I Want Everything I've Ever Seen in the Movies!
Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock sit at the fountain on the plaza at Lincoln Center.
Max asks Leo: "What do you want, Leo?"
Leo stands and responds: "I want...I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!"
This is a scene from Mel Brooks' 1967 seminal classic The Producers featuring a chutzpah-filled Zero Mostel and a hysterically mild turned wild Gene Wilder as the titular characters. While most associate the title with the hit 2001 Tony Award winning musical, it has always been this scene from the original film that has stuck with me, Gene Wilder running the rim of an exploding fountain valiantly declaring, "I'm Leo Bloom! I can do anything I want!" as he decides to take the leap out of his meek existence. Since moving to New York City almost ten years ago, I have spent many hours sitting on the rim of that same fountain in that same plaza, writing and thinking, dreaming of one day being able to perform my music somewhere in this cultural hub of the country.
On May 30th 2019, I received a phone call. On January 27th 2020, I will no longer be dreaming.
That phone call I received back in May was from John Znidarsic, curator and host of the Broadway's Future Songbook series at Lincoln Center which spotlights up and coming musical theatre writers by producing concerts of their work. Thanks to John and my wonderful friend and frequent collaborator Jen Sandler, I was asked to be January's featured writer. I hung up the phone, stunned at the news and wanting nothing more than to run around Josie Robertson Plaza screaming, "I'm Ben Caplan! I can do anything I want!"
With John and Jen co-producing the evening, I can assure you it's going to be a magnificent night. But I'm sure you still have questions which I'm more than happy to answer:
You: Ben, you keep saying you're performing at Lincoln Center, but when and where? I want to make sure I can make it!
Me: I appreciate your efforts! As previously stated, the concert will be in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at 6 pm on January 27th.
You: Good to know! I can't wait to see you perform at Lincoln Center, but you can't perform your music by yourself.
Me: That's not exactly a question, but I'll answer it even so!
We've got what I can only describe as a dream lineup for the evening featuring some of my favorite performers and great friends. This includes James Monroe Iglehart, Taylor Iman Jones, Heath Saunders, Nicholas Barasch, Ashley Blanchet, Harrison Chad, Charlotte Maltby, Damon J. Gillespie, Monet Sabel, Jake Boyd, Brynn Williams, Michael Ryan, Alexis Field, Dantè Jeanfelix, Ben Schrager, and Ari McKay Wilford.
You: Well that's great! These are some top notch folks! But is it just going to be you at a piano? We want some more musicians!
Me: Calm down. I'll be at the keys for the evening with an incredible group of musicians: Jakob Reinhardt on guitar, Will Hack on bass, Luis Diaz on woodwinds, Nathan Bishop on violin, and Scott Still on drums. Is that enough musicians for you?
You: That's a lot of musicians! What songs of yours are going to be featured?
Me: What a great question! There are going to be songs you may have heard from my previous concerts (Geeks, Misfits, and Nobodies and I Don't Want to Talk About It) as well as songs from musicals I've been working on and a couple of songs from my upcoming concert on April 17th at Feinstein's/54 Below: Heart of the Moment.
You: I'll make sure to get my tickets for the concert in April, but I'm not sure I want to spend money for two concerts. I'm not rich, y'know!
Me: Well I can surely relate to that. But here's the good news: my concert at Lincoln Center is 100% FREE! Tickets are first come, first serve at the Bruno Walter Auditorium on the day of the concert. So now you can see this concert and have enough money left over to get tickets for my April show!
You: Is there anything you can't tell us?
Me: I can't tell you the meaning of life or how to knit. I've tried. It's hard.
I am an exploding fountain of excitement! This evening is going to be one to remember. Now that I've answered all of your questions, I ask you, please, to join me on January 27th as I get everything I've ever seen in the movies.