30 Days of NYMF: No Prerequisites Necessary
by Noel Katz, composer, bookwriter, lyricist of Such Good Friends
So, I was flailing about, searching for a producer, and I asked NYMF Executive Producer Isaac Hurwitz for help. The next thing I knew, Isaac introduced me to an Eager Young Producer. "Noel here has written a brilliant musical comedy about blacklisting."
"Pleased to meet you", Eager Young Producer said, "Can you tell me one thing: What is blacklisting?"
The scene then repeated with another Eager Young Producer. Isaac said "…set in the McCarthy era" and the E. Y. P. turned to me. "So, it's about the 60's?"
I've been thinking about that rainy night in May as Such Good Friends gets ready to meet its first audiences. Some will have no previous knowledge of the 1950's witch-hunt; others, like my parents, remember what it was like to work in television in its early days, when the name of every actor, writer and director had to be "cleared."
In June, I started working with Executive Producer Kim Vasquez, who HAD heard of McCarthyism, and director Marc Bruni, who zeroed in on this idea that we can't assume an audience knows any particular information walking in.
We realized the solution lay in the idea that the characters don't know anything about the subject, either. They're comedians, totally engrossed in the funny business of entertaining America every week, live on television. The Red Scare sneaks in on them, and their first reaction is to joke about it. The frightening truths dawn on them slowly.
So, if you, like those E. Y. P.'s, slept through that particular day in history class, there's no need to bone up on the House Un-American Activities Committee as Such Good Friends will enlighten you in the most entertaining way possible: musical comedy.