WRITTEN BY GARY KELSON & DW JACOBS
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY LEE KELSON
MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS BY STEVE GUNDERSON
DIRECTED BY KENT NICHOLSON
YOURS, TRULY is inspired by a true story. I come from a show business family. My father, Lee Kelson, was a singer with the Glenn Miller Modernaires. My mother was a showgirl, a Rockette.
My father left the group in the 1940s to pursue a solo career. He was doing well. One night Marlene Dietrich sees him perform in a supper club in LA and invites him on a USO tour of Europe, the opportunity of his lifetime. My mother…pregnant ; suspicious and thinking he would run off with Dietrich, the Madonna of her era, not only kills the tour, she ends his career with an ultimatum: “Me or show business”. He loved my mother deeply and chose her. He became a furniture salesman, often singing a song to close a deal. They were married 55 years. That’s the back story.
Flash forward 60 years. I have a solid relationship with my father. Loving. Playful. Affectionate. I never had an argument with him; never raised my voice. He was my best friend. One day I get a call from my mother. “Talk to your father, he’s driving me nuts!”. He was 88 years old with early dementia, following her around the house like a puppy. In a dark mood that day, I read him the riot act; chewed him out. “Leo! Give her space! If I get one more call like this from Ma, you’re in deep shit!”. DEEP SHIT LEO! YOU HEAR ME! DEEP DEEP SHIT!! That was the first time I ever spoke to him that way. And the last. He died that night. Perhaps from a broken heart. The final conversation with my father whom I truly loved.
I was devastated but then something magical. When I went back to Miami to be with my mother, I made a stunning discovery. Reaching up into a closet for scrapbooks of my parents’ lives in show business, an old decaying envelope falls onto my head and drops to the floor. On that floor are 16 song sheets. Songs my father had written nearly 70 years earlier. Never seen. Never heard. Songs with a Cole Porter/Sondheim kick. Did my mother kill that dream as well? Did he kill it to be with the woman he loved? Did he write these songs to build a bridge to a new life? When creative energy gets sidelined, where does it go?
There’s the story. I’m putting my old man back into show business where he belongs via these songs, these “magic beans” that fell from a shelf and spilled out onto the floor at my feet. Since the day I picked them up, I’ve been driven to bring them to life…and make amends for feeling my rant contributed to his death.
YOURS, TRULY has been workshopped at THEATREWORKS in Palo Alto, CA and had staged musical readings at the ACADEMY FOR NEW MUSICALTHEATRE in LA, PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS (presented by Bay Street Theatre) in NYC and the YORK THEATRE, NYC, as part of their Developmental Reading Series.
There is a cd of 13 songs and scripts for stage, film and in its current structure…a more presentational approach, a family cabaret act, a play about music, stand-up nostalgia and dreams that never die.
DW Jacobs email@example.com
Gary Kelson firstname.lastname@example.org
When my father passed away at 88, I returned to Miami Beach where I grew up to be with my mother. My time spent with her triggered YOURS, TRULY. As I reach into the closet for another scrapbook of their lives in show business, an envelope so old it’s decaying, falls to the floor. Inside that envelope are 16 songsheets. Lyrics and music my father wrote 70 years ago.
I knew my father as a vocalist and pianist but this discovery of songs took me by surprise. Singer. Pianist. Composer. And it was at that moment that I wanted to bring these songs, these “magic beans” into the world. To get Lee and Annette back on stage. ~ Gary Kelson
YOURS, TRULY is a 3 character play. The Kelsons: Lee, Annette and Gary. Based on budget, the set design is minimal. A kitchen table, chairs, a lamp or two, a bar with a stool or two. YOURS, TRULY can play easily with piano only but adding a bass and drums would enhance musically. The use of projections (pictures) can also be implemented.
LEE KELSON: A MAN in his 80s. Actor should be in 50s or 60s, capable of suggesting a range of ages. The Romantic Baritone. A triple threat plays piano, sings like a dream and tells jokes like an MC. Often called The Ghost of Russ Columbo, he kept his dreamboat looks into old age with an energy that was eternally youthful, but now and then haunted by what’s been lost.
ANNETTE KELSON: A WOMAN in her early 80s. Cast younger to suggest a range of ages. This ex-showgirl looks great in a simple housedress, has aged well, keeping her dancer legs. A mix of fire and ice, a wry sense of humor, a withering deadpan, she can stand up for herself and doesn’t need many words to do it. Smart! Actor should be able to sing and dance.
GARY KELSON: The son, a MAN late 50s, athletic. He still holds himself like a ballplayer, talks and tells jokes like a salesman and has the controlled energy, intense concentration and wound-tight emotional core of a great baseball pitcher which he once was. At times, also haunted by what’s been lost; a comparable trait he shares with his father.
JUST LUCKY I GUESS
Karole Foreman, Vocals
Karole Foreman, Vocals
THAT CERTAIN NOTHING
Steve Gunderson & Karole Foreman, Vocals
AUTUMN & EVE
Steve Gunderson, Vocals
WELL WHADDYA GONNA DO
Matthew Patrick Davis, Vocals
CRAZY MIXED UP KID
Jenn Grinells, Vocals
I’M YOUR SLAVE
Matthew Patrick Davis, Vocals