Saturday, January 29, 2011

Collaboration Begins

 On May 28, 1969, two days after John wrote Charles Whitman of Brigham Young University, Bud Noble an independent producer wrote to Mr. Whitman.  In his letter he wrote, "My adaptation for the musical version ends with the wedding of Mama and Papa."

Bud Noble called his play Pursuit of Happiness.  Two weeks later on June 8th the cast of the play performed a community run through for feed back. From Mr. Noble's point of view the play was a success.  He did however share some thoughts.

"There is a great deal of work that needs to be done by someone such as yourself (Charles Whitman) in collaboration with Mr. Fitzgerald regarding the expansion of the Bishop's role and coloring the characters to truly exemplify their indentity as Fitzgerald meant them to be."
In addition to developing the Bishop's role, the feedback included suggestions to give "Tena more obstacles for her to surmount before she realizes her true happiness".  (The true happiness is marrying Papa).

By the end of June all three men had begun working on fleshing out the small play Bud had created.  During the same time each one of them had challenges.  John's house in Denver flooded and unfortunately he had been in New York working on The Great Brain, so the damage was extensive.  Charles Whitman's  "briefcase with notes, scripts, etc. for the show was lost, stolen or something."  While Bud received an offer to perform the full musical in early September, making the time crunch tight for finishing the production.  Last of all John sent a copy of the play to his agent, Ann Elmo, in New York.  Ann's feed back only added more work,
"Your conflict is strong here but it's also feebly developed.  We need a more solidly built love story and just as solidly built opposition to the union.  The seems like a lot of work, but I know you can do it.  Incidently, must the term "gentile" be used?  You know it has a different meaning nowadays."

Clearly writing a play from a book was not going to be such an easy task.  Each of them though was willing to try.

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