written by RICHARD WOLF & JANE McADAMS, The Creative Team of BOOKSTORE

 

Suzanne, Richard Wolf’s wife, arrives home one day a few years ago and tells him about this woman whom she’s just had lunch with and who has always had the dream of writing a musical. Richard had written 14 musicals, 5 novels, 11 plays, of which several had been produced, including one directed by Ginger Rogers. Now in his late sixties and seemingly spent of ideas, he wasn’t creating much of anything anymore. Suzanne was determined to get him back on the writing trail again.

“Oh, just what I need, Suz, another bored housewife who writes lyrics,” was his unenthusiastic response.

“She has this idea of a musical set in a bookstore,” Suzanne continued.

Suddenly Richard’s interest picked up a bit, triggered by what he’d just heard.

“A musical set in a bookstore. Hmm, might not be a bad idea,” he said, his mind already starting to churn.

“It should be a small bookstore… in NYC… trying to compete with the big boys, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the like. Barely hanging on. Colorful characters coming in and out of the store.”

Seeing his sudden hint of enthusiasm, she handed him a scrap of paper, “Here’s her number. Why don’t you call her.”

“A musical set in a bookstore — not a bad idea. Okay, I’ll call her, but I’m not expecting anything to come out of this.”

He scheduled the meeting with Jane, still filled with trepidation on whether her lyrics would be any good or just dalliances. They met and Jane told him of some of her more interesting experiences with customers and her boss while working in a small bookstore Her work in that environment became the inspiration for a set of lyrics she had written 25 years ago and she gave Richard a copy of them. After their meeting Richard began to write a synopsis of the musical, creating characters, suggesting song ideas along the way and recording a few melodies for her. A short time later they met again.

To Richard’s surprise, the lyrics she’d put to his melodies were good. The two of them were now bursting with ideas for the show, many loosely based on her experiences in the bookstore. Later he found out that years ago, Motown had published some of her lyrics. This was no unproven amateur; this looked like it could be the real deal, and though she was inexperienced in the ways of creating a musical, that was okay — because he was more than just experienced in the craft. He’d been there; he’d done it, many times.

So, after six months of the usual creative ups and downs, wrangles, agreements and disagreements that are all part of creating what you hope will be a fine piece of work, BOOKSTORE was ready for an audience.