by Lorraine Treanor
Wow. Queen of the Bohemian Dream opens July 21. 20 days to opening, and just this morning I got the website up, and postcard art submitted to the printer. I love producing. But it’s a job only a masochist would do more than once. Producing is a real roll of the dice. Do you have the right project? Can you get the money together? The right team to create it? Will anyone come? It’s so risky that I really have to fall in love with whatever I take on. That wasn’t hard this time
I had fallen for Fran Landesman’s songs a long time ago. Her lyrics imprint on your brain. ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’. ‘Ballad of the Sad Young Men.’ Jazz classics from The Nervous Set. In college, I made money singing them and other obscure B’way showtunes.
Pinned to the wall over my desk is a note from Fran dated August, 2004, suggesting there might be a show in the new songs she had just sent me. But it wasn’t until I played them for my friend, director/choreographer Michael J. Bobbitt that I screwed up the courage to go ahead and create Queen of the Bohemian Dream.
There’s the money – where’s it coming from? Husband Tim and I are backing it ourselves. ‘Nuff said.
The casting – Michael handled that. Finding a Music Director hung us up for weeks, but then he convinced Darius Smith to do it. Ah … Darius. Haven’t heard him play a note, but he says arranging the songs and matching keys to singers are no problem. Then smiles in this self-assured way. So I believe. I believe.
In early May, Michael dug into his famous casting book, and his calls started coming. Bobby Smith, one of my favorite DC performers, was in for the crucial male role. Tracy McMullan was willing to come out of retirement for the first female role. From the beginning, Michael kept telling me about Margo Seibert’s smoky young voice. She signed on, too. Our first cast meeting at Warehouse was a blast. Photogs Heather Bartlett and Will Hardy hauled tons of equipment up the narrow stairs to get our promo shots. Darius was still smiling as he set up vocal rehearsals with the cast.
The show kept shifting shape all Spring. You almost saw a bio-show about Fran’s life called ‘Walk on the Wild Side’. Then it became a show about a young pair of composers falling in and out of love. That one never made it to the titling stage. The song choices kept changing (No wonder. I had nearly a hundred songs to choose from. ) After weeks of this, Michael said ‘Just pick your favorites, and let the show take care of itself.’
Good advice. On May 16, just 2 days ahead of the Fringe Festival’s ‘do or die’ Marketing deadline, Queen of the Bohemian Dream came into official being. Along with the synopsis: three performers bring their personal lives to a rehearsal for a show titled ‘Bohemian Dream’. Here’s a clip of a few of the songs which made the final cut , sung by London cabaret singers.
I had an idea for the closing number involving a poem Fran once wrote. I’m not telling you much more than that, except, she re-wrote it into a song for the show. It arrived a few days ago, and it’s fabulous!