Hello folks! This is my first blog installment for GREEN DOOR X, a series of immersive theater-type projects Green Door is doing in 2016. In this particular post, I’ll tell you a little about how things are going with Club Drosselmeyer, which will happen in December 2016- you can also learn more at www.clubdrosselmeyer.com and sign up for our mailing list to get updates.
So first: what’s CLUB DROSSELMEYER? You may have recognized the name Drosselmeyer as “Herr Drosselmeyer”, the mysterious uncle from the Nutcracker- the one who does magic and builds life-size mechanical dolls. I always wondered why the rest of the show was about Clara and the Nutcracker since clearly uncle Drosselmeyer is where the story is.
Well don't worry- in this project, Drosselmeyer gets his due. It’s December, 1939 and you’re on the list for Club Drosselmeyer, the hottest night club in town, owned by none other than the famous Herr Drosselmeyer: inventor, scientist, statesman, magician. You’ll be dressed in your 1939 best- black tie of course- sip martinis with the swells, dance to the sweet sound of the Silver Slipper Big Band and watch the floor show with an international flare! (dances like Chocolate and Coffee with sugar plum fairies, waltzes of flowers…)
But wait... there seem to be a lot of things going on under the surface. It’s been rumored that Herr Drosselmeyer is working on some sort of highly advanced super soldier for the US Army known as “project nutcracker”. The project is top secret but it seems like everyone knows about it and every nation wants that technology. After all, it is 1939, who what alliances will be made? Who knows what could happen?
Guests can get dressed up, watch the band, dance a little, have a martini, watch the floor show and have delightful evening full of music and dance. Or…they can follow clues, puzzles and riddles down the rabbit hole of multiple intrigues all happening beneath their noses in Club Drosselmeyer. They’ll eavesdrop, talk tocharacters, even pass along evidence that could change the course of the evening. Herr Drosselmeyer says “There are no audiences, only visitors, guests, friends and honored patrons, all are welcome at Club Drosselmeyer” so how you spend your evening is up to you! This isn't just a crazy idea, it's happening for reals... December 2016 at Club Oberon in Harvard Square. And I. am. so. excited.
The Proof of Concept
So how will we pull it off? Well I always say the best thing to build is the thing you CAN build- which means you use (and abuse) your existing resources. No need to try and plan a pie-in-the-sky project when you have resources to make something else happen.
My resources and community are largely in the swing and vintage world in Boston because for those of you who know me, I'm an addicted swing dancer. We have the swing dance community with BOSTON SWING CENTRAL, some incredible musicians and an arranger/bandleader with ROCCO AND THE STOMPERS and a group of people who are totally game for time travel and dressing like it’s 1939 with the GREATER BOSTON VINTAGE SOCIETY. Luckily these folks are all usually game for antics and adventures- that's why they're swing dancers, bandleaders and vintage buffs.
The big question was: would people go for this at all? I had about a month before Christmas events started happening where we could perform a teaser. The idea was to see if people would rally for this. First I went to Mike Hibarger of BSC (Boston Swing Central), who was actually pretty excited about it in his very understated “Mike excited” way. Jason Volk of the Greater Boston Vintage society said amiably that he had absolutely no idea what I was doing but it sounded pretty cool. Check. That meant we had two locations to perform a mini-preview: a GBVS Christmas party and a Swing Central christmas party.
Next… my musician friends. I knew that Beantown was playing at both of these Christmas dances and I wanted to see if we could get a swing version of one of the songs from the Nutcracker. Danny Fratina, head of Rocco and the Stompers and arranger for BEANTOWN SWING ORCHESTRA was willing to write the new music - and Beantown was willing to play it. Check #2.
And finally- dancing. This was a new conundrum for me - my only sister was getting married that month, meaning I could neither perform in nor choreograph this routine if we were going to release it in December during the BSC and GBVS holiday events. Enter KATIE PISELLI, dancer and choreographer extraordinaire from both BOSTON LINDY HOP and the 8:30 ACT. Katie was totally game for choreographing a dance of the sugar plum fairies in only a week or two. (Yessss!) The fabulous dancers from my own BOSTON LINDY BOMB SQUAD were willing to fill the ranks and get the performance off the ground.
Not bad for 5 weeks and a bunch of people who had no idea what I was up to, eh? We managed to get a band, arranger, announcer, choreographer, dancers, two performances and an enthusiastic audience all before Christmas- the busiest time of the year. So if the question was: will my community rally for this project? The answer is a resounding HELLS YES!! Did I mention how awesome my friends are?
So now... the real work begins. So sign up for our newsletter!! December is coming soon and we could use all the help we can get if we're going to pull this one off!