This time I mean it . . . my next project is . . .

Ten years ago I had an idea for a show.  I knew what the concept would be.  And I knew who the characters would be.  And that’s about it.

I put about 20 actors in a room and met once a week for three months.  And at the end of that period, we had . . . The Awesome 80s Prom.  The Prom opened a year later, and is now in its 9th year Off Broadway at Webster Hall.

Four years ago I had another idea.

I knew what the story would be.  And I knew who the characters would be.

This time, I started looking for a conventional writing team to put it together.

And to paraphrase Bono (and why wouldn’t I), I just never found what I was looking for.  (An A-list playwright once told me that unlike Hollywood, theater writers rarely wrote someone else’s ideas.)

After a couple of years of searching, I was faced with a decision.  Kill the show.  Or find another way.

Guess which one I did?

The other way that I found was going back to those Awesome 80s roots.  It worked out ok the first time, right?

I cast 13 actor/writers/awesome people in the roles of the “characters” that I had roughed out in my mind.  And we met in a rehearsal room once a month for three months.  We created character histories.  We improvised potential scenes.  We talked structure.  We even went on a field trip to the town in New Jersey where we set the show (we shot some footage of that crazy day – which we will not be showing here for the sake of all involved).

And at the end of the period, out popped:

Garage Band:  The Musical.

And two years later, George Street Playhouse in New Jersey just put Garage Band on their 2013-’14 season!  Yahoo!!!

What’s it about?

Well, about two hours.  (Insert cymbal crash.)

Here’s a quick blurb:

When Mitch Shapiro gets fired from his Wall Street job on his 40th Birthday, he has no choice but to move back in with his mom . . . in New Jersey.  On his first day back, his best friend from high school suggests that they “put the band back together!”  Mitch thinks his buddy is crazy.  But when Tygen Billows, a local real estate mogul and the town d-bag threatens to foreclose on Mitch’s mom unless Mitch agrees to a re-match of their infamous battle of the bands, Mitch realizes he may have no choice.

In other words, it’s a Will Ferrell movie, live on stage.  🙂  (We did a reading of it last year – click here to read the release.)

It’s got a book by me and those 13 other actors (who we refer to as The Grundleshotz – which is a name that derived from a super competitive game of Name Volleyball), and a fantastic rock score by Larson Award winner, Mark Allen.   The rest of the cool creative team will be announced soon.

And it starts performances on September 24th!   Sign up on the starter website to get more info as it comes.

And in the Fall (which ain’t so far away), come and see what 14 of us came up with!  Here’s the article that tells you how to get tickets.

Oh, and by the way, obviously I’m a huge believer in this form of creative collaboration – sometimes it amazes me that one person can come up with distinct and unique characters in a multi-person play/musical.  Hollywood uses multiple writers for a reason – why can’t we?

So if you’ve got an idea and you can’t find anyone else to run with it?

Find people to run with you instead.

– – – – –

Want to hear tunes from the show?  Get the Gettin’ The Band Back Together cast recording!  Download it on iTunes here or order it from Amazon here.

And here’s a quick video clip of the production!

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.