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March 16, 2008 — marching passed the ides…
Okay, I realize I haven’t sent out a ledger all 2008. And I apologize profusely. I could make excuses. Okay, I probably will make excuses. But here I am, on this hazy, lazy, not so crazy Sunday afternoon, taking the time to catch you all up! So sit back, relax, and prepare to find out about my year so far…
FAMOUS RETURNS, HOW TAXING…
First of all, I have to put this in the start of the ledger for those of you who don’t make it any further… We’re doing “Why Am I Not Famous Yet?” again in April… and by “we,” I mean me, 2 of the original cast, and 2 brand new replacement cast members (which means new audiences!). I do hope you will come if you missed it in September… and you’re welcome to come again if you want to see it with a new cast! And I’m premiering a new song as an encore. I’m going to try to video some of it for youtube, so if you are far away (Greece, India…), and want to view it online, please let me know, and I’ll keep you updated.
Why am I Not Famous Yet?
original songs of bitter frustration
By and Starring Seth Bisen-Hersh
With Elyse Beyer (Thu/ Sat), Cait Doyle, Rich Marino, Rori Nogee (Sun) & Melissa Zimmerman
Thurs, April 10th at 8:30pm
Sat, April 12th at 3:30pm
Sun, April 13th at 8:30pm
$10 Cover/ 2 Drink Minimum (cash only)
Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St.
Call for reservations after 4: 212-757-0788
SAD NEWS IS SAD
I figure it’s best to get the sadder news out of the way. There is a handful of sad things to report, unfortunately.
I might as well start with the worst thing that happened to me this year. Someone broke into my apartment the night before my birthday. Since my apartment’s heat never shuts off, I had been leaving the window open a crack, so poor Smee could breathe. Unfortunately, I never knew that my fire escape was accessible from the roof. Some kids buzzed into the building, went straight to the roof, climbed down the ladder to the fire escape, and were able to half crawl in my window. Fortunately, the window doesn’t really open that wide, so they could only access the desk drawers. Unfortunately, they got $60 and my wonderful digital camera that I had bought for my birthday last year.
The cops basically were no help. I got my same camera on ebay for only $88 the week after, so I’m thankfully only out $148. I was unable to take pictures of my birthday events this year, however. Now I have put the grate up with a lock… so no one will ever be able to break in here again. Also, I have absolutely nothing of value in any spot a thief would look. I hope… The worst was the feeling of being violated. Even now, I have trouble being out for too long, etc… but I have lived here almost 2 years, and I doubt they’d return to the scene of the crime, etc…
In other more general sad news, due to the writer’s strike and the recession, etc, this year started very light. Even lighter than usual. There was an unprecedented amount of musical directors playing auditions for companies I usually play for, probably signifying that we all need money. Since tv and movies were at a standstill for awhile, fewer actors were leaving for LA, leading to fewer auditions in general. With fewer money going around, my actor clients couldn’t afford as many coachings, etc. I even had to cancel my audition workshop b/c I was down to 2 participants, and it only makes sense to do with at least 4.
PICK ME UP, BUTTERCUP
In happier news, by the end of the February, things got busy again. Like super busy! Which was a breath of fresh air! I got a few new audition gigs, to replace the old ones… And the showcases are very popular… and I’m doing a cabaret workshop!
The cabaret workshop is an extended version of a lecture I gave last year about how to put a cabaret together. This year, I decided to expand to a 4 week version — the first week was the same lecture, the 2nd week is actually tonight, and is repertoire sessions, the 3rd week is going to be a workshop setting where we work on patter and song deliveries, and the 4th week will be a presentation, much like my showcases…
The talent showcases are going really well. I have 3 Tuesdays in a row this March, and already have 2 booked after my own show (4/22 and 5/6). I’ll be having auditions again after Memorial Day in the hopes to have them almost weekly this summer for people who are around and have nothing else to do, etc… The last 2 showcases had over 50 people each, which broke the record for the amount of audience I have performed to at one of my own shows at Don’t Tell Mama… (Not one of my own shows, as some Fringe performances had 200ish people… though, that wasn’t me performing as myself…)
In fact, I even attracted some press attention! Well, one of the performers knew the Siegels, as well… so they came. They gave us a fairly positive review… Here’s the quote I’m going to use in all my press materials from now on:
“Bisen-Hersh…had the nearly packed house roaring with laughter…”
29 IS THE NEW 19
So, as most of you know, I had a birthday at the end of February. I feel a little older… I didn’t bother to count the amount of cards, ecards, IMs, etc I got b/c I was so upset from the breakin, but I don’t think that’s a huge deal either. I think everyone important remembered my birthday, and anyone who didn’t obviously isn’t that important! 🙂 I had a few events, the best attended was the annual diner party. It was nice to see so many of my good friends at the same time…
Next year, my 30th birthday is on a Saturday, so I’m thinking of doing a big blowout celebration… stepping up from the diner a little, perhaps… we’ll see. I’m also considering doing a show on my birthday, as well…
WORKING ON THE PROJECTS AS OPPOSED TO LIVING IN THEM
Speaking of projects and shows, things are still going well with my projects. I took advantage of the huge lull to write a lot… “More to Love” is going very well; I still can’t really divulge details b/c they’re top secret… However, I will say we hope to do a demo recording in June, as well as a table reading to see how the show works on its feet… so that’s very exciting! I have written 8/18 songs so far… I got really busy again, so I have 10 to go… However, we have more than enough for a demo cd, so there’s no hurry on the rest of the show till someone picks it up…
In other news, “Writer’s Block – a cabaret that was hard to write” is almost written, as well! I am done with 10/16 songs… so that’s 6 to go… Not too shabby. I think I’ll be able to premiere it in September without any problems…
Other than that, I was considering using my usual November slot at Theater1010 for a show called “Seth Sings Bisen-Hersh” kind of a rip-off on the cds that PS Classics has been putting out with composers singing their own works… I figure it’s been awhile since I’ve done a solo show as myself… though, I haven’t spoken to Theater1010 about it yet, so maybe this is all premature… if they pass, perhaps that’ll be my show when I turn 30… hm… ideas, ideas…
THE REALITY OF TV
In other news, I will be featured in one episode of the Legally Blonde reality show on MTV — basically they are doing a Grease-like competition to replace the star of Legally Blonde the musical. I was subbing for Seth Rudetsky, who is a permanent fixture on the show. I cannot say ANYthing b/c I signed a non-disclosure agreement. When I know when my episode will air, I will let you know. Or maybe I’ll watch it to make sure I wasn’t cut… In any case, tv pays insanely well, and even though I spent most of the day sitting around eating free food, I was paid more for that half a day than I get for a full days of auditions…
In other reality news, I ran into the guy from the reality show I taped about 3 years ago… actually, it must’ve been September 2005… so 2.5 years ago… the one on songwriters… I don’t know if I mentioned it… Anyway, he told me that the show, unfortunately, hasn’t gone anywhere, but that I do appear in the teaser for it on his webpage — http://magneticmedia.tv/ — click on The Demo: TV Pilot.
Finally, I forgot to mention in the last ledger that I went up to MIT to participate in my 11th mystery hunt… my friend decided to film the hunt for a documentary this year… I don’t know how long it’ll take him to go through 100 hours of footage and whittle it down to 90, but I am prominently featured, and one of the persons his crew followed almost non-stop for almost 70 hours…
MISTER SMEE, MISTER SMEE, HE’S THE FASTER LICKER UPPER…
Smee is doing well! He’s now 15 months… he keeps growing every day. I started letting him out on the fire escape now b/c he fits through the grates, and I need to keep the window open to get some fresh air in here b/c it’s really 150 degrees. I do keep it completely closed when I’m gone now… so he has been shedding a lot…
Here’s a recent picture… and by recent I mean taken yesterday when I was playing with my new old camera (new used camera? Either statement is pretty oxymoronical…)
THE WATCHING OF TV
As I mentioned in my last ledger, the strike led to a very boring winter, as well… I still keep up with Jeopardy, though… and shows are returning ever so slowly! I did watch the following mid-season shows…
The New Adventures of Old Christine — I find Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s show to be amusing.
Breaking Bad is a great new show w/ the father from Malcolm — it’s replaying the 6 ep first season I believe — it’s on AMC — highly recommended…
Eli Stone — this is the other one of my new favorite shows — it has musical numbers, so how can I not like it? I highly recommend it — you can catch up on abc.com! (They should pay me to say that…)
Lipstick Jungle — this show’s okay…
L Word — is very good this season…
The Return of Jezebel James — I actually haven’t watched the pilot yet, but it’s by the creator of Gilmore Girls, so I’m sure it’s going to be amazing! But they put it on Friday night, so that’s not a good sign for how long it’ll last… especially on Fox… 🙁
Other shows that are back soon: South Park just returned and is as funny and inappropriate as ever — anyone who thinks *I’m* inappropriate should watch an episode of THAT show… The Riches returns next week… and finally Battlestar Galactica returns for its final season April 4th!!!!
Oh, in final, final tv news, I borrowed the Buffy: the Vampire Slayer dvds from a friend, so I’m finally going to watch that show from its start to finish…
THE READING OF BOOKS
I read the Golden Compass trilogy. I really quite enjoyed it. The 3rd book meandered a bit, but I still overall thought it was very well thought out. I mean, it’s no Harry Potter… it’s a little more high brow… I got really busy and was watching a lot of tv, apparently… I don’t think I read anything else this year so far… I just started the Secret Life of Bees… but I haven’t gotten too far… I guess I go through cycles, and after reading a huge trilogy I reverted back to watching a lot of tv…
THE VIEWING OF MOVIES
I went to a handful of movies this year so far:
Be Kind, Rewind — kind of lame movie, but I saw a free preview…
The Spiderwick Chronicles — I actually quite enjoyed this movie…
The Other Boleyn — an okay movie, not that great, but it had its moments…
THE ATTENDING OF THEATRE
The spring is starting to pick up, but I haven’t seen that much this year:
Come Back, Little Sheba — really well-done MTC revival of this classic play
The 39 Steps — really fun mounting of a Hitchcock classic with only a cast of 4
Next to Normal — promising off-Broadway musical about a dysfunctional family
Nightlife Awards — great award show where the winners perform rather than give speeches
Family Guy at Carnegie Hall — really funny evening that the writers and stars of FG put together to donate $$ to the writer’s strike — talk about inappropriate…
Jump — one of those plotless shows with a lot of jumping and karate chops…
Passing Strange — I LOVED this new musical which just transferred to Broadway. Highly recommended.
Crimes of the Heart — solid revival of this play about 3 sisters…
The Adding Machine — kind of a new age opera version of the play
The Importance of Being Earnest — great revival at Theater1010
Sunday in the Park with George — I LOVED this revival of my FAVORITE musical — I got to go OPENING night, and it was just incredible.
Broadway By the Year 1947 — possibly the best BBTY concert EVER — a wonderful evening.
Rock ‘n Roll — I LOVED this Stoppard play which just closed; I’m really glad I got to see it before it did.
Rainbow Kiss — very dramatic play about obsessive love
The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island — really adorable off-Bway musical that actually closes today – I was fortunate to be able to see it last night… really adorable…
Well, 2 hours later, and I have caught you all up! I don’t feel like this ledger is that long, but I always say that… The sun seems to be coming out… Oh, I didn’t mention how much I HATE daylight’s savings time. There, I did. Actually getting up at 7:45 for the reality show Friday did manage to reset my clock such that I’m up by 12:30/1ish again. That’s good, I suppose…
I hope you’re all having splendid 2008’s so far!! I look forward to talking to you all again soon.
June 2, 2008 — Just Because It’s June, June, June!
Greetings from ledgerland! I realized that it’s been almost 3 months since I last sent a ledger, so I figured that meant I should send one… After a devastating winter, things picked up to a whirlwind spring that hasn’t died down a bit and seems to be leading into a fairly busy summer. I don’t actually think there is much new to report, so maybe this will end up a short update… However, whenever I say that, the verbosity takes over to new heights…
My current projects are the same ones mentioned in the last ledger… Writer’s Block is almost finished, and shall premiere in September… I have booked the 11th, 13th and 14th, so there you are for those of you who plan very far in advance… I’m picking a weekend in between all the festivals so that there will be nothing else going on this time in the hopes it gets me some industry. The new act is not as whimsical and funny as the last few, as it reflects a turbulent year for me, so bring some tissues!
I think I’ve put my funny energy into More to Love. We’re recording the demo on the 24th, so it’ll appear on my webpage sometime shortly after then, I would imagine. Then, my collaborator is going to submit it zillions of places starting this fall… and hopefully some smart producer will put it off-Broadway in 2009. I hope so at least!
In other news, I wrote the title song for one of my client’s cabarets, The Cuban Kid – which is premiering in a few weeks.
And in final project news, I am about to start writing a children’s musical for Manhattan Children’s Theater that is already slated for its premiere in April 2009.
WORKING HARD FOR THE MONEY
Auditions got really crazy, and still are crazy. I don’t think there was a week since mid-Feb that I wasn’t playing for at least one audition! So that’s been great, but really quite exhausting… the coaching remains fairly full… I have showcases lined up every single week this summer… weekly showcases! It’s daunting, but quite exciting… and I actually started my audition workshop again tonight… and I just accompanied a solo show and have a few other accompanying show gigs coming up this month… so between all of those June is fairly full. I guess there really isn’t anything new to report in this section. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to continue doing all of those things to support myself as I work on my shows.
REALITY TV ALERT
The Legally Blonde reality show begins airing this Monday on MTV. I was in half an episode, and I don’t think it’ll be airing for at least a month. If you want a heads up about when it’s coming up, let me know… I’m not even sure they won’t cut my segment, so I might actually watch it first.
In other reality news, I auditioned last week for a new CBS show called JINGLES — searching for the next best jingle writer. I got an instant callback, so I think I have a decent chance of moving on to the finals… however, I haven’t heard anything yet. The extremely (and unusually) nice casting director said that we would hear by the 9th at the latest… so if I get to the finals, I will be going to LA for a week in June and will have to cancel a lot of things… but I think national exposure is probably worth it. If I get passed the finals, then I will be moving to LA for 6 weeks starting in August. I think that they had enough footage of me to at least have a glimpse of me in the first episode… according to Variety, it begins 7/27 – that’s a Sunday at 9 — though, that could probably change. Though, since there are only 8 eps, I’m betting it’s a firm date to start given that it would end 9/16 just in time for the fall season to commence.
As you see, I’ve given that all WAY too much thought. If I get on the show, I would need everyone to vote obsessively each week. If I don’t, then I won’t. If I get on the show, then I will have to rearrange quite a bit, but if I don’t, then I will not. I don’t know how actors do it! This not knowing is driving me mad!!
Well, there is nothing on tv this summer except for Battlestar Galactica which has been awesome this season!!!! I am still really upset that USA cancelled the 4400 b/c it would always premiere in June. Time magazine really likes Swingtown – so I’m going to give that a try this Thursday… other than that, Mad Men isn’t back until July, and neither is Weeds… so it’s looking like I won’t have much to watch — I was going to try Entourage b/c they have the first season on demand, but on demand is broken in my neighborhood at the moment! So if that clears up before the 15th, I might give that show another try out of boredom…
In fall news, practically every show I enjoy got picked up for the next season given the shortened seasons this year due to the strike. Scrubs even got an unexpected 8th season by moving to ABC next year! The only show I really liked that got canceled was Aliens in America, but it wasn’t unexpected…
TAKE A LOOK, READ A BOOK… A READING RAINBOW
Well, I read “Making it on Broadway” – a very quick read with interviews of lots of Broadway people about the horrible nature of the business — it was quite depressing actually, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone. No one is alone.
Now I finally am reading Wicked, a novel I meant to read years ago… so far it’s quite enjoyable.
I LOVE A FILM CLICHE
I think the only new movie I’ve seen since the last ledger is Indiana Jones — it wasn’t very good, but it was nice to watch on the huge screen at the Ziegfeld. Given all the bad reviews of the Sex and the City movie, I haven’t rushed to see it, but I probably shall next weekend assuming it’s not still sold out incessantly…
I haven’t seen so much, but it’s been 2 months so here goes:
The Winter’s Tale — this is such an odd Shakespeare show – it starts off as a tradegy but somehow morphs into a comedy…
Cry Baby — bway musical inspired by the John Waters film…
You May Now Worship Me — Sherie Renee Scott’s one woman show – very entertaining
Broadway by the Year: 1954 — town hall evening of songs that were on bway in 1954
A Catered Affair — Harvey Fierstein stars in this musical he adapted from an old movie… I actually liked a lot of it.
Top Girls — feminist play — it makes me sad for Hillary, who has been treated horribly.
Good Boys True — decent off-bway play at second stage
Glory Days — caught a preview of the bway musical that closed on opening night…
Dangerous Liaisons — wonderful revival of a very good play
Boeng Boeng — another wonderful revival of a play — hilarious farce…
Honor — it was nice to see a new big cast musical off-off-bway…
Broadway by the Year: 1965 — 3rd BBTY of the season…
A Grand Night for Singing — Theater1010 staged this R&H revue…
Drama Desk Awards — I actually went as a guest instead of working – much more relaxing, and I could network like crazy at the after party…
Saved — I saw this today at playwright’s horizons off-bway — it’s a musical adaptation of the movie…
Smee is sprawled out napping — he has gotten quite large. I’d send another picture, but I’m too lazy to get my camera out. I guess that’s about it… it’s been really busy… and in the downtime, I’ve been playing scrabble, chess and boggle on facebook where I am almost up to 1000 friends…
I hope everyone is doing well and having a grand summer! I think I’m going to have a very good one regardless of whether Jingles selects me. Who wants to go to LA anyway? It’s already too hot and sunny here! Speaking of, my allergies this week were absolutely KILLING ME.
HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER!
August 24, 2008 — when summer ends, it’s a bummer, friends…
Enough procrastinating! I meant to send out a ledger early August, and now it’s late August. In my defense, I was waiting for the demo cd of More to Love to be finished so I could send out the link; however, due to circumstances beyond my control (aren’t most of them?), it isn’t done yet. And given that my next show opens in 3 weeks, I have no choice but to send out a ledger b/c 3 weeks is the exact point when I remind people they are coming to my show in exactly 3 weeks… If you read nothing else, remember to come see WRITER’s BLOCK in THREE weeks!!
KNOCK, KNOCK, IT’S WRITER’S BLOCK!!
First off, go see the pretty postcard — www.sethbh.com/writersblock.html !!
For those of you who aren’t clicking, the dates are: Sat, 9/13 at 6PM; Sun, 9/14 at 8PM; Mon, 9/15 at 7PM at Don’t Tell Mama. I have specifically chosen a Monday night so that people cannot say they’re out of town for the weekend. I have the usual Saturday time for out of towners. Also, all three shows work around the generic Broadway show schedule, so most industry people have no excuses. Finally, it’s a weekend when very little else is happening in the city. The inability to make excuses for missing the show will hopefully result in packed houses. I am going whole hog (sorry, Piggy) in inviting agents and producers, though I will be satisfied if I manage to make some people laugh and cry.
This is my 6th cabaret of original songs and probably my final new one for awhile. It is the most sophisticated score I’ve written for cabaret. I’ve hired a brilliant director who has tightened up the show and made the group numbers look so amazing that I burst into tears in the finale at the first group rehearsal…
I am really proud of this show, and I hope you will come.
PROJECTING PROJECTS INTO THE LEDGER
Including Writer’s Block, I have written over 100 cabaret songs. My plans for the future are to focus again on writing book musicals, while putting together compilation evenings of my cabaret songs every now and then. I will undoubtedly write another one in a few years, but I don’t foresee a new cabaret for September 2009.
I will be doing a solo show on Sunday, November 9th at 7PM – my 4th year at Theater 1010 on the upper east side. It’s called SETH SINGS BISEN-HERSH and will be giving those people who clamor MORE SETH a chance to see me interpreting my own songs – I will also be talking about the inspirations for them and sharing anecdotes, etc. It’s also a suggested donation/ pay what you can evening – so poor people will have no excuses!
In terms of musicals, my biggest project (pun intended) is MORE TO LOVE. We had a reading in June, and we recorded the demo cd of 6 songs. I have written 8, and I have 8 to go. I won’t get back to finishing the score for another few months, though. After the reading, my collaborator spent the last 2 months majorly revising the show. It started at 78 pages, and I am happy to report it’s down to a modest 50! The show is tighter, funnier, and has stronger character arcs. I am very proud of it, and very hopeful. She’s doing all the submission work, and will be sending out 100 packets over the next 6 months or so with the hope that someone sees the $$$ signs and decides to produce it off-Broadway. I am, as always, cautiously optimistic.
In terms of actually getting produced off-off-Broadway, the contracts have finally been taken care of, and it’s official that I am writing a children’s musical called STANLEY’s ADVENTURES – it is based on the books “Stanley’s Wild Ride” and “Stanley’s Party” – which are based on a dog, Stanley, who gets into adventures… hence my idea for the title. The show will premiere at Manhattan Children Theater in April 2009. Therefore, my collaborator and I have a lot of work to do in getting the show written by late fall, so we can have a reading and make revisions, etc, etc. It is my hope that we can write the best children’s show ever written, and that I can invite Disney and Nickelodeon to come and hire me. Again, cautious optimism, but it is certainly amazing to know a show is going to be produced and know that I will have to do NONE of the producing myself…
Also, I mentioned I wrote the title number for “The Cuban Kid” – well, it went over so well that Lucio had me adapt some lyrics of a second song – so he now will be performing 2 of my songs in his shows. I actually have to put that in the computer sometime… maybe today to take a break from spamming. (I can only send 1000 emails a day, so I have to keep track after I send this, and then wait till midnight to send another thousand… I used excel to organize my mailing list, and it’s about 2000 now…)
Other than that, as always there are projects on the back burners. I hesitate to talk about those, but there are at least 5 ideas, old and new, that are sitting around going absolutely nowhere. Once I have clout, etc, it will be easier to get rights to the 2 movie ideas… and then some of my former collaborators might reappear to revise older shows, as well… only time will tell… (oh bloody hell!)
MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (we ain’t got nothing more than 2 pigs in a blanket…)
As we live in a capitalist society, I have still had to earn a living. I did 4 showcases in June and 6 showcases in July. I had a very successful audition workshop in June… I am taking off till October to focus on Writer’s Block, but once October hits, I will be doing another audition workshop, as well as starting up weekly showcases again through the remainder of the year, depending on demand…
I played for a handful of auditions this summer, which is usually the down time. The most exciting days were playing auditions for the Nunsense national tour with the composer, Danny Goggin. He’s the sweetest guy and personally oversees most of the professional Nunsense productions – there are now 6 sequels, and he’s working on the 7th… He told me that a Nunsense might open up a new theater off-Broadway in the near future, and that he would find me a job in the production if it does… so knock wood! I know never to believe anything till I have a contract, but I did have a great time, and they love my pianistic style and personality, so I am hoping that I will get to work with them again. I remember seeing Nunsense in Tennessee when we visited my Aunt Dana. I think I only went to visit her like once or twice in my life, so the fact that I remember seeing that production says something. I do also think I saw Nunsense and Nunsense 2 at Plays in the Park over the years… and those with Sister Act make up everything I know about nunnery. (That and Ophelia should get herself to one.)
Other than auditions, I’m still doing private coaching… I feel like my life hasn’t really changed much – it is nice that I have some stability in what I’ve been doing, however. I guess that comes with age.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE SMEE
So Smee is 20 pounds now. He’s not fat, but he’s just WIDE (and big boned)! Who knew that my little kitty would grow up so fast? He’s been living here exactly a year now, which makes him a year and 8 months. This new cat food I’d never heard of was on sale the other day, so I hope he doesn’t mind when I switch it… At the moment, Smee is lying in the window sill, napping in the sun. Of course, I have the shade closes to that the sun doesn’t actually come into the room, but Smee is smart enough to go on the other side when he wants to bask in it… he is still quite feisty in general – virile and youthful – he’s also quite the clinger. He’ll usually follow me if I leave the main room, and he almost always joins me for bedtime now… I need to take more Smee pictures for it has been awhile…
RELATIVE BIRTHDAYS (B = mc^2)
At the beginning of the month I trekked to Philly, where my sister lives, for my mother’s birthday… I took the BOLT BUS for only $1 so it was cheaper than a subway ride!! My mom spent 3 weeks in Greece in July, but still wanted to get Greek food, so we went to this restaurant she found in a Greek guide to Greek restaurants in the states. Then we went out for gelatos… My sister’s apartment is a lot bigger than mine, which is to be expected given that she lives in Philly, and I live in midtown Manhattan…
Two nights ago, my grandmother’s temple threw her an 80th Birthday party, so we all convened there to celebrate. My grandmother gave a hilarious, impromptu speech that I wish I had videoed for youtube… First she remarked that while in the concentration camp she never thought she’d reach 20, let alone 80, and then she said that she felt like Phelps winning a gold medal… it was touching. She then proceeded to list everyone who came out to see her including Emily and me… and she mentioned all the cousins and nieces and then her friends, and finally was like… oh and my HUSBAND… to which my grandfather replied “saving the best for last!” After her speech, she went around shaking everyone’s hands in the pews, thanking them for coming… however, the services weren’t done yet, so the rabbi had to come get her and sit her down so they could continue… then we had cake in the back room. It was very good cake.
TAKE A LOOK, IT’S IN A BOOK
What was I reading last time? I finished Wicked on the plane to LA (oh, geez, so yeah, that show that I was up for got “indefinitely postponed” which is why it wasn’t on tv when I said it was – if you want the full story, lemme know, and I’ll email you the blog that I can’t post for fear of being sued.) After Wicked, I read the sequel “Son of a Witch” which wasn’t as good… but it had moments. I’m waiting for the 3rd one now… Grandchild of a Witch. I made that up, but you never know! It could happen…
Now I’m reading a David Sedaris book my mother’s friend from work gave her that she didn’t want to read called “dress your family in corduroy and denim” – which is amusing. I also borrowed “Middle Sex” which won a Pulitzer – I believe I read about it in Time and wanted to read it, so it’s lucky that Joanne leant it to my mother… my mother is so far behind on books that I’m able to borrow them, read them and return them before she would’ve gotten around to reading them in the first place…
MOVIES WERE MOVIES WHEN I RAN THE SHOW
I saw a lot of movies this year. Don’t worry, I barely paid for any. The best movie of the summer was THE DARK KNIGHT. There is no disputing it. It was incredible – and the reason is GOOD WRITING. I saw it twice – the second time is better b/c you can see them setting everything up really early… don’t worry, I didn’t pay either time.
Other than that, my favorite movie of the summer was VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA, the new Woody Allen movie. I felt completely satiated after it that I didn’t hop into a second. Highly recommended. It might not be up to the level of his older films, but in terms of his newer ones, it’s one of the better ones.
Other movies I saw were:
Sex and the City movie – it was like a season jammed into 2.5 hours, so it at the same time felt too long and too short, but it was so great to see the show again that you had to forgive it…
Mamma Mia – you have to turn off your brain, but if you just sit back and let it envelop you, it’s not so bad…
Wall E – I quite enjoyed this movie, especially the Hello Dolly bits…
Wanted – a pretty good comic based movie – I quite enjoyed it.
Hamlet 2 – not so good – should’ve been funnier than it was.
Bottle Shock – if you like the history of wine, then this movie is for you.
Well the writer’s strike certainly affected the summer. Most shows didn’t start till late, and a lot of summer shows are popping up this fall. So I anticipate being able to watch a lot of tv again starting this fall… My summer shows have included the wonderful Swingtown, which isn’t getting a 2nd season due to low viewage even though it’s a great show. A really great show. It’s kind of sad, b/c if it had been on Showtime, it probably would’ve been renewed…
Speaking of showtime, Weeds has been GREAT as usual this season. Also, Penn and Teller’s Bullshit is still going strong…
Other than that, I watch Eureka on Sci-Fi, Psych on USA, Mad Men on AMC… and I tried the Closer on A&E which isn’t great, but I’ve been watching it due to lack of other things to watch… finally, with Smallville ending this upcoming season, I decided to catch up on Reaper – they aired almost all of the episodes skipping some early ones, and I must say the show is growing on me, and I’m glad to have something else to watch…
My new favorite site is hulu.com, btw – I was able to watch all of Friday Night Lights there for free ! The key to that show is to fast forward the football games. I have been watching all of Buffy on DVD from the start b/c I never really watched them all before – so I’m in season 4 of Buffy, which I’m watching in conjuction with season 1 of Angel, the spin off… then, I do 5 and 2, 6 and 3, 7 and 4, and final Angel season 5 with Buffy season 8 which is a comic book series, not the tv show…
Then, I will watch Firefly on hulu.com, as well as Roswell (hopefully by then they’ll have all the seasons up) and perhaps Babylon 5 (if they put all the seasons up – I refuse to watch a show that isn’t completely up!). And maybe some day I’ll find someone to loan me all 7 seasons of the West Wing. And then, eventually when Lost is done, I want to borrow the entire series of that.
In terms of new shows, I am open to anything – please let me know if there’s a show you’re looking forward to in the fall – I suspect there won’t be too many new shows b/c of the strike, still, but I am looking forward to all my shows being back – especially Heroes and Pushing Daisies… as well as my favorite comedies, How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, The Office, 30 Rock, My Name is Earl, Big Bang Theory, etc, etc…
ANOTHER OPENIN’ ANOTHER SHOW
There isn’t that much theater to see in the summer, so her’s the paltry selection of what I did view:
Judy and Me – one of the actresses from my shows was in this off-off-bway revival and it got picked up for a run off bway this fall !
The Gondoliers – I went to see a frient (friend client) in this G&S show I’d never seen before at City Center…
Broadway By the Year 1979 – the year of my birth concluded the bway by the year series this spring…
A Night at the Operetta II – the Town Hall summer series began with this and end with…
Song and Dance at Town Hall II
Ricky Gervais – my friend’s father got 2 tickets that he didn’t want to see Ricky ! so funny and off-color ! he makes my acts look very PC.
Bash’d – off-bway rap show about a gay couple
Altar Boyz – I finally saw this show off bway – considering I have played auditions for it, it’s probably about time I actually saw the show…
FringeNYC08: Hot Cripple, Underwear: A Space Musical, The Secrets of Lamp-Lit Blinds, greeneyes, The Johnny – I went to see 5 fringe shows this year to support folks I know in them. It brought back memories of yesteryear…
Well, it has been a whirlwind summer. And the fall will be pretty busy, as well! Between Writer’s Block, Seth Sings Bisen-Hersh, Stanley’s Adventures and More to Love, I have a lot on my plate to finish before 2009… (and I ALWAYS finish every crumb on my plate, as anyone who has watched me eat can attest.)
Before I go, I want to plug Samidh’s start up! If you’re going to buy anything electronic on amazon.com, you’ll want to download his firefox plugin that will automatically summarize the hundreds of reviews, and then recommend which ipod, etc to purchase:
I hope everyone has had a great summer – I would love it if you would respond and tell me what you have been up to! I really hope you’ll be able to come to Writer’s Block in 3 weeks… We’ll be shooting a commercial for it this week that I will upload onto my webpage and youtube, so keep your eyes peeled – and the More to Love demo should appear on my webpage the first week of September, as well…
Oh, and if you missed me on Legally Blonde, you can go to mtv.com – it’s episode 7, and I’m in the background for a good 6 minutes, and playing piano for a good 20 seconds!!
Until next time!!
October 9, 2008 — the month beginning with O…
With a cool breeze permeating the room via the window, I sit here preparing for yet another monthly update. Will it be long or really long? Will it be funny or sentimental? Will it ask pointless questions at its start? Yes, yes and yes.
That’s kind of like weekend update, but w/o the jokes. The More to Love demo is now available on sethbh.com – I suggest you all listen to it if you need some laughs! My collaborator has sent out nearly 50 packets to producers/ theatre companies, and now we must sit back and wait for someone to take the bait. It is my hope that someone will, and that we can get the show off-Broadway in 2009… though with the economy being in the toilet, it might be 2010.
My kid’s show, Stanley’s Adventures, is nearing completion! We’ll be doing a reading at some point soon; it’s slated to open at Manhattan Children’s Theatre (mctny.org) in April. It’s been really hard writing a show about a dog without making any urination jokes… it’s also hard b/c I really dislike dogs in general. But it’s good to grow as a writer…
There are 6 videos of Writer’s Block up at sethbh.com for those who missed the show. We’re recording mp3s of the score on November 7th, so that weekend look for those… Also that weekend, I am doing a SOLO show called Seth Sings Bisen-Hersh on Sunday, November 9th at 7pm at Theater1010 on the upper east side… It’s a suggested donation, which means people can just pay what they can! So no financial excuses for missing it! It’s my 4th annual cabaret up there!
Seth Sings Bisen-Hersh will feature me talking about many FAQ’s I get – for instance, I will reveal the answer to the question: “Do you write lyrics or music first?” I will also explore how my writing has evolved over the years, while performing songs I wrote at 13 through songs I’ve written recently at 29 and a half. It will feature some new songs never heard before, as well as some forgotten gems, including songs from Trivial Pursuits, both fringe shows, A Kid Like Me, all 6 cabaret acts, More to Love and Stanley’s Adventures!
MAKING THE DOUGH
I’m starting my 6th audition workshop this Sunday night! I’m looking forward to it… I have enough students, and I have all the guests lined up…
I’m doing at least 8 showcases this fall – specific dates on sethbh.com . I had auditions again, and I have a whole new crop of talent to showcase! I really enjoy doing the showcases b/c I don’t have to worry about getting an audience to come and then remember who I’m not talking to anymore afterwards… and of course, I get paid for doing what I love! That’s a perk, I suppose…
Other than that, it’s the usual – not as many auditions in the fall as in the spring, but still a handful… and coaching for the showcases a lot, in addition to regular clients… I’m doing showcases with the Actor’s Project, as well, and they’re doing songs from my cabarets in them… I guess that’s really it for this section.
VOTE YOUR HEART
I have become addicted to politics this season… I hate to become a public service announcement, but it is IMPERATIVE that you vote on November 4th!!! IMPERATIVE.
But only if you’re going to vote for OBAMA. As we know, I wasn’t the biggest Obama fan, but after seeing his debate performances, I am more and more convinced that he will get us out of this MESS that the republicans have created. He has a cool temper, and can steer us out of this crisis.
W is now the most disapproved president in history – his 70% disapproval rating is higher than Nixon’s AND Truman’s were at their peaks!! NO MORE REPUBLICANS. NO MORE.
I obsessively go to the following websites: electoral-vote.com and fivethirtyeight.com in case you want up to date polling info. If the election were held today, we’d win by a landslide – there’s even a 21% probability of reaching 60 seats in the Senate… However, there are still WEEKS to go, and who knows what will happen, so VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!!! AND DON’T BE RACIST.
IT’S A JOLLY HOLIDAY
Happy Yom Kippur! I hope you have a good fast if you’re fasting. I, personally, am slowing instead – I feel like I do way too many things fast and then stuff comes out cursorily… And besides, I feel like I suffer enough every day living as an artist, who needs to be starving, as well!!
Speaking of Jewish holidays and vocabulary words… So we’re at Rosh Hashana and talking on the couch, and I use the word mellifluous, and my sister and her friend and my uncle think I made it up! So then I not only spell it and give a definition, but they’re still wary… my mother comes in, and I ask HER, and she gives the same spelling and definition, and yet they still think we made it up!!
So there. Guess we know who the educated people in the family are. Take that, PHD!
Finally, Halloween is coming around again – I am excited to be able to wear the COW costume I invested in for a 3rd year – since I paid $40 for it, it’s now been $13.33 per use… if I continue to wear it every year till 2046, I will hit $1 per use!! Wouldn’t that be aMOOsing. (Yes, I will be MILKing the puns all day, as per usual.)
SMEE, A FRIENDLY CAT
This section is to combat all of you with BABIES. I keep getting emails full of BABY pictures!! Instead of inserting 20,000 pictures into an email, first you should:
1. Make sure you don’t send redundant pictures. (Make sure you don’t send redundant pictures.)
2. Make sure that each picture has a specific point and raison d’etre.
3. Upload them to a webpage and send the LINK instead of attachments!
Case in point… Here are recent SMEE pictures for you:
The first picture is to show Smee hiding. The second picture is to show where he’s peaking out of. The third one is a candid shot showing how his girth has expanded as he approaches his second birthday this December…
TV IS BACK!!
I am SO SOO SOOO happy that TV IS BACK!! There is finally NEW TV again!! I finally have a purpose!! I’m SOOOO THRILLED. That sad, it has been a horrible year for new shows. I have barely added any new shows to my line up, but at least most of my favorites from last season returned. That was one of the only good things about the strike – it made it easier for shows to get renewed… So here’s what I’m watching by day now:
SUNDAY — First off, there’s the tried and true cartoon line up — The Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad. Then there’s HBO – the best new show of the season is True Blood – it’s about vampires, so how can you go wrong? I also caught up Entourage, which isn’t great but is amusing. There’s the new The Life and Times of Time, which is also amusing. The SHOWTIME shows are the best, though – Dexter season 3 has been great so far, and Californication season 2 has been awesome, as well. Other than that, there’s the summer holdover Mad Men, which won the Emmy for best Drama… and my new guilty pleasure show, Skins on BBC-A — it’s a British show, so it’s much raunchier than anything here, which is greatly appreciated. Finally, I am trying this show Valentine on the CW about Greek gods that become human – it’s kind of cute… we’ll see if it keeps its place on my list in a few weeks.
MONDAY — Monday’s are chock full of holdovers from last season – CBS’s the Big Bang Theory still makes me laugh, though How I Met Your Mother is a better show. Then there’s the addictive Gossip Girl, which is starting to get better after a slow start… There’s the popular Heroes, which is better this season than last, but still not as good as season 1… And finally, Samantha Who? pops back up according to my DVR next week.
TUESDAY — Tuesday’s are the weakest day – I tried Fringe, but it’s really boring. According to my DVR, though, Eli Stone is back! So that will give Tuesdays an added perk… I guess ABC is finally back next week… it’s about time! Now if they’d only say when Scrubs is going to air…
WEDNESDAY — The best show on tv right now is Pushing Daisies! It’s just the cutest show in the world. It makes Wednesdays divine! Other than that, I kind of watch the New Adventures of Old Christine even if it’s not that funny… and I’m trying Gary Unmarried, though I doubt it’ll be on much longer… Other than that, South Park and The Sarah Silverman Program are back tonight!
THURSDAY — Thursdays have been great! There’s My Name is Earl and the Office – Emmy winner 30 Rock will be back in a few weeks… I’m going to try Kath & Kim this week, but it might really be bad, and I’ll watch the SNL Weekend Update b/c I’m a political junkie… Smallville has been bad this season, but Supernatural has been really good to make up for it. Then there’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia which always makes me laugh…
FRIDAY — Everybody Hates Chris has moved… and then there’s my other guilty pleasure Degrassi back for season 8… And Sanctuary on sci-fi, which I haven’t actually tried yet… and then Friday Night Lights will be back in Feb…
Other than that, the MUPPETS have been on the Disney channel in the kind of lame Studio DC: Almost Live… but it’s at least great to see them again – and they have a tv movie in the works, as well as a real movie!
I’ve really gotten into The Daily Show, but I still don’t find Jon as funny as Conan… and finally, since people keep telling me to and since it’s on 5 days a week, I’ve been DVRing Lost. It’s really slow so far – I’m about halfway through the first season – but I was promised that season 2 picks up. So, I’m going to be caught up right around the time when the new season hits – just so I’ll have a new tv show to talk about when it returns!!!
And I think that’s it – Eureka and Psych are back in Jan – and Lost – then 24… Scrubs… Reaper…
A BOOK REPORT ON PETER RABBIT
I am reading MIDDLESEX. It is REALLY good. It’s also really LONG. But I am REALLY enjoying it. I highly recommend it. Afterwards, I’m going to read the Virgin Suicides b/c it’s the same author, and I also really enjoyed that movie, so I bet the book is even better!
LET’S GO TO THE MOVIES
I saw one movie this month and it was… Hound Dog starring Dakota Fanning who is AMAZING. It was playing at this indi theater that has a student discount, so I was able to use my old ID and get tickets for only $7.50! Isn’t that insanely cheap?!? Anyway, the movie was slow but Dakota – WOW WOW WOW.
Well, I guess with my own show, I didn’t see very much theater… here’s the paltry list:
[title of show] – really sweet musical with heart – it made me believe I could get to Broadway, too…
Little Fish CD Release Concert – great concert of the music of Michael John LaChuisa
Fifty Words – another play about how marriage is horrible
13 – cute, ebullient musical about being 13 with a score by Jason Robert Brown
Romantic Poetry – I’m seeing this tomorrow night, but I’ll mention it now – I’m playing auditions for it, so I’m excited to check it out – the bookwriter/ director has a Pulitzer from Doubt (John Patrick Shanley) and the composer had 3 oscar nominations for Dreamgirls (Henry Krieger)
Well, I got interrupted before, which is why this is going out on the 9th instead of the 8th, but I don’t think that really makes a huge difference. This way it’ll be the first email a lot of you read when you awake. What better way to start your day? I’m like Folgers without the calories.
I hope all is well! Drop me a line if it’s been too long. 🙂
December 8, 2008 — 2009 is gonna be fine!
And it is time for another end-of-the-year update! Last year I said that 2008 would be great, and that led to a really rough winter, so this year, I am going with the more moderate superlative, “fine.” It’s also b/c fine rhymes with nine. I admit it. I do like to rhyme, most of the time. I’m unstoppable and unfloppable! But enough of rhymes that are rough…
WATCH ME ON YOUTUBE
It has come to my attention that not everyone reads every word of every ledger, so I wanted to put the important information right up top here – I have uploaded 6 youtube videos from Writer’s Block, and 12 mp3’s from the show. Furthermore, I put my entire solo show, Seth Sings Bisen-Hersh up in 10 parts. So this means, this holiday season, you are going to have the chance to spend hours listening and viewing me online! That is my gift to all of you. 🙂
www.sethbh.com/songs3.html has all the links – if you haven’t listened to the More to Love demo cd yet, what are you waiting for? Right now some of my videos have only 15 views – it is your task, should you accept it,
to make those views closer to my popular videos which have over 1000 views…
We’re having our first reading of Stanley’s Adventures this Friday, and I am PSYCHED. It’s going up weekends April and May, and will be the first time that I haven’t had to self-produce my own show in NYC! If anyone has any connections at Disney or Nickelodeon, please let me know, b/c I would like to invite as many important industry people as possible…
I have been getting questions about Stanley, so let me clear them up – I did a podcast with nytheatre.com for “Why Am I Not Famous Yet?” fall 2007. I met Bruce who is the producer/ artistic director for Manhattan Children’s Theatre. We hit it off, and after a few months of email tag, we had a meeting where he gave me the books “Stanley’s Wild Ride” and “Stanley’s Party” which had been sent to him by Kids Can Press to be turned into a musical. Stanley is a dog who gets into trouble and goes on adventures. I asked my friend, Carrie, who I did South Pacific with in 1998 if she wanted to write the book b/c I know she’s a brilliant writer. We spent the last few months writing a great musical. We’re having a reading on Friday. The show will run 6 weeks this spring!
I am thinking of bringing WRITER’s BLOCK back this spring. My newest thought is to pick a weekend Stanley is running so people from out of town can come and see BOTH in ONE day! However, since it’s expensive to do shows, I’m only going to do 2 instead of my usual 3, for fear of losing $$. This means, I will either do a Saturday show around 6, or a Sunday one, but not BOTH.
*IMPORTANT QUESTION*: If you would come see W’s B on the same day as Stanley, would you prefer a SATURDAY or a SUNDAY in MAY? Then, I’d probably do a Monday night b/c last time the Monday night show did very well.
Hopefully by putting that in caps and with asterisks people will see that and answer.
WORKSHOPS AND SHOWCASES
I have another few weeks, but soon I have to come up with a 2009 schedule. The audition workshop went well this fall, but I’m debating between doing it in February or waiting till March. Also, I’m debating whether to do another cabaret workshop, and whether to do that in Feb or do that in March. I think in likelihood, I’ll try to do both, but the order is unclear, and I’ll have to make a decision in the near future…
Tomorrow I have showcase 44. Next week are 45 and 46. By the end of the year, over 170 singers will have performed in my showcases… I hit the 50th showcase on Feb 10th… so they’re going well is the moral. I need to figure out when I’m having auditions, late January…
I cannot stop watching interviews with Obama! He’s so intelligent and articulate – it’s just amazing to have a president like that. I am very happy he chose Hillary for Secretary of State so that she can be President in 2016! I’ve been watching the Minnesota Senate contest – there is still a 50-50 chance that Al Franken will win… basically, he won, but the Republicans, as usual, keep suing to have fewer and fewer votes counted. So depending on how many court battles they win, to throw out votes for Franken, that will determine the outcome.
I think it’s kind of sad that we still have voting issues. I endorse universal registration, as well as having the voting last for a week with machines that work and are accountable. There needs to be a huge overhaul of the system in place!
As usual, to combat baby picture emails – here’s a recent picture of Smee. He’s doing well – very healthy and hyper after 2am — https://www.sethbh.com/images/smee18.jpg — here he is in his new Macy’s bag bed!
WINTER ’09 EVENTS
2009 does have some exciting events coming up. I will be going to Boston for my 12th mystery hunt in January, and this time I intend to win! We are already discussing the hunt more than we ever have in December, and the mega-team that wins every other year won last year, so is running the hunt this year. This is the year! This will be the year I finally win! Hopefully.
On February 28th, I will be turning 30. Since my birthday falls on a Saturday night, I will be having a HUGE, HUGE party! We will play celebrity and pin the tail on the donkey… we’ll put on Bernadette b/c it’s her birthday, too… and Muppets… I’m hoping to reserve the new lounge at Don’t Tell Mama, since my apartment can’t hold more than 10 people at a time.
I finished Middlesex, which is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I, then, as I said read the Virgin Suicides, which wasn’t as good, but had moments. Now I’m in the pile of books I borrowed from Kevin while he’s in London – W. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge…
I saw 2 movies in the actual theaters since the last ledger:
Slumdog Millionaire – very good movie
The Boy in Striped Pajamas – very sad movie
There is sadly not so much to see on the 25th this year. I’ll probably go see Doubt and Frost/ Nixon even though I’ve seen the plays already… I am very much looking forward to the Star Trek movie in May, and Harry Potter 6 in July…
Well, I am really mad at ABC b/c they cancelled the 2 shows I watch on it – Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone. It seems the shows I like always are cancelled. So now ABC is on my new list of networks to boycott for new shows. And I’m still boycotting FOX b/c of Arrested Development and the CW b/c of Veronica Mars. So basically, I will only watch new shows on cable. Or NBC. (CBS never has any good shows, besides How I Met Your Mother and the Big Bang Theory.)
I don’t think that much has changed in my TV habits since the last ledger. I am now in season 3 of Lost, and will be caught up in time for the new season, I believe. Sadly, it’s on ABC. I will also be watching Scrubs, which is returning in January! Other than that, Reaper is back in March… Battlestar Galactica is back in January!!! As is Psych… Perhaps I’ll pick up a new mid-season show at some point…
I have cleared my DVR, however, and am looking forward to returning to the DVDs of Buffy/ Angel – I’m in season 5/7 of Buffy, and season 2/5 of Angel, so I still have many hours of those to watch the last 2 weeks of the month when nothing is really happening…
Yeah, I’ve barely seen anything this month…
Lerner and Loewe Evening/ Broadway Originals 4 at Town Hall — it’s always amazing seeing people revisit the songs that won them accolades decades ago…
Mouth to Mouth — off-Bway play
Shrek — very large and green musical based on the movie…
Broadway Unplugged 5 — the 5th year of the concert w/o mics at town hall…
Family Guy Live at Carnegie Hall — saw the entire cast read a 2 part episode live, while singing songs in each commercial break…
Well, that’s about it. I’m sorry if this is too short of an update… I didn’t have much new news to report, as my life is pretty consistent nowadays! I am planning to do some more updates to the webpage – I did update quite a lot already, but the task is never ending! I’m going to be setting up an online store for my sheet music soon, as well. And I need to back up my files — everyone BACK up your FILES !
Btw, my family may be switching to Verizon – so if you have Verizon, I would be able to talk to you for free. Please let me know if you do. And I will be switching to a MAC for my birthday… I will be starting a fund – if every one of my 1400 facebook friends gave me $1, I would have more than enough $$ for a new MAC!
Regardless of anything, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for 2009, which will be here before you know it!