Monday, February 10, 2014

The Music Man (4) "Wells Fargo Wagon"

Continuing The Adventures of Me in the Gahanna Community Theatre production of THE MUSIC MAN by Meredith Wilson.

We're now in our last week of rehearsals before the show opens this Friday. Have you gotten your tickets yet?

A shady character going by the name of Professor Harold Hill stops off in River City, Iowa to try to con people out of their money to fund a boys' band. Of course, he has no intention of ever actually starting the band. Problems ensue when he starts to have feelings for the local librarian.

As a member of the chorus I play a citizen of River City. We sing four songs: "Iowa Stubborn," "76 Trombones," "Trouble," and my favorite, "Wells Fargo Wagon." (I've talked about all of these songs except "Trouble," so if you want to hear Robert Preston's THE MUSIC MAN versions of them, search The Theatre thread for the month of January and February and they should pop right up.) As a kid I sometimes would order stickers or model kids from magazines, or I subscribed to comic-books. I *loved* the idea that the mailman or the deliveryman would stop and bring me something cool, delivered right to my door. And this is a fun song all about that phenomenon. 

By the way, as a citizen of River City I have ONE line. Here it is in its entirety: "What are you doing about getting our money back!?!"

You'll have to come see me to find out what my cue is to say the line, though.

I've had a lot of fun doing this show, and I hope only two things: (1) that I don't mess up my rat-a-tat "Rock Island" salesman bit at the very beginning, and (2) that I don't trip or otherwise cause myself or others embarrassment. I always say that as long as I am not the least talented person on stage, I'm doing okay.

Oddly enough, in the movie of THE MUSIC MAN the Mayor and Shirley Jones (as the librarian) have their conversation between verse 1 and verse 2. In the stage version, their conversation occurs before the song starts. I wonder why that was changed.

If you want to wish me luck, tell me "break a leg." That is the traditional theatre way of saying, "Good luck." 

If you would like to know more about when and where our production will be, please click the Gahanna Community Theatre homepage. or purchase tickets from iTickets here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

JLA #32 "Drones of the Queen Bee" Afterward

So what did you think?

As I said in the Forward, I came up with this Queen Bee story at the same time I thought up the stories  that will be numbers 33 and 34. I ended up making my come-back with this story for two reasons. One, because the very first story I ever did featured Queen Bee, and I like the symmetry of using her in my come-back issue. And secondly, because this story is the most "straight forward" of the three: JLAer finds menace, contacts the League, they split up to battle the menace, and then come back together to finalize things. This technique would get boring if it is used every issue, but I do like it. And I think it really would be the way most JLA adventures would occur if they were real. Also, there is no guest-star in this issue, which I can't say about the next two. So there is that, too. 

First of all, I apologize for all the mistakes. It's typical for the creator to find only mistakes in their own work, but in my case there really are a lot of them to overlook. Like I said before, I'm a story-teller and not an artist. So the art could be better; I know. You'll have to take my word for it, but in the issue I'm working on right now I think I *have* slowed down a bit and that I'm getting better. We'll see if you agree. I just finished coloring number 34 and I never want to find that many mistakes ever again! 

Speaking of mistakes, did you happen to see the first mistake I made here? It's on the cover and title page....! I wrote the story as "Drones of the Queen Bee" but then when I went to draw the cover, for some reason I lettered, "Return of the Queen Bee!" in the upper right corner. It was too late to change all the chapter titles, and I had already colored the cover, stayed. Oops!  I know that titles on covers sometimes don't match the actual titles inside, but I'll try not to make that mistake again, haha!

From when I was a kid I was a sucker for the "meanwhile" type scenes shown here, where we get to see what the various members are doing when they get the emergency call. And to help show everybody exactly who "my" JLA is, I included it here. Hope you got a kick out of cameos by Mera and Alfred. By the way, in my universe Black Canary dyes her hair blond; she wears a dark wig as Dinah Lance, not the other way around. I think this makes more sense, don't you? Also by the way, in my universe Kathy Sutton, the girlfriend of Red Tornado, was introduced as an African-American. I had no idea that I was starting a trend of changing the ethnicity of supporting characters when I did it, though! 

As I said, Queen Bee as a character appeared in my very first issue, back in 1991. However, it was done so badly that I have never scanned it and uploaded it here. So no one here has read it. To explain just who she is in "my" universe I relied on Red Tornado and his accurate memory chip. Thanks, Red. 
Speaking of Red Tornado, in an age of international communication I thought it made perfect sense to have Red be able to communicate with or in all the world's languages. I don't know *why* it occurred to me, but as soon as it did I liked it and kept it in. And I liked how he assumes it is not a big deal, although Wonder Woman thought it was. Red is always going to be the "ah, shucks" type of hero who doesn't even realize he is doing something wonderful.

Although I have to say I changed the blue in his cape so that next time it won't scan in to look so purple next time!

One of the many things I liked about the Steve Englehart run on JUSTICE LEAGUE in the late Seventies was his take on The Flash. Instead of being this world-weary cynic (like Green Arrow) I agree that he should be a guy who still sees the wonder in what he does. In that regard he and Elongated Man are similar, I think. Ralph shows his enthusiasm openly, but Barry doesn't. That's the big difference. And although Barry is friends with Green Lantern, a cosmic police-man, he never gets used to it. The Flash is a Mid-western boy at heart, and I like that about him. 

And lastly, just one word about my favorite member, Aquaman. I know he doesn't fit into every single story, but, really, nobody does, right? I think it's silly for comic-book writers to complain that Aquaman is "difficult to write" when he really isn't. Aquaman is probably fourth in terms of sheer strength (behind Superman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter); he's faster than most of them, and he's used to being a leader and tactician. So although he won't be in every issue, if he's around he's going to be doing stuff. 'Nuff said!?

See you in another month with another brand-new adventure!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Music Man (3) "Iowa Stubborn"

Continuing The Adventures of Me in the Gahanna Community Theatre production of THE MUSIC MAN by Meredith Wilson.

Rehearsals have picked up in the last week as we run through the entire show every night. The show is Feb 14-16, and so far we have done all staging, blocking (who goes where, and when), and choreography. This week we are going to start working with the orchestra. Things are moving ever forward to Opening Night...!

I am in the very first scene, the "Rock Island" train bit I talked about last time. As soon as that scene ends I need to do a quick costume addition to change from "Salesman #4" to "Iowa Citizen." As soon as the train leaves the station at River City, the chorus goes into the first song, which is "Iowa Stubborn." This is sung by all the townspeople of River City, Iowa when Professor Harold Hill is sizing-up the place for his con. It's an introduction to the "small-mindedness" of small town people. However, Meredith Wilson actually grew up in Iowa. If you listen to the words, it's not so much a criticism of small town people as it is a song TO them.

And we're so by-God stubborn we can stand touching noses 
for a week at a time and never see eye to eye

is followed by the kicker

But we'll give you our shirt and the back to go with it
If your crops should happen to die

You really ought to give Iowa a try. 

So it's a fun song to sing with cool lyrics. Also, that bit about helping our fellow man is sung a capello, and we sound pretty good if I do say so myself.

The hardest part of the song for me is the end, where we have to sing several Iowa city names, the vast majority of which I have never heard of!

If you would like to know more about when and where our production will be, please click the Gahanna Community Theatre homepage. or purchase tickets from iTickets here