Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Penn Station Documentary coming!

Filmmaker Michael Rossi's new Penn Station documentary airs on PBS' "The American Experience" on February 18 of 2014.  Check it out, and keep watching this space for news of a "Skyline Reading" around that same time -- and just in time for a slightly belated big, lacy valentine to New York!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So, did I forget to mention ...?

That we actually did get accepted to the Fringe?  I know I wrote about it elsewhere, but apparently I never got around to posting it here. 

So, yeah.  We got in!  Unfortunately, there was a massive clerical SNAFU and we never got our contracts in the mail, or an email from them, or really anything.  Neither I nor they have any idea what happened.  But by the time we found out, Taylor had already committed to an out-of-town job, and there was no way I could have put together an entire showcase single-handed at that point, so.  In a way it was the best case scenario.  We got the ego-stroke of actually being accepted, but without the headache of having to rush to put together a production, or the second-guessing of constantly wondering whether we should have just held tight and gone for NYMF in 2014.  Which is what we are going to do.  I'll actually be starting to contact people in the next few days to put together a demo recording of the score.  With luck we will also have a small reading in mid-October, on or very close to the 50th anniversary of the start of the demolition.

Keep watching this space!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Speaking of History (again)

This has nothing to do with this show.  I just needed a place to upload it.  Circa 1994.

Music by John Mercurio/Performed by Marya Grandy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Speaking of history ...

It's possible that I've written about this before, I really don't remember and I don't feel like scrolling through all the old posts to check.  It has to do with how this show came to be, and it's kind of a funny story.  Back in the late 90s/early 2000s, when this new "blogging" fad had become all the rage, there was something called a Friday Five.  (Seriously, does anyone else remember those?)  It was basically a weekly writting exercise to encourage people to actually post things on their blogs.  It started out as a series of five completely generic questions (What was the name of your second grade teacher?  What's your favorite shape of Lucky Charms? etc.) that would make the rounds every Friday, and anyone who wanted to could answer the questions in a post.  Eventually, it evolved into a more sophisticated meme, where people on your friends list could ask you specific questions they had designed only for you, and which required you to actually write something.  Or five somethings.  So anyway, at one point my friend Leonard (hi, Leonard!), asked me a series of 5 questions, one of which was:

"If you were writing a 1960s-ish romantic comedy, what New York landmark would be its centerpiece and why?"

And this was my answer:

"Penn Station. The old one, the one they tore down and replaced with the big concrete pile of Velveeta Cheese boxes it is today. Fuckers! Because it was beautiful and glamorous and sexy and all it really needed was a little love and attention and instead they blew it UP! BASTARDS! It would be about two wacky activists born before their time — it’s only like, what? 1962, ‘63? And the whole lying down in the street and protesting thing won’t become fashionable for at least another five years, but they’ll be all “save this beautiful building, history is irreplaceable, you don’t get another one once you throw this one away!” Which is something I believe so much it makes me want to cry. Crazy stupid blinkered pig ignorant asshole thugs who fucking demolish the Hippodrome so we can have another big ugly pile of glass and cinderblock, because God knows, there aren’t nearly enough of those! They should be lined up against the wall of the nearest Starbucks and publicly sodomized with jackhammers before being summarily executed!! JACKALS!!! It would be a whimsical confection, frothy and playful. Something with Kate Hudson, probably."

And about halfway through writing it, I realized I was actually crying a little bit.  I mean, I got really agitated and emotional, and somewhere at the back of my brain, a little voice said, "you know, you might have something here.  Maybe you should write more about it."  And it took like, six years but eventually I got my ducks in a row and sat down and started doing it.  And then I started blogging about it.  Full circle.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's in the hands of the gods, now ....

February 14, 2013

FringeNYC Applications
The Present Company
520 Eighth Avenue, Ste. 311
New York, NY 10018-8906

Dear Present Company:

Once upon a time there was a sweet, sad, funny little musical that wasn’t exactly “Fringe-y.” It was, in fact, practically the anti-Fringe musical: it had a poignant, almost sentimental story, a linear, tightly-constructed, plot-driven book, and a fully integrated score. Basically, it was a love letter. A giant, lacy valentine to the city of New York that grew, over time, out of the fact that something had once happened here that made a grown woman cry a little every time she thought about it. And eventually she realized that if it made her cry, it might move other people in a similar way, so maybe she’d better write it down. And because it was a sweet, sad, funny little valentine of a show, there should probably also be songs. Because that’s usually how those things work.

Fifty years ago this Fall, New York City lost one of its most beautiful and magnificent structures. In October of 1963, despite growing public opposition, demolition began on the “late, great Pennsylvania Station.” Its loss was a wake-up call, leading to the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Committee, and to a growing public awareness of the vulnerability of the city’s architectural treasures. The story of its loss is the story of the collision of past and present, youth and age, wisdom and folly.

It’s not a particularly Fringe-y story.

And judging by the late postmark on this submission, you may guess that the decision to submit it was kind of a last-minute one. But this is our thinking: Last year would have been Penn Station’s Centennial. This year is the Biennial of its destruction, as well as the Centennial of Grand Central — a building that was rescued from demolition in large part due to the outcry over the loss of Penn Station. It’s an important year for this story, and we’d like to mark it by seeing the show on its feet in 2013. We could wait until next year and submit it to NYMF, but the funny thing is, we feel like we kind of already “have” that audience. People who regularly attend NYMF musicals would probably gravitate toward this show. We feel that if we could pull in a Fringe audience — if we could make the audience for “Jersey Shoresical” cry a little — we’d really know we had something. So we’re taking a shot.

We hope you like it, and if it doesn’t make you cry a little, that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being a heartless monster. (Kidding!) But either way, Happy Valentine’s Day to you. And Happy Valentine’s Day to New York.

We love you both,

Maureen FitzGerald

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Second Music Post

This is Taylor again, with Katherine Reinert.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Music Post

In years to come, no doubt finer minds than ours will produce volumes of scientific research demonstrating the impact of climate change on the performing arts. And when they do, it will be old news to me. After losing a third of our Fringe performances to Hurricane Irene in 2011, and a chunk of a recent songwriting workshop to Sandy in 2012, it seemed almost inevitable that in 2013, submissions to the Fringe and the ASCAP workshop would be jeopardized by a blizzard called NEMO, for crap's sake. Nevertheless, we will make our deadlines. The recordings will not be exactly what we might have hoped, but at the last minute our arranger, the lovely and talented Taylor Williams, stepped up to record the male parts of the various songs, and since by a ridiculous coincidence, an old musical theater colleague of his not only moved to New York from San Francisco two weeks ago, but unbeknownst to both of them, had actually moved into an apartment three blocks from his building (which is where we were recording), she was able to hike through the snow to record the female parts.

I wasn’t sure whether I should upload any of the songs here -- the recordings are a little rough, but you know what? The whole point of doing this was to show the evolution and progress of this project, and when the final recordings are done, it will make for an interesting comparison, so here are a couple, what the heck why not?