Posted by: Rodney Robbins (December 1, 2009)
Here is a fun poem about a real person that some have called "The Chinese Santa Claus." I'm sorry about the spacing ... a limitation of the blogging software I suppose. I hope you enjoy it.
"The Laughing Buddha's Christmas Wish"
By Rodney Robbins
The Laughing Buddha, legends say,
Was born in China, on an ancient day.
His heart was big, and his belly GRAND!
He carried a bowl and a sack close to hand.
Like a Zen Santa, I'd say he was,
Except bald as a peach, with a touch of FUZZ.
He'd look at each child with a magical twinkle,
And pull from that sack, in the corner, by a wrinkle ...
JUST the right gift at JUST the right time,
He'd do it without effort or reason or rhyme,
"Oh, thank you Santa," each child would say,
Except in Chinese, in their inscrutable way.
I, a young monk, asked the great man,
As we walked on the path, bowl and sack in hand,
"How do you guess? How do you know?
What gift to offer? What seed to sow?"
The Laughing Buddha gave a great chuckle.
He laughed so hard I thought his knees might buckle.
"It's easy, it's fun, when you know where to begin:
Picture their face and look within.
"The greatest gift doesn't come in a box,
It's rarely a doll and it's never more socks.
The greatest gift comes from the heart.
That's the very best place to start."
The Buddha winked once, patted his belly twice,
Then disappeared in a shower of rice.
He left me the bag to hand out more stuff.
Why, there's something for YOU, right under this fluff!
Merry Christmas and happy Yuletime to all.
Posted by: Rodney Robbins (November 30, 2009)
On Saturday, my family and I went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Concert in Charlotte, NC. What a show! They did a 90 minute narrated Christmas story about an angel trying to bring a lost teen home for Christmas, then did another 60 minutes from the new "Night Castle" album. It was heavy metal, rock and roll, classical Christmas all supercharged by a laser light show with moving sets and flames.
For a playwright, it was very interesting to see 11,500 people enthralled by a narrator introducing songs with a bit of a story. I've seen that structure before--in my kindergarden play--but darn it if TSO didn't give it bring it to life like Frankenstien's monster! What a hoot.
I was also inspired by their angle/rescue story, but my mind pictured a very different tale. The story in my head probably needs to be a screenplay because it involves a german shepherd dog, but it was fun to listen to their narration while my mind was dreaming up a completely different tale. Interesting.
I highly recommend their show. Check out the TSO schedule at http:/
Rodney Robbins, the Singing Playwright
11,500 people times $60 per ticket (my estimated average ticket price) is $690,000 in gross ticket sales. That's not bad for a performance with a kindergarden play structure.
Posted by: Caty B (November 29, 2009)
well, I must say this is a new experience. 1st blog post, I'm not totaly sure what to make of this. I'll probably just talk about my experiences with various theatre programs I've been involved in, what I'm doing now... not like that's too different from my usual dicussion topics. I'm senior in an arts magnet program in Atlanta, GA. I'm a theatre major and I've been at my high school for 2 years. Before that, I lived in AK for 3 years and was heavily involved in choir (aka, I get irritated when musicals don't have valid scores; They must match the style of the show. On this note, you must know I'm not an ALW fan).
In a little over a month I'll begin auditioning for musical theatre programs on the college level, so if you'll be doing that soon, I might be someone to watch and learn from, because I have almost no clue what I'm doing and will be learning as I go. I'm auditioning for U of Michigan, U of Oklahoma, U of Arizona, Point Park University, Boston Conservatory, and Emerson College. Academically, so far, I've been accepted to Point Park and have yet to hear from anyone else. I'll be turning in my last application on dec 1 (Michigan). I'm nervous as hell.
This past year I've been involved in Edges (Female U/S), The Wizard of Oz (Aunt Em), Little Women (Marmee), Little Shop of Horrors (U/S Audrey. I actually got to go on for this one) and right now I'm producing Steel Magnolias at my school and I'll be playing M'Lynn. We perform in january and can I just say that I'm completely stressed out and at the same time, much less stressed than I thought I would be.
Advice for your senior year thus far:
much love and good thoughts,
Posted by: Jasen Scott (November 24, 2009)
So I'm writing this musical right, and it's gonna be great, specially written for my school's capabilities! But the thing is actually writing it. More like, getting started. You don't realise how hard it is until you try. lol. Anyways, once i finish it, the rest will fall into place i suppose.
Stickwaiver - Jasen Scott.
Posted by: MTI Showspace Host (November 23, 2009)
Tags: Singin' in the Rain
Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted this past week's Saturday Night Live and opened the show with a rousing musical number. It turns out that Joseph's favorite show is SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, so you don't want to miss his rendition of "Make 'Em Laugh"...LIVE from NY!
Posted by: Rodney Robbins (November 20, 2009)
Are you tired of dealing with media people who won't so much as run an audition notice? Judging by the theater folks I've talked with, you have lots of company. It sure seems like the newspapers are getting thinner and thinner, but pickier and pickier.
One thing you need to understand is that media professionals don't give a crap about you, your show, your theater or your school ... unless ... it is something their readers or viewers care about. They need you, they need stories, they need to know what's happening, they need to report what's new, but they don't need YOU. Ouch! I know. It hurts, but it's true.
So, how to deal with this reality?
Instead of begging them to run your audition notice, give them what they want: something their readers can USE!
Headline: Working Actor Reveals the Seven Biggest Audition Blunder: and How They Cost You Money in Job Interviews
You've just quadrupled your audience from acting geeks to anyone who might be looking for a job. You've gone from being of interest to a very small audience, to something useful to a much large audience of newspaper buyers and TV viewers. At your low-cost/no-cost class, your in-famous, er, I mean semi-famous actor will give honest value, get some people on stage for some roll playing, then pitch your upcoming audition.
Headline: Five Ways to Get Into College Free: And Have a Blast Doing It.
This is a low-cost/no-cost lecture or seminar for ALL kinds artists and might include guest speakers (recruiters) from local colleges. The class might include tips on selecting audition pieces for actors, singers and musicians. You might talk about how to present yourself well. A guest lecturer might talk about selecting art pieces for a portfolio and how much a full ride scholarship is worth. Your choreographer might talk about dealing with nerves. Of course, you'll talk about the value of auditioning for your new play as a way to practice your interview skills and learn to perform under pressure. You'll also explain that recruiters love to see acting and public speaking on an application and what wonderful stories people can tell recruiters about their theater experience.
This isn't just a notice about an upcoming audition. This new story is of interest to all high school students and your adults interested in art, music and all the performing arts. It's also the kind of story that parents want to tell their kids about, and the kind of event they want to attend because it can save them, literally, a hundred grand in college tuition costs!
Do you see? If you can double, triple or quadruple your audience, and offer something all those people can USE, the media almost can't HELP but cover your event.
Posted by: Rodney Robbins (November 17, 2009)
My first, and still unfinished musical, is sitting in a drawer until I can get around to writing the music (my second musical is all done--if that makes any sense). Why am I writing the music when I also did the book and lyrics? Well, I tried to find colaborators at the local colleges, local theaters, local singing groups, on-line, even at a songwriter's group. I couldn't find anyone even the least bit interested in anything to do with musical theater.The one guy I finally found was a heck of a classical composer but didn't put a single note to paper in 8 months and told me to write a second act into my kids show because he had ideas for more music!
The new show is done. I wrote the book and the lyrics and paid a professional to transcribe the songs I "wrote" and sang into my computer. So, I'm done, right? Wrong.
To actually promote the show, I need a music demo CD. Yes, I CAN record all the songs myself on my computer, but somehow me singing both parts of a female duet just doesn't have the punch I'm looking for. So, I called some local recording studios to see about hiring them to produce a demo. Guess how that's going.
I've called 4 of them, and sent e-mail to 2 more. It has been a full week and so far, no one has answered the phone. No one has answered my e-mails. No one even sent an automatic response that read, "We have your e-mail and will contact you as soon as we get back from Hawaii." Not one person from 6 different companies has called me back. Granted, I'm not in NYC or Nashville, but seriously, I'm over here waving a fistful of cash and nobody will so much as say hello!
So, why are there so few new musicals? Because it takes five million gallons of drive and determination just to get the work done. And you know who has to do all that work? One person. One person has to care, and keep caring and keep trying and keep struggling and keep going. One person has to believe when no one else does. One person has to keep doing when no one else can or will help. Why are there so few new shows? Because writing and selling a new show is really really hard.