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Episode 46

SECRETS

Back from New Mexico
Monday, December 14th

"Hey! Welcome back. How did the trip go?"

Interesting.

"Did you find Robin?"

Let's just say I got a lot of answers. For the time being, I don't want you mentioning to anyone that we suspect Robin is in New Mexico, all right?

"Uhmmm. Are you going to tell me why?"

I can't, at least not now. You'll have to trust me on this one. It's for your own safety.

"What about the insurance? We need that money, and they won't pay off until Robin is found."

We can do without it, at least for a couple of more months.

"Okay. But, answer me one question?"

I'll try.

"After all of this - whatever it is - is over, am I going to be happy you kept me out of it, or mad that you didn't trust me enough to let me in on it?"

Probably a little of both.

"Is it legal?"

Is what legal?

"Whatever you're up to."

Technically, I don't think so. However, I'm not going to discuss it with a lawyer to find out.

"You can be damn irritating at times, you know that?"

So I've been told. By you. On several occasions. What's been going on around here the last couple of days?

"I got a call from Des . . . Desmond . . . "

Desmond Derrick. I spoke with him before I left about Neverland.

"He wanted a copy of the script."

Did you give him one?

"I wanted to wait and see what you said."

Send him one. He said if he didn't get Wiseguys, he might be available for Neverland. I happen to know he's not going to be offered Wiseguys, so I want to be positioned to pull him into our project as soon as he finds out.

"Is this the guy who did that workshop of Springtime for Hitler last summer?

One and the same.

"He's good."

Very, very good. Do you think you could work with him? I'm thinking of bringing him in as soon as possible to take charge of the development and help finish the book and lyrics. He'll want an authorship credit, of course, even if he doesn't actually write anything.

"Hey, I'll admit I need help. I've taken the material about as far as I can by myself. I know what I want to do with it, I just don't know how to get it there."

I'll set up a meeting for the three of us. You available all week? His schedule is chaotic this time of year.

"I'm open, except for Thursday and Friday."

What's up then?

"You don't remember? I asked you last week to keep one of those evenings free."

I forgot.

"Well, keep one of them open. Our star is doing his cabaret act at The Lighthouse and I told him we would be there."

How the hell did Jonathan Frank get a weekend booking at The Lighthouse? Nobody knows who he is yet. They turned down Buckley!

"Connections."

Whose?

"Mine. My family owns the building and one of my cousins runs it. He owed me a favor."

Why did you arrange the booking?

"Why? We're not paying him very much to work on Neverland. He needs to make some money if he's going to hang around."

But, is he good enough for The Lighthouse? That's a pretty high visibility venue, you know. What happens if he bombs? More important, what happens to Neverland if he bombs?

"He's got a decent act. I saw it in Seattle."

And you're sure what's decent in Seattle is good enough to go over in New York?

"Well . . . "

Although . . . Actually, this could work out to our benefit if he can carry it off.

"What do you mean?"

I'm thinking this could generate some good publicity if he's . . . Get him in here this afternoon. I want to see his act, beginning to end. That way, we'll know what we're up against. Hurry up! We don't have much time.

"Give me the phone. I'll call right now."

Oh, and can you get in touch with that friend of yours who thinks he's Bob Fosse?

"Sure. And he is Bob Fosse; he changed his name legally and everything. Why?"

He's crazy as a loon, whatever his name is. I want to talk to him. I have an idea.

"Tell me?"

It's a secret.

Much later that evening.
A Secret Meeting with Bob Fosse.

Mr. Fosse. Bob! Over here.

"Ah, hello. Where's the kid?"

He'll be along in a few minutes. I wanted a word with you in private first, if I may?

"Certainly."

First, I wanted to apologize for last week.

"Last week?"

At Barrymore's. I wanted to say how sorry I was that Desmond and I had to run off so quickly like that. I wish I had had the time to talk with you then.

"No problem. What's up? Nothing the matter with the kid, I hope."

Not at all. Well, I wanted to tell you how much of a fan I've always been of your work.

"Really? Thank you. Which was your favorite?"

Show?

"Uhmmm."

Chicago, I think.

"One of my favorites, too."

Sad, isn't it, what they've done to it in the revival?

"Thank you. Thank you! At last someone else realizes what a travesty that production is!"

Especially after what they did to Cabaret. Sad.

"You know, I offered to restage both of those productions. They wouldn't even talk to me! Fran screamed at me and told everybody I'm crazy. You don't think I'm crazy, do you?"

Not at all.

"Although, I have every right to be! Every right in the world! It's a plot, you know. A plot! Everybody is in on it, too! Even Gwen. She walked right by me on the street this afternoon and pretended not to even notice me. They've gotten to her. She loved me and they've gotten to her. You be careful, or they'll get to you too!"

I promise you right here, right now, I won't let them.

"I can see the kid's right about you. He respects and admires you. When he gets here, why don't you join us for a drink? He'd like that, and I would too."

I wish I could. However, I've got a meeting across town in a little while - no time. But, before I run, there was something I wanted to ask you.

"Shoot."

Seeing as how they're trying to trash all your great shows, would you be interested in teaching them a lesson?

"I don't quite follow you."

I think it's intolerable you not being hired to direct the revivals of your musicals.

"It is! Oh, it is!"

Who do they think they are, trying to keep the great Bob Fosse away from where he belongs, on Broadway? I want you to direct and choreograph my new musical! You'll be back where you belong!

"You want me . . . a new musical?"

Nobody can do it like you can. Show ‘em you've still got what it takes. Hell, show ‘em you're better than you ever were! What do you say?

"This is what I say - here!"

What's this?

"It's my secret weapon! I want you to have some of it."

Aluminum foil?

"Ah, you see, that's what it looks like. Clever, isn't it?"

I suppose . . . what . . . what do I do with . . .

"Simple. You roll it up in a cigar shape - like this - then bend it - like so - then you wear it over your left ear. Here, let me put it on you. Now, keep it in place. Then they can't get to you like they got to Gwen."

I don't quite know what to say.

"No 'thank you's' necessary. After all, I can't be letting them get to the producer of my new musical, can I?"

Then, you'll do it?

"Does the Pope read Variety? Of course I'll do it!"

Great! There's only one little problem, though.

"And what might that be?"

I don't want to bother you with my problems.

"Nonsense! We're a team now. You're problems are my problems. I'm sure I can help, one way or another."

Tell me - just out of curiosity - back when Cabaret was playing the Henry Miller and that construction accident closed the theatre for all those weeks . . .

"I'll let you in on a little secret. That wasn't any accident."

You did it?

"Well, somebody had to do something!"

You know, Mr. Fosse, maybe you can help me with this little problem . . .

Once upon a time in American theater, there was Broadway and then there was the road. New shows might try out for Broadway on the road - theaters in cities such as New Haven, Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and Chicago, and Broadway hits might tour on the road for years. But until the 1960s, Broadway was more or less the center of the theatrical universe. As Gerald M. Berkowitz's New Broadways: Theatre Across America: Approaching a New Millennium chronicles, however, things have changed. Broadway's output - particularly of non-musical dramas and comedies - has decreased, but the appetite for them has increased, leading to the mass decentralization of American theater in less than 35 years. New Broadways chronicles this trend shaped by regional theaters like the Alley Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, and others, and shows how new, regional playwriting voices are being cultivated.

New Broadways: Theatre Across America: Approaching a New Millennium
by Gerald M. Berkowitz
List Price $24.95
Applause Theatre Books
ISBN 1557832579


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