Diane Warren’s musical postponed to Proctors

SCHENECTADY – “The Right Girl,” a new musical about sexual abuse in Hollywood, with music by 12-time Oscar-nominated and 15-time Grammy-nominated Diane Warren, and direction and choreography by Susan Stroman, five-time Tony Award winner, was supposed to have its world premiere at Proctors this month after weeks of technical and stage rehearsals.

Due to ongoing concerns about a large cast gathering in New York City, where rehearsals would have begun, during the spike in COVID-19 cases in late summer, producers suspended the show, and she was quietly removed from the proctor program in September.

There is no date yet for its restart, Proctors CEO Philip Morris said.

“Once the first of the year rolls around, we’re very busy,” Morris said, “but we’re going to bend over backwards to make it work — and make it work here.”

“The Right Girl” was scheduled to begin technical rehearsals on October 3 with a crew of around 40 people, and 30 other cast members and others reportedly arrived later to begin onstage rehearsals before the opening for a duration. four weeks this month and next. , says Morris. It took place between technical rehearsals for the tours of the musical “Hadestown”, held at Proctors in September, and for the Temptations musical “Ain’t Too Proud”, in rehearsal for three and a half weeks in November, Morris said. Neither has any public performances.

Morris said the financial loss to overseers by deferral is small, mostly daily rental costs, but the overall economic impact on Schenectady is greater because around 70 people are not in need of accommodation, food and service for seven weeks and one month. the value of audiences. Jim Salengo, executive director of Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp., estimated that hosting “The Right Girl” would have earned Schenectady nearly $2 million.

“The Right Girl” was announced in June. Its book and lyrics were co-written by Louisette Geiss, a former screenwriter and actress who announced in 2017 that she had left Hollywood after learning that the sale of her screenplay depended on her ability to watch studio mogul Harvey. Weinstein masturbating. Hers were among accusations of more than 80 women of sexual abuse by Weinstein, who was charged with rape and in February 2020 convicted of two sex-related crimes and sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison.

Geiss collaborated on the book of “The Right Girl” with Broadway producer Howard Kagan, who also co-wrote the lyrics with her and Warren. Geiss and Kagan are among the producers of “The Right Girl.”

“This show gives a voice to women who normally don’t have a voice,” Stroman said during the June announcement from the Proctors stage. Stroman, who has Tonys for directing and/or choreographing musicals such as “The Producers,” “Showboat,” and “Crazy for You,” among others, appeared via livestream, as did Warren; Geiss and Kagan were at Proctors with Morris.

“I’ve never been on a big show before, and it’s so important that this is the first one. … It’s an important time for this to happen,” Warren said. She has written songs for artists as varied as Celine Dion and Cheap Trick, Olivia Newton John and Alice Cooper, and Meat Loaf and Carrie Underwood. More than 30 songs by Warren reached the top 10 on the US charts, including nine number ones, including Toni Branxton’s “Un-Break My Heart”, which stayed at the top for 11 weeks in 1996 and sold more than 10 million copies.

Geiss said she pitched the story to Kagan, who agreed to work with her on the book and gave an introduction to Stroman.

“Although it’s a tough subject, the show is incredibly entertaining,” Stroman said. “We all know that if you don’t make it entertaining, they won’t listen to you.”

According to a plot description provided by Proctors, “The Right Girl” revolves around a character named Eleanor Stark, who, after years of climbing the Hollywood ranks, has just been named creative director of a legendary film and television studio. When she discovers that a prominent male executive has a long history of sexual abuse of women, she must decide whether or not to go public.

Making art from upsetting material like a culture of sexual abuse reframes the subject and allows for healing and even celebration, Geiss said, adding, “I really wanted to do this, not just for myself but for all people. survivors breaking the silence and really, really sacrificed to step up and talk about some of these predators.”

As part of creating the show, Geiss, Stroman and Warren spoke to more than 20 survivors of entertainment industry abuse, they said, and some of those stories became part of “The Right Girl”.

“Their actual words are verbatim in some of the monologues on our show,” Geiss said. “We are breaking that silence and holding them as high as possible, because God knows they deserve it and they sacrificed themselves.”

Kagan said the goal was for “The Right Girl” to move to Broadway after its premiere on the Proctors.