Ah...I'm celebrating the success of my first "live talk show" onstage at the Geery Theatre in Sacramento, on Jan. 24. 2008. "Call it whatever you want," said Gregg before I interviewed him. "Call it 'The David Watts Barton Show'."
Or something like that. I don't like that name. But I liked doing the show. It went really well.
So, I booked another date: Feb. 29. I booked the date without a guest. So, an even bigger leap of faith. And I leapt, purposely, before I knew how few people would show up at the Geery to see us. Because I suspected it wouldn't be many.
I hoped for a sell-out. I got a lot of media coverage. And...
I could name all but a couple of audience members. I can, in fact, count the tickets I sold. Uh, that would be 15. And some of those were comps.
Ouch! But hey, that's a third of a house! Still, a flop. But the thing is...it was so GOOD!
Gregg Coffin is a fascinating guy, and I'm a good interviewer. Gregg was fascinating, charming, insightful, funny...you could sit in the same room with the guy, and be entertained. We WERE entertained. We didn't even need microphones! People laughed. People responded to his songs, to his wit. It was very cool.
So, I'm thrilled. But please: 15 people? That's not many.
So, this is the new reality for me: OTHER PEOPLE have to show up. You have to convince other people to get out of the house, which is a big, big problem in Sacramento, and by no means just for me. And it's a problem in good times as well as bad.
What makes something "happen"? Over the years, I have gotten to know "promoters" here and elsewhere - the people who make events and shows happen. And I've watched them struggle. Brian McKenna, Jerry Perry, Mike Fahn, Sherry Wasserman, Mindy Giles, Dave Fleming - these people have, in very concrete ways, given their lives to the creation - it's more than "promotion" - of events where people interact in some pretty profound ways. Ways I've enjoyed for more than 35 years.
And now, unsupported by a big monolith like The Bee, where writers just write, and what they write is distributed, I have to sell. Why is "live" such a hard sell? The people above have been struggling with that for years, decades. It's new to me. It's hard. But it's an interesting challenge.
Bottom line: It was a great night, I was proud of the event. But if a musical theatre composer talks in a small theatre, and no one hears it, what good is it? It's good. It's just not much-heard.
But Mike recorded Gregg's and my conversation last night, and videotaped it, so if I can figure out how to do it, and get Gregg's permission, I'll post it here. Perhaps it'll reach more people in this medium. It's really well worth hearing.
The adventure continues...