Sunday, February 25, 2007

Runaway Home- New Musical wraps up first run

Well, it's either over or it's just beginning.

Runaway Home the Musical finished its first run today. It was a spirited performance by eleven actors I have come to love with all my heart. We hope to take it to New York's Fringe Festival, we hope to get it distributed far and wide, but I tell you the truth... if this was it, it was more than worth the time, travel, money, songwriting, track producing, vocal teaching and music directing I had the great privilege to do. (Thank you for trusting me with this music, Darren!)

My students Maria Standing Rock and her mother Esther Brown, Michelle Bunch and her husband and Kendall, my husband John and my son Peter were in the audience, which gave it the standing O. Michelle has done a lot of major theater. In her words, "This belongs on Broadway". Your mouth to God's ears, Michelle! Thanks to everyone of my friends and students who made their way to Decatur, Alabama to see this October 2006 thru February 2007 performance run. I am honored to share these memories with you.

The play benefitted greatly by the revisions made to the script and the music during the workshop performances. It was an awesome experience to see the play undergo such transformation. The actors always brought fresh fire. This last performance, I believe, was the best. What a cast.

In an emotional after-performance meeting, Darren Butler (the play's book writer and acting director) gave us all plaques with some of his journal notes during the making and workshoping of the play. Two of our precious actors spoke of how the play had changed their lives. Darren and I were presented by the cast with two stuffed teddy bears. Upon squeezing an arm, the song "Runaway Home", began to play, recorded in a bathroom by the cast at the store where they bought the bears. My bear will sit in my studio, where he will listen to students, and sing to me from time to time.

Did I cry? Duh. Yeah. I squeezed my sister's and my neice's hands (they were part of the cast) and whispered "This is why it's worth it".

Here's what I say: Sing. Write songs. Act. Make music, and every other kind of art you feel called to pursue. It is my firm belief that if we act upon our talents with all the excellence we can muster, we can trust God to make it mean something.

I'll let everyone know if and when "Runaway Home the Musical" is performed again. If you came to one of the first run workshop performances, please leave a comment by clicking on "comment" link below this post.


Beki said...

Judy, this has been one of the most meaningful theatrical experiences ever for me. I well remember those first vocal practices, where we were, and where you eventually were able to take us. Every one of us improved greatly in our confidence and ability. You got some out of classical head voice into a better style for theatre and taught us that yes, that note CAN be sung in chest voice and it doesn't hurt at all if done correctly. And you showed us how. You brought several heads back over their shoulders. You taught us to pull the words instead of forcing them out. You taught us how to hold notes forever it seemed. You helped some find pitch. You reminded us to sing in such a way that we would be heard and understood and even more, that the message would be communicated, because in this wonderful show, we had a message and our songs had purpose. You taught us to be humble and appreciative of our individual gifts and that no matter where we were, we could improve, and we did. And lastly you taught us to listen to each other. Again and again at every one of the 26 performances, one comment was consistently heard, and that was how great was the blend of the ensembles. But also, you demonstrated by your own patience and encouragement and compassion, that it is important to listen to each other in other ways as well. I was greatly blessed by the comments of my fellow cast members and Darren Butler and you , realizing at last how much this has meant to us all and how we will carry that with us as we each continue our own journey. I pray Blessings on every one who ever sees or is a part of this musical, that its message will sprout butterfly wings and allow God to speak a word of encouragement to them. Love, Beki Ferguson, the original "Edna"

Michelle said...

JUST BEGINNING!!! I can't WAIT to see it again! I knew that it would be good, but, I had NO IDEA that it was SPECTACULAR! I & my husband were completely blown away! I was in no way prepared for the level of talent from this young & tremendously GIFTED CAST! I wish that I could find the words to tell you how deeply I was touched by everything...writing, music, direction, performances...but, there are, indeed, NO WORDS! The emotions that overflowed that room are the only indicators needed to let you all know how magnificent the RUNAWAY HOME experience is, and will continue to be! I'm so eager to see where God takes this incredible production...NYC is a great start, (‘ya think?!?!?) &, God willing, I'LL BE THERE!!!!! THANK YOU to everyone involved for the God breathed, truth infused, musically inspired, hope driven, BEAUTIFUL GIFT of RUNAWAY HOME!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU & the future of this powerful production! Gratefully & Sincerely ~ Michelle Bunch

Judy Rodman said...

I am so glad this play hit others, both in the cast and in the audience, like it hit me. It's hard to be objective with this play, it's great to get these comments.

Thanks posting your thoughts... they are indeed treasured!