Friday, February 28, 2014


Apple has a security hole in both its mobile and desktop operating systems that could let a malicious hacker jump in on what you think is a secure Web transaction if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network like those at a coffee shop, airport or some other location. This week, Apple rushed out a patch for its iOS 7 and iOS 6 operating systems to fix a serious security issue. If you’ve gotten the prompt to update and you haven’t, do it now. If you’re still running older versions of iOS on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, update now.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

No Difference At All

You write a hit the same way you write a flop.
Alan Jay Lerner

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stephen Ward Will Close

They say on Broadway: "There is no limit to the number of people who won’t buy tickets to a show they won’t want to see!". For the first time in his career, Lord Lloyd-Webber has made this experience himself. His latest show, Stephen Ward, will close in two weeks. It joins a list of under-performing Lloyd Webber West End shows: The Beautiful Game, The Woman in White and his Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies. But even amid such commendable company, it’s his biggest flop to date. Fortunately his ego is tough enough and his wallet is deep enough to take the hit.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Larger Than Life

"I didn't want to be the crippled songwriter or the crippled singer. I wanted to be the singer or the songwriter who was crippled. I wanted to be larger than life and a man among men…"
Doc Pomus

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Documentary Of Doc Pomus

I just had a chance to watch the documentary Aka Doc Pomus about one of the 20th century's greatest songwriters. This wonderful biography of Doc Pomus does him full justice and also tells the the bitter-sweet tragedy of his life. Crippled by polio in his childhood, Pomus - born Jerome Solon Felder on June 27, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York - became interested in singing blues and writing songs after hearing a Big Joe Turner record as a kid. He played saxophone at the time, and after hearing Turner, blues music became his obsession. By the mid-'50s, after singing in a thousand blues clubs, Pomus came to a crossroads in his career: he was in his early 30s and if he wanted to get married and support a family, it was not going to be by singing the Blues - he decided to concentrate on songwriting. He took a young piano player, Mort Shuman, and molded him into his writing partner - a partnership that lasted many years and even more hit songs. I had the luck to get to know Mort in the 70's. We created and produced songs together, and he told me a lot about his time with Doc. Together they wrote the words and music to such hits as "Save The Last Dance For Me," (one of the 25 most popular songs ever recorded) "Little Sister," "Suspicion," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "Surrender," "Viva Las Vegas" and hundreds more. After securing their own office in the Brill Building, the team continued to crank out hit after hit. Presley alone ended up recording more than 20 of their songs throughout his career, including items like "Mess of Blues." After the Pomus-Shuman partnership broke up, Pomus took a ten year hiatus from writing. He earned his living as a professional gambler, a weekly poker game run out of his West 72nd street apartment. Pomus' son Geoffrey was sitting next to his father one night, trying not to give away the cards in their hand and maybe learn a thing or two about the game, when the mob came in to get their cut... by way of two masked gunmen. This ended Pomus' gambling career and pushed him back to writing. Collaborating mostly with Dr. John, Pomus penned another string of gems for B.B. King, Mink DeVille and a host of others. In 1991 Pomus became the first white person to be awarded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's (an organization he co-founded) Pioneer Award. Later that year, on March 14, he died of lung cancer at the age of sixty-four in New York. It makes me happy that William Hechter and Peter Miller have created a film that comes close to building the monument for Doc which he so well deserves.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lady Bess

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chayefsky On Writing

Artists don't talk about art. Artists talk about work. If I have anything to say to young writers, it's stop thinking of writing as art. Think of it as work.
Paddy Chayefsky

Friday, February 21, 2014

Network Stories

Arguably the best screenplay of the last fifty years is still Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network". Dave Itzkoff, a culture reporter for The New York Times, just finished a book dedicate to that great movie. “Mad as Hell: The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies,” tells the story behind the screen. It is a must not only for Chayefsky admirerers such as yours truly, but for everybody interested in film making. One of the episodes Itzkoff reports is about the director Sidney Lumet's initial disappointment in Faye Dunaway’s performance. “She’s having trouble with the words,” Lumet told Heim. “He was thinking of replacing her,” says the editor. About Chayefsky Itzkoff writes, “at the age of 51, he could get his film scripts commissioned but not produced; he could get his television pilots shot but couldn’t get them on the air; and it would require the collective disappearance of every other form of dramatic art before he ever wrote another play for Broadway.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Monday, February 17, 2014

Best Writing Software

Aspiring writers have a lot of help today. The problem is to choose the right one. Some of the offered writing software is useful, some is just expensive. I like Scrivener because it is free of gimmicks. It is not a plotting technique so much as tool to organize all kinds of writing activities. The Mac version has more features, but the Windows version has the basic functionality that makes it such a useful tool. To my fellow songwriters I warmly recommend MasterWriter which is much more than a rhyming dictionary. If you consider buying a writing software get some information about what's on the market at Screenwriter's Store. Then you may want to check the reviews at the creative writing software review site. While a writing software can make it easier for you to write, you definitely don't need any to become a good writer.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
Albert Einstein

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dangerous Bites

Although cat bites account for only 10 to 15 percent of animal bites treated in emergency rooms, they pose special infection risks. Dog bites, the most common bites treated, can tear flesh and break bones, but they create open wounds that are easy to clean and less likely to become infected than the puncture wounds created by cats, which usually affect the hand and can inject bacteria into tendons and bones. In a three-year retrospective study published in the February issue of The Journal of Hand Surgery, researchers reviewed records of 193 people who came to Mayo Clinic Hospital with cat bites to the hand. Thirty-six victims were immediately admitted to the hospital, where they stayed an average of three days. Another 154 were treated with oral antibiotics as outpatients, although 21 of them eventually had to be hospitalized. Complications included nerve involvement, abscesses and loss of joint mobility. The most common cause of infection was Pasteurella multocida, an aggressive bacterium found in the mouths of many animals and up to 90 percent of healthy cats. Amoxicillin is commonly used to treat it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rebecca In Sweden

Rebecca, the musical, has reached Scandinavia. The Swedish opening at The Opera Of Malmö was celebrated by an enthusiastic audience with a standing ovation. The production was directed by Asa Melldahl and conducted by Anders Elias, known as ABBA's orchestrator. Nanne Grönvall, a Swedish Popstar, who played the role of Mrs. Danvers, stopped the show with the title song. Rebecca will be shown in Sweden until April 12th (a limited run). After Elisabeth and Mozart!, Rebecca is the third musical by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay being performed in Sweden. It is or was also produced in ten other countries.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

John And Pharall May Soon Work Together

Elton John and Pharrell Williams could be on course for a collaboration, with each musician stating that they would love to work with the other. “I hope to do something with Pharrell,” Sir Elton recently told Clash magazine. The 66-year-old claims he is enamored with dance and electronic music and that it’s the first thing he puts on when he “gets up in the morning”. “I don’t know how to record it,” he explained. “As a piano player I tend to overdo things, and electronic music is about simplicity.” Pharrell Williams is more than ready to work with Elton John. “I really respect Elton's music and I’d love to do something with him,” he told BBC Newsbeat last week. Williams’ nine-year-old son, Rocket, was named for Sir Elton’s song Rocket Man.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A New Kind Of Website

You would think that by now all websites look basically the same. The most ambitious ones are stuffed with gimmicks, blinking buttons and annoying sounds, the less ambitions ones are just boring. Now look at this website which I discovered yesterday:.!/premiere-screen
Seems someone actually found a way to make websites interesting, even entertaining again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Salute For The Beatles!

The Recording Academy was counting on both nostalgia and tunefulness with Sunday night’s special on CBS, “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A Grammy Salute.” It was a Beatles tribute concert recorded Jan. 27, the day after this year’s Grammy Awards, in Los Angeles with an extensive lineup including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons and a reunited Eurythmics. Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison, and son, Dhani Harrison, were in the front row; Dhani Harrison helped perform his father’s song “Something” onstage.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rock's Big Secret

“There's something beautifully friendly and elevating about a bunch of guys playing music together. This wonderful little world that is unassailable. It's really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it's all for one purpose, and there's no flies in the ointment, for a while. And nobody conducting, it's all up to you. It's really jazz - that's the big secret. Rock and roll ain't nothing but jazz with a hard backbeat.”
Keith Richards

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Genius? Yes, Of Marketing.

For many years, Mamoru Samuragochi, 50, was regarded a reborn Japanese Beethoven. He was celebrated as a prolific musical genius whose compositions appeared everywhere from popular video games to the competition routine of a top figure skater in the upcoming Sochi Olympics. What made him special was his deafness. Now he was forced to admit that he is not a much of a composer. Most of his music was written by a ghostwriter he had hired. He isn't even deaf, just faked his deafness to win public sympathy. Nevertheless the man deserves respect - as a genius of self-promotion. I think he demonstrated how to become a star today.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Elton Will Animate ALW's Joseph

Yesterday I heard the news that Rocket Pictures plans to produce an animated film version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the first musical of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Rocket Pictures is a British film company founded in 1996 by Elton John to produce family and music themed film and TV projects. It has acquired the film rights to Joseph from ALW's Really Useful Group that will be a co-producer. This musical was first presented as a 15-minute pop cantata at Colet Court School in London in 1968 and was recorded as a concept album in 1969. After the success of the next Lloyd Webber and Rice piece, Jesus Christ Superstar, the show received stage productions beginning in 1970 and expanded recordings in 1971 and 1972. While still undergoing various transformations and expansions, the musical was produced in the West End in 1973, and in its full format was recorded in 1974 and opened on Broadway in 1982. Several major revivals and a 1999 straight-to-video film, starring Donny Osmond, followed. I always loved this show for its disarming innocence.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Ten Favorite Seinfeld Quotes

Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.

It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.

You know you're getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It's like, "See if you can blow this out."

Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason

Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.

People who read the tabloids deserve to be lied to.

Seems to me the basic conflict between men and women, sexually, is that men are like firemen. To men, sex is an emergency, and no matter what we're doing we can be ready in two minutes. Women, on the other hand, are like fire. They're very exciting, but the conditions have to be exactly right for it to occur.

Men don't care what's on TV. They only care what else is on TV.

I will never understand why they cook on TV. I can't smell it. Can't eat it. Can't taste it. The end of the show they hold it up to the camera, "Well, here it is. You can't have any. Thanks for watching. Goodbye."

I once had a leather jacket that got ruined in the rain. Why does moisture ruin leather? Aren't cows outside a lot of the time? When it's raining, do cows go up to the farmhouse, "Let us in! We're all wearing leather! Open the door! We're going to ruin the whole outfit here!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Seinfeld Reunion

As you know by now I am a hard core Seinfeld fan. That's the only reason I regret that I missed Sunday night's Super Bowl. At the start of halftime the cast of “Seinfeld” did get together for a reunion. Only a short version was on television. The rest — perhaps five minutes’ worth – is posted online as part of Jerry Seinfeld’s web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” The vignette features a conversation over coffee in the familiar setting of Tom’s Restaurant between Jason Alexander as George Costanza and Mr. Seinfeld as fictional Jerry (with a special guest appearance by Wayne Knight as Newman). The long form popped up on the Sony-owned website Crackle immediately after the 90-second version was introduced by the Fox broadcast team at the break of the game on Sunday.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Good Idea

"Swans sing before they die - 'twere no bad thing should certain persons die before they sing."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Unwritten Opera

If I should ever be naive enough (and find an even more naive "serious" composer) to write another opera libretto, I will tackle Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Marine. Written 180 years ago Colridge's story has a contempory theme. It relates the saga of an ill-fated excursion in which the titular mariner makes a fatal misjudgment, shooting a wild albatross, whose spirit curses the crew. The wind dies down, stranding the ship, and the travelers expire of thirst. After confrontations with angry sailors, then dead sailors, then a ghost ship, the mariner washes up on shore, surviving to tell his tale. Obviously the albatross is a metaphor calling for musicalization, symbolizing guilt, suffering, and most of all the endangered nature. Most probably my version will never be written, because my first opera experience taught me that you must be crazy or masochistic to write for a non-commercial
stage without being officially commissioned.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Next Generation

Over the last years a new crop of musical theatre songwriters has left its mark on Broadway. One is Jason Robert Brown, the Tony Award-winning composer of Parade, The Last 5 Years, Songs For a New World, 13 and the upcoming Bridges of Madison County. Another is the late Jonathan Larson, whose Tony and Pulitzer-winning rock opera Rent made a lot of noise. Number three is Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose varied Latin styles won him a Tony for In the Heights. Not to forget Amanda Green, the lyricist of Bring It On, High Fidelity and Hands on a Hardbody. Last not least Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, whose Next to Normal told the tale of mental illness with pulsing rock, and whose If/Then will bow on Broadway this season. The difference between these new generation of composers and lyricists and those of former Broadway authors? Their shows make it on Broadway and some of them have some success the rest of the U.S., but so far none of them became a worldwide hit. It looks like musicals for the world are no longer made in New York.