About the author:
When Dick Scanlan, the Tony-nominated book writer of Thoroughly Modern Millie, and his longtime friend and muse Sherie Rene Scott asked the universe to deliver their successful off-Broadway collaboration Everyday Rapture to Broadway, the universe delivered. However, it did so with a condition: They'd have just six weeks to get the show ready to open at Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre. (Rapture became a last-minute replacement after the abrupt cancelleation of season closer Lips Together, Teeth Apart.) With opening night set for April 29, it's clear that Scanlan and Scott's whirlwind story has a happy ending...but that doesn't make the journey any less entertaining for us outsiders. In his own words, Scanlan shares with Broadway.com the wild Broadway birth of Everyday Rapture, which just so happened to be the best birthday present he's ever gotten.
On Sunday, March 21, Ira Rosenthal, my trainer and de facto shaman, called me.
“I’m looking at your chart,” he said. “Something big and unexpected is going to happen this week.”
“Good or bad?”
“I’m not getting a read on that…but it will be out of the blue, and your life will be turned upside-down.”
Two days later, Jim Carnahan, associate artistic director at the Roundabout Theatre Company, stepped out of the shower and, dripping wet, called me. Since I’ve known Jim for years, I didn’t think he was being flirtatious, I figured something was up.
Jim: “Todd Haimes [Roundabout’s Aritistic Director] was wondering if you could have Everyday Rapture ready to open at the American Airlines Theatre in 40 days?”
Me: “No, but we’ll do it.”
Picture having sex on Sunday, a sonogram Monday and a baby on Tuesday.
In a way, Sherie Rene Scott and I have been doing it for a decade.
We met when we collaborated on the liner notes for her CD, Sherie Rene…Men I’ve Had. We then wrote a funny (and little bit sad) monologue for her to perform at a benefit. That led to 20 minutes at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Winter Gala, which led to an evening at the Gay & Lesbian Center, which led to a critically acclaimed run at Second Stage last year.
Throughout that journey—10 years, because each of us had other projects along the way—we were striving to create a unified voice. Not Sherie. Not Dick. But a character called “Sherie,” whose life bears a striking resemblance to—but is not the same as—the real Sherie Scott’s life. We were fascinated by the difference between reality and truth, the former being the antithesis of theatricality, and the latter being its essence. Accuracy can be dull and whimsy can be tedious, but the right quotient of fact to fancy is sheer heaven. To us, anyway.
Thirty-seven days is about 332 days shy of what’s required to mount a Broadway musical, which means that, since that phone call from Carnahan, all of us at Everyday Rapture are doing 10 things at once.
Many of our key players—director, music supervisor, music director, four of our five designers—have been busy with American Idiot. Each of them hired killer associates, and we somehow assembled a new dream music team. To give you an idea of the time compression, Jon Collins, associate set designer and my hero, had an initial meeting with the technical director on a Friday afternoon and, 24 hours with no sleep later, presented an elaborate model of the set, built to scale and painted to perfection.
Meanwhile, Sherie and I had rewrites we wanted to do. Because we thought Rapture was finished for now—we always believed it would happen, just not so soon!—we were focused on other projects, both together and apart. Suddenly, we had about a minute to reexamine moments in Rapture. The result has been clearer thinking, funnier jokes, no time to flounder and just enough time to get it right.
She looks like a cross between Sherie and me, and the dozens of artists who’ve helped birth Everyday Rapture. And wait till you see our show on stage at the American Airlines! The original set was conceived for a very different space on the other side of Eighth Avenue…but we all dreamed that Rapture would have a Broadway life. After all, Broadway is Sherie’s natural habitat, and the show is a small musical, so a 740-seat Broadway house: perfection!
We are, of course, saddened that our good fortune was made possible because of another show’s bad luck. But we are eternally grateful to Roundabout for giving our baby such a beautiful home.
I turned 50 on April 14, and Ira told me that’s very significant. Something to do with the five senses coming together, and divine inspiration. Ira said I had to celebrate it in a special way.
I planned a big party, then cancelled it. I organized a dinner at the Four Seasons, but it seemed perfunctory as opposed to celebratory. I thought about planning a trip, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Then the miracle of Everyday Rapture at the Roundabout occurred, and I had the perfect way of welcoming in a new decade: first day of tech.