Sunday, July 12, 2009

Making a Musical Shine! Part 1

Hey folks,

First off, apologies for the spam blog that went out from this account not long ago. We've taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.

These next several blogs are going to concern the process of creating a new original musical from the point of view of the writer / musical director. Over the past 16 months The Wet Spots have been writing a musical. We are mounting it this August 12-23 at the Waterfront Theater in Vancouver under the name SHINE - A Burlesque Musical.

SHINE is set in a crumbling downtown theater called The Aristocrat. The venue has been a vaudeville hall, a burlesque theater, a drag revue, and a punk rock / performance art space through its long, seedy history. It is currently on its last legs, and being run by Miss Shine Mionne - a hard-drinking diva whose legs are a bit wobbly too. In order to save her theater, Shine accepts help from a slick money man who thinks he can turn the place around... with a few minor adjustments.

We got the idea for this musical from five solid years of touring - playing a good cross-section of the world's variety, burlesque and cabaret stages big and small. Along the way, we seem to have joined an international family of migrant freak performers: BDSM aerialists, roller skating hula hooping Josephine Baker impersonaters, magician strippers, Swedish tennis pro contortionists, and a woman who queefs the Blue Danube Waltz whilst a midget dressed as Strauss conducts her.

We thought it would be a great laugh to set a full-book musical in a freaky cabaret theater, with actors in the lead roles and a rotating guest cast of these amazing, outlandish performers as some of the acts that this cabaret theater books. In 2008, we joined forces with the amazing Screaming Chicken Burlesque - a Vancouver troupe that fully embraces both the comedic and erotic elements of the form. We put an embryonic, semi-improvised version of the show up for Vancouver International Burlesque Fest. By the 2009 Fest in May, we had a fully scripted show with 10 original songs.

In June of this year, we made the decision to give the show a full run in a professional theater. The Screaming Chicken gang will be taking care of the choreography and providing most of the chorus dancers. Many of the lead roles are also being filled by performers from this troupe. These next few blogs will be updates on the journey we're all taking together - creating some semblance of an entertaining order from the chaos of fourteen performers and their busy lives.

Make no mistake - The Wet Spots are in this for the long haul. We're looking at mounting this at New York Musical Festival and New York Fringe and New York Burlesque Fest 2010. And there are already film adaptation and overseas stage production possibilities in the works. But for now, our sights are firmly set on that magic opening night of August 12, 2009. And seeing just what we can pull off in this tiny sliver of time we have...

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