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March 14, 2009 — and the ants go marching along…
This is going to be a long update since I haven’t written one in 3 months. I apologize on both fronts. This will also be the last ledger I ever write on a PC, as I am making the switch to my Mac Mini very shortly! Since this will be long, let me put the important thing first…
Please go watch my youtube videos! I uploaded about dozen from earlier acts, and right now they have a paltry dozen hits… youtube.com/sethbh42 will work – or go to sethbh.com/songs3.html and click on videos! GO watch them NOW! What ELSE could you possibly have to do this weekend? It’s still cold out! Also, check out my new store – The Seth Store – sethbh.com/store – I am now selling sheet music of my songs!
WRITER’S BLOCK RETURNS IN MAY
The other thing of utmost importance is to make sure I announce that Writer’s Block is coming back in May for those of you who missed it. It’s back with 2 new cast members and a world premiere song in the encore!
Sunday, May 3rd at 5:30PM and Monday, May 4th at 8:30PM.
So plan your life accordingly if you missed it this fall.
2009 has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I realize that I was saying “2009 is gonna be fine” – I thought that was enough of a low key optimistic maxim, but I was wrong. When I said “2008 is gonna be great” I was plagued with a break in among other things. Yet, I was still plagued in 2009. Perhaps in 2010 I’ll just say… “2010… here we go again…”
Anyway, I guess it’s best to go chronologically. The sucky thing that happened first was coming in second at the MIT Mystery Hunt. I mean it’s not SO sucky b/c it means my team doesn’t have to organize a huge hunt for next year, but if I thought doing well and not winning was bad – actually being so close that one puzzle answer keeps you from winning is a lot worse! However, I believe that our team is now more gung-ho than ever to win next year… which would be my first time winning on my 13th year. Sounds good to me!
The rest of the bad things were worse.
Smee almost died. That was hard. Being away for the weekend, I had left him a lot of dry food. And my friend, Aaron, came over to look after him, but he refilled the bowl with a lot of food b/c that’s basically what you do when you leave your cat alone. Unfortunately, Smee has FUS with is a urological disorder which basically means if he eats too much dry food, his bladder clogs up. But who knew that? The only way you can find out is when the cat almost dies. So the Wednesday after I got back from Boston, he started having trouble peeing… I guess symptoms started Tuesday night, but I didn’t notice until he was obviously is pain. I was, fortunately, able to get an emergency appointment with the Humane Society, which is the only affordable pet clinic. The emergency pet hospital would’ve cost four times as much.
Anyway, the good news is, I got him in in time – the vet was able to puncture his bladder so he could release his urine. Smee, then, stayed over 3 days at the hospital – which was all the way on the east side of Manhattan… so every day I walked over 45 minutes and then back just to see him during the visiting hour… So, now, I have to get Smee a specific, expensive diet, but he is my responsibility, and it’s worth it, I’d say.
As always, to combat those of you with endless baby picture attachments, here are some recent pictures of my baby:
The last week of January, I had to be at auditions at 9:30 five days in a row. As you all know, being up at 9:30 one day is more than enough to throw me off completely. Add to the 5 days of auditions the fact that I had 2 showcases that week, and by Friday I was dead.
However, something horrible happened in the middle of that week. I received an email from Manhattan Children’s Theatre saying that they still hadn’t gotten the rights to the children’s musical I wrote for them. Those of you who pay attention and read the entire ledger (three of you?) will remember I was supposed to have my kid musical premiere this April. Unfortunately, it has been postponed. Postponed for now. I got really depressed because I had 2009 all planned out and already by the end of the first month, it had been derailed. I had already listed out all the important industry I wanted to invite to the show, etc. And planned out making a cast recording, etc. I am very hopeful that this postponement is truly that. In theory, Stanley’s Adventures should premiere this September. I am very hopeful that the rights will get sorted out.
So… back to the week killing me. By the end of the week, I developed the worst flu I have ever had. I hadn’t been sick in 2 years, so I guess I had it coming to me. It was HORRIBLE. I had a fever of 104. I slept 20 hours from Friday into Saturday, then 15 hours into Sunday. The most horrible thing is that I had to postpone my cabaret workshop – I had a bunch of extra people lined up for the lecture, and by the week after, they had disappeared. Which brings us to the next reason this year hasn’t been so great…
THE ECONOMY SUCKS
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the economy is in ashambles thanks to horrible, heinous Republican rule for eight years. It has finally trickled down to affect me. Not only has it been near impossible to find people for my workshops, there are fewer auditions, too.
The reason there are fewer auditions are that a lot of the regional theaters that I have played for for years are going out of business. Others are cutting corners by not having NYC auditions or by using the musical director of the show instead of hiring an audition accompanist. Furthermore, since 50% of the Broadway musicals have closed, there are much fewer union jobs up for grabs… none of which are trickling down to me this year.
I actually am playing a lot of auditions this month, but March generally is the busiest month of the year. I am playing for less money per hour than I used to, as well, but it is my feeling that I would rather be out there keeping busy and being seen than not.
I did have a wonderful moment today, and I mean wonderful. I have been playing for auditions for the off-Broadway musical, Everyday Rapture, which is an autobiographical show by and starring Broadway star, Sherie Renee Scott. Today was the final callbacks and on my way out Sherie thanked me and said I was “wonderful.” I have been a fan of Sherie’s work for quite some time now, so to hear someone I really admired and revered and respected have such high praise of me really moved me to tears. I felt validated.
THE SILVER LINING
That’s a good segue into the silver lining section… with so many people out of work and so few shows, the demand for my showcases has gone through the roof! I am very thankful. We had the 50th showcase celebration in February, and it went very well! I have showcases lined up at Don’t Tell Mama every week until mid-May at the moment. I am hopeful to manage to get through the entire year doing a showcase nearly every week. I enjoy performing in them so much, and I love every (well almost every) person who has come through – I’ve had over 200 performers showcase their talents so far!
Other than that, my clientele schedule has been pretty full. I’m even putting together 2 solo shows for clients that go up mid-May and in June…
In final cabaret news, I was pre-nominated for 6 MAC awards. MAC is the Manhattan Associate of Cabaret Artists… don’t know why it’s not MACA… Anyway, that isn’t SO big a deal given that I pre-nominated myself. I am hopeful to get at least one actual nomination… It’s kind of a popularity contest, but half of the categories I submitted for are selected by a panel, rather than the entire membership – so I think I have a better chance at those. If I get nominated, then I will try to get as many MAC members as possible to Writer’s Block, in the hopes of actually winning an award… However, I have never won an award in my life, so I am not going to be too devastated if I fail to accrue some nominations…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOI
See, I put all the depressing things early on, so that the rest of this ledger could be happy and peppy! And, thus, people who were too lazy to make it this far, are such being depressed. It’s punishment for those who haven’t the time or inclination to read my updates! Muhahahaha!
I had a wonderful 30th birthday. I guess that’s my word of the day, but it was great. I got taken out 4 days in a row… on my actual birthday, which happened to be a Saturday night (Feb 28th for the date deficient) I had a huge party – about 50 people came… first we went to a fancy Italian restaurant, then I reserved a room at this bar midtown.
I set up pin the tail on the hippo, and flashcards for that game where you put a celebrity on someone’s forehead and they have to figure out whom they are… and I had a Muppet Diva mix, which was…. awesome. At least to me and a few of my friends…
I also solicited donations for my Mac Mini. Talk about disappointment! So, I was holding off on buying a Mac Mini until the new ones came out b/c all my apple friends told me to wait. Timing could not have been better. Three days after my birthday, 3/3, apple announced all their new desktops… the new mac mini is AMAAAAAAAZING — it has a 320GB Hard Drive, which is DOUBLE the space of the old mac mini for the SAME PRICE. Also, I got double the RAM (4GB) for the same price! Not to mention, they claim it’s faster and greener… I bet my electric bill goes down without this Dell making strange noises in the middle of the night!!!
The disappointment stems from the fact that the mac mini requires an adapter for my beautiful flat screen monitor to work with it. Rather than pay an exorbitant amount for adapters for the monitor, keyboard and midi, I went on ebay where I found each item for under $10 with free shipping… I also got Kensington lock for $1 with only $4 shipping.
Unfortunately, all my items are coming from Hong Kong. I ordered everything on Tuesday, 3/3. The Mac Mini arrived first on Monday. The first thing to arrive from Hong Kong came Thursday – the MIDI wire. The thing I needed the absolute least. I ended up caving in and getting a new MAC keyboard (b/c they have more buttons, and more USB ports, and please, it looks horrible to use a crappy dell keyboard with a brand new mac mini) on ebay for $25, which I won last Thurs, and even that had arrived all the way from CA by ground today before the rest of the Hong Kong adapters.
So, basically, I am not able to use my brand new, wonderful Mac until the monitor adapter from Hong Kong arrives. And since I’m playing auditions all next week, there isn’t much chance I’ll have the energy for the long, long transfer of everything and conversion of certain files, and the setting up all my programs exactly how I want/ need them for maximum functionality before next weekend at the earliest…
However, I am SO EXCITED to have a MAC and to be able to do video and audio editing REALLY simply. And to be able to USE ITUNES without it freezing constantly!!
Anyway, I thank those of you who donated financially to my Mac Fund. It truly is the best birthday present EVER.
In other wonderful birthday present news, I received the LOVERLY presents of: many cards, a gift certificate to Macy’s, the Kermit Unpigged cd, a cryptic crossword puzzle book – these are the hardest type of puzzles ever created by man, and it is my goal to be adept enough to help out on them at next year’s mystery hunt – I did the first one all by myself – it only took 2 hours… Miss Piggy’s new book – of course, moi would have to get a copy of it… Barney from How I Met Your Mother’s the Bro Code… (both of those are great audition reads b/c there’s not much on each page) … and a kitty litter mat! So hopefully Smee will start wiping off his paws, such that I won’t be having to vacuum litter up all over the place…
Speaking of Smee, he is doing his exercises right now – running back and forth… jumping on the A/C… then running to the toilet… back and forth…. very fast….. it’s kind of like an obstacle course since I left him all the empty boxes to play with…
Well, there isn’t so much I will say about the future for fear of jinxing. We haven’t gotten any positive result from our mailings of More to Love yet, which is also kind of depressing. I do chalk that up to the economy, as well, though I still believe the project will find a healthy life off-Broadway. I have one possible lead, but I will not jinx it here…
I have a few other projects in mind, but collaborators are a fickle bunch. I do have one very promising project, but again, I really don’t want to jinx anything.
I am hopeful that this summer things with Stanley will work out, such that it will have its premiere this fall.
Also, this fall, I am going to do a one night only concert of the best of all my work. I have written over 100 songs, and I believe it’s time to get them out into the world more… My agent friend suggested that I hire some bigger names to perform my work in a one night only concert. It is my hope that by putting youtube videos of Broadway people doing my work, it’ll get me more clout and publicity. Obviously, I will not be able to get Bernadette Peters, but I am at least acquaintances with a few lesser known celebrities, etc…
This looks like I’ve been reading quite a bit, but in truth, only 2 of these are actually novels…
The Razor’s Edge — this classic was WONDERFUL – simply WONDERFUL – highly recommended
The Tales of Beedle, the Bard — a really quick, but enjoyable read with notes by Dumbledore himself before he died!
The Diva Code: MISS PIGGY on Life, Love and the 10,000 Idiotic Things Frogs (or Men) Do — Miss Piggy has very good advice… for herself. But it’s an amusing read.
The BRO Code — another book by a fictional character — definitely amusing.
The Correctors — this is the novel I’m reading – it was a national best seller a few years ago – Kevin had 2 copies, so I took one to read. It’s very good.
Well, most of the new mid-season shows have been duds. I tried a handful. The 2 new ones I really enjoy are:
The United States of Tara – Toni Collette stars in this dramedy on Showtime – she has multiple personalities… it’s a great show! Not as good as Weeds, but it got renewed for season 2, so it’ll have time to grow…
Dollhouse – this is Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel)’s new show, and it’s definitely growing on me. Definitely worth checking out, though since I’m starting to get attached, chances are good it will be canceled.
Returning mid-season shows I enjoy — Friday Night Lights (best drama ever!), Breaking Bad… I caught up on LOST just in time for season 5 – it is addicting and getting nerdy, which I adore… Battlestar Galactica is in its final 2 episodes, and doesn’t let up for a second… Scrubs is back – and had an episode with Sesame St characters ! 24 is actually good again this season, which is a miracle… South Park just returned and is as satirical and inappropriately hilarious as always!
I do want to give a shout out to Conan O’Brien – he will be missed here in NYC. I hadn’t missed an episode of his show since I got my DVR in 2004.
Other than that, special shout out to a syndicated show I have been enjoying – The Legend of the Seeker – it’s all fantastical – anyone who likes the fantasy genre should check it out.
Finally, I started watching the West Wing from season one on Bravo. I managed to check out its listing right when the first episode was showing – so it was fate. I really enjoy the West Wing – I do not think I would’ve appreciated it as much when it was first out – I was far less political before the debacle of 2000. But now I am getting so much out of it — it is amazing how many of the issues in the late 90s are STILL issues today. Kind of sad, actually, but I would rather not get into a whole political debate…
Wow, so I haven’t sent a ledger since my marathon on 12/25… so here’s what I’ve seen since the last ledger:
Frost/ Nixon – great adaptation of a great play
Role Models – really fun comedy
Bedtime Stories – a little cheesy, but what do you expect from a kid movie w/ Adam Sandler?
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – this should’ve been better than it was, but it was still enjoyable, if a little long
Four Christmases – I only went to see this b/c Kristin Chenoweth was in it, and that proved to not be a good enough reason
Doubt – another great adaptation of a great play !
The Reader – a little contrived, but still Kate Winslet’s performance alone is worth going to see this movie
Coraline – I REALLY enjoyed this movie – especially in 3D – it was GREAT. Simply GREAT. I highly endorse this movie – out of all the ones on this list, it is probably the only one that won’t translate well onto tv – go see it in 3D!
On my DVR, I recently viewed SICK-O – and I don’t want to be political, but I do think it’s really sad that in Cuba, citizens can get free health care, and we can’t here. Also, yesterday, I watched In Bruges – which was a very good movie – but not for anyone who doesn’t like really, really dark comedies.
Looking ahead, I am VERY excited for MAY when the new STAR TREK movie comes out!!! And then in July FINALLY the 6th HARRY POTTER movie is being released! FINALLY!!
Well, as always, I’ve seen quite a bit of theatre since the last ledger…
Pal Joey – We went opening night to the revival of this Rodgers and Hart classic…
Young Frankenstein – won the lottery and sat in the front row w/ my sister on the day we switched to verizon…
Dust – off-Bway play that has since closed
Road Show – Sondheim’s latest version of his latest musical – couldn’t miss that…
What’s that Smell? – a celebration of a fictional composer – very tongue in cheek …
Becky Shaw – wonderful off-bway play – simply wonderful theatre
Hedda Gabbler – Mary Louise Parker can do no wrong.
Nightlife Awards 2009 – star-studded evening celebrating NYC’s nightlife
Music in the Air – Encores revival of a really obscure Jerome Kern musical that you would never see anywhere else – I really love Kern’s work.
Betty Buckley: Broadway by Request – Got invited to the dress of Betty’s new show at Feinstein’s – my request (“He Plays the Violin”) was actually the first number out of the hat! What an incredible evening.
Distracted – another great off-bway play starring Cynthia Nixon about dealing with a child who has ADD (who doesn’t have ADD?!)
Broadway by the Year 1924 – what a year! I would’ve loved to be like Irving Berlin who owned his own Broadway theater and put up a revue (much like a cabaret) each year…
Blithe Spirit – revival of the Noel Coward play starring the icon, Angela Lansbury – who is always remarkable.
Third Story – another great off-Bway play by and starring Charles Busch – it’s been a good season for off-Bway this year apparently…
Rooms – off-Bway musical that just started performances which has some really great moments
Cabaret Girl – another obscure Kern musical – this one at Musicals Tonight
Billy Elliot – I haven’t seen it yet – my family is going for my birthday on Sunday, but who knows when I’ll write the next ledger, so I might as well put it here – I hear really good things about it. So I’m hoping I agree with them…
Well, that certainly was long, as I promised. I do hope at least a few of you read most of it. Consider yourself caught up.
I did want to congratulate 2 of my closest friends for engagements – Samidh proposed to his girlfriend of 2 years over winter break while they were training for a marathon – it’s quite a romantic story – anyway, on 8/8, I will be going to Oregon to be a groom’s man… they’re planning a full week of adventures in Oregon – so even though I’ll have NYC withdrawal, it sounds like fun…
My friend, Tarang (Tango to some), also was proposed to: last month on Valentine’s Day. She’s getting married 10/10/10 in India – she wants me to come, however, October is a bad month to try to get away… and plus I hear it’s more than my Mac Mini to travel that far… and also, I think more than 5 hours on a plane would be horrendous – I could barely do 5 hours on a plane when I was in LA last summer… and with all those planes crashing…
Speaking of crashing, it is nearing my bedtime. I am very content to have managed to finish this before sleep time, so I can officially cross this off of my to do list!!! Now if only I could do a laundry at this time of night, maybe I’d be able to cross off something else…
In any case, I do hope that your 2009’s have been going well. Please catch me up if it’s been awhile! There are almost 600 people on this list, and I rarely hear from more than a dozen. Sometimes I wonder if a chunk of these emails from yesteryear are even checked anymore! Until next time, be well.
June 27, 2009 — halfway to 2010…
Yes – the year is half over. I apologize for not sending a massive update sooner, but 2009 has been flying faster than something that flies really fast. Superman? Or Smee when I’m putting food in his bowl? I guess he doesn’t fly, though. He just runs really fast. Speaking of Smee, the first item I will mention is that he recently filmed a commercial! You can view it on his webpage:
Speaking of viewing, I haven’t sent a ledger since more Writer’s Block clips have been made available (ie made available by me):
Not only did I have a busy spring, I have had an even busier summer so far. I can finally announce the 2 major things that are happening this July. First off, on 7/20 at Don’t Tell Mama, we’re doing a concert for the Humane Society of NY – the inexpensive animal clinic that saved Smee’s life in January. It’s going to be called BROADWAY MEOWS and will feature much Broadway talent. Second, on 7/23, at Theater1010 we are doing the first full reading of MORE TO LOVE with the finalized scores and actors singing the songs (as opposed to me trying to do harmony with myself).
And since I admire people who read my updates so much, I am giving you the first peak at the spam for the concert:
SMALL POND ENTERTAINMENT and STEPHANIE ROSENBERG present:
BROADWAY MEOWS: a benefit concert for the HUMANE SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
featuring the songs of SETH BISEN-HERSH
BRIAN CHILDERS (Helen Hayes Award Winner, Danny & Sylvia)
JENNA COKER-JONES (Evil Dead)
KIMBERLY FAYE GREENBERG (Danny & Sylvia)
WESTLEY TODD HOLIDAY
AUTUMN HURLBERT (Legally Blonde)
CHRISTOPHER KALE JONES (Jersey Boys)
CAITLIN KINNUNEN (Spring Awakening)
ZACH REINER-HARRIS (Spring Awakening)
BRANDON RUCKDASHEL (Ascension)
DARRYL WINSLOW (Evil Dead)
MONDAY, JULY 20TH, 7PM
$20 Cover/ 2 Drink Minimum (cash only)
Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St.
Call for reservations after 4: 212-757-0788 or reserve online at donttellmamanyc.com
Other than that, Stanley’s Adventures has been pushed back to Spring 2010, but I am hopeful that it will have its premiere at Manhattan Children’s Theatre eventually!
BUT WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FOR MONEY?
Thanks for asking! Well, I had my audition workshop this June – the final session of which is this Sunday, and the year started with showcase #48 – this week we are already up to showcase #71! By the first week of August, it will be #76… so I have managed to do one practically every week so far this year, and that pretty much is where all my time has gone… I will tell you that if I die young of a heart attack it will be brought on by the stress of doing weekly showcases! It has definitely been a lot of work, but at the moment I think I’m booked through the first week of August… and while I’ve had people drop out here and there, by some miracle, I occasionally get an inquiry for slots a few hours later… and only 3 people owe me $$ still… not bad for having over 260 performers to date!
I played an 8 hour audition call today. The auditions have been a little less than last year, probably because there’s some sort of recession, but I still have been doing it fairly steadily. And then I still coach people for auditions and cabarets, as well.
The moral is I haven’t had much free time, and even though I wanted to send this ledger weeks ago, it took a two hour nap and the knowledge that I need to send a press release for Broadway Meows on Monday and that I wanted to send a ledger first, and that I can only send up to 1000 emails a day or Time Warner shuts off my email access, and that this was a huge run-on sentence, to write this ledger now.
VACATING THE CITY
I am spending a day in Philly at the end of July to see my sister and to go see the Star Trek exhibit at the Franklin Institute! Speaking of, I went to see Star Trek at the IMAX opening night, but I guess that belongs in the movie section… I got a $1 ticket on the bolt bus going and a $1 ticket on the mega bus back – so it’s cheaper than ONE subway ride in the city to go to and fro Philly! That is truly insane. I am not too thrilled with the subway hike, but it’s not like I subway very often…
I will be spending 10 days in Oregon for my best friend’s wedding… Check out the jingle I wrote for them here: www.sethbh.com/mp3s/weddingjingle.mp3 ! Having a MAC is AWESOME – between Garage Band and iMovie, I am just in HEAVEN!!!!
Before I go to Oregon, I promise to stop by Summer Theater to congratulate Elliott on making it to his 50th year/ retirement! I’m still really bummed that the wedding is the same weekend as all the celebratory events, but at least it is cheaper for me to take the bus to EB than it is to get to Newark Airport from the city… (Unless I want to take the painstakingly long trip of taking the PATH to the Newark Bus…) (Besides if I go home the night before, I can bring clean clothes to Oregon!)
For those of you worried about Smee, have no fear – my friend, Lauren, needs a place to stay in August, so I have offered her my couch that week and a half in exchange for taking care of the kitty!!
I just wanted to officially declare that I am for universal health care – and for a government run policy – in fact, I would be for getting rid of all insurance companies completely and having the government run it b/c they make a ridiculous amount of profit always – and if the government had it, the $$ would actually go to useful things like education and space flight!
Btw, I am also officially outraged at the NY Senate. I think it is unconscionable that NY hasn’t legalized gay marriage yet. I think it is truly ridiculous people are fighting against it, as it will happen eventually no matter what they do! Get over it, and move on is what I say!
Other than that, I keep very informed on all politics, and I must say that it is important to remember how much bleaker everything was at this point last year – and the year before – and every year since I graduated MIT! So that’s the silver lining, folks!!
Well, I saw the new STAR TREK movie at the IMAX at the early Thursday preview with a bunch of (guy) friends. It was GREAT, as I’m sure you all know b/c for sure you’ve all seen it by now! But it really was refreshing to see a GOOD Star Trek movie again!! The tickets were a ridiculous $20.50 after the fee, but I joined a reward program and got $10 back, and then a free ticket! So I used the free ticket for opening night IMAX HARRY POTTER 6!! WOO!!! And since I canceled the program after getting the gift certificate, I was able to REJOIN the program and get $10 off (the gift certif was only for $13.50 – so I made $3 since it only cost me $7!) and then another free ticket which I used to see WHATEVER WORKS – the new Woody Allen movie starring Larry David last weekend!
So Star Trek, Whatever Works… HARRY POTTER 6 at the IMAX in 2 weeks!! Whatever Works was great, btw! I agree with the Time magazine review, not the NY Times one – it was just wonderfully Woody! Highly enjoyable!
And UP ! I saw UP – which is the WORST title for a movie EVER, b/c you say – “do you wanna see UP?” and people have NO idea what you mean. I think they should’ve named it “Up and Away”… but that’s me. Anyway, it was great – we saw that at the Ziegfeld in 3D – which, even though it was the largest theatre in Manhattan, was actually cheaper than going to the regular movie theater and seeing it in 3D by a $1!
So it’s all about saving $$ b/c movies are too expensive!!
Well there is practically NOTHING on tv right now. It is a barren wasteland of nothingness. It makes me long for summer shows of the past – the 4400… Swingtown…
Even Weeds hasn’t been so good this season. Nurse Jackie is okay… True Blood is quite wonderful at least… And I think a few shows are finally back in July – Eureka… and there’s a new Sci-Fi show about a warehouse or something… Psych and Mad Men aren’t back till August… You would think they’d put something on during the summer so we wouldn’t go insane!!
Tonight after I make myself finish this ledger so that you all have something to read this weekend, I will be finishing the West Wing. I watched all seven seasons in just a few months! But now I have to find a new show to watch from its start, and I’m running out of critically acclaimed series I haven’t yet seen!!!
Well, I guess I have been watching too much tv b/c I have barely read anything. I finished the Correctors, which was pretty long, but I mentioned starting it last ledger… I read Fitzgerald’s The Love of the Last Tycoon, which he started before he died – but unfortunately he died in the middle – talk about a let down – just as I was getting into it – I started Tender is the Night, and promise that I will read lots of books between my Philly bus rides and especially the 6 hour flights to and fro Oregon…
I feel like I don’t see nearly as much as I used to, but here is what I’ve seen since the last ledger was sent:
Billy Elliot – Best Musical of the year – quite a spectacle !
The Wizard of Oz – caught the tour at MSG – it needed more songs – too bad the composers have been dead so long…
Broadway by the Year 1931 – songs from the year of the great depression…
Reasons to be Pretty – wonderful Broadway play that closed prematurely
Next to Normal – Tony Award winning musical – Alice Ripley is breath-taking…
The Toxic Avenger – really fun spoof musical – Nancy Opel is hilarious!
The Philanthropist – Matthew Broderick in this revival of a British play…
Desire Under the Elms – revival of an O’Neill Oedipian drama…
Broadway by the Year 1944 – another great evening at Town Hall !
Guys and Dolls – revival starring Lorelei Gilmore aka Lauren Graham…
Ruddigore – wonderful production at Theater 1010 – G&S is just so much fun!
Drama Desk Awards 2009 – shortest award show ever b/c few of the British people showed up…
The Grand Tour – wonderful staged reading of my favorite Jerry Herman score – it was so nice to finally see a production of it done so well!
King Lear – great production in the park where we had to run around for each scene – and I can finally answer King Lear questions o Jeopardy…
Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe – wonderful modern version of Tartuffe co-starring my friend, Reji ! Truly great production – it was like my song “Positive Thinking” expanded for a whole show…
Our House – great play that for some reason got mixed reviews – I thought it was quite effective personally.
It has been a busy summer so far, and July will be the busiest month of all! But then I will relax in August and be refreshed for the fall! I hope you all are having wonderful summers. Please watch my YOUTUBE VIDEOS – some of them have a paltry dozen views, while some have over 1800! We need to balance them out!!!
Also, let me know how you are doing if I haven’t heard from you in awhile – which I probably haven’t since this is only the 2nd ledger I’ve sent all year – pathetic I know! I’ll try to send them more often…
September 4, 2009 — fall has fallen near…
Can it be that I haven’t sent an update on my life since the end of June? Please say it ain’t so! But you can’t, b/c it IS so. So (a needle pulling thread), I apologize for the lack of up-to-date-ness. It was an exceedingly busy summer, and I spent the last few weeks recuperating, but as fall has fallen near, it is time to send an email catching up the hundreds of people who mostly skim my emails!
Assuming that most of you won’t get much further, let me put important updates right here. First off, if you have yet to watch the premiere of my new WEDDING SONG, please click and watch now:
In less than a month, it is up to 1,053 views – the fastest watched video I’ve ever had – and it has zoomed up to the 5th most watched video of mine, as well, so please watch and forward to anyone you know – especially those looking for wedding songs for their weddings!
For those of you who like to plan dates in advance, besides my weekly showcases, I will be doing a solo show at Theater 1010 for the 5th year in a row in November, and we will be doing another benefit concert with Broadway talent in December! The dates are as follows:
Sunday, November 8th at 7pm SETH SINGS MORE BISEN-HERSH, Theater 1010. I will probably put the entire show up on the youtube as I did with the first one… this time I’ll be performing songs I haven’t performed in years with a few world premieres! (Rhyme unintentional, but definitely awesome.)
Monday, December 14th at 7pm BROADWAY CAN!, Don’t Tell Mama – this will be a benefit for foodbanknyc.org – a can raising drive – bringing cans will get you a discount off the cover – we have a lot more details in a few months, but for those of you who need advanced notice – voila!
A GREAT SUMMER
It was really a great and quite full summer. In to particular order… Broadway Meows was a huge success – we raised $800 for the Humane Society, and got a great review on a cable access show (transcript on sethbh.com on the news page). It was one of the best evenings of my life so far, and I hope to have repeat success with Broadway Can! – and then if that goes well, we’ll do at least 2 benefits a year of my songs…
Also in July, we did the first full reading of MORE TO LOVE – which got raves and raves – but unfortunately not a single industry person was in attendance – partially b/c it rained! Confound the weather… However, we have applied to a few prestigious reading series, and I am cautiously optimistic we can get into one and do a fuller reading in the hopes we can get someone “important” to come. Basically we just need ONE producer and/ or $1 million — whichever comes first! Then it’ll run off-Broadway for at least a decade, I can promise you that.
What else did I do this summer? Oh, the STAR TREK exhibit in Philly was great – though they don’t allow you to take pictures on the bridge! So sad! They actually have people there to take pictures for you, but then they’re like $5 each – ridiculous! In any case, my sister’s apartment is ridiculously huge – I don’t know what she needs all that space for… but we played Seinfeld Scene-It – and I really would’ve been better if I had watched the show in the last decade or so…
The biggest trip I’ve taken since 2002 was to OREGON. Overall, the vacation was sublime… though, I slept less than 7 hours one day, and that put me in a foul, asocial mood for 2 days – but after 2 days of full sleep, I was back to my amiable self… other than that, besides overdosing on nature and exercise (ala my new song “I HATE NATURE” which will be premiered at Seth Sings More Bisen-Hersh!), it was a grand time. It was really nice to hang out with my best college friends – re-solidifying a bond that will last a lifetime.
The wedding itself was incredible and completely unique – and totally secular. McHale’s father re-did their entire backyard and frontyard and created a Matrimonial Meadow in the shape of a heart in the middle of the forest… it was all great (except for the trees that made me sneeze). In any case, I have 473 pictures up on facebook, which I captioned and commented on for those of you with extra time this weekend… I tried putting them up on flikker or whatever, but it wouldn’t let me post more than 200 – so those of you not on facebook are out of luck, I’m afraid…
WORKING 3 TO 9 WHAT A WAY TO MAKE A LIVING
Not much new to report – I have audition and cabaret workshops lined up for the fall – assuming there are clients who want to take them… And the showcases are lined up weekly through the end of 2009. I’m having auditions on Wednesday – and if most of the people show up, that should keep me filled through the end of October – then I’ll probably have a smaller round to get through the rest of the year… The next one is on Sept 15th, and it will be the 78th showcase I’ve done since 2007! Not bad! Almost 300 singers have performed in them to date! Woo!
Anyway, other than that, it’s audition accompanying and coaching, as usual – both of which will pick up after the weekend.
TV IS RELAXING FOR ME
Alright, so we’ve made it through the summer of barely any new tv, and it’s time for fall! The best summer shows have been MAD MEN and TRUE BLOOD – I also enjoyed Nurse Jackie…
In horrible news, Time Warner completely changed the DVR interface – it is SLUGGISH and has 10 fewer features – it’s really a step backwards – I called and complained and wrote emails and letters – and they are promising to start to fix things – but if there were any other option for cable right now, I would switch. Unfortunately, there isn’t. I did manage to get the DVR for free for a month while I “adjusted,” but I didn’t need the stress at all…
In any case, here are the new shows I am trying out this fall, in order of premiere date. I’m hoping that at least a few end up being really worthwhile… If you find something else worth watching, please let me know… (Here’s a cohesive list of star dates: http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/09/02/fall-tv-cheat-sheet-find-out-whats-premiering-when/#more-2487 )
Glee, Vampire Diaries, Community, Bored to Death, Cougar Town, Eastwick, Modern Family, Flash Forward, V, The Wanda Sykes Show
Besides those, there are my returning shows (again in order of return date) – the one I’m most looking forward to is Curb Your Enthusiasm for the Seinfeld anti-reunion! Second place goes to Dollhouse – you can watch the entire first season on hulu – it’s GREAT!!!
Supernatural, Gossip Girl, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office, Parks & Recreation, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Big Bang Theory, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Dollhouse. Smallville, Californication, American Dad, Family Guy, Dexter, The Simpsons, South Park, 30 Rock…
Other than that, I finally finished watching all of Buffy’s 7 seasons – and I have one more season of Angel to go. After that, I need to borrow Roswell from my friend… and I might try to find all of Chuck online b/c 5 people have now recommended the show to me – plus Scott Bakula guest starred on it… so that might be my winter break show…
MOVIES MOVE ME
I didn’t end up paying for most of the movies, thanks to fandango’s Reservation Rewards program, but I have seen a handful since the last ledger…
Harry Potter 6 in the IMAX – wonderful! As always, they left too much of the book out, but I found the movie very enjoyable overall.
Bruno – not as good as Borat, but still quite amusing.
Funny People – 30 minutes too long, but Adam Sandler does a great job at playing a serious character…
Time Traveler’s Wife – read the book! the movie was horrible! the acting and writing were horrific!!!
District 9 – this was a surprise – I have to thank time magazine for recommending this movie – this was one of the best sci-fi movies (besides Star Trek) I’ve really liked in awhile – go see district 9!!
TAKE A LOOK, IT’S IN A BOOK
I was so sad to hear that Reading Rainbow was getting the axe… poor Geordi!
Tender is the Night – I loved this Fitzgerald classic…
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – I only borrowed this book from Kevin b/c he had 2 copies – but I’m really glad I did b/c it was an INCREDIBLE novel – and I highly recommend it – it won a pulitzer and is by the guy who wrote “the wonder boys” (michael chabon)
Muppet Show Comic Books – I was in barnes & noble a few weekends ago, and discovered that the muppet show is back – in comic form! I won the first 4 on ebay for $3 – they’re cute – not great, but for $3, definitely worth it!
The Grass Harp – I am now reading this Capote novelette that I found at the Strand book store for only $1…
November 20, 2009 — as another years ebbs away…
Before 2010 hits, I think it is very important that I send one more update – so here it is! First off, I hope you are all doing well as the year winds down. I am in utter shock how fast 2009 went, but I believe it was a very productive year for me. In formatting news, I’m trying a new BOLDING technique to doubly emphasize important points for skimmers. I hope you enjoy the following recounting of my recent days:
BROADWAY CAN! (and will!)
We were talking about doing a holiday benefit concert after Broadway Meows was such a huge success, and one night I had the dream of doing a CAN RAISING benefit — and lo and behold – that’s what we’re doing, in conjunction with The Bowery Mission (bowery.org).
Broadway Can! is going to be Monday, December 14th, at 7PM at Don’t Tell Mama – details are up at sethbh.com/news3.html . We have a lot of folks with Broadway credits, and I think it’s going to even eclipse Broadway Meows as the best concert I have ever done of my work!
If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate, we would very much welcome it, as my father is still giving me aggravation over the light printing on the programs from last time. We would very much like to go to Kinko’s to make really nice ones, and a donation of $10 would do that. In fact if 10 of you give $1… etc. So please go to my webpage, and there’s a donation via paypal button you can use to give as much and as little as you like!
SETH SINGS MORE BISEN-HERSH available on YOUTUBE
For those of you who missed my last solo show, which is, let’s face it, most of you, have no fear. I have put the entire thing online at youtube.com/sethbh42 ! That’s right! The entire show! It’s only an hour – I edited out a few minutes of pauses and the occasional inappropriate for the web comment, but it’s pretty much intact. I think everyone who came will agree, it was a very strong solo show – I sang songs that I hadn’t performed in ages, plus there are 2 world premieres at the end! It is highly recommended viewing – 80 people have made it through part 1… 28 people made it halfway to parts 2 and 3… then 14 made it to part 4, but only 8 brave souls have made it through the end of the show so far… let’s see if we can get more than 8 views by the end of the weekend!
Well, we’re still waiting for More to Love to be picked up, but we did submit it to even MORE producers and a few readings series since our successful, raved about summer reading. I am still waiting on Manhattan Children’s Theatre to confirm the rights situation, but in theory, Stanley’s Adventures is still billed on their webpage as premiering in April 2010.
But it would be foolish to put all the eggs in one basket, so I am pleased to say that for 2010 I have a few new projects coming down the pipelines.
I participated in a Musical Theater Writer’s Lab sponsored by Small Ponds Entertainment – we were paired with 2 different collaborators to write 10 minute musicals or as I like to call them “mini-musicals.” So I wrote 2 well-received 10 minute musicals, “My New Computer” and “What If?” with 2 separate collaborators. One of them I hit it off with exceedingly well. The piece “What If?” got a lot of buzz from the industry attendees, so much so that two of them approached us interested in the full version. Well, we don’t need more of a hint than THAT, so we are going to turn it into a full musical in 2010!
The other thing great about the mini-musicals is that I have decided to include them in my new cabaret act, I’ll Relax When I’m Dead. Yes you read that right – the act I had mentioned working on awhile ago, but put off to focus on other things is actually going to happen all b/c I have 2 mini-musicals to present… which means I don’t have to write more than 9 songs – 7 of which are already done. So I will be writing 2 more songs, and then putting 9 new songs, plus 2 mini-musicals into the show to premiere the first weekend of May, 2010.
And if that weren’t enough, I’ve been helping to put together and accompanying a few of Emily Vick’s cabarets now and after viewing my solo show on youtube, she decided she wants to do one entirely of my work this spring. It seemed silly to just do a concert of it, so I talked to one of the other bookwriters I met at the Workshop, and we’re going to do a one woman musical streaming together a dozen or so of my 100 cabaret songs with some dialogue and a story arc and maybe even an instrumental dance – kind of like Song and Dance… if that goes well, we could feasibly expand it to a 2-4 person show of my cabaret songs.
SHOWCASES SHOW CASES
Um, according to the dictionary I can access by pushing F12 on my Mac, a case is “an example of something occurring” – well something does occur when I showcase talent – which is talent is showcased… so I’m going to leave the heading of this section intact, even though I do realize it’s pushing it.
In any case, by the end of 2009, I will have produced/ accompanied/ emceed/ performed 91 talent showcases at Don’t Tell Mama… 44 of them in 2009! I have been very lucky that they have become to popular – over 300 singers have performed in them to date.
For the 100th showcase I am going to bring back the showcase ALL STARS to perform a concert of my work on March 1st, 2010, which is the day after my 31st Birthday. Thus, I will have an extended weekend celebration, culminating in a concert of my work with my favorite showcase performers!!!
SINGER/ SONGWRITER GIG, 12/12
In other news, one of the other composer/ lyricists I met at the Musical Theater Workshop (where I also met a few directors and actors, as well!) produces monthly singer/ songwriter showcases and has invited me to participate!
So on Saturday, 12/12 at 7pm, I will be at the KGB bar in the East Village (right by my old apartment) singing 6 of my songs in rotation with 2 others. It should be a great evening, and it’s perfectly timed for me to give out postcards for Broadway Can! And it also gives people who are too poor to afford that concert an opportunity to see me this December b/c it’s FREEEEEEEEEEE!!
IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE HANUKKAH
It is my least favorite time of year! But having Broadway Can! to think about, I hopefully will make it through unfazed. I really cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next weekend! Not only do I have food to look forward to… I get to clean out my parents’ basement. Yes, you read that right. I get to go through BOXES and BOXES from high school and college and grad school and attempt to throw out as MUCH as humanly possible. It’s going to be a MONSTROUS task – I spent an hour doing it after Rosh Hashana and barely made a DENT. But if I haven’t used things in over a decade, the chance of me needing them are very low… so I will only be holding on to things with memories. So… if I can’t remember what something is… it’s gone, as well! And I will spend the entire time singing Oscar’s favorite song, “I Love Trash” and “Throw it Out!” from A New Brain. (Let’s see if any Muppet/ Finn fans made it this far…)
So then I will go to NJ for Hanukkah dinner on 12/11, but have to go directly back to NYC for my gig on the 12th, and any last minute prep for Broadway Can! on 12/14.
This Movie Day (12/25), I will be starting with NINE and then hop to at least 4 more… probably The Princess and the Frog… any suggestions , please let me know…
And I have absolutely NO New Year’s Eve plans yet?!?! So if anyone is having a party, please let me know.
IN 2010, I’LL SAY AMEN
So to recap, 2010 looks like this — March: 100th Showcase, April: Stanley’s Adventures, May: I’ll Relax When I’m Dead, July: Broadway Meows 2, September: Relax Reprise, November: Seth sings YET MORE Bisen-Hersh, December: Broadway Can! 2… plus hopefully an upscale reading of More to Love, plus What If? and the new one-woman musical.
Also, this January, I will participate in my 13th MIT Mystery Hunt. Not only have I been (successfully!) practicing cryptic crosswords… this year we have welcomed a puzzler to our team who has basically won every year he has participated (after you win, you have to run the hunt – so he’s basically been on the winning team every other year) … so this coupled w/ the fact that we barely lost last year makes me feel confident that my 13th year is a charm and that I will FINALLY be on the winning team! Which means all those puzzles I have been planning for over a decade can finally be written for 2011!!
Oh, I’m also co-teaching my audition workshop again in January, plus there will be 8ish showcases before the 100th, and then another 40 or so after for the year… and then in the spring I’ll get more audition gigs, which will keep me sleeping less… so it’ll be a divine, busy year!
ME ON THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW?
Alright, I have been watching a LOT of TV now that TV is new again! In fact, I’m not even watching a show from the beginning at the moment (even though I have borrowed Roswell and Babylon 5 and also intend to catch up on Chuck and Castle some point between the holidays and then the Olympics taking off new TV).
So what new shows have survived the fall? Read on below:
SUNDAYS: Now that the dynamic third season of Mad Men is through, the best things still on are on pay channels: Dexter, Californication, Curb Your Enthusiasm (which is over soon and has been incredible this season with the Seinfeld cast reunion), Bored to Death (already done). But I also still watch The Simpsons, Family Guy (not as funny as it used to be) and American Dad. (I canned the Cleveland Show after a few episodes – it is NOT funny at ALL.)
MONDAYS: How I Met Your Mother and the Big Bang Theory continue to be GREAT comedies. Heroes has finally gotten a little better, just in time for it to move back to 9PM in January when it will conflict with 24 🙁 ! Gossip Girl has been getting better than at the start of the season, as well.
TUESDAYS: V has arriVed! It is a little rehashed from other shows, but it also has a lot of stars from my favorite canceled Sci Fi shows (the 4400, Firefly) so I am sticking with it. Besides, there’s nothing else on Tuesdays – though Scrubs and Better off Ted are back in Dec to replace V for a bit, and LOST will be back on Tuesdays starting in Feb.
WEDNESDAYS: MODERN FAMILY is the BEST new show of the season. IT is HILARIOUS. It is very hard to make me laugh out loud, but this show has done it EVERY week. I also have stuck w/ the Middle – and canned Hank and Cougar Town (ABC has also canned Hank). I also love Eastwick, but it has been canceled. 🙁 Rounding out Wednesdays is Glee, which is actually starting to get better, though I cannot handle all the pop music with manipulated and finetuned vocals… and then, South Park has been just as funny and satirical as ever this season.
THURSDAYS: Community is getting better, but is still the weakest of NBC’s lineup. Parks & Recreations is worth watching for Amy Poehler. The Office and especially 30 Rock remain as funny as ever. Other than that, I’m sticking with Supernatural, and I enjoy Flashforward, though I find the show very dumbed down for viewers not used to sci-fi, which kind of annoys me at times. (And FYI, I canned the Vampire Diaries after 3 really boring episodes.)
FRIDAYS: Dollhouse has been incredible. But, of course, it has been canceled. Smallville has been pretty good this season. And I’m trying Stargate Universe, which is growing on me enough to eventually watch the other 2 series, which will give me 15 seasons of new sci-fi to watch at some point after I catch up on everything else I mentioned above…
SATURDAYS: The best show I watch on Saturdays is the Legend of the Seeker – this season has been incredible so far. I also tried Wanda Sykes, but the show’s not as funny as I had hoped… so I might stick to Conan, Daily Show and Chelsea Lately for my talk shows.
IF THEY ASKED ME, I COULD READ A BOOK
The first 3 of these books I got at the Strand Bookstore in the 50 cent bin… what better deal in town is there?
The Grass Harp – I love Truman Capote – this was a quick, enjoyable read.
Ordinary People – This book was WONDERFUL – I don’t know how I missed reading it sooner – I also watched the movie after, and the movie is wonderful, as well!
Winesburg, Ohio – Since it was only 50 cents, the book kind of fell apart as I read it so it took awhile to read, since I couldn’t take it out of my apartment… not my favorite, but I liked it more when I got to the end… I really don’t understand why anyone would choose to live in a small town over NYC, but that’s me, I guess…
The Fountainhead – I’d never read any Ayn Rand before – I obviously don’t agree with her politically, but so far the book has been pretty compelling to read…
The Audacity of Hope – I’ve been trading off this with the Fountainhead – Obama’s book IS a book I agree with politically (can we please have free health care soon?), and I cannot believe ANYone wouldn’t admire him after reading it. Anyone who doesn’t like him, should read his book – I promise it’ll change your mind – he is brilliant. And this is coming from an avid Hillary supporter!
IF LIFE WERE LIKE THE MOVIES
Here are the movies I’ve seen this fall:
Where the Wild Things Are – I found this movie kind of dull, though it was visually nice.
I guess I haven’t seen many movies – there hasn’t been anything worth it, but I promise I’ll have more to report next time after Movie Day.
LET’S SEE A PLAY
Here are the shows I saw this fall:
Sarah Rice at the Laurie Beechman: I went to support Sarah b/c she did Broadway Meows, and had such a sublime time at her cabaret!
Superior Donuts: I enjoyed this new play by the Pulitzer Prize winner for last year’s August: Osage County.
After Miss Julie: Revision of a Strindberg classic.
Still Life: This was a WONDERFUL play. Simply wonderful.
Wishful Drinking: Carrie Fisher is CRAZY and admits it on broadway!
Finian’s Rainbow: Charming revival with an exquisite, classic score.
Bye, Bye Birdie: Went opening night and had a blast at the party!
David Merrick Evening at Town Hall: Broadway stars singing hits – what’s not to love?
Linda Eder at Town Hall: a little too much pop for my taste, but she’s still great.
Broadway Originals 5 at Town Hall: The full cast of Falsettos reunited, and sang 10 songs from the score – and it was incredible.
Brighton Beach Memoirs: This was a wonderful revival of the Neil Simon classic that sadly no one was buying tickets to…
Manson the Musical: I had a friend in this wacky Fringe like musical.
The Understudy: Solid, depressing comedy about the state of needing to get movie stars to do shows for them to run…
Hinterland: I had 3 friends in this fairy tale play, so I figured I could kill 3 birds with one stone by going… and I did hit those birds hard.
Bernadette Peters: Broadway Barks Because Broadway Cares — This was my 5th time seeing Bernadette in concert, and this evening completely took the cake — it was by far one of the BEST evenings I have ever had in my life, and Bernadette is an inspiration in so many ways. Seeing her add some more Sondheim songs to her repertoire, while still performing old ones – doing “Children and Art” for the first time in 25 years – singing her do “Rose’s Turn” on a Broadway stage again… I could obviously talk about this for awhile, so I’ll just say: WOW.
Nerds Among Us: Saw my friend, Josh, in his debut cabaret after he did a quarter of the show in my 83rd showcase…
Broadway Unplugged: There is nothing like performances w/o microphones and audio tampering – I wish Glee would learn that!
CONCLUSIONS TO BE REACHED BUT NOT PREACHED
Well that’s it. For those of you who complained my last few ledgers were too terse, this ledger is for you!! For those of you who complained my last few were still too long… oops! But I hope that the new bold system has helped streamline the ledger for your reading pleasure.
This will probably be the last update I send till next year, so let me take this opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful new year!!