On Friday, more baby steps were taken in the effort to turn The Coup into a musical, when composer David Berger, lyricist Paul Mendenhall and I joined three singers, about ten musicians, and a cadre of sound technicians in recording several of the songs that David and Paul have written for the show. The recording studio was located on the third floor of a building at 48th and 7th. Kind of shabby building, but state of the art equipment inside. It made me think that when Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin went into the back of Del Floria’s humble tailor shop, yes, they might have been slipping into UNCLE headquarters.
David had assembled a band of about ten musicians to perform behind the singers. I am told that this is kind of unusual these days–on these demo records, it’s often just a piano backing the singers. I heard at three songs in total, and a part of another. I liked the music. It’s very jazzy; one romantic number was described, I think accurately, as “very Billy Strayhorn.” Paul’s lyrics are intelligent and witty. The difference between reading them and hearing them performed is amazing; they take on a whole life of their own.
The singers were very good. I only heard Bill Nolte sing in an ensemble piece, so I really didn’t get a good idea of his voice. But Bruce Warren and Jessica Molaskey were very strong. It was impressive to hear how they progressed from take to take. The first take was usually a very straight rendition of the song. Then with each take, they began adding little inflections and variation; by the fourth take, they were really performing the numbers, really acting the lyrics. It’s really incredible how talented these people are.
We should finish the recording this week, followed by another week or so to mix the record. Then the script, the songs and the demo record will go to various people up the food chain–to some producers, who regularly invest and raise money, and to some directors, whose interest would attract investors.
And then we’ll see. . .
(Top photo: Bruce, Bill, Jessica, Paul, me’ Middle left: David, through a glass and darkly, conducts the band; middle right: David and the producer Glenn discuss a take.)