Wow, that was fun.
Over 50 people involved – amazing group of people – all doing it for a love of theatre and fun and life. Thank you to you all for getting involved in a little idea that started in the head of a much younger me in Dublin way back in 1989.
The cast did an amazing job of bringing the songs and the story to life.
Ah the songs and the music of Jukebox Paradise. As musical director for Jukebox Paradise, and the writer of the songs, these little songs have been my obsession for the last 12 months and long before. Writing, composing, arranging, performing, editing, reshaping, rewriting, adjusting to fit the cast, adjusting to fit the flow of the story… these songs have flowed in and out of so many people’s lives and yet are still hanging out in my head.
On our cast mailing list and in personal conversations, people are telling me how the songs are still going around and around their heads. I know, I know! That was what I set out to do – to create little song viruses that get stuck in people’s heads. Of course, I caught the virus myself and the songs are on constant play in my head. It’s at night when the internal jukebox in my head turns on loudest and it has kept me awake too many nights since the show successfully closed on the evening of December 4. Kids who came to the show and hardly understood a word are singing the chorus of these songs and driving their parents mad. Mission completed 😉
Coindrop62 were the band that created the sound of the Jukebox. And what a band.
The final night was a completely full house. The Saturday evenings were full. And all of the other shows had a great turnout.
More importantly, the feedback from the audience has been overwhelmingly positive.
“That was hard work. You made me cry three times, and then made me laugh three times.”
The messages and themes of the show got through to many people, too.
“ … “
Goodnight and thank you, Jukebox Paradise. We sure have had fun together and I look forward to seeing you on other stages in the future. In the meantime, there are other fun projects ahead.
“If you sit down and listen
I’ll play you a song
But I’d probably play anyway
I play the music
I play the music”
These are the first few lines of the song, I Play the Music. I wrote the song with my good friend Mark Renburke when we were playing together in an Irish band called The Rising Pints. We were playing lots of gigs in crowded bars. Sometimes people listened closely – sometimes people didn’t seem to listen at all. But you know, we played the music, yes we played the music – that’s what we did. For some people in the pubs, we were the focal point of the evening. For others, we were just a background for the fun and talking. And that’s fine, too. Because the music doesn’t always have to be at the center. Sometimes, the music is just the background that makes the rest of our life so much richer. Read More
In the show, Jukebox Paradise, Deloris Keller sings the song Come Home Again. In the story, this song was a big hit during World War II and far away in the thick of the action, a wounded soldier named Fred is listening to the radio and the sound of her voice. It is this song, coming from so far away, that gives Fred the will to survive and to eventually come back home and build a new life.
The obvious meaning of the lyrics of Come Home Again is as an encouragement to the boys in the war reminding them that there is a life after the war, no matter how dark everything seems at the moment. People back at home haven’t forgotten them. They are still loved and remembered and the people back at home are still with them in their thoughts and hearts.
“My, it’s been so hard for you
You’ve been so long away
I’m not even sure how long it’s been
But I miss you every day
When you think you can’t go on
Just whisper on my name
I’ll be there, no matter where
I love you all the same.”
Aichi Vision is a great music and arts festival which is held in Tsurumai Park each year just at the end of summer. Tsurumai Park is probably best known at the moment as a scared place for pokemon and hundreds of zombie-like people can be still seen wandering around at 2am looking for pokemon. I believe that it has something to do with the shape of the central fountain as seen from above, but others more familiar with the world of pokemon may correct me at their leisure. I downloaded the app and caught a pokemon before deleting it (the app, not the captured pokemon). Then in Dublin, a friend persuaded me to re-download it and catch a Dublin pokemon. I can confirm that Dublin pokemon were equally uninteresting to me as Nagoya pokemon. I may be missing a vital poke-gene. Read More
This year, one of my big areas of focus is our rock and roll musical, Jukebox Paradise, produced by KPB Theatre. This is a musical theatre production that has been in my head since 1989 and it is finally coming to the stage at the end of November 2016 in Nagoya. Please contact me to get your tickets. The script was written by Gary Beaubouef and it is directed by Steve Pottinger. Below is a quick description that Sarah and I wrote up for the program: Read More
On Sunday, we have the next music rehearsal for the Jukebox Paradise musical. It is still about 5 months until showtime, and it is great to see people really getting into their roles both as actors and singers. This is going to be a great show.
In other music news, the band for the Jukebox Paradise musical, Coindrop62, will be playing at Shooters in Fushimi this Sunday evening (April 24th) from 8pm. We will do some a bunch of fun rock and roll tunes. I am not playing any instrument for a change, so I can focus on my role as the singer for a change! Visit the Facebook event page.
On the following Saturday (April 30th), Sarah Mulvey and I will be joined by the formidable duo, Aya Kawakami and Takashi Terada, for a show at Coat of Arms in Marunochi. It’s going to be a great night. You can check out the details on the Facebook event page.
As some people have pointed out, I haven’t been playing much Irish music recently. I’ll get back to it (it is my roots after all!), so in the meantime check out one of the CDs from my old band, The Rising Pints.
Sarah and I did our first gig of 2016 last night at Coat of Arms. January is always a quiet month as people hunker down in their dens to avoid the cold weather, and of course to try to rescue their finances and health after Christmas and the new year celebrations! So, thanks to all the folks who came out last night and made it such a fun night for us.
We have been practicing some new songs and polishing up some old versions with more harmony and fun guitar stuff. For the last few years, I’ve been primarily using DADGAD as my guitar tuning. Recently, I’ve been experimenting a bit more with open G and other strange combinations. Great sound on my old trusty Lowden guitar.
We are playing tonight with the Tomo Shagger band at Shooters, Fushimi. Then next Friday, we are heading up to Tokyo to play at the opening of an art exhibition.
And on Sunday, rehearsals are going to finally begin for Jukebox Paradise. We have a marvellous cast assembled and it’s going to be great working with everyone to produce a wonderful musical in November.
Sarah and I played at the Best of JALT event again this year. It was lovely to be back at the conference again and to see so many familiar faces. For those who don’t know, JALT stands for Japan Association for Language Teaching, and I have played music at various events there since about 1995. Wow, 20 years!
Wow, there is so much talent in Nagoya. We were expecting some people to be good in the auditions for Jukebox Paradise today, and they were indeed very good. What we hadn’t quite expected was for the amazing talent that has emerged. Great singing, great reading of monologues and scripts.
We have one more day of auditions next Sunday and we won’t decide the roles until everyone has auditioned. In the meantime, we are having a lot of fun thinking about possibilities before we have to make the difficult decisions of who is going to work best for each role and with the whole team to make the musical as great as possible.
What we are sure of is that it is shaping up to be a very international cast – lots of talented people from many countries.
Remember 1962? Nope, I wasn’t born either, but it’s not too late to enjoy it.
The musical, Jukebox Paradise, is situated in Hawaii in 1962, and all the songs are written in the style of that era. So if you don’t remember all the hits of 1962, you can check out the list below. The information is from this super website.
Do you remember these songs: The Loco-Motion, The Twist, Duke of Earl, Twistin’ the Night Away, Can’t Help Falling in Love, Baby It’s You, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer, Surfin’ Safari.
Wooooh, 1962 was quite a year!
Tomorrow is an exciting day – the first day of auditions for Jukebox Paradise, a rock and roll musical that started out in my head more than 20 years ago. We are going to stage the show for the very first time in November 2016.
If you’d like to be part of a really fun show with great music, we’d love to see you at the auditions on November 8th, 15th, or 22nd. Please read the details below. And please share the information with anyone that you think might be interested.