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Monday, August 08, 2011

Monday Jump Start: Abigail Pogrebin's "Showstopper"


Start your writing week with a delicious little Kindle Single: In Showstopper, Abigail Pogrebin chronicles her experience as a 16 year old cast member (along with then 21-year old Jason Alexander) in Merrily We Roll Along, the show famous for being the only flop in the legendary repertoire of Steven Sondheim. In the first 400 words, we see the production falling apart around the company who's struggling to give it heart and soul. Pogrebin quotes from her journal: "Two weeks before opening we have a new lead..." A week later: "Tonight was the biggest walk out we've had yet..." The next day: "The choreographer was fired..."

Anyone who's done theatre will get the biggest laughs, but the tragicomic tale of this epic Broadway turkey goes to the heart of the creative struggle...
"The experience taught me that creativity takes audacity, that Utopia materializes, that failure can be survived. It was formative to see that songs - which underwhelmed some critics in 1981 - could become classics ten or twenty years later; that a bedeviled flop could become folklore, that art can keep breathing after it's declared dead, and even come to life again many times over."
Totally applicable to the writing life and well worth the tiny price of a Kindle Single, my new 99 cent addiction.

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