...One giant leap for SOULS!
Our "Couch Reading" did just what it needed to do. It gave Michael and I a chance to watch our play from start to finish and see how it was working. The audience loved it—we got enthusiastic reviews, but it was clear the story and music still needed development. In the following week, we ruthlessly (but lovingly) tore the story apart and pieced it back together again. The amount of exposition was embarrasing! We realized we needed to pack more into the opening scene and tighten up the plotting.
At first it was brutal. I could not figure out how to pack all the setup we needed into an efficient new opening number. Michael did his best to hold my hand through it (long-distance), and we got some great insights and advice from Ed, one of our way-too-talented cast members. Eventually the best advice I got was "Stop thinking so much." Oh, right! That very weekend I managed to weave "One Little Step," our new opening song, into an engaging opening sequence that shows how annoying the stepsisters are. Goodbye "Ashley, here's my Nancy Ganz!" Hello, "Oh my god, Ashley, you're so ADD!"
Another sad goodbye for the lyrics for "Ashley's Blues," the first number Michael wrote, but they no longer seemed relevant to a stronger heroine's story. "Girls Like Me" is now the turning point of the story, where Ashley decides to take a chance on Harry... and Jeff. Harry's first "Fairy Godwhatever" song is now called "Teen Pregnancy," in which he decides to research "late-term adoptions," and Jeff's love song is more fully developed.
Now we need to see if we can weave Michael's music back into the story. I can't wait to hear how the "Truth or Dare Waltz" fleshes out. That was one moment in the reading where everyone reported goosebumps.