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Nance Crawford

Books - Plays - Words & Music

Journal

Who I am on the day I post. Always subject to change.

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Update: Dad's on the Freeway!

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Elinor's driving. Just blew every minute of an hour sending emails and thanking God and everyone via Facebook and have got to feed the cats before they eat my ankles. I'll be back, later. (And I don't care what the clock here, says, my little elephant tells me it's 11:15 a.m. and my monitor says so, too.)


I'll be back, later, with more.

Prayers for Dad - Update #1

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (5)

Surgery went well, thank you, God, and everyone out there who is holding Dad in prayer. He's in the recovery room and should be awake shortly. Except for Elinor and immediates, visitors tomorrow. Thank you to Ray Brown, who has steadfastly stood by.


And, just because I'm a trifle giddy with gratitude, here's a photo of Dad as Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest - which was produced at a small theater in Eagle Rock, CA, back in the day - with extra thanks to Stacey, who restored a very damaged image.



Prayers for Dad

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (4)

I didn't get the message until I opened email last night, but Dad will be in surgery at Cedars-Sinai at 10 a.m. today, about an hour and a half from now, for surgery. He's checking into the hospital right about now. Please keep him, his wife, Elinor, and the surgical team in prayer. If they find a Transcatheter Heart Valve implantation is not practical, they will turn to the Aortic Valve Replacement surgery through an incision on the right side of Dad's chest between the second and third ribs. The surgery will take about 3 hours.


Kind of freaked because I want to let everyone know to up the prayer ante but it's kind of a Crawford privacy thing and I guess I'm going a little nuts.


But I just realized how freaked I am and how much I am resisting even the thought of becoming a complete orphan. All I can pray for is the understanding that, whatever happens it will be the best result for Dad. Doesn't make it any easier for the rest of us.

 

Lifetime: DEAR MOM, LOVE CHER - Tonight at 10 pm PDT!

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

“Dear Mom, Love Cher,” airs in our area (Time Warner Cable channels 73 & 149 in the West San Fernando Valley) at 10 p.m. tonight on Lifetime and again in the wee hours of tomorrow at 2:02 p.m.   YOU CAN’T GO  HOME AGAIN is song #8 on the CD.

 

So, the best way this can happen is for people to buy YOU CAN’T GO  HOME AGAIN for 99 cents (then buy the complete CD), tell their friends to sample it on Amazon, and “Like” and “Share” my Facebook announcement with their friends, who will (hopefully) “Like” and “Share” and just all-around fall in love with it.

 

My prayer is that it becomes the “breakout” song of the album, even though it’s not the song that’s getting the push (Cher & Georgia’s duet is, which is natural, because Cher hasn’t released anything in ten years and she’s the one with the name). Not to mention they recorded it before they had tracked me down and the contracts were in place.

 

Kind of interesting that they went ahead and did the song before they tried to find me - it’s pretty obvious that’s what happened because the CD was released as an Mp3 on Amazon on April 30 - which is the date on the contracts.

 

I am so very grateful - just checked Amazon and of 14 reviews, 11 are 5 stars and 3 are 4 stars. From the lengthiest review, thus far, by Peter Fields: “. . .You Can't Go Home Again, Homecoming Queen and Cryin' Time are the stand-out message songs on this collection. Sad in their universal story telling and wonderfully written in heart breaking rhyme.”

 

And Patti’s personal review on Facebook is a blessed gift.

 

 

The Late Bloomer Rises!

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (1)

 

You first, Facebook and Twitter after I’ve had a break for lunch.

 

Here we go!

 

Cher and her mother, Georgia Holt, are on The Ellen Show today, NBC at 4 p.m., PDT.

 

I put an announcement of it on Facebook and was able to send it out to my personal email lists yesterday, but didn’t say why, because the contracts hadn't arrived yet.

 

Long story, but Cher's remastering the songs her mother cut for an album that fell through and my song, "You Can't go Home Again" was to be the title cut - oh, and the band was (the late) Elvis' guys, together again for the first time. The album will now be titled, "Honky Tonk Woman"," which, truth to tell is a hell of a lot better title. Cher & whole family did a documentary on her mom, Georgia Holt, which will air on Lifetime on May 6th, and she's making the talk show rounds with Georgia.

 

The contracts had arrived by the time I was able to I check email after business hours, last night.  As I came into my office to deal with them paperwork, NBC was running a tease - they were going to be on Leno at 11:30. (Which is really funny because when I was performing at the Improv and singing that song, Jay had just arrived from NY. Ah, history . . .) So I slapped in a tape and hit record.

 

Got the contracts, pdf'd them back all signed, so now I can now brag about it.

 

This is me, hugging myself, giggling, and then stopping, dead still, in complete shock.

 

Wow.

Letter to the Editor, British Heritage Magazine

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (4)

There are some things it is necessary to take time out for, and this was one of them.


April 25, 2013

 

Dana L. Huntley, Editor, British Heritage

Leesburg, Virginia 20176-6500

 

Dear Mr. Huntley,

 

I have been a subscriber to British Heritage for many years and have long looked forward to a comprehensive and dispassionate article on Richard III, so was absolutely delighted when the July issue arrived, today, with the most attractive of the existing portraits of the gentleman gracing the cover.

 

Eagerly, I carefully read my way from front cover, saving the best, and finally arrived at page 24. Seven paragraphs in, I was stopped dead in my tracks by, “They were digging for the remains of Greyfriars, a Franciscan friary . . .” No.

 

They were digging for the remains of Richard III, and they never would have done any digging at all if it were not for the dream, stubborn insistence, and organizational abilities of Philippa Langley and the gift she brought to Leicester University by successfully rallying the financial backing of a great number of the worldwide membership of the Richard III Society.

 

At the press conference announcing the results of the find in February, Richard Buckley gave brief and barely noticeable acknowledgment to Philippa and the RIII Society, and, as did the Tudors, the University have continued to bask in their own wonderfulness, since. Only the BBC4 special that followed gave full due to the true heroine and supporters of the adventure, and I am sorry to see British Heritage continuing the oversight.

 

Then, to my further annoyance, Jim Hargan’s “Bosworth’s Battlefield, Then and Now,” compounded injury at the bottom of page 30 with, ”Consider William Hastings, the Old Lord Chamberlain who Richard murdered in his June coup. . .” No.

 

Hastings was arrested on Friday, June 13th, tried on Monday, June 16, found guilty of treason, and executed the following day. Yes, a bit of a hurry but hardly, “murdered.” His family were not attainted and left in penury and Richard insisted that, in accordance with Edward IV’s Will, he be buried next to Edward, where, as far as anyone has written, his remains remain.

 

 In the second-to-the-last paragraph of his article, at the bottom of page 32, Mr. Hargan’s anachronistic viewpoint came to full flower with, “Richard, like many tyrants . . .”

 

It is obvious that Mr. Hargan is not a scholar. The last Plantagenet king is renowned among scholars for overseeing the enactment of just laws. The only noteworthy contemporaneous person who ever accused Richard III of tyranny was Henry Tudor, who dated his own reign as beginning on August 23, the day before Bosworth, thus turning every man who fought for Richard into a traitor. That’s tyranny.

 

May I suggest that the next issue of British Heritage contain the moving and inspiring story of Philippa Langley’s quest, along with photos of the new portrait bust - also commissioned by the Society - as well as pictures of the tomb design the Society has offered to Leicester Cathedral (and which has, heretofore, received no response other than an announcement that they will not consider it until a contest has been held to determine the design of the memorial).

 

The 2013 Annual General Meeting of the American Branch of the Richard III Society will be held September 27-29 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

 

The American Branch website address is www.r3.org. It can also be accessed from the “Interests to Share” list on the “Links” page at my personal website.

 

Saturday, June 22, 2013, is the 530th Anniversary of the day Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was - in unanticipated circumstances - called to be king.

 

In spite of all, I do adore British Heritage.

 

Sincerely,


***************


I've never been a "fan"actic about Richard III but, from my own reseach for the play(s) over the years, have absorbed a lot. I actually put off joining the RIII Society for a long time because I was concerned that some people might think I was acting out of negative self-interest - but, finally, after many interior discussions, decided, "Why not?" and am very, very glad I did. The only regret I've had is that I haven't been able to afford to get to some of the wonderful events in the U.K.


Well, I'm walking proof that prayer works, so I guess it's time to concentrate on gaining literary and monetary success so that I can fulfill my dream of yearly trips across the pond until I'm locked up for my own safety.


Ever onward!

KING'S GAMES, a Play Reading - Aftermath

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (4)

Boy, did that ever work out well. A marvelous cast pulling my bunny out of a hat after a single read-through Wednesday night and an hour and 1/2 of entrance & exit cue-to-cue rehearsal that had to stop twenty minutes before curtain, with audience just beginning to arrive.

 

Wow. I have attended, been part of, observed, and suffered through many, many sit-down and staged play readings in my long life, but I have never before witnessed an audience applauding a cast for two or three minutes, after. For several moments, there, I wondered when it was going to end. What a thrill!

 

For the author, this kind of experience is beyond price. Sitting in the back, listening and watching both the performance and the members of the audience, I found what worked and what didn't work.

 

The first act worked, even with the extra time it took because of having to read stage directions. The second act worked, as well, with one tiny, teeny, super-important little hitch: it was too long, and not just because of the stage directions.

 

I was surprised to find that, in the moments before the final scene of the script was to be played, that the play had ended. The final scene was revealed to be redundant. I have to admit a mental double-take, because I’ve always thought those last moments before Bosworth were darned good. But something happened between Bill Durham and David Fruechting in the minute before that suddenly sent the last scene out the window, for me.

 

I was gratified to hear my instinct confirmed later in the evening by fellow director Caprice Spencer Rothe. It stewed around in my head, in front and in back, all day and evening on Sunday and I woke up this morning knowing that my final scene was gone and I had, suddenly, without the stroke of a pen or battering a keyboard, instantly cut 15 or 20 minutes from the play. That felt really good.

 

Later in the afternoon, brother Bob called and shared the same thoughts.

 

It felt even better, this morning, when daughter Patti called to tell me she thought the last scene wasn’t necessary.

 

Great minds, and all that.

 

It is, however, not gone with the baby and the bathwater.

 

I have a couple of phone calls to make to confirm the date of the reading of the other version of the play. The one that’s not an adaptation, the one that contains only my work.

 

If all goes well, there will be a reading of KING’S GAMES: A Memoir of Richard III, on Saturday, June 22, 2013, the 530th Anniversary of the day Richard was called to be king.

 

 

A Letter to Family and Friends

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (2)

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

 

Dear Family and Friends,

 

In 1967, during a conversation in the living room, Mom turned around, pulled a book from the shelf nook behind the piano, opened it and held it out to me, saying, “This would make a wonderful play.”  She was gone four years later.

 

Contacting the rights holder, I found out the novel had been constantly under option since its original publication in 1951. At the first opportunity, I made an offer that was soundly rejected. Copyright on the novel would end in 2002, so the finished script went into the file.

 

Twenty years later the subject came up with a group of actor friends who expressed interest, so we got together in my living room to read the script. When I finally convinced them that any production was out of the question because of the situation with the rights, I was adamantly encouraged to pull out my own material and use it to build an entirely original play.

 

Did that. The new piece, also titled KING’S GAMES, got me invited to joint a playwrights group. When it became apparent that, due to circumstance, it couldn’t be produced by the company, and there was no interest elsewhere in the material, it,  too, went into the file.

 

Since then, copyright law has changed, both in the U.S. and the U.K.  The rights to the novel will now enter the Public Domain in 2022. Recently, after a discouraging exchange of correspondence with the representatives of the rights holder quoting a hefty one year option price and unusual, unreasonable demands regarding up-front presentation of a budget and film credits, I concluded it was best to let it go.

 

All things considered, I decided to match my original work in both plays, put the adaptation back into the file for my heirs, and make a concerted attempt to market my own play because the subject is suddenly very timely. I’ve never heard the final version of my adaptation and want and need to hear it read by professional actors in a big roomful of people before it goes to bed.

 

The reading will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 13, at Prince of Peace Episcopal Church, 5700 Rudnick Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.

 

We’ll do a reading of the second play in the very near future under more modest circumstances, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to me that you be there on Saturday the 13th.

 

The original material is Josephine Tey’s THE DAUGHTER OF TIME. In 1990, it was selected by the British-based Crime Writer’s Association as the greatest mystery of all time. The subjects of the mystery are the character and actions of Richard III of England (yes, the guy in the car park).

 

Please, please join us for this singular afternoon.

 

With warmest, hopeful regards,


N.

I Did It! But There's More . . .

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (2)

Okay. We're updated. Lost the pretty picture of the door but this does look more businesslike, I suppose.


As you can see from the Home page, plans for the KING'S GAMES reading are moving along. Almost have a complete cast and that, in itself, is amazing at this time of year in L.A.: I know a lot of wonderful actors but the majority of them are working with theater companies, gearing up to work, have left town because they have work, or simply don't have time for theater because they're booked for TV, movies or commercials. Although it's easier to organize a play reading than a full production, it still ain't no picnic, especially when the greatest need is for classical experience.


Yes, folks, there is verse in this play - or, as my friend Ray Malus has observed, "It could be verse." There are also two versions of this play. Nobody except the actors knows which version will be read on the Saturday - that's part of the surprise (other than solving a 500-year-old murder mystery, but I digress). One version is slated for the vault for another 40+ years (unless God has another plan), but the second version is for colleges and universities, where it may find very long life (again, God willing).


Meanwhile, a most oddly extraordinary thing happened when I dropped a couple of copies off at Prince of Peace (where we'll be doing the reading). I am not about to share this on Facebook or Twitter and haven't even had the nerve to point it out to David, but as I was walking back to my car, looking down at the sidewalk (so I wouldn't break my anything, as somewhat little older ladies are wont to do), I saw something so arresting I pulled my camera from my purse, loaded in the batteries (don't ask - it sucks batteries dry too quickly) and snapped a couple of pictures which you are going to have to come back to see because - at a wild guess, it's Friday night - traffic is too heavy and waiting over 5 minutes did not result in imported photos.


I'm going to go ahead and publish this now, anyway, because it's been too long. I'll put the pictures in the next blog.


Meantime, wanted to let you know my friend Nancy Porter took me along to the Pasadena Playhouse (where Mom & Dad studied - and I won my first directing award on that stage) to see ONE NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN. Oh, my goodness.


In the day, I was too into my middle America, Mommy self to really get into her music (although I did love BOBBY McGEE and sang the heck out of it, in my plain Jane country way) but, my dears, makes no difference now. It is a stunning evening, richly imagined, with marvelous singers, brilliant musicians and a shatteringly authentic performance by Mary Bridget Davies. It's breaking records wherever it plays, so if you get the chance, get yourself there. It is an experience not to be missed. And if you can't stand Janis' music, keep earplugs in until Sabrina Elayne Carten shows up to sing the root blues tunes that inspired Joplin's stock-in-trade; rips the heart up and out as Bessie Smith, Aretha, et al. Well worth the time and ticket price, whatever it may be.







Checking In

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (4)

Just a quick note to let you all know I'm still trying to find time to fix the home page - and to see if all the mess with the page includes not being able to reach out to you. It will be a great help to hear from you, to let me know that something is okay, here.


I finally knocked the endless rounds of the Rubber-Band Flu (the average seems to be 5 weeks - everyone I know who's had it experienced the same thing. It just came bouncing back).


Finished bringing both versions of KING'S GAMES (my 46 year odyssey of playwriting on Richard III) up to date, matching the verse where it exists in both) - and there will be more on that, later, as I prepare to for a major reading by some really remarkable actors who have stuck with me for the last 20 years of the journey.


Christmas is finally put away, so now I can get to clearing the filing that's been neglected, and get back to LOVE ON THE ROCKS. It's just remarkable how my back can stand up to sitting down at the typewriter but bending and lifting to deal with storage and gardening create agony. I think there's a hint, there.


Got a call from Kathie, just now, regarding her, Brian and Shawna and their status as their father's children, due to the Indian Trust Settlement, which she's found out they more than qualify for - and they have to file before the deadline, which is at 5 p.m., today.


Gotta go. More much sooner.


Thanks for your continuing patience. I love you all.

XO


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