Volume 1 Book 9 Episode 16
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

L.A. Times ad featuring Jimmy Brochu's caricature of the Laguna cast.

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.
End of September.


Thanks for your contest entries. Jimmy has been processing everything and his mind is just tittering away. Jimmy also typed up this LOS ANGELES REVIEW QUOTES PAGE. It's pretty amazing.

My friend Dixon Martin just began a new TLS fan club page with pictures. If you want to be included, check it out and write him a note.

My camera broke this weekend so I didn't get a good shot of my Aunt Freida who surprised me by flying in from Vegas. But some of the other fans snapped us and I'll get her up on the net in no time as soon as they give me a copy. I think the camera broke because Bob Stillman is just so damned ugly. :-)

Today Tuesday, Jimmy and I with Aunt Michael, met with some people to look at the Henry Fonda Theatre as a possible place for TLS to move after Laguna. The Henry Fonda Theatre was built in 1927 as the Music Box. It was later renamed the Henry Fonda and it sits on Hollywood Blvd. near the Pantages (where "Phantom of the Opera" is playing now).

The management told us that they had repaired all the earthquage damage and renegotiated all the contracts with the unions so that the theatre was now affordable. (It's been a long time since anyone put a show up in the Fonda -- the last show being "Party" by David Dillon where they used walls to convert it into a smaller theatre to make production more affordable).

We drove over to Hollywood Blvd. and noticed that one of the stars on the sidewalk out front belonged to Yvonne DeCarlo (who Jimmy directed in a production of Can Can *AND* is the subject of one of his best "Lucy stories" in his book "Lucy In The Afternoon"). We then met Mr. Gray and Mr. Green (who have secretaries name Ms. Black and Ms. White -- which provoked many bad jokes about Mrs. Peacock in the Den with the Knife).

The Henry Fonda is magnificent in its faded glory. The whole place looks rundown and shabby, but there's a steely elegance that refuses to die -- like an art deco luxury cruise ship that's been in dry dock for 20 years.

We passed through the lobby, past the empty glass concession stand with the art deco shell shaped white wall light fixture that crawls up the back wall and pours across the ceiling, like an accordion fan taking over the room with white light.

Inside the large theatre itself, the first thing that hit me was more light. On the empty stage was a stand-up lamp like you see in every movie. And the light coming from it was blinding. I had to shield my eyes to see the room.

The big purple room with the rose colored seats, the covers of which were worn and faded. The long, low balcony which seemed to be competing with the orchestra seats to see which could get closer to the stage.

For a room that has 850+ seats it was surprisingly intimate. The back wall is close. But we didn't like was how high the stage was and it was more boxy than Laguna. (I'm addicted to the warm way the the audience wraps around and gently embraces the stage at the Laguna Playhouse.)

Mr. Gray took us down to the dressing rooms which were a maze of rooms of varying sizes. It was all so old. I could just imagine the rooms teaming with dancing girls, underwear thrown all over the place, paramours and the strict stage manager (played by Mary Wickes).

But we all knew without saying it out loud that it wasn't really right. It was too big.

And then it hit us.

RENT would be incredible in this theatre. It's got the same kind of feeling that the Nederlander has in NY. It would be incredible in this space! There's lots of parking. It's one block from the new subway station. I didn't see RENT here at the Ahmanson, but all the RENT fans have told me they didn't like it there at all. (And some have said they loved it, so who knows...)

I hadn't planned on seeing the show Tuesday but we needed to bring some new vocal selections books down from Ronda's office.

A NOTE FOR POTENTIAL PRODUCERS OF TLS: This comes straight from the management of The Laguna Playhouse -- the gift stand, for the first time in the history of the playhouse, is outselling the bar. By a wide margin. They sold out their initial stocks of songbooks, scripts and CDs after the first week and had to reorder. They can't replish stock fast enough. See what a great idea it is to produce TLS at your theatre? Okay, back to our regular programming...
Also, Aunt Michael wanted to go down and see the show, so I volunteered to drive and it was just me and him all the way to Laguna. Looks like it's time for me to become a professional. I've been living like a hippie and a pauper/musician my entire life. It's kinda scary to think about growing up.

When was a two bit saloon singer singin' pop songs, I was just a songwiter. When my songs became theatre, they started calling me a "composer/lyricist." From jeans and diet Coke to tuxedos and martinis all in one great piece of alchemy.

("...and those who practice the magic arts." "Like David Copperfield?" "Especially David Copperfield...")
After I wrote about Charmi's friends ridiculing her love for TLS by calling it "The Last Obsession," Lindsay, another Renthead friend of mine sent me this:

By the way, just so you know, I'm keeping the door open a little bit longer for any record labels who want to sign me. But I can't wait much longer. This production is coming to a close and I want to get into the studio before the end of this run. The cast has already told me they'd be happy to sing with me -- and we could get some cool percussion and really make a great representation of the music.

(yes, i know i'm shameless, but what are ya gonna do?)

My brother Corky sent me the URL to Mark Nasler, country artist making a big splash who is also, like me, from Buna Texas. Go brother! I mean, really, *TWO* somewhat famous people from Buna, Texas? It can't be!

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.

You see the Bonus Round Tour listed below? Well, I think MTV should buy Shawn Decker some plane tickets, give him a video camera and send him out on the road with me! Don't you think? The hemo2homo tour! It would be like Road Rules only it's got a point. And we could drag Joey along with us for additional sex and youth appeal. Make it so!

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.