Volume 1 Book 9 Episode 15
of Living In The Bonus Round
the online diary of Steve Schalchlin
Life's a Beach (and then you open).

Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

Bob Stillman with Gary Guidinger & Linda Tolliver of the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood.
They presented our very first workshops.

An Online Diary of the
1998 Laguna Playhouse Production

featuring Jim Brochu, Amy Coleman, P.M. Howard, Michele Mais, Bob Stillman, Joey Traywick, Positoids, NuBiHes and lavish amounts of love.

Part 15.

Laguna Beach. Late September.
The Last Obsession.

I have some news today, including a CONTEST. So keep reading.

Yesterday, Sunday, I was sitting in the guys dressing room between shows. Joey was lying on the cot. P.M. was sitting playing with a guitar and I was sitting at Joey's mirror admiring myself -- it's part of my growing narcissism). I was telling P.M. my "On the night John Lennon died I was playing a gig in a lounge at a Rodeway Inn near the airport in Columbus Ohio" story. (You think I talk a lot in this diary -- you should see me in real life; can't shut me up).

P.M., who is a veteran of many bands, including a country band that played a gay country dance bar here in the Valley back in the 80s -- he agrees that gay clubs are the most fun even tho he's a hetero -- said that he liked playing in TLS because it is the closest he's come to feeling like he's playing in real band in theatrical piece since he was in BEATLEMANIA on Broadway.

P.M.'s contributions -- beautiful guitar chimes on "The Group," a solid rock rhythm on "Somebody's Friend" and bass on several others -- add an enormous amount of depth and beauty to the arrangements. He said that Bob Stillman (like yours truly) doesn't play the songs the same way everytime, allowing his mood to move the music. But now that they've been playing for several weeks, P.M. said he's getting to the point where he can "feel" what Bob is going to do -- exactly what people in a "real" bad do.

Anyhoo, I said, "I can't believe our run is already half over. I can't believe we only have two more weeks. I'm already mourning the end of the run."

Joey snapped, "I've started that on opening night." (And yes, his eyes immediately got red when he said it.)

Bob came in and agreed. This is an extraordinary experience for everyone. This past weekend they gave five perfect performances with audiences literally leaping to their feet pounding out standing ovations.

But Sunday night was the best so far. Bob's "Save Me A Seat" was a masterpiece tonight. To be perfectly candid, Bob has told me that he has struggled with this song from the beginning. It's a weird song, though. It drifts back and forth between major and minor, the words are almost silly with lines like "...goof with your hair..." but the melody soars and has an almost operetic climax at the end allowing Bob full use of his magnificent voice.

"Save Me A Seat" is a symphony of opposites, just like Gideon. I get the feeling Gideon scratched this out on a napkin just before getting into the studio. It's intimate, sad, a bit sarcastic -- but also triumphant as Gideon describes how we keep our friends alive by just remembering them and talking to them in death as we do in life.

Sunday night also saw the greatest number of Rentheads in attendance. One of them, Charmi, said her friends have been calling the show "The Last Obsession." When she told me about it, I said, "THANK YOU. You just gave me the name of my next diary entry..."

Okay. Here's the deal: There's a line in the play -- a punchline -- that comes early in Act One and Jimmy has decided it doesn't get enough of a laugh, so he wants to replace it. (He's done some minor rewriting for this production to great effect as the reviews have reflected). Since he hasn't thought of a good replacement line, I asked, "Could we make this a contest on the internet????" (I would have done it anyway but it's good to ask permission. hehe).

It's a line said by the character "Jim" to the character of "Buddy." Here's the set-up:

Buddy, the new arrival, comes in and Jim has been relentlessly poking at him. He calls him "Jim Bob." He is sarcastic to him in every way. So finally, after Buddy asks Jim what a "click track" is, Jim says, "I thought you said you'd been in studios before..."

To which Buddy replies, "Yeah. Professional ones..."

This challenge provokes a drop dead silence while the others slowly look toward the window to see what Jim is going to say back to him.

And Jim says....

[this is the line YOU get to write]

The script as it reads has Jim saying this: "I bet you taste just like chicken."

That line came from Dean Bradshaw who played Jim in NY. It's a total non sequitor and makes me laugh but audiences just kinda sit there puzzled -- which I also love.

But Jimmy wants something else. So, just send your suggestions to me at steve@bonusround.com and become a part of theatre history!

Last night I also discovered my new favorite place in the theatre to sit. They are down close to the stage, extreme stage right (which is to your right if you're standing on the stage looking into the auditorium).

Normally, those are the kinds of seats you expect would be the least desirable, but since the room is at near sell-out capacity, this was the only section I could find a place to be in, so I sat on the extreme end, second row and OH MY GAWD, it's the best seat in the house!

Why? Because it's sitting just below Gideon's piano and most of the action is directed at Gideon! It's like having the whole play done right at you and in your lap! Plus you get the benefit of almost feeling the actors and being close to them. At intermission last night, I got some of my Rent fans to move over with me to the few empty chairs in that area and we decided to designate the extreme stage right as the Groupie Section.

Or maybe we're just weird. But there ya are!

And OCTOBER 11 is ABSOLUTELY the closing date. No chance of extension. None. Zero. Nada. So, I firmly urge readers of this diary to make your reservations now or it will be too late.

Episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

The official stills by Still Productions | Pics by Steve | Cast pics by Steve | Fun pics
LA Times Review | TLS fan club page with pictures | L.A. critics quotes page
"From Hate To Humanity" | TLS Fan Chat Room | BennyTour fan pics

All photos and text are © 1998 by Steve Schalchlin.