Trust me, this is all going somewhere, forgive me if at first it appears to be circuitous…and then continues to be.
Peter Breitmayer. Imagine my surprise (pleasant). Last week, I took my two wonderful granddaughters, Hailey and Kira, to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”. For those of you who’ve seen the movie…a Mr. Kowalski goes to the bank, placing himself prostrate at the feet of the bad-man banker, Mr. Gilbert Bingley. In my outside (astonished) voice, I exclaimed: “Peter!”
One odious individual, Mr. Bingley, but not so Peter. They call it acting…
And here’s the cool thing: Peter was one of the double (maybe triple?) threat actors I first encountered when I got my feet wet composing for the theatre. Peter has a grand voice, and he sang a song I had written for “Men Sing” in the spring of 1989 (produced by Illusion Theater, lyric by Michael Robbins).
Peter was not cast in the show, don’t know why, great voice, don’t you think?
And here is where the whole scenario leans toward the present…in 1982 (or so) Bonnie Morris and Michael Robins of Illusion Theater took a chance on me and allowed me to write a score for William Bond’s “The War Plays”. Then it was on to “Amazing Grace”, the AIDS education musical, and then, one evening while performing Eric Andersen’s “No Place To Park” (again at Illusion), I met…Randy Sue Latimer, with whom I wrote 8 musicals which are now resting comfortable but excitedly in the M4YA catalogue:
The musical itself did rather well. Peter Vaughn, Minneapolis Star Tribune, raved about it (remember Peter?), as did Robert Collins of the Twin Cities Reader and Judith Lewis of City Pages. But Maggi Kramm of the St Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch had a bit of an issue (we all need balance or we get too full of ourselves): “Aside from a few rather tuneless songs and awkward attempts at rock, Gary Rue’s music is the strongest element of this production.” I’m not so sure of that, I was pretty green, and she was very complimentary, fort which I am forever grateful, because that little bit of positive push made me think it was actually possible to continue!
But I’ve drifted laterally, as I often do. It’s fun remembering your history and how it all managed to somehow work out.
So, getting back to Peter, it just goes to show you, if you survive long enough in the arts world, some of us are bound to go over-the-wall and make a name for ourselves. (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” comes to mind, when ‘Chief’ hurls that porcelain fixture through the window and makes a triumphant run for it.)
Anyway, all of us have roots, starting points, where the seed got planted, where someone took a chance on you and by some miracle you pulled that first one off, got your sea legs, puffed up a little bit, ready to take on something else. What started out as a living became a life. And now, some 100 musical scores later, we have Musicals 4 Young Audiences, a modest catalogue of 30 works, soon to doubled. And not to mention works-in-progress, both for young audiences and ‘all ages’. Will it ever stop? In a word, no. I believe it was Angie Dickenson who said, “I won’t retire from the business, this business will retire me.”
Stay tuned, thanks for reading.