This week we interview Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin the creators of "The Big Voice: God or Meman?" As a bonus they performed two songs from the show live in the studio: "In the Closet" and "Beyond the Light."
"The Big Voice: God or Merman?" is the story of Steve's and Jim's relationship as they struggle with an AIDS diagnoses, put on a play, and eventually find salvation in musical theatre. Steve and Jim created the show and played themselves in the show as it toured the country and in New York. Starting March 17th actors Carl Danielsen and Dale Radunz will take over as "Steve" and "Jim." The show is directed by Anthony Barnao.
"The Big Voice: God or Meman?" is playing at The Actor's Temple Theatre. For tickets please visit Telecharge .
You can listen to this interview and many other great features for free on Broadway Bullet vol. 106. Subscribe for free so you don't miss an episode.
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Broadway Bullet Interview: Jim Brochu and Steve Schlachlin of The Big Voice: God or Merman?
BROADWAY BULLET: "The Big Voice" is a musical that has been running Off-Broadway since November 30th; and not only is it a real live love story between the composer and book writer, but we have the composer and book writer with us today. How are you guys?
Steve Schalchlin: We're fine Michael, how are you?
Jim Brochu" Excellent, excellent.
BB: Great, would you like to introduce yourselves quickly?
STEVE: No. I'm Steve Schalchlin, the composer and lyricist.
JIM: And I'm Jim Brochu and I wrote the book to this marvelous musical.
BB: What was the inspiration for this musical?
JIM: The inspiration was a call from the Laguna Playhouse saying we'll pay you a lot of money to come down and for a one night show and entertain.
STEVE: It's our favorite kind of inspiration.
JIM: We had, our first musical was called The Last Session, which ran in New York – it had a respectable run about ten years ago. And then the Laguna Playhouse in California produced it. And about four years ago they said "We're doing three special evenings, why don't you guys come down and tell a couple of stories about your life. Sing a couple of new songs, sing some old songs." And I wrote the book around Steve's new songs and titled it "The Big Voice: God or Merman".
STEVE: He had kind of been putting it together because I had been on the road doing solo concerts and he had been at home taking care of the cats. So he was just trying to figure out something we could do together. And so we got an idea about writing a show around the two of us so we could go around perform somewhere. What we didn't realize when we got the call from Laguna Playhouse was that it would end up in the theater; we had thought maybe a little night club act, we were just riding it letting it speak for ourselves.
JIM: I was thinking more of the metropolitan opera houses as the final place for this, but anyway, we went down to Laguna and the place came apart, they loved it. And we though," well maybe we have a show here", so we put it into a workshop, a producer from the Zipper Theater in LA said yeah, we'll produce it and we'll give you a three week run. Well, three weeks turned into four months, and that turned into a tour in Rochester, New York, and a theater in Huston heard about it, from Houston we went to Omaha, to Chicago, to Dallas, to Palm Springs, back for another run in Los Angeles where we were presented with the Los Angeles equivalent of the Tony award called the Ovation award for best musical, presented to us by Jerry Herman. So it's really been quite a journey from this one phone call that we thought "we'll go down for this one evening"; and it's turned into a journey of five thousand miles, now five hundred performances, and eight cities, and a lot of new friends.