After a week of rehearsals, the cast, band and music director for Gayland gathered at the Yellow Sound Lab and Log Cabin studios in New York to capture the new music we’ve been working on over the last year. Thanks to our awesome team!
The Gayland reading on Wednesday, February 15th in New York delighted the audience of 25 with plenty of laughter. The new “Young Buck/Old Buck” delivered lots of belly laughs by using classic operatic allusions to highlight the competition between Zack and Gaige during Zack’s first day on the job at the Willow Show. The new “#BringBackZack” came across as a bundle of joyful energy. And the audience named the revised “I Wanna See Your O Face” as its favorite song. Creators King and St. John were also able to see spots where new music wasn’t working as well, and in need of revision.
The learning overall was that the Gayland 6.0 revisions solved the earlier structural problems. So now there’s a sturdy scaffolding in place, and the next round of revisions will be fine-tuning particular musical pieces.
We’ve recast Gayland completely to make it reflect the current sociopolitical moment, and we’ve also redone a lot of the songs, with an eye to making them funnier. We’re currently organizing a Table Read for both Acts 1 and 2 in Manhattan in February.
We had about 25 friends and Broadway professionals in attendance. The first act ran long at 1:25 minutes, so we’ll need to cut that by about 15 minutes. We also solicited written feedback from audience members, which is proving to be fascinating.
Some of the roles were played by old fav actors we’ve worked with before, and in some roles we tried out new actors. It’s wonderful to be working in NY where there are so many talented performers.
Our new Music Director, Mark Hartman, proved himself to be extremely musically adept, technically eagle-eyed, a tireless coach, and also very funny. We’re delighted to have connected with him.
Thanks to our wonderful cast:
Danielle Erin Rhodes – Willow
Shaleah Adkisson – Boo, Sally
Stephen Elkins – Zack
Ivan Griffin – Brock, Dad
Blake Zolfo – Finn, Pops
Sam Given – Gaige
Troy Rucker – Belsen Barnard, Pizza Guy, Caleb, Ensemble
Natalie Pavalek – Bambi Krushjoy, Zoe, Publicist, Ensemble
Next steps for us are a rewrite, and then a read of probably the entire play in a couple of months.
We are very grateful to James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director at the York Theatre in Manhattan for introducing us to Jason Brubaker. Jason is a hot young musical comedy director based in New York. He’s been working with us for several months on the most recent revision of Gayland, and his talent and directorial expertise have been extremely helpful in shaping Gayland into a faster, tighter, funnier play.
Our current goal is to move the new Gayland into development and toward a second theatrical presentation. We are in conversation with the York Theatre and some other interested parties on how best to make this happen.