Friday, October 19, 2012

My Secret Obsession

Christopher Reeve autograph
Is there something you are so obsessed with, but don't want people to know just how much you are obsessed with it? Well - I'm about to share how much of a true freak I am.

Back in 1989, after watching the video of one of my favorite films (Somewhere in Time - the romantic time-travel movie), I said to myself "That would make an incredible musical." I stayed up all night writing an outline and then set out to find the book the movie is based on - Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson. I bought a used copy of the book from someone in Arizona and then wanted to find out if Universal owned the rights. (In the photo - you can see how much I marked up the copy of my book writing myself notes for the musical.) All along,  I was still writing the musical as my obsession was too great to stop. Adding additional characters to have a secondary storyline for a musical. Writing a counter melody for the protagonist to sing against the music used in the movie (Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.) And then discovering that Mr. Matheson retained the rights even after the movie was made in 1980.

My letter to Richard Matheson
I did demo recordings with friends, had readings of it in my New York living room as I waited to hear a response from the letter I had written to the author. And then the letter came that I dreaded. About 20 years ago in 1992, Mr. Matheson himself wrote me saying he was already working on his own musical version of it and 'hated to throw cold water on my project, but it was spoken for.' I was in my early 20s at the time, completely crushed - but learned a valuable lesson to always get the rights to something before proceeding. From that, I went on to write more musicals, was accepted into the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and my life went on.

When I met my other half in 2000, one of the things we had in common was our love of this film. (I won't even go into the amount of crazy gifts we have given to each other all these years that are built around this particular story.) Then in 2004, the world lost Christopher Reeve and while everyone was talking about superman, I continued to think of Richard Collier. My spouse and I traveled to Mackinac Island in October of '05 (where the movie was filmed) and the true freak came out of me as I enjoyed every second of that trip reliving the film. (Yes, we walked around to all the locations - but notice I'm not including photos in this blog where we reenacted the scenes. I even get emails from the Somewhere in Time fan club, but I've never joined them when they gather on the Island as one large group each year).

The Grand Hotel 2005
In March of 2006, right after Christopher Reeve's wife passed, a friend of mine wrote me that he heard they were making a musical of Somewhere in Time. The story is all about fate and with the untimely passing of Dana joining her with her husband once again (much like the story) I thought destiny was talking to me. So I wrote to Ken Davenport - the producer behind the musical project. Thrilled when he respond that he would listen to my work and I sent off a package to him. Now, I'll admit: I should have reworked it before sending. I returned to twenty year old music (tho I had become a better writer), and sent him a demo from that. But then I got the word he had chosen his team and again, I let it go.

Looking back, everything happens for a reason. Had I got that job I would have spent the last six years working on that musical instead of becoming a published author of four books that have gone on to win awards. 

But I am happy to see this week that Mr. Daveport's musical is finally coming out in 2013. He's worked a long time to get the project accomplished. (Read his journey here.)  It will premiere in Portland in the spring and when it gets anywhere in the New York area - you can bet this obsessed fan will be there cheering on those time-crossed lovers. Congrats, Ken on getting your baby to the stage. And thank you for completing this dream that has been my own obsession since 1989.

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