Saturday, April 01, 2006


I’ve been itching to announce this news for awhile, but had to hold back until some details were in place.

Stepan Chapman, Matt Cheney, and I have been working on a musical based on the Ambergris stories and novels for a long time. Stepan has a wide experience in theater and has done musicals before, albeit on the regional level. He was basically the one taking my rough scratchings and turning them into something usable. Matt has actually staged productions and he then took what Stepan and I had come up with and made it usable for the stage, which amounted to a lot of rewriting of the stage directions and some rewriting of the lyrics.

We finished our work, including the score, about three months ago. Basically, the musical is a guided tour of Ambergris, narrated in song by Voss Bender and the colorful characters he meets along the way. There’s a doomed love affair, sword fights, a wonderful piece of chorus and melody work involving the eccentric writer “X” and his psychiatrist. And throughout it all, the gray caps pop up at odd moments to provide an ironic counterpoint in song.

Now I’m happy to announce that the prestigious off-Broadway York Theatre will be doing a production of Ambergris: The Musical in the fall. The singers will be chosen over the next couple of months and there will be some run-through performances in upstate New York regional theaters before the show hits New York City. We’re all very excited. I’m still trying to imagine the costumes, although we’ve made suggestions for the gray caps and begun to receive drawings from the costume designer. I was worried at first, because in the first iterations, the gray caps’ costumes looked a lot like they were just being covered by giant gray condoms. But the latest sketches are awesome!!! And Stepan, Matt, and I can’t wait to fly up to New York for the opening.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a few lines from the production as it currently stands. It’s a bit ingenious as it is a musical but there is a definite operatic strain running through it.

Those cannot be gray caps I see
How could such creatures be?
I’ll venture they’re nothing living
And maybe they’ll be forgiving.

Gray caps they are not
No, not this gray rot
Look how they come close!
Look how they come close!

(The gray cap shapes are advancing at this point.)

The light’s uncertain
Like a dirty curtain.
I would wish my eyes
Were full of lies.

Gray caps they be?
Gray caps we see?
Gray caps three?
Or forty-three?

O we are the gray caps
O we are the gray caps
O we are the gray caps
Bring on the terror!

(Jeff: "Congrats on your first published piece outside of this blog!" Evil Monkey: "Oh, thanks. Congrats on the P&S interview and historical piece." Jeff: "Thanks." Evil Monkey: "We make a good team." Jeff: "Yes." Evil Monkey: "...Sorry I sided with Bakker at the end." Jeff: "No worries. He's emailed me since and everything is cool." Evil Monkey: "Really? Shit, man. You should have told me." Jeff: "Why?" Evil Monkey: "I already toilet papered his house." Jeff: "Crap. Maybe he's not up yet." Evil Monkey: "Huh?" Jeff: "We might be able to clean it all up before he notices." Evil Monkey: "What do you mean 'we', pale face?" Jeff: "C'mon. If we hurry, it'll all be okay." Evil Monkey: "Nothing's ever 'all okay,' weirdo." Jeff: "Well, true...")


At 12:12 PM, Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

Wow! Congrats, man! That is totally cool.

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh huh. :: checks calendar ::

Except, this is *you*...anything is possible...

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

::slaps forehead::

Though I could totally see you doing this.

At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hee hee hee

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's that day on the calendar when people make up stories about Google's dating services and T. M. Wright being decapitated but I want this to be irrevocably true.

Especially because a Chapman, Cheney and Vandermeer team-up would be freaky from the orchestra pit to the fly space.

For the finale, I picture spores shooting into the audience's eyeballs, making sentient beings live behind the corneas so a new breed of Posthumans can find the cure for soybean rust.

But it'd be even cooler if it was in Imax 3D. If you really want to write it, I'd be glad to help. I'm even willing to buy an advance ticket to opening night, just not willing to reserve the hotel room yet.

The most convincing line is "upstate New York regional theatres."

You cannot run from the gray caps.
You cannot run from the gray caps.
Gray caps:
No, you cannot run from the gray caps.

wishing and hoping,

At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, sorry folks. Actually, a Voss Bender opera is in the works, but just cause I want to write an opera, not because there's any hope for a home for it.

Let's see...collaborating with Stepan when both he and I are as hard-headed as mastodons. And then add Cheney for diplomacy, grace, and additional talent. It could work!


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