Friday, February 17, 2012

Houston Gets Some Hed, Part 3: Wig In A Box

Jef sat in stunned silence, looking at me as if wondering if I was having him on. "What?" he spit out, searching my face for a hint that this was just another example of my bizarre sense of humor. I repeated myself, "I've decided I'm going to produce and star in Hedwig, and I want you and Lynda involved. In fact, I want YOU to direct the show". Jef, still seemingly waiting for the punch-line, said "but Dave, I've never directed a show in my life. Rocky Horror cast director hardly counts. Why on earth would you want ME for your director"? I explained to him how I'd noticed all the great ideas, and what-not, he had during our conversations about various shows. It was obvious he hadn't really thought about directing, but that the potential was there. I wanted to give him a chance that no one else probably would, simply because of his age and inexperience. The more we talked, the more intrigued he became. I could tell that the ideas were all swirling around in his head as we spoke. I couldn't help but smile.
I recruited Lynda for her background in hair styling. She had worked for several years at an upscale Houston salon, and did incredible work. Although she had changed careers, she still had the knack for it. I wouldn't trust my wig to anyone else. Both of them agreed to come on board, and they jumped into the project head-first. Their enthusiasm was amazing, to say the least. We spent the rest of 2003 nailing down a timetable and tossing ideas off one another. We agreed that we would really get the ball rolling after the first of the year. We didn't want to try to juggle prepping for the show with holidays and family commitments. 2004 dawned, and on Super-bowl Sunday, while the rest of America gorged themselves on beer and chips and watched football, we quietly convened in my apartment to examine the logistics of the show. The Super-bowl was hosted in Houston that year, and I lived not far from the stadium, so chaos was all around us. We seemed to be on our own little island, a group of arstsy-fartsy folk adrift on a sea of sports-loving, beer-swilling maniacs. It was a wonderful moment. Jef had already recruited two members for the band. Our longtime friend, Jim Cahoun, was brought on board to play guitar. Jim had been a cast member from the Rocky Horror days, and had the ability to sweat creativity from every pour. He often brought his guitar to cast meetings, and entertained us with acoustic versions of tunes by Pink Floyd, Nirvana and others.
On bass, Jef hired his best friend, Jenny. I'd only met her a few times before, but felt like I knew her from all the stories Jef told. She was an instant fit for the show, as she was already a huge fan. In fact, she sported a groovy Hedwig "divided face" tattoo on her neck. By the time she met with me to discuss her role, she'd already brainstormed with Jef about how her character should appear on stage.
Jef had also spoken to an associate of his about coming on board to play keyboards, but she quickly fell through. We both set out to find a replacement, and we also needed a drummer and rhythm guitarist. For Yitzak, it was a no-brainer that we would use Elaine. She and I had remained good friends after our divorce, and her familiarity with the role would, we reasoned, be a huge boost to the show. While she still lived in San Antonio, her schedule would allow her to come down on the weekends to perform. Lynda was set to understudy for her, as she knew the part quite well, just from years of being a fan. Lynda had found a makeup artist for us, a friend of hers from the goth scene known as Maddy-Cat. Maddy, in turn, brought us a photographer, Ishmael Lerma. We also snagged another Rocky Horror Alum, Mina Smith, to do the costumes. Mina had been an accomplished seamstress for years, and had done several costumes of mine for RHPS. Her skills would prove invaluable before it was all said and done. The pieces were all falling into place, but two major components were missing: a venue, and an investor. Both would wind up falling into our laps before too long.
To be continued...

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