|Kurt Koehler Productions||
The first time I ever heard about “The Legend of Billie Jean” was from Kurt when he asked me to attend a reading. It had never crossed my radar screen. When it opened in 1985 and subsequently played thousands of times on MTV, I was living in Europe. I don’t remember if it ever reached European markets, but if it did, it probably played better because of dubbing or subtitles, the Europeans way of ‘fixing it in post.’ It took me three sessions to sit and watch the whole thing. All I could think of was how much cocaine, that ubiquitous show biz drug of the 80s, must have been on the set to come up with this vigilante movie. Visuals of children lining the walls of warehouses? And all of this over a scooter? I repeat, all of this over a scooter? Huh? I guess Billie Jean was never taught to pick her battles.
I love working on this show because, let’s face it, with such talented people, it really isn’t work. Being the ‘older’ person on stage (i.e., the one without hair coloring), I am not required to do much but make the 30/40 year olds look like teenagers by comparison and feed them straight lines, the few in the show. It is a joy to see what people do with the actual lines from the movie. It is so ripe with possibility. And of course, when everyone is laughing in rehearsal, you know the audience will as well.