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November 5, 2002

Life has been fairly wild recently. We've just finished our first big reading of Camille Claudel under the sponsorship of Clear Channel Entertainment. This was a 29-hour reading, which does not mean that the show runs for 29 hours, I promise. It means that each of the 16 actors was only allowed to rehearse beforehand for 29 hours. Despite the time limitations, Jeremy Roberts, our musical director and resident wizard, was able to not only teach all 19 songs to the cast, but to achieve amazing results. Gabe Barre is our director and he, too, brought off small miracles. Gabe is a remarkable director- an incredible gentleman (with the stress on "gentle") who is still able to lead with a firm and supremely organized hand. He engenders such respect from the cast, and his imagination and inventiveness are inspiring. The reading was extremely well-attended and our feedback has been great. We had a terrific cast- a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, and I am enormously grateful to the first-rate actors who gave so generously of their time and skill. And naturally, working side by side again with Frank and the lovely Linda was a joy. Linda has literally become Camille- very exciting to watch it happen. What a talent she is- we are so lucky to have her as our leading lady. And now-.. we will be moving on to a regional production, and, with any luck, to Broadway spring or fall.

My other current project- Man with Two Hearts Found on Moon - is also making nice progress. Bill Haber, who was one of the original great producers for Scarlet Pimpernel, read the script and loved it. With Bill's sponsorship, the play will receive its first reading at The Roundabout Theatre in January of 2003. I need to start thinking about casting right away, but I am giving myself a few more days breather after the Camille reading. I'm delighted about this play being aired- it's something that I truly believe in. I love the characters- they've been living in my head for ages, and they keep making me laugh. Thank God there are producers like Bill Haber who are willing to take chances.

My next project is a mystery play. It's already written- in fact I think I wrote the first draft of it in the late 80's. I've been re-drafting it off and on since then, but it is now finally in shape for what I call a "livingroom reading." This is when I call up some actor buddies and invite them over to my place for an informal reading of the play. It's purely for me to hear it and see what changes I need to make. Also extremely helpful are the comments afterwards from the actors. In return for their generous help, I give them a little buffet dinner, drinks, whatever. The only difference between this and other "livingroom readings" is that this time I'm not going to send the actors the script ahead of time. Since it's a mystery, I want them to read it cold so I can watch their reactions as they go along. I want to get a bit of a simulation of audience reaction, what surprises, what scares, what mystifies, who figures what out when, etc. I have a lot of hopes for this play, primarily because I haven't been able to drop it or get it out of my mind all these years. It just keeps haunting me, as it were. The title: Bad Dreams.

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