The first was for a conference known as APAP, which is an acronym for the American Performing Arts Presenters (or something equally as clever). Basically, artists and presenters from all over the world gather in New York for a weekend of showcasing and schmoozing. It was our first time at APAP and we really didn’t know what to expect. We were armed with business cards, flyers, CDs, fancy outfits (meant to say “Hey – we always look this good … even when we’re being relaxed and casual … but could break into song on stage at any minute … ” or something like that!) and a lot of hope!
We were scheduled for 2 showcases at something called “Two Great Days of Jazz in the Harlem Suite”. This was happening in a room at the Hilton (APAP’s host hotel) where for 2 days, various artists did 25 minute showcases, one after another. It was intense! Our first showcase was on Saturday night … which meant we had the day to take things in. Julie was showcasing on her own, so Diane and Heather decided to take some time and research for new material for Broadsway … translation: going to see some shows!
First stop: “The Last Ship”, with music by Sting. Alas, ticket sales for this show weren’t what producers had hoped for, and so it was set to close on January 24th. In an attempt to push sales, Sting – himself – was brought in as a member of the cast, and the show we caught was his last. We enjoyed the production (which might have had something to do with the double gin and tonics we purchased on our way into the theatre), and thought Sting was pretty good in his role. Diane’s extensive musical theatre background gave her more to say about the show: the staging, blocking, movement, arrangements, etc., etc., etc. Overall, it was a good experience, made better by the fact that we saw the composer, himself, acting in the production.
Our first showcase was scheduled for that evening. Anyone who has ever produced or presented a show knows the difficulties that go along with it. Thus, our hearts went out to Pat and Allan Harris, who were producing the “Two Great Days of Jazz … ” showcases. We felt particularly badly when, towards the end of the evening, things were already delayed, and then – poof – no sound!!! It seems the amount of power required to run the lights, and all of the sound equipment might have been just too much to handle. First, the lights flickered, then there was a strange odour, and finally someone yelled something about the sound board smoking, all of which was followed by the strangest little “dance of frustration” executed by the sound technician.
So, suddenly we were faced with (a) 30+ minutes delay to our already somewhat late (11:30 pm) showcase, (b) no sound / amplification system, and (c) a dwindling audience who now thought shows were cancelled because the sound board … er … almost caught fire!! HOWEVER, as they say in the bizz: the show must go on! When the time came (just after midnight), we took to the now significantly darker stage, and did a kick-ass performance … for the 8 people in attendance. Tomorrow is another day – and another showcase! Plus, the Hilton had a large hotel bar and the fact that there is such a thing as an “American Pour” meant we could mark the evening with a nice martini. (Yes, “martini” IS used in the plural sense there!)
What happens next? Check back NEXT WEEK for Part 2 of “In A New York State Of Mind” by Broadsway.