On April 11th I sat down in front of my computer, logged into Skype, and dialed Ken Davenport. THE Ken Davenport. Tony Award-winning Broadway and Off-Broadway Producer Ken Davenport. Quite a BIG deal for this playwright/entrepreneurial producer/dreamer! We were sitting down to talk about Shakespeare (Remix), a rock revue, which I had submitted to him a couple weeks before.
Ken is one of a few (very few) producers who will read work submitted to him, so I knew I had to get Remix in his hands. I mean this is the guy whose feedback matters in moving this musical forward to producing on a grand scale. For the record my “grand scale” is Broadway and/or the West End in London. Frame of reference for those not familiar with me, I go BIG or go home.
YOU LIKE ME
Ken and I had an hour to chat and spent the first twenty to thirty minutes chatting so he could get a better idea of who I was and how I came to write Remix. One of the first questions was “How did I come up with this idea?” (That one is easy to answer and in fact I told you all about that in my last post.) My answer to the next question, “How long did it take you to write what I have in my hands?” blew him away. I said, “After I secured all the music, about 3 months if you add together writing time.”
You should have seen his face! It was as if I smacked him. All he could say was “Wow." Then after a pause, "You are a playwright, Vanessa. And I don’t mean that as in you put words on the page. You are a playwright. And you are very smart." As you can imagine I’m screaming YES on the inside. Very much the Sally Field Oscar-winning speech where she says, “You like me! You really like me!”
We chatted specifics for the next twenty minutes or so, talking through characters, music, and avoiding audience drift. As you can imagine his feedback is on point. Wrapping up he asked if I had any questions. Well yeah, a big one. I asked him about the odds of securing major producers for Remix and he answered "Oh yeah, it will totally be produced." HOLY CRAP!
But hell why recount, here are Ken’s words from a follow up email (recommended edits removed to avoid revealing plot to you all):
It was a real pleasure talking to you today about REMIX. As I said, you're a natural writer, and one of the few people around that can fire both sides of their brain. To think that you put this intricate plot, language and music together in three months is startling. So congrats. And congrats on just DOING it. That's more than half of the work.
As I mentioned, I always give my clients three action items to focus on for their next rewrite…
Again, terrific work and I look forward to hearing about your progress!
I am on cloud nine….