Back in March a wonderful human being by the name of Ben Dicke asked me to Music Direct a show he was working on producing later in the year. His vote of confidence in me was seconded by another amazing human, Piper Arpan. I was hesitant purely out of insecurity and I told him I would consider it and could I get a recording. The show was Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, which at this point in Denver’s theatrical community, is the stuff of Legend (for more on this and the origins of the show check out the following links: 1) Numero Uno2) Numero Dos aka “WTF?”3) Phew!4) It’s on, bitches.
As I continuously listened to the CD in my car, driving to and fro to gigs, etc. I became acutely aware of a desire to take this show on that overshadowed my own bullshit to the point that I was able to say yes to this undertaking. And that’s where the adventure began, starting with 2 intimate performances a week apart at the gracious Cap City Tavern at 13th and Bannock in downtown Denver that consisted of 2-3 numbers from the show, performed by my friends as I accompanied them on guitar, followed by to-the-point dialogues about the show, it’s origins, Ben’s desire to produce it and why, and a hope of personal investment from those that patronized the Tavern that night as well as online via our Kickstarter. After this came a 24-hour treadmill run by Ben on the 16th St. Mall which, when completed, had put us over the projected goal and gave us the funds to start production.
We held auditions. Deliberated for days on the cast and who would be cast as the lead. Cast our show and then played a rather stressful game of put-the-pieces-together as we lost actors, found actors, lost actors, etc. and eventually came in to what I can only describe as OUR cast. A group of people that were for the vision of the show, for Ben, for me as an MD and we swiftly became family. The rehearsal process was fierce and full of swift creativity, memorization and moments of sheer awareness of character and choice as Ben assumed the role of Director/Lead actor. As we neared completion of rehearsals, with all of our lights programmed and our Stage Manager taking the reigns there was a since of awesome awareness that we had worked on and completed something amazing in our 3 weeks of rehearsal. And then, 2 hours before the house was to open, Ben fell down an open trap door and the energy slammed in to a brick wall of shock, worry and frustration. Executive decisions were made for that evening and we carried on with our night in complete disarray. I saw Ben in the hospital and more than anything just wanted my friend to be okay. In the end, he was (is) and we rescheduled the opening of the show and we carry on with rehearsals as I compose this.
In my mind, what has made all of this possible, other than the unwavering support of all those involved, which includes the Facebook posts and messages to Ben during his Hospital stay, was the consistent awareness of the cast and crew that we had something wonderful that needed to be shared. Not just for the greater Denver/Metro area, but for themselves. In the situation we encountered a week ago it would be hard to be selfish given the circumstances, but as the decision was made to carry on with Ben as our lead(er), with everyone in their original roles, I was justified in the feeling that we all needed to do this show for us as much as anyone else. Rarely do I find myself in a mind set such as this, but it was the truth. The time has come to share this story with our friends, family, and the general public. We are past due for the birthing of this artistic creation. It is time to take the overwhelming consistency and love that this cast has for its show, its director and its crew and show this city that we are not idle and never have been since day one.
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