Posted by: boromax | November 8, 2019

New Wrinkles Journal #1

I have recently embarked upon my third season with the New Wrinkles cast.

New Wrinkles is a collaboration of “senior” (55+) entertainers who put together a musical production and present it to enthusiastic audiences seventeen times over three weekends every year in the late Spring. This year is the 32nd season of New Wrinkles. It had its first run in 1988-89. As you can imagine, hundreds of cast and crew members have participated in the show over the years, and the show is on its fourth Director, for whom this is his seventh season as Director.

There are usually between 50-75 cast members, plus a crew of 15-20 production assistants (sets, lights, sound, costumes, props, etc). Being in this cast brings together some of the strongest varieties of emotion and achievement I have ever experienced.

My life has included many doings – challenging, rewarding, exhilarating, humiliating, noteworthy, mundane, boring, educational, amusing, heartbreaking, transcendent, historic, and on and on.  Doing this show seems to give me all of those levels and types of experience over the course of the nine months or so that we are working together.

2019-20 is only my third season, so I cannot speak with nearly the same voice of authentic experience and conviction as can some of my castmates who have now accrued 20 or more years of involvement in New Wrinkles. But I am certainly beginning to see the power of this association of minstrels and hoofers. The range of personalities, talents, and life stories is beyond compare. We truly become a family.

This year we are taking on a seemingly impossible theme for the show. It is called “2020 Vision: A Look Back,” and we plan to present musical selections from every decade of the 20th century. The full subtitle for the show is “a look back on the music that shaped the 20th century.” The final list of selections has not been completed as of this writing.

I am not on the Production Team – the four of five persons who take the kernel of an idea and turn it into a full blown musical extravaganza – but I can imagine the challenges they face in deciding which songs to use for this show.

Here are some of the questions I would be asking:

Which musical genre do we leave out? We cannot include everything in a 2-hour program.

Which influential artists do we leave out? Even if we did part of only one song for every artist we could deem “influential” we would not have enough time for them all.

Do we have to include the “obvious” choices? I mean, there are some songs we would seem to be obligated to include because everyone knows them; or maybe that is a reason NOT to include them?

How do we balance medleys with solos/ensembles? It makes great sense to include a few medleys to highlight some of the decades, but it would be dull programming to have nothing but medleys or even to have a medley for each decade. We will need a wide range of vocal groupings and styles to keep the show interesting.

There are many, many other questions the Production Team is asking. When they get down to sorting out the line-up there will be tons of details to consider; not the least of which is costume changes.

This is going to be a terrific show. It will be fun to watch the process of selection and see the program coalesce into a powerhouse production. I am excited!

 

[Exit Up Right]


Responses

  1. Sounds amazing! Will there be video footage posted on YouTube?

    • We make a full-show video every year… should be easy enough to get some clips on YouTube, I reckon. Hmmm… there may be some from previous years, I’ve never checked!

    • I found this from 2015 – before my time. It is only the first Act; and the soundtrack seems to be a tiny bit out of synch, but it is still pretty fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHsAm4PRgtY

      • This is so cool. I look forward to next year’s video.

  2. I hope this came to fruition; I wonder what songs you chose ?

    • Oh, John. It was (is! we plan to do most of it when we can get on stage again) quite a line-up. I would be delighted to send you the songlist in a .pdf file. How could I do that?

      Meanwhile, we are in the midst of our “Fall Show” which is called “A Little Night Music.” We are doing it virtually this year, of course. Not live, but recordings of some of us. We are premiering it on YouTube three nights in a row – last night, tonight, and tomorrow night.

      Here is the link to last night’s show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-BBO9S4jKw

      FYI: I am the next to the last performer, Ed Boring, singing “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”

      • what fun ! It must be so special being part of a performing troupe, much more fun than than being a writer. Thanks. I enjoyed this.

        don’t worry about the pdf file. what i’m always intersted in is which song is chosen as the opening number and which to close the show

        No idea how to send a pdf. what I’m really interested in when we talk about ‘sets’ are the opening number, the one chosen as the real crowd pleaser, and the closing number; those three things have always interested me 🙂

  3. It is fun being with a performing troupe; but I don’t know how much more fun than being a writer (which is what I’d really like to be).

    The order of the songs had not been finalized, but I am pretty sure the plan was to open with a medley called “Big Band Bash” – showcasing a few 1940s tunes.

    As for the crowd pleaser, sometimes we have to see audience reaction to know for sure. In our show in 2019, it was “A Million Dreams,” I think. This year we had our eyes and our hearts on “No Day But Today.” But we also had high expectations for “A Tribute to Queen,” which included several of their hits, including parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

    Mac and I were set to do “Great Balls of Fire” and Ron and I were going to do “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.” One of our great ladies was doing “Good Golly Miss Molly.” And among several other duets and trios, I was going to sing a solo – “Fire and Rain.”

    We had about 65 songs in the total line-up. Most of it will probably be saved for next year (or the next?), and the narrator will write a new script to bring it all together.

    Yes. It is fun. I miss it tremendously.


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