BWW Interview: Creative Team of RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD Talk New Changes at the Kirk Douglas
We sat down with Jamelle Dolphin and Lou Spisto, producers of the returning RECORDED IN HOLLYWOOD as they prepare for the upcoming run at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City. Both men talk about going deeper into John Dolphin's character and adding new material to create the perfect show, which begins previews July 8.
Jamelle (grandson of John Dolphin), authored the book "Recorded In Hollywood: The John Dolphin Story," published in 2011. The book is based on research in historical records, as well as, hundreds of hours of verbal interviews with family and friends -- and records the true life story of John Dolphin, who was owner of the world famous record store "Dolphins of Hollywood" which began around 1948. Jamelle was inspired to write the book, as a natural outgrowth of hearing the many colorful stories about his grandfather. As Jamelle grew up in Los Angeles, having the last name "Dolphin" always seemed to be followed by "are you related to John Dolphin?" Jamelle Dolphin holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration Marketing from Sonoma State University, and he currently runs Dolphins of Hollywood Productions with siblings Ahman Dolphin and Glory Dolphin Hammes, in Los Angeles, CA.
Lou Spisto: Broadway: Producer, THE GLASS MENAGERIE (TONY nominated)
directed by John Tiffany with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (TONY nominated) starring James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne; LOVE LETTERS with Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, ROCKY and BIG FISH. London: Producer, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN at the Gielgud Theater. Old Globe: Executive Producer, raised $75 million for the theatre's capital campaign, over ten seasons produced 140 plays and musicals, 40 world premieres, 7 transfers to Broadway. Several Theatre Projects in development; two television projects with the Wolper Organization; Board of Directors of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.
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We know that last season's run in Hollywood was a tremendous success. Why did you even contemplate making changes?
JAMELLE: Last season's run was a great success but we're quite aware that at each next "step", more will be expected of the show. Last fall, we took an honest look at what we achieved and what remained to be done.LOU: The show was, no doubt, a crowd pleasing great time but we felt we could go deeper to tell the story of John Dolphin and his time, and still keep the entertainment level high, and perhaps even higher. So, we went back to work with all of our creative team-Matt Donelly our book writer, Andy Cooper our composer and lyricist, and Denise Dowse our director, to get clearer about the story of John Dolphin.Tell our readers about some of these specific changes, particularly regarding what newer elements we can expect to see in the character of John Dolphin.
JAMELLE: Nothing was sacred; we looked at every aspect of the material in a series of creative team workshops and then two full cast workshops for both music and book over a period of several months.LOU: We think this production will go further to reveal just what made John Dolphin the force that he was-we get more specific about his marketing genius and his creative capabilities that led to his impact on the music business and his artists. We also provide more context; more names and places from his world, the music industry, and the Los Angeles scene. What about in his relationships with the greats?
JAMELLE: The relationships between John, Sam Cooke, Jesse Belvin, and Huggy Boy are more central to our story as is the key relationship with his my grandmother Ruth Dolphin. We spend more time getting to know my grandfather, personal warts and all, as he struggles to find his place in the world and finally becomes a real leader in South Central.
Did you make any additions to the musical score?
LOU: There are some great additions to the music because we know that this show has to bring great tunes to the audience-our story is first and foremost about music, so the score really needs to deliver. We've edited the material and added several new songs-both original songs by Andy Cooper and additional songs from the period. The period songs work with the new material to tell our story and provide a sense of the time and impact that Dolphin's had on the R&B and early Rock and Roll era.Are you more content now with the direction the show is taking?
JAMELLE: I started this project with a book about my grandfather so I could honor his legacy and let the world know of the contributions he made in the music industry, but in the end it has to be a great musical and, to that end, I think we are continuing on the right path.
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The sold out, critic's pick musical Recorded in Hollywood returns to the stage at the Kirk Douglas Theatre from July 8 - August 7.
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