart and true as they thought it was. What a kick to be able to give them that!

Plus, since we announced our production, five other companies from around the country (and I think one might have been in London?), have contacted us to find out how to get the rights to produce the show. So I've been sending them all to Tom. And again, it feels so great that I can help other people find their way to this amazing piece of writing, and help keep Hi-Fi alive and kicking. I've also been lobbying one of the New York licensing agencies pretty hard to get them to represent the show, so that more people will produce it.

For me, this is a show like Bat Boy, A New Brain, Floyd Collins, Sunday in the Park -- living inside this music is such a damn fucking JOY that it will hurt like hell to close it. We only have four shows left, and closing night will be hard. This one has found a place deep in my heart.

Which is why it was so wonderful to have Amanda at the show tonight, especially since she seemed to really, really love it. It let me know that we have done justice to this beautiful writing, and that's the best thing of all.

Long Live the Musical!