Archive for July, 2009

Mystery Guest Revealed!

Posted in Front for Evil, Shows with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

Last time, we promised you a preview of which beloved characters would be returning in Front for Evil. We decided the best way to do that would be to turn the blog over to them for a guest post. So without further ado, please welcome:

Braun, Pete, and Britney

Braun, Pete, and Britney


Hallo, everybody! I am Pete, und my friendly friend Braun is sitting next to me und massaging my kneecap in a most masculine fashion!

Vee are very excited to be performing for you again very soon! Vee have a whole brand new song for you that vee will be singing for you. It is a nice summery song because it is summer outside!

Vee have an entire band this year. In zee picture you can see our Britney. She plays the hair. Vee also have a kazoo player und a xylophone player. She is very nice, and didn’t even get mad at me venn I accidentally spilled a whole gallon of mustache wax on her head. I vasnt mad either. That is only three dayses worth of mustache wax that I had spilled.

Braun und I hope that you vill come and see us as vee sing our summery tune at Front For Evil, vich opens next Friday at the Apollo Theater Studio at 10:30. You can see the detailses here. Vee would like you to laugh, und then vee will speak to you in an polite und friendly manner, und maybe aftervords, vee could lay on top of you und move up and down!

Bye-bye! See you soon!

Are You Suitably Evil?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

Don’t know? Take the official Three Legged Race Are you Evil Facebook quiz. (You are on Facebook, right?)

It will tell you if you’re 3LR Evil (as opposed to just plain evil, or even worse, good), as well as one very simple technique for improving your Evilness. (I wonder what that technique could be.)

July 26 Production Notes: With a Xylophone on My Back

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 28, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

If you happened to see me biking to rehearsal yesterday, you would have seen a hopefully uncommon sight: a bicyclist with a xylophone on his back.

Okay, admittedly not a full-size one. Just a little one, two octaves in total, and no bulky stand or anything. But still, big enough to be sticking out of my backpack, leaving me nervous about it falling out and causing a taxicab to crash into someone who doesn’t deserve to die.

Fortunately, the xylophone made it to rehearsal without incident. It was necessary for a single scene—one of the two songs left in the show. And fans of our last show, Awkward Turtle, will recognize the characters.

I’ll leave the identity of the returning characters (the only ones, incidentally) for the next post. Let’s just say that the accompaniment for this song will be one of the few opportunities you’ll ever have to hear a xylophone-and-kazoo duet.

(It might actually be a metalophone; I think the term xylophone only technically applies if the things you hit are made of wood. Oh well.)

In other news, the time of the show was down to 49 minutes in our run-through yesterday without further scene cuts. This is a good sign; it means that we’re picking up line cues more quickly and delivering them more confidently.

With a week and a half before open, our situation is surprisingly unpanicky. While we’re going to be glad for the few rehearsals we have left, if we had to open this week instead of next, we could.

July 21 Production Notes: Tribute to the Fallen Scenes

Posted in Front for Evil, Shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

Yesterday we worked a revised, and shortened, running order. A full hour (what we ran last time, a figure that omits two songs) is a bit long for a sketch show, so four sketches were removed and one song, which we haven’t run at all yet, wasn’t included. The net result: 50 minutes.

But today’s post isn’t about what’s in the show. It’s about the sketches that got cut.

They’re not bad sketches, and they certainly could show up in other places. (At least a few of the sketches in this show were originally written for other things.) But in the event that they don’t, let us now pay tribute to them.

Farewell, The Gym. This one fell into sort of a special category. This and one other sketch utilize that old comic trope, the voice over. We really didn’t want to have two voice over scenes, so one of them had to go. This one had a bit of creepiness, but so does the other. This one had exercise, while the other has bowling, which is technically an exercise, so that’s a wash also. I think the deciding factor was that The Gym had a psychiatrist, which brings back bad memories. (It’s a psychiatrist’s job.)

Sayonara, Irritible Vowel Syndrome. This was one of the more dramatically rewritten sketches; its setting was relocated from a printing press’s type tray to a Scrabble bag. That change also made the title wholly inacurate; on the type tray, the vowels were irritible, while in the Scrabble board, it was the consonants that were ticked off. Sadly, the poor gramatical oddities that are valid words that have a “Q” but no “U” will now be lost to the world forever. (Unless you refer to one of the many web sites that list them.)

So long, Beauty Knows Pain. This beauty knows the pain of non-performance. It’s a shame, for everyone at this particular reunion has changed for the better, in just the way that they don’t at real reunions. With it cut from the show, Derick’s efforts at learning how to pronounce the word “decolette” were in vain.

Bye-bye, Betty Buchanan. This talk-show based wife-swap may have broken up Jake and Gloria, but I guess they got the last laugh. I think we can safely blame Oprah for this. Hopefully it will cause a giant feud with her, which will produce ample publicity for us and guarantee massive glorious success. That would be wonderful.

Pity we never met you, Bob. This innocuous-sounding song never made it into our rotation. A shame, as it is one of the few songs to contain the phrase “geosynchronous satellite” in a reasonably melodic way. The antihero of the song, an evil genius named Mr. Bad, will have to remain jealous of evil supergenius Bob for a while longer.

One final curiosity related to the cuts. Of the sketches that I wrote that made our final considerations, fully half made reference to the chemical element uranium. (This is hardly surprising. One of my personal life goals, immediately under “learn Esperanto,” is to become a nuclear power.) One of these references was in the first draft of Irritible Vowel Syndrome; this reference disappeared when the setting changed to the scrabble board and the letters changed from U, O, and G, to Q, F, and U (respectively). The second was in Bob, as he bemoans his defective centrifuge, which precludes uranium enrichment. The third reference to uranium, in a sketch that remains in the show, was dropped in a final revision for the hilarity of the ununs—the super-heavy radioactive chemical elements with names like ununbium and ununquadium that have only been created in labs, in quantities of a few atoms at a time. As a result, Front For Evil is now a uranium-free zone.

July 19 Production Notes: Technicalities

Posted in Front for Evil, Shows with tags , , , on July 21, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

Our Sunday rehearsals are a bit abbreviated. Our director, Jay, teaches at Second City before our rehearsal. Then, she teaches at Second City after our rehearsal. As a result, we’ve got a bit under two hours with her, followed by a bit of cast time to run lines on our own.

So yesterday, we quote-unquote only did the staging of one scene. It’s about birth control, and technicalities that you shouldn’t really don’t want to have to think about when you’re talking about birth control. It’s also one of the two musical numbers that will have full recorded accompaniment.

It took a while because the staging mutated far beyond what anyone could have expected. What started as just a simple series of three vignettes (think “Interjections” from Schoolhouse Rock, only with condoms) became a more complicated series of three vignettes, with a pair of couples, and a pair of inner monologues, who then have their own attempt at a one-night stand.

I think it will be more clear when it’s on stage. If not, well, just assume that there’s a couple singers who invade people’s bedrooms at night, and then meet up afterward.

July 14 Production Notes: Yep, the Show Exists

Posted in Front for Evil, Shows with tags , , on July 18, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

I have to admit: I was not at my best for our Tuesday rehearsal. There’s a perfectly good reason—after four 15-hour work days, I pretty much needed sleep, rather than more concentrating.

Nevertheless, I was there, and not even wholly useless. We did two things. First, we ran what will in all likelihood be our opening scene. It went far more easily than it had any right to. And it should work well as an opener; it’s got a bit of screaming, a bit of desperation, a bit of realistic pinball action, and some—rather a lot, actually–begging.

After that, we did a run-through of nearly the entire show. 17 scenes; the only two missing are the two songs that will have prerecorded accompaniment, which isn’t quite ready yet.

Doing a full run-through is the first time that you can really look at a show and say, “Yep, it exists. It’s a real thing, it’s going to happen.” That isn’t to say there’s not still work, or even that it’s finalized—the run-through took 60 minutes even, which is too long for a sketch show, so stuff will be cut—but it’s still a nice feeling.

Sunday, if all goes well, is music day. And I’m reasonably confident that I’ll be fully awake for it.

Front for Evil: The Poster

Posted in Front for Evil, Shows on July 12, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

That’s right. We’ve got the promotional poster for Front for Evil designed and about to be printed. But you lucky ones get a preview of it.


Poster for Front for Evil


July 7 Production Notes: Drinking, Drugs, and Chemistry

Posted in Front for Evil with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

We picked up rehearsal on Tuesday, in various states of refreshment (and, in one case, hobblingness) from the Fourth of July holiday. It proved to be a productive one; we worked something like seven scenes, and all of them were credibly off-book. (This was, if you recall, our assignment from last week, and a week ahead of our original plan.)

There was a long stretch of working scenes that I’m not in, so I spent part of rehearsal catching up on my rest, and making the unhappy discovery that the benches at Johnny O’Hagan’s are more comfortable than my bed. But I was upright for some notable discoveries by the cast:

* Jess is pretty awesome when stage-drunk, and she gets stage-drunk quickly, from just a couple sips of imaginary stage liquor. While alcohol abuse is evil (rather than Evil), her sudden realization that she’s two-fisting is a sight to behold.

* We’ve got a sketch called “Rehab.” (Don’t sing the song, or I will be forced to reach through the internet and slap you.) Doug’s impassioned explanation of how he got to go rehab (don’t say ‘no no no’ or I will slap you) is a thing of beauty. SLAP! I warned you.

* While this won’t show up in the final show–it’s the result of a dropped line on my part–I’m delighted to have caused the phrase “You forgot rhenium, jerk!” to be uttered for possibly the first time in recorded history. Way to go, Derick!

I’m missing Sunday’s rehearsal–I’ll be at a conference for my day job through Tuesday morning, at which I’ll be doing things that include interviewing Paula Poundstone–but watch here for an exciting non-rehearsal-related update coming soon.

June 30 Production Notes: Rehearsus Interruptus

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2009 by Greg Landgraf

Not much of an update today. Our director was sick, and one of the cast members was bleeding. (The bleeding is probably–probably!–related to surgery she recently had, although it could also be sort of a tasteful fountain thing out the top of her head. Probably the former, though.)

We’ve also got Sunday off due to the holiday and certain cast members’ insistence on taking trains to very strange places to visit very strange people. It’s a shame, both because you never want to lose time when you’re building a show, but also because the rehearsal process has just been so much fun so far.

But what happens happens. When we gather again next Tuesday, we’ll be doing so completely without scripts in hand. We will know our lines or else face the penalty. What exactly that penalty is wasn’t made completely clear. But the threat was vicious. Truly vicious. So nobody wants to test it.