I'm observing the rehearsals for a staged reading of Jim's new musical, The Joker's Game. Unlike Jim, I didn't have to find the space and the actors for the reading, photocopy the scripts and score, and deliver (bottled water too) in less than a week. Not to mention write the lyrics and co write the plot in less than 2 months. I got to relax and enjoy the energy of professionals coming together to help the authors (Jim Racheff, Tony Stimac and Kemin Zhang), director (Tony Stimac), musical director (Jeffrey Stock) and composer (Mark Allen) understand what they have created when it comes alive.
Up until today the four authors had worked via Skype and had never all been in the same room!
Jim had created a 40 pound box filled with collated scripts, scores, pencils, markers and clips. On this 100 degree day he was planning to lug the box from home to subway to the rehearsal studio at 440 Studios (near the Cooper Union) but I convinced him to take a cab. There is only so much lifting a playwright of nearly venerable years should do on a hot hot day.
While they read through the script, I did freelance work on my laptop. But then, at the end, I did a watercolor sketch of the music director working with the singers. It is amazing how quickly musical actors figure out how to sing together.
This play has been translated into Chinese (Mandarin) and will be performed in Beijing. Then it may get an American production. China is in the beginning of developing their own musical theater tradition. This collaboration between Broadway and Beijing is just the start.
I love being in a room full of creative people. My only responsibility is to enjoy myself. Especially with an air-conditioned seat.
Music Director Jeffrey Stock working at rehearsal of staged reading of The Joker's Game.
The Writers: Kemin Zhang, Tony Stimic, Mark Allen, Jim Racheff, photo & sketch by Claudia Carlson