Review Fix chats with playwright Steven Mitchell to find out all about the wild new cabaret production, “Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me.”
About the Production:
Hot dates and Cold Drinks!
Where’s the action? Broadway Comedy Club @ 10pm, Thursdays.
A quartet of middle-America ladies convene at their favorite bar to dish the dates – successes (good sex) and failures (bad sex) – all set to music (maybe some sex)
Creator Steven Mitchell takes the hilarious songs of Two Chicks and a Casio and weaves them into a plot busting with dating stories. You think you got it bad???? Audience participation and ad-libbing make no two shows the same!
Broadway Comedy Clum
318 W 53rd Street, NYC
Use this ticket service and you get a Gold-Star!
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Steve Mitchell: I would not have a “Date Me Do Me Dump Me” if it wasn’t for the songs of the Two Chicks and a Casio. They were a female duet band in the 1990’s (Leah Gray Mitchell and Marianne Forti) who wrote comic songs about their own dating situations. At their concerts, they wore cute black cocktail dresses, they set the Casio keyboard on an ironing board, and sing their songs to a crowd of unsuspecting listeners. Most people would attend thinking they would be getting to hear some top 20 hits, but the songs centered around either their naivety, or a story about a creepy stalker, or being with a guy who didn’t have much experience with girls. When the band split I asked if I could use the songs in a show. Long story short, I incorporated them into an amazing 90 minute show sung by 4 and not 2, to get the best sound of a female quartet, and add variety of personalities
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Mitchell: Being a musician first, I started with arranging the music. The Two Chicks albums gave me a great start. If the Casio said “Calypso” or “March” that was the beat or feel of the song. In general I stuck with these sounds but having a 4-piece band in mind, the tunes developed and morphed into their own sounds. I also had different vocal ranges in mind. “Penny” is our contra alto, singing the lowest “bass” parts. And Tina has to hold a high operatic E for quite a few measures. I wanted the show to have a great deal of artistic content, like a concert, and not be about story telling and men bashing. In the beginning I knew there would be four women’s parts, so I gave them each names: Tina, Phyllis, Grace, and Penny. Then it became a matter of deciding who they were as women. Phyllis is probably the most organized and educated, but Penny is a tight second. Grace is a blue collar worker, a grease monkey and has seen it all. And Tina, the ditz who tends to flip out when she’s drunk. Next was the content of the show. I had no intentions of writing the show, but after trying to connect to FEMALE writers (blog writers, mostly), no one wanted to help, so I decided I could tell my own stories better than anyone. I started writing some memorable dating stories of my own in the voice of the character I was trying to create. The idea also was that these four aren’t necessarily friends. They know each other after hanging out in the same dive for who knows how long, maybe years. But they also got each other’s backs in some sort of latent bond. We don’t go into the backstory of who they are, but that hopefully will come in the way of caricature sketches for a new website. Lots more to come!
Review Fix: What makes this different or special from other musical events of this genre?
Mitchell: It’s so interesting to see how the audience gets slowly absorbed into the situation on the stage. They are addressed right up front by one character asking them to sign a petition to begin Karaoke night at the club, and she starts to sing a song (badly). We can’t even imagine where this is going to go. It’s also interesting that people come to the show and not know what they’re coming to. Is it a stand up act? (because it’s at a comedy club) Is it a support group? But IF they see the word “Musical” attached to it, it makes more sense to them. When they see graphics, they may think it’s obscene, maybe. But the show is actually light-hearted, off-color humor. The audience participates during the show by submitting dating stories they write on cards which are read aloud. The audience votes on who’s story was the best, and that story gets the jello shots! There literally isn’t a dull moment in the show.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process?
Mitchell: I learned, surprisingly, that I have a knack for story telling through the voice of another person. I invented a person, and gave them a story in a voice that’s hers. Telling stories through the viewpoint of someone else and hearing them read aloud is really satisfying! I’ve also learned, or finally recognized, that the stamina that I have to see a project to completion is pretty impressive. I’ve been the creator of the show, the music director, the arranger, the producer, the stage manager, the front of house, the marketing director, the business manager, the pianist of the show, the band leader, and runner. I would not know how to approach another show where I was only one of those.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this for the future?
Mitchell: It depends on whether I can find an appreciative audience in New York, while enticing an audience of tourists. I would like the show to be known to the gay audience, and for the music audience in general. The gay audience definitely understands what these four ladies are experiencing, and they get the humor, they can relate, and they can take a joke. A music audience understands that these women are singing in tight four part harmonies in very difficult, complicated arrangements. But I’d also like to be known to women holding bachelorette parties, this could be a lot of fun for them. I would like to see it tour and set up for extended runs in cities around the US, but also abroad.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Mitchell: I have a cast album near completion, and the hope is to have a release party to further promote the show. I am also hoping a producer (other than myself) will step in and say – you have something here, I can see what you’re working toward, and let’s make this happen. Until then, it’s me and whatever resources I can pull together!