Made In China: The Last Entry

Nicky Weinbach concludes his chronicle of the first production of Made In China, his original musical.

As this is my last entry for this current guest blog, I’m going to make this brief. I want to thank everyone who came to see Made in China. It was a fantastic run. We sold out closing night. The audience was great and so was the cast. I’m so happy with how it all turned out. Though there may have been the rare detractor, it seems that, overall, people really enjoyed this show. One thing that remained pretty consistent was people’s reaction to the music: they all loved it. That was probably the most important part of this show for me, too. My primary goal for Made in China was that people would leave the show humming its tunes, and that happened a lot. As this musical grows and larger productions of it are produced, I hope that more and more of the world will be introduced to the music of Made in China. Nothing would make me happier than the rest of the world humming the songs that I wrote.

Thanks for continuing to catch up with this blog, and I hope to see you all at future productions of Made in China. Until next time, this has been Nicky Weinbach.

P.S. Don’t forget to catch my brother Max’s musical, A Match Made in Hell, premiering in August!

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Theater Around The Bay: Let’s Hear It From You

Stuart Bousel takes a moment to talk about how our blog has been growing steadily upward.

February has proven to be a breakthrough month for the San Francisco Theater Pub blog!

For the first time since the blog was started by one of our founding artistic directors, Bennett Fisher, in March of 2010 (so we’re coming up on our anniversary!), we have shot past 4,000 hits in one month- and a short month at that! Where as once we usually got about 25-50 hits a day and 500-800 hits a month, we now average 150-200 a day and 2,500-3,500 a month. This increase in traffic is, without question, due in large part to having moved to more regular content, and it’s thanks to the efforts of Ashley Cowan, Eli Diamond, Helen Laroche, Marissa Skudlarek and our various guest bloggers (like the cast and crew of The Odyssey on Angel Island, and Nicky Weinbach from Made in China) that we can start to say the Pub’s online presence is delivering the same mission of inclusivity and being a platform for the community, as it does in the flesh at the Cafe Royale each month.Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it: contributor and reader alike. We hope you stick around for more!

Starting tomorrow, we’ll be adding actress/writer Allison Page to the regular writer rotation, alternating weeks with Cowan Palace, and next week we’ll begin a new regular guest blog by actor/writer Evan Johnson as his new play moves towards its premiere production at the New Conservatory. That will be running alternate weeks with Theater Conservatory Confidential, on Fridays. Additionally, we have a new monthly event, being presented in conjunction with the Exit Theater, starting March 23rd, called Saturday Write Fever. Like all other Theater Pub events, it’s free and all about creating collaborations between artists and busting down the wall between the audience and the creators, so please join us!

At the same time that the blog has been gaining momentum and increasing its profile, I personally have found myself having more and more conversations with various theater people about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and what they hope to get from it versus what they actually get from it and just how they feel about that. A lot of those interactions have started with, “I read your posts from a few weeks back and it’s had me thinking…” and I have to say, it’s been wonderful to hear that and even more wonderful to have so many exciting dialogues about this art form and all its social and practical complexity. In the last few weeks my life has been characterized by some of the most honest and inspiring talks I’ve ever had in the ten years of being part of this theater community. It’s been like… final semester of college level of sincere and memorable, but unlike the last semester of college, it doesn’t have to end.

The “Theater Around the Bay” section of the website (basically every Tuesday we don’t have a performance that night- which is most Tuesdays) has always been, and will always remain, an on-going catch-all for whatever news, rants, musings someone wants to contribute and I want to take a moment to remind people that we’re always looking to publish something- the days we don’t it’s literally for lack of content, not because we turned someone down. We shy away from reviews (unless it’s happening in service of a larger thesis) because we want this to be more of a discussion/process/promotion part of the internet (there are plenty of other places to post reviews), but after that caveat almost anything theater related could potentially have a home here. An article about what’s troubling your theater life. Your favorite place to get a burrito before a show. A profile of someone you think is doing great work. A profile of your own work. Upcoming projects or on-going concerns. All these things and more are welcome. Please pitch us if you have an idea! We want to hear from you, and the more voices we can get on here over the course of a year, the better.

On that note, thanks again for reading. And because I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about this lately, if you have moment, leave a comment about what inspires you to keep working and making theater. I feel like every one of these great conversations that I’ve been having lately, that’s the one thing we don’t talk about enough. We talk about what is wrong, sure, and we talk about our work, usually, and we talk about other the tenor the scene and other people, always, but I think it’s just the nature of many artists (or maybe it’s just human nature) to forget to take the time to also focus on what does work, what infuses us with the will to keep on, what makes the baloney worth cutting through and putting up with. So, today, let’s put things back in balance and tell us what you love about the medium, the scene, or yourself. Or all three.

The best thing about the internet is that there’s always room for more.

Stuart Bousel is one of the founding artistic directors of the San Franciso Theater Pub, and a prolific writer and director. His website, http://www.horrorunspeakable.com, will tell you all about it.

Made In China: The Saga Continues

Nicky Weinbach continues to chronicle the journey of his new musical, Made in China, which is currently playing at Bindlestiff Studios.

Hey readers. I don’t really have to much to say this time around. I gave you my last entry on the day Made in China opened. We’re now two weeks into the run, and I feel great about how the production has been going so far. Our opening night was sold out, and we’ve been selling all of our other shows pretty well. The audiences definitely seem to be positively responding to the show, and most agree that the music to the play is beautiful. That’s really what my primary goal was – for people to like the music – and it seems like I’ve achieved that.

Max_and_Amber

I’ve changed little bits of the play here and there from opening night until now. I guess it’s cool to have that kind of freedom as the playwright. You can keep improving upon the show even during its run. We’ve received some pretty awesome critic reviews in the process, too. I’ve noticed certain parts of the musical that I’d like to edit for future productions, but I won’t change too much this time around so as not to throw off any of the actors or orchestra members. I just want to keep making this thing bigger and better. When you’ve put so much work into something for so long, you don’t want to simply part ways with it after just one run. It’s a special kind of work. It’s not just a play. It’s a musical with a six-piece orchestra. It took me a lot of time to write out all the music for six different instruments and six different singers. I guess you can say that this isn’t an ordinary first show. It’s something that I hope will live on and get the bigger productions it deserves. I know that may seem a little conceited, but I know it’s a good piece of theater. I also know there are ways to improve it.

Max_and_the_Cronos

Overall, I’m happy with the way the show turned out. All the stresses and anxiety that I’ve incurred during the pre-production and rehearsal processes weren’t necessary. They were inevitable, and, sure, I certainly encountered a lot of huge road blocks along the way. But, you always gotta think in the back of your brain that things always have a way of working out. It’s never going to be exactly the way you envisioned it from the get go, but you’ll most likely be satisfied with the product in the end. The key is to remain motivated no matter how hard things can get. Never let cynicism conquer your drive. I hope I’m not sounding too preachy, but there were times in the months leading up to Made in China’s debut when I felt like I should have maybe given up. I felt depressed, and I felt like some higher power didn’t want me putting on this show. Those thoughts were futile. Just let your motivation help you out, and you’ll always get to where you need to be if you try.

I suppose I did have a lot to say after all. Please do come to see the show if you haven’t already. We have two more weekends left in the run, and tickets are on sale now at madeinchinamusical.wordpress.com/tickets. I’m sure you’ll have a great time, and, I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy the music if nothing else.

Max_and_Serio

I think this may be my last entry for this current Made in China guest blog. There is a possibility that I’ll provide you with one more after we close…actually, I will do that. Why not? Until then, I’ll leave you with a few press photos for the show (which can be viewed throughout this article) that I think are quite neat.

Thanks for reading!

Made In China: The Saga Continues

Well, guys, we’re finally here. The world premier of Made in China is tonight, and I’m very excited about it. Tickets for tonight are selling pretty well. We got some good write-ups in the SF Weekly and SF Chronicle (96 Hours), and I’m sure that helped with ticket sales.

We’ve been working our butts off this past week building a great set and a nice lighting design. Two nights ago, I got home from the theater at 4:30 AM, so we’ve definitely been spending most of our days and nights working on the show. My co-producers in this thing, DL Soares and Clint Winder, and DL’s girlfriend, Hannah, have been true champions this past week. They haven’t slept very much at all, especially Hannah and DL, but I think the sleep deprivation is about to pay off.

There’s a lot I could say right now, but I think the best thing, at this point, would be for you readers to just come to the show. It’ll be a lot of fun. You can buy tickets at the door starting at 7PM at Bindlestiff Studio (185 6th St.) or purchase tickets online at http://madeinchinamusical.wordpress.com/tickets. I can’t wait to finally perform this musical. It’s been a long journey, and the greatest part of it is coming tonight! I’ll hope all of you will be coming tonight…or at least to one of the performances, if not multiple. Hope to see you all there!

By the way, if you’d like to read the SF Weekly and 96 Hours write-ups, please visithttp://www.voiceplaces.com/made-in-china-san-francisco-bay-area-3342251-e/ andhttp://www.sfgate.com/performance/article/Made-in-China-at-Bindlestiff-Studio-4236818.php, respectively.

Thanks for reading!

Made In China: The Saga Continues

Nicholas Weinbach continues to chronicle his musical as it moves from concept to opening night.

Well, we’re just two weeks away from opening night, and the nerves are definitely with me. We’ve done so much work, but there’s still a lot to do in the next two weeks. Crunch time is certainly upon us. Since my last entry, we had a pretty successful rehearsal with the orchestra and singers. We got through all the songs in about an hour and a half, which was great considering previous orchestra rehearsals took the span of three hours and there were always a few songs we weren’t able to go over by the end of the rehearsal. I’d say the orchestra is in great shape.

The cast is trying its hardest to solidify and perfect all the choreography for this musical. That’s probably the most challenging aspect of this show, but we’re almost there. Things are really starting to look great. I feel like we’ve got a great show on our hands, but I know the next two weeks are going to be arduous for all of us. I can’t wait until we get to opening night and see how much our hard work has payed off. Some cast members are making great leaps for the success of this production. I think a couple are working harder than they ever have before. I want so much for them to be rewarded with a good show and a large embracing audience.

For me, worrying about all my lines, lyrics, and choreography is just one part of the whole picture, large as it may be. Being a producer is the other big puzzle piece and its tough work. It requires a lot of patience and planning, and, after having produced this show, I now have a deeper understanding of what producers do and how important their job is to the success of the show. I respect successful producers because they kind of orchestrate the whole thing. When you’re a producer for an independent production, it’s even more work. My hats off to producers…I wish this could be a toast, or something of the nature, because producers rarely get enough credit, or it seems as if people think they don’t really do anything when in fact they kind of do everything.

Two weeks away and I’m excited and anxious at once. I’ve never worked on something so hard for as long of a duration in my life. Made in China is truly my offspring, and it’s almost time to show it to the world. I want to be proud of it. I want it to succeed. I have a good feeling.

If you haven’t already done so, please buy your tickets to Made in China at madeinchinamusical.wordpress.com/tickets or here. I look forward to seeing you at the show!

One more entry for sure in two weeks, but, perhaps, that will be my last. Until then, get your tickets!

P.S. $5 off general admission promo code offered on our Facebook event page here.

Made In China: The Saga Continues

Nicky Weinbach brings his new musical ever closer to opening night.

We are currently in our last month of rehearsals for Made in China. With that said, tickets for Made in China are now on sale here and at madeinchinamusical.wordpress.com/tickets. Get your tickets now, and visit our Facebook page here for a promotional code to receive $5 off a general admission ticket for opening weekend. We also have a new poster design (below) from artist Andy McKeegan.

All business aside, the last couple of weeks have been a little tough, scheduling-wise what with the holidays and what not. But, we are headed in the right direction. We’ve accomplished a lot so far but still have a good amount of work to do. Tomorrow, we have our first sitzprobe (rehearsal with the singers and orchestra without blocking). I’m hoping the rehearsal moves pretty smoothly. The sitzprobe for the staged readings went pretty fast back in April, so this one should be pretty good, too.

I don’t have too much to say this time around. The cast is certainly working hard, and their effort is showing. The quality with which they sing at a stand still now needs to be applied to when they’re actually moving. It’s always a little trickier to sing your best when you’re performing choreography, which is why breathing as much as possible helps so much. The musical director for a production of Into the Woods in which I performed during my senior year of college told me once that Broadway singers breath a lot. They breath all the time because they’re moving a lot as opposed to opera singers who pretty much stand still the whole time. I suppose that’s when it’s more important to follow good technique. For musicals, you want to do your best to hit the notes well while still moving. Thus, breathing a lot helps a lot. Perhaps, this isn’t the best advice to reveal over the Internet, but it’s what works.

Anyway, I hope to see all you readers at one or more of the performances of Made in China. Buy your tickets now, and enjoy this really cool poster (again, below). Until next time!

MadeInChina_MF

Made In China: The Saga Continues

The last two weeks have been both fruitful and a little difficult due to actors either getting sick or going away to spend time with their families for the holidays. December is always pretty tough that way. Luckily, next week will be completely devoted to choreography rehearsals and working on music. We’ve got most of the major dialogue scenes blocked out, which is good. The show has really become a matter of choreography at this point, and there’s still a lot to be done. We have done a lot, too. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we’ll have only a select couple of songs that still need to be choreographed.

The actors are working hard on their singing. Some of it is pretty tough to nail, but they’re getting there. Some higher notes are a little tricky for a few, but I think, with a bit more practice and rehearsal, they’ll get it.

Tomorrow, we have another orchestra rehearsal. It’ll be the final one before our first sitzprobe – that’s when the actors and musicians all get together, and the actors sing without blocking to the accompaniment of the orchestra. It should be fun. It’s the first time the actors will really get a chance to hear the full orchestra playing ,and it really gives them a sense of what the whole sound of the show is like. I’m excited myself to hear everything played and sung together. For the staged readings of Made in China, I was able to hear all the parts sung and played together, but there have been some pretty significant changes to the score since then, so it’ll be nice to hear how the music has hopefully improved.

We are quickly approaching our opening date with just a little over a month and a half to go until the debut performance of Made in China. I’ve been very nervous, especially the past few days, just thinking about all the things that still need to be done. We still have a good amount of choreography to learn. We’ve definitely put in a lot of time so far into this production, but crunch time is certainly upon us. I just can’t wait until opening night, when we can finally perform this thing and please a crowd with a worthy show. By the next entry for this blog, I hope that we’ll have made some remarkable progress. Until then!

By the way, below is the new logo for Sir Windsorbach Productions, our theater company that is producing Made in China. Enjoy!

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