In 1990-2000, after 30 years in showbiz, Elizabeth and I put our own shows together and took them from them Maine to Florida, New England to California, in high schools, colleges, cabarets, senior centers, and hospitals. Each show went through stages:
1) Conception. Most started with songs that highlighted a character or told a story. Each had a script. One was about Amelia Earhart for which I wrote the book and four songs. We told dramatic stories, also jokes, and got laughs. It was as satisfying as anything we'd ever done.
2) Rehearsals and Production. We had a costume designer, tech director, and pianist. Later we put accompaniment on tape and an On/Off remote switch in my pocket so Liz and I could do it all. We gave run-thrus for friends as often as we could get them to come.
3) Booking. We made lists of every college and senior center within 100 miles. Now there’s Google. We sent well-written letters with photos, and followed up with telephone calls. Now there’s email, but I’d avoid spam like E Coli. You can also toss up a (free) web site with video clips. I’d try hard to find a smooth talker who wants to learn booking.
4) Performance. Arrived needing only the performing space and an AC outlet. Had costumes, sound system, two stage lights, and recorded music.
5) Fees. We did tryout shows for $75 or $100 at local senior centers, dozens in the five boroughs of NYC. Gigs out of town ran $350 to $3,000 depending on the venue. We did 4 to 8 a week, sometimes two in a day. An agent in South Carolina booked us all over the South and mid-West.
Our shows:Berlin to Broadway, the Music of Kurt Weill, solo for Elizabeth. A Little Weill, more Kurt Weill. La Môme Piaf, Edith Piaf songs. La Musique de Piaf, songs she sang with partners so I could join. Blue Angel, on Marlene Dietrich. Our Marlene, a duet show with a WW2 theme, my army uniforms for costumes. A Woman’s World, for Elizabeth, with an Isadora Duncan dance. The Sound of Wings, about Amelia Earhart. Two Americans in Paris, about a visit there. Dancing on Air with Fred Astaire, dance numbers from the screen. The O’Tooles Tonight, written for us by writer, director, producer, Gayle Stahlhut.
After each performance we mixed and mingled, were often invited to dinner. It was the 1990s, but I think it would work even better now when almost all entertainment is seen on a screen and there is still nothing, repeat, nothing like a live performance.