A Conversation with Harlequin Productions “Stardust” Author, Harlowe Reed

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Harlequin ProductionsI was lucky enough to sit down with the mysterious Harlowe Reed for an exclusive interview with the author of the Stardust Musical.Where do you find your inspiration for story lines?Inspiration is everywhere, but largely it comes from having watched actors work in other projects and beginning to see Stardust characters emerge. These are situation comedies, so the next step is finding a situation. The ideas for the situations or problems are one percent pure luck that must be supported with the ninety-nine percent hard work.Do you ever decide to abandon plot concepts mid-way through writing?If a plot will be abandoned, it needs to happen right at the beginning. That’s the place you have to recognize that you’re headed to a dead end. Not half-way through. Once you are committed to a storyline, you tend to make it the story you want even if it requires a staple gun, a shoe horn, and bailing wire. If a sledgehammer is needed to get you to the finish line, you’ll know better next time.Any particularly strange Stardusts we almost had?They are all strange. We joke about various concepts like setting the show in the Star Wars Cantina or in a remote future where all the performers are robots or clones. These ideas are unlikely to be explored anytime soon; however, the Cantina version has its attractions. I always loved the jazz combo in that scene.Do you have any favorite Stardusts past?Naturally the shows I like the best are the shows that audiences like the best: Stardust for Christmas, Operation Stardust, The Stardust Serenade, and last year’s Stardust Christmas Blizzard rank high. But, as you know, the real favorite is always the one you are working on at the moment.Do you find that your original vision usually comes to fruition in the final product, or does the vision tend to evolve during a process?It has absolutely got to evolve in the process. It can’t be helped. The performers bring their own brilliance to the project and new and irresistible possibilities come to life. And that is what makes the “original vision” viable. You have to begin with raw eggs to end up with an omelet. The ideas are the raw eggs BTW …not the actors. With an original script, you can’t go in thinking it’s already cooked. That’s a formula for disaster. You might get a disaster anyway, but the chances are greatly reduced by letting it morph organically into its true potential. This does, however, require knowing what and what not to keep. You have got to know a speed bump for what it is. How has your writing style changed over these 19 years?Writing comedy is trial by fire. You learn the hard way what has a chance of working and what makes it work when it does. I’ve learned a lot about tempo and phrasing. I like broken and overlapping lines because it’s the way people actually banter with each other. Smart actors can do that, but the tempo has to be correctly balanced in the line. Also, consonants are vital. Finding the clear words that help actors communicate a feeling or situation to the audience can be the difference between keeping them with you or confusing them. I’ve done the confusion part and now attempt to do something else. I also used to be much more sentimental. We still want a happy ending, but keeping it terse actually seems to make that more rewarding.What led to your decision to move from the 1940’s to the 1950’s?We spent seventeen Christmases in the 1940s, mostly the war years. We covered well over 200 songs from the period. Most of them were ballads. It’s time to move it to the 1950s and the more upbeat popular music of that decade. It was an optimistic time, maybe the last non-cynically optimistic period in American history.What do you love about this year’s feature?The homeless youth element and the way it resonates with contemporary problems. His situation is a catalyst for a sequence of crazy events that (I hope) keep us engaged and rooting for everyone concerned.What would you say is the thesis of this entire body of work?Simple: The Stardust Series is really a collection of big noisy Christmas cards. These are alternative holiday shows that provide a bit of added cheer and entertainment. I have nothing as lofty as a “thesis,” but the intention to reach out to the community with a happy offering has endured.Do you have any relation to Fletcher Reed, Jim Carry’s character from the 1997 smash Liar, Liar?Sadly, no. That was one of Jim’s better roles. I am, however, tangentially connected to the journalist John “Jack” Reed (1887 – 1920). He was born in Portland, Oregon, lived for a time in Greenwich Village.  He had Communist leanings and wrote prodigiously about the Russian Revolution and was given a hero’s funeral when he died in Moscow. Obviously he got in lots of trouble. I’m nothing like that.Do you spend much time with the Director, the fabulous Linda Whitney?Collaboration is required to pull these things together. Time is an imaginary concept.last_img read more

Who to Watch; Opening Day, September 26

first_imgBlog by Zoe MetzAll the anticipation can mean only one thing.  The Autumn Meet is upon us…We kick off the meet on September 26th the best way we know how; FIVE Grade I “Win and You’re In” races with a berth to the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships up for grabs.The Races2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner, Bayern (photo by Zoe Metz)The Awesome Again is one of the final chances (as well as a prep race for the boys, 3 years old & up) to earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Some familiar names have won this race such as Game On Dude and Shared Belief. Horses among this year’s running include Bayern, Global View, Hard Aces, Hoppertunity, Imperative, Point Piper, Sammy Mandeville and Smooth Roller.The Zenyatta Stakes, named after the one and only Zenyatta, is a race for the older fillies and mares to reserve their spot in the Ladies’ Distaff. The last two Zenyatta Stakes have been swept by two time Eclipse Champion, Beholder. Other notables for the race include 2015 Santa Anita Oaks winner Stellar Wind, My Sweet Addition and Warren’s Veneda (all Grade I winners over the Santa Anita surface).The FrontRunner Stakes gives a chance to see the young up-and-coming two-year-old boys. You never know where the winner of this race could end up. For example, American Pharoah; he proved he could win in the Del Mar Futurity, showed his professionalism in the FrontRunner, and proved his greatness capturing the Triple Crown. Trainers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas are tied with 9 winners in the Chandelier StakesThe Chandelier Stakes is a glimpse of the young fillies trying to make their journey on to the first Friday in May. Numerous fillies have used this race to pave their way into running strong races in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, amidst those fillies are Halfbridled, Stardom Bound, Serena’s Song and Blindluck. Fun Fact: D. Wayne Lucas and Bob Baffert are tied for most wins in the Chandelier Stakes, both have had 9 winners.The Rodeo Drive Stakes has been won by fillies and mares that have made their name in the racing world on the grass. In 1998 a mare of the name of Fiji (GB) won this race, later on became Eclipse Award Champion Grass Mare. Other notable past winners include Tranquility Lake, Wait a While (only mare to win the race twice), and Nashoba’s Key. Fun Fact: Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel won this race 3 consecutive years in a row (2003-2005) with Tates Creek, Light Jig (GB) and Megahertz (GB).Ones to WatchHoppertunity during morning workouts (photo by Zoe Metz)This could be his opportunity to steal the show, or rather a Hoppertunity. Hoppertunity has been up against some of the toughest competitors the west coast has seen like Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, the small but mighty Shared Belief and in his most recent start, the best mare around, Beholder. You couldn’t ask for a horse with more consistency than Hoppertunity, he has never been worse than 5th (his debut) in his 13 career starts. Can he punch his golden ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a win in the Awesome Again stakes?Beholder will make an attempt to capture her third consecutive Zenyatta Stakes. She is the mare that can do just about anything, proving just what kind of horse she is by beating the boys with flying colors in the Pacific Classic. She is hands down one of the best mares the world has seen winning 14 of 19 starts. Beholder has not only captured everyone’s attention but she has captured everyone’s hearts with her love and ability to run.Beholder working under Hall of Fame jockey, Gary Stevens (photo by Zoe Metz)Nyquist remains undefeated after three starts, including his graded wins in the Best Pal Stakes and Del Mar Futurity. He has continued the success of Mario Gutierrez and Reddam Racing, LLC over the summer, can he keep the streak alive? Mario and Reddam Racing teamed up for  a victory in the FrontRunner Stakes back in 2013.Songbird proved she is all business in the Del Mar Debutante. She is trained and ridden by Hall of Famers that believe she is something special. She too is also unbeaten and will try to keep her good fortune for owners Fox Hill Farm, Inc.Sharla Rae during morning workouts (photo by Zoe Metz)Sharla Rae is taking on older fillies and mares for the first time to secure her spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She is fresh off an impressive win in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks. Sharla Rae is very familiar with running in stakes company and just continues to improve. Can she make the grade against older females?Opening day is this Saturday, don’t forget first post is at 12:30pm!last_img read more