David Cutler and I are survivors of the same Intermediate school: I went to his bar mitzvah, and at lunchtime we hung out in the Student Store. David played a LOT of piano back then and accompanied my eighth-grade talent-show act, "A Sucker Born Every Minute" (from Barnum). He even improvised some jazzy chords behind my patter. Good stuff.
Last night he was quick to note the more-than-20 years since last we spoke. He thought my e-mail came from another woman who shares my name, with whom he worked in another state. As such, his surprise upon seeing MY name was total. He was likewise astonished that my son is closer to our age back then than we are now.
My surprise was in his e-mail last night when he asked if I knew of Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate 2001-2003. "Not only am I versed in his poetry," I wrote back, "but I have MET Billy Collins, at a pre-reading party at Alan Soldofsky's house in San Jose, CA. I was wearing my most vivid turquoise cowboy boots that night, about which Mr. Collins complimented, 'Nice kicks.'" Anyway, David just composed music for some of Collins's poetry.
David Cutler is the BIG TIME, and proved it immediately. "A musical. Big project," he said. Smart, that one. It took me a year to see it. He travels all over, plus he's up for tenure at the university where he's taught for six years. Not much time, that one, but a little.
"Frankly," I told him as we spoke an hour ago, "I'd be happy just to hear if you think it's funny." And he seemed pretty open to that. The fact that I've been noodling on this for two years should let him know that this is not necessarily a "fast-track" project. I told him the backing, musically, I'm considering for the piece. He told me the backing, financially, I should secure for this creative stage, thereby lending prestige to the project. Living in Western Mass, in the Five Colleges Area, with the Berkshires and Tanglewood the next county over, I believe that it is possible to go to Broadway with this.
I believe that "Liz" (that's my blog-o-riffic working title, never you mind) will hit Broadway and smash it a new one.
But first I need to get the backing to bring in David Cutler. A big fat grant. And maybe a tip jar. And DEFINITELY a meeting with Ben Zander.