The Fourth Messenger

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cmooreNC
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The Fourth Messenger

Postby cmooreNC » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:56 pm

Okay, first off, my apologies for staying away so long. When I finally popped in here today I thought "wow, it feels like months." Well, I guess it HAS been months!

I was looking for a thread discussing The Fourth Messenger and have not found one yet. I'm sure there must be one here somewhere. Can anyone direct me, please?

My wife and I have chosen to financially support this new musical (as I'm sure many others here have, also) and are going out to San Francisco this weekend, where we hope to spend a little time with Tanya Shaffer to learn more. I'll report back afterward.... if I can find the right thread on which to do so, that is! :D
Chris

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Postby Michele » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:29 pm

Hey Chris, welcome back :) You can find some discussion here on the musical under its previous title, Sid Arthur. We've been vague on details since it's been a work in progress, and don't want to mislead anyone because things change quickly and dramatically. There's several different threads here, with a summary post in this one. A fresh thread seems like a good place to post! Enjoy your time here this weekend!

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Our meeting with Tanya...

Postby cmooreNC » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:31 am

....went extremely well on Friday. Not a "business" meeting, per se, but rather a "let's get to know each other a bit and share a meal" gathering for the three of us and I think we all walked away quite happy from the experience. She is a delightful woman (no surprise there, as any friend of Vienna's is pretty much guaranteed to be a friend of ours after a brief greeting) and I think we've come away with the title of "godparents" of the musical. Somehow my wife or Tanya (in retrospect I'm not sure which) came up with this term in the conversation and I think it stuck. We're honored, although probably undeserving. We'll do our best to live up to the role.

I won't go into any details of our conversation in terms of the plans for the production itself, as obviously there are lots of things still to be worked out and I don't want to reveal anything and then have it not pan out, as that is always a possibility at this point, but I will say that Tanya met with Wavy Gravy (yes, the legend from the 60's) just recently to discuss some casting ideas for the reading that is scheduled for February 19th and she reports that some interesting suggestions were tossed about. Sounds fascinating. :D
Chris

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Postby Ang Mo » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:40 am

Do you have anything to report back Chris? How is it progressing?
“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis

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Postby cmooreNC » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:48 pm

My brief "report" of January 16th was pretty much all I can say right now. Since my wife and I are not actually involved in the creative process, we hesitate to give details of what we learned from Tanya because we don't want to say "this is what's happening" (or has happened) because of course things are subject to change between our meeting and when things do finally appear as finished product. Sorry.

I will add that Tanya has found Vienna fascinating to work with so far, though. She has discovered that VT tends to work in creative bursts, often overnight. We told her that this working style sounds very much like a college student in action! :D
Chris

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Postby Steve » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:52 pm

That sounds great, Chris! I've pledged, but I'm not in a position to be one of the top-level benefactors. It's nice to know you're out there representing the state by doing something great!

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Postby cmooreNC » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:09 am

Thanks, Steve. It is neat to be able to support this project and it will be great to see it come to fruition early next year.
Chris

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Postby Michele » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:51 pm

The e-mail that just went out about the IndieGoGo campaign is pretty spoilery! Although it doesn't give the details of the journey, the main conflict is laid out. Then again, it's not hard to infer what's going to happen when you're watching the musical, so I guess it's OK...

I was reading news of another local production we had backed on IndieGoGo, and it mentioned that although the review was positive, usually it's bad form in theater to publish a review based on even a preview night (the public rehearsals before the formal opening night). I remember there being a lot of drama when that happened to Spider-Man. I don't know a whole lot about theater etiquette, but I guess we're just going to have to still keep quiet about production details all the way up until this thing actually starts. But we can at least discuss the music meantime - I was pretty surprised to see so many songs posted after that first public reading, especially when we found out that there were still going to be so many changes made. Given that you now know more about the plot, I'd be interested to see speculation with how you guys think the songs are going to be used.

It's been a long time since the last event we went to for this...looking forward to finding out what's changed. I think we don't even know the meaning/plot point behind the updated name of the musical yet.

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Postby cmooreNC » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:40 am

I can at least tell everyone why the name was changed from "Sid Arthur." Turns out that Tanya did some polling on the title and there were too many "this has something to do with knights, or round tables, or something in medieval times" responses. Since the actual topic has absolutely nothing to do with anything along those lines and "Spamalot" pretty much has those topics covered already when it comes to "musical theatre," she decided to take another route with the title. Seems like a good move to me! :lol:
Chris

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Postby Michele » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:22 am

Just got back from the latest reading. Happy to say that a lot has changed for the better, although a few things have driven Erik to start remixing the story and create fanfic. You know something good's happening if characters are inspiring other stories, and making everyone cry at the end.

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Re: The Fourth Messenger

Postby Michele » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:28 pm

Tickets are now available for the May 20 lunch. The event page says excerpts from the musical will be performed.

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Re: The Fourth Messenger

Postby cmooreNC » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:19 pm

Just wanted to add a brief update here... it looks like the premier will be pushed into sometime in early February, as technical folks are getting involved and Tanya is realizing that it will take a bit longer to get this thing set up and properly staged than she originally expected. So the dates are still not finalized but things are progressing and coming together.
Chris

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Re: The Fourth Messenger

Postby Michele » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:14 pm

it looks like the premier will be pushed into sometime in early February


Before this changed, Vienna was going to be in school for the whole main run of the show. She told me she might be able to make it to a preview night if there's one on a weekend. Maybe now some shows will overlap with her break?

Anyway, I finally got a chance to write a little bit about what happened for Splendor In The Garden. Although I'm probably just going to talk more about the food and the setting, since we're still keeping it vague while the progress on the musical is ongoing.

It was hot up in Mill Valley as we piled into a shuttle to go up a long, winding road to a beautiful view of the hillside, valley, and San Francisco far off in the distance. Erik likened it to going to a house from The Real World - a house opened up to us, with a foyer and living room as well as the kitchen containing the spread of food, several ledges set up outdoors for eating overlooking the valley, a separate wine bar. Down winding stairs and past blocked off bee hive boxes was a whole separate cottage for the talent, and a stage set up. All around us were trees, flowers, and a few Buddha statues here and there, fitting for the musical's story.

The menu: vegetable stew, bread butter and pesto, radish, nectarines, rice, local cheese. Apparently I missed out on the house honey. Very delicious. The bread and water goes with one of the songs in the musical, even.

An lurking forumer, wildernessguy, introduced himself to me. Thanks for saying hi! Now delurk already ;) The other locals here would back me up when I say participating in the online community has its advantages...

As we ate, the new orchestrator for the musical, Robin Reynolds, played beautiful cello. She played classical pieces, although she normally performs with jazz/hip-hop ensembles, such as Shotgun Wedding Hip Hop Symphony with Dina, and Jazz Mafia Symphony with Jess. She didn't perform with the actors for this time out. Sadly I didn't get a picture of her.

After baking in the sun as we waited for the main performance to start, the shade from the trees changed, which shaded the audience and lit the stage. Good for sight, boiling for the performers. They did admirably under the circumstances. After an intro by the chef, and then a story from the house owner about the space and his relationship with Tanya, seven songs were performed, a few of them brand new, some newly reworked from previous versions. I thought the musical was already getting pretty close with the previous version I had seen, but there were some good improvements. That said, the fate of some characters and plot points are up in the air again. So in some places it's still not close at all. I know it'll come together by show time, it's just interesting to see the process unfold, and how nothing is really certain even if you think it will be.

There were 7 out of 11 (heard it was 12, but the auditions only call for 11) actors for this performance. Funny thing is, three others we've seen before were in the audience. Not sure if they were there for moral support or if they were observing for their own parts.

Everyone was crying at the end again.

We weren't told not to do anything that we're usually told not to do, so here are some pics. Probably won't get to take any more, and I'm guessing the next time we see this, it'll be with the final cast.

Vienna's credit on the musical has gone from just music, to additional lyrics by, and now to potentially a co-write on a song.

Afterward was dessert, including little bitty brownie squares, strawberries, little bitty strawberry tarts, cookies, and more bread and different cheeses.

After afterward, we met up in another garden, the one behind the Bazaar Cafe, and discussed some ideas for next year that she has floating around. She's planning a feast, but she's still putting together the recipes...

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Re: The Fourth Messenger

Postby wildernessguy » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:41 am

Hi Michele,

I am officially delurked :D

I did check out the forum right after the show, but then got caught up in a couple of things, including a backpacking trip, so have not been in the forum.

The Fourth Messenger music was great! I previously went to a reading, which had more of the substance of the Fourth Messenger than the event we met at. In addition to very good music (what else could it be since Vienna wrote it :wink: ), the musical has a very good message. I will not give it away, but hope that everyone makes an effort to see it; you won't be disappointed. Who knows, maybe there's a Tony in the future :)

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Re: The Fourth Messenger

Postby cmooreNC » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:46 pm

Thanks so much for the updates on the "garden presentation," Michele. Sounds like it was wonderful and I'm sorry we couldn't make it out for that.

I do have confirmation that opening weekend will be February 8-10. Hopefully those dates will hold, as we've booked our trip out to make sure we're there. Tentative plans are to have previews begin on the 6th and then opening night be Saturday, the 9th. Since it's a weekend, here's hoping that Vienna can make it! :D

On a somewhat related topic, I received an email from Pollstar a few days ago indicating that VT will be performing at Freight & Salvage on December 29 and 30. I'm afraid we'll miss those, but we are thinking about making the trek to Hamilton, MT, for the performance on November 10th. We've never been there, but it sounds like a beautiful place. Not sure what the weather will be like in November, though....
Chris


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