A popular LA cabaret and theatre mainstay for over a quarter of a century, singer/songwriter/musical director Wayne Moore has revamped his 1992 cabaret act FREEWAY DREAMS into a full-length musical production called, wait for it… FREEWAY DREAMS. Write Act Repertory will be producing it in their new space, Brickhouse Theatre in North Hollywood, beginning May 19, 2017.
We had the chance to chat with the ever-youthful Wayne on how his early dreams become real DREAMS.
Thank you, Wayne, for doing this interview with myself and Better Lemons.
Hi, Gil! Thanks for asking these questions.
You world premiered FREEWAY DREAMS in 1992 @ Tom Rolla’s Gardenia Cabaret in Hollywood. How does it feel to be revisiting one of your early creations?
It feels great to revisit FREEWAY DREAMS. The original show at The Gardenia was a revue I put together for my friends and myself and was so much fun to do! It had “situations” that framed the songs, but not a real script. Robert McGarity offered to produce a CD of the show and that’s how it became so popular. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to improve and solidify the show.
Have you performed/produced FREEWAY DREAMS again since 1992?
I haven’t performed the show since then, although I’ve sung a lot of songs from FREEWAY in a lot of bars! I kept being asked what the script was like. Well, there really wasn’t a script until now.
Only a true Angeleno could have written FREEWAY DREAMS. Just two films come to mind when thinking of L.A. freeways – Steve Martin’s L.A. Story from 1991 and Damien Chazelle’s La La Land from last year. Did the freeway scene from LA Story inspire/influence FREEWAY DREAMS, by any chance?
I loved L.A. Story! The coffee ordering scene still cracks me up. I haven’t seen La La Land yet. I hear the opening number with mad dancing in and out of cars is terrific. But that’s not our show. We’re terrific in a different way!
You are now adapting your what-was-originally a cabaret act into a full theatrical production. You didn’t happen to be stuck on a freeway when you first thought of your first nuclei of FREEWAY DREAMS?
Being a home-bred Los Angelean, I’ve been stuck on a freeway more times that I can count! But the songs I tend to write when stuck on the freeway aren’t suitable for musical theater!
Which song was FREEWAY DREAMS‘ first?
The first song written directly for the show was the opening number “Freeway.”
Can you share with us some of your processes of coming up with such FREEWAY DREAMS ditties as ‘Manic-Depressive Blues,’ ‘A Big Woman Needs A Big Man,’ ‘…And A Pizza To Go,’ ‘My Superman’ and ‘What If The Other Guy Wins?’?
“A Big Woman Needs A Big Man” was written for Brenda Moore, my ex-wife, cabaret partner and best friend. She actually blushed when I played it for her – and being a dark black woman, that’s hard for her to do! – but she certainly throws herself into the song now.
“And A Pizza To Go” was created because I wanted to write a comic opera piece. I went around the corner to an Italian restaurant near where I lived, grabbed a to-go menu and wrote it in about ten minutes.
“My Superman” may be my most popular song. Believe it or not, it was originally written for Rose Marie!
“What If The Other Guy Wins?” didn’t make it into this production. I re-wrote the script completely and it just didn’t fit. I hope I’ve created four real, but funny human beings to be stuck next to each other on the freeway. (They are there for so long, they start showing up in each other’s fantasies.) A lot of re-writing went on to accommodate the new premise.
With all the clever lyrics you write, how old were you when you first realized you possessed a sense of humor that could possibly make you a living?
I was a terrible geek growing up with few friends. I wrote my first song when I was six years old and music was always pouring out of me. But I didn’t learn I could be funny until I went to L.A. City College. It was quite a revelation! I still can’t quite believe it!
As a frequent contributor to the L.A. Theatre and cabaret scene over the past 25+ years, can you tell us the characteristics of live entertainment in Los Angeles back in 1992 that are still evident/relevant today?
There are very few venues for cabaret performances left in L.A. And the classic piano bar set-up I thrived in is pretty much gone for now. This kind of entertainment happens in cycles, so I’m hopeful some new piano bars will pop up. With the abolition of 99-seat theater in L.A., the whole scene is shifting. Nevertheless, there is some wonderful work being done in theater companies around town. I love seeing that.
Wayne, you’re a singer, songwriter, actor and musical director. Which is your primary passion?
My primary passion has always been song-writing. Nothing like it.
Where would you like to take FREEWAY DREAMS to next?
Write/Act is considering taking the show to its off-Broadway venue this summer. I’d like to get the show published so small theater companies looking for something new can discover us!
Any immediate projects for Wayne Moore you can tell us?
Wayne Moore projects: I wrote the music for a show by Chandler Warren called ADAM & EVE & STEVE which moved to England after a good run at Theater 68 here in L.A. We had a sold-out run in London and they’re planning a tour. I have new shows completed with two other writers, and my own solo epic SOUNDSTAGE is, at last, ready to go.
As one who’s made a fairly steady living in the entertainment field for over a quarter of a century now, what sage advice would you give to someone coming to our City of Angels with the goal to grab the elusive brass ring?
Sage advice? Go elsewhere, I fear. It’s true I’ve never had what my father insisted on calling a “real job,” but looking back, I’m not sure how it all happened or what I did to make it happen. This sounds corny, but the best advice I can give is:, to always do your best work, stay as nice as you can to everyone, and keep your eyes and ears open for your next opportunity.
Thank you again, Wayne!
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