Theatrical types who feel that their lives are stranger and more entertaining than fiction will probably get no argument from Scott Logsdon. A longtime cast member and dance captain of Les Misérables on tour and on Broadway, Logsdon has (unofficially!) used some of his real life experiences as the basis for The Glamorous Life, a wonderfully entertaining Internet serial that may be enjoyed free of charge at www.theglamorouslife.net.
Though Logsdon began writing and uploading the serial less than a year and a half ago, it has already attracted some notable admirers. "It's a great concept and great fun to read, full of punchy, lively characters and snappy banter," according to Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection and True Enough; McCauley adds, "I always wondered what went on behind the scenes of those long-running tours." After a hiatus of five weeks, Logsdon re-launched The Glamorous Life on Monday, July 15. Our TheaterMania interview took place just prior to that date.
THEATERMANIA: Congratulations on your re-launch!
SCOTT LOGSDON: Thanks. I was approached by an advertiser and we have been talking and talking, but it was going nowhere. So I said, "You know what? I'm not staying on hold anymore for this. I'm just going to go on, and whatever happens, happens."
TM: You've had some wonderful responses to the serial.
SL: Yes. Shortly after I debuted, I got a very lovely letter from Dana Rowe [composer of The Fix, Zombie Prom, and The Witches of Eastwick] comparing me quite favorably to Armistead Maupin. I told him, "You've given me a quote I can definitely use!"
TM: Can you summarize the plot of The Glamorous Life?
SL: It's about the touring company of "Broadway's Longest Running Musical, The Count of Monte Cristo." It's about all the goings-on, the intrigue and strife and backstage drama.
TM: You were the dance captain of Les Miz for several years. How much resemblance is there between the serial and your actual experiences?
SL: I have the standard disclaimer. Funny story: When I launched, I sent Equity the list of the names I was going to use, just to make sure there weren't any names of real actors. They were all cleared. Then, probably about two months later, I got a letter from this guy called Boris Luft--which is the name of the director [in the serial]. He said, "I am a director and you based this character on me!" I was, like, "I have no idea what you're talking about." He asked me how I came up with the name and I said, "Well, the character is Russian, so I thought of Boris. And I couldn't very well call him Boris Minnelli, so Boris Luft it was."
TM: When exactly did you launch and how frequently were you updating the serial?
SL: It started in April of 2001 and it was being updated five days a week--until September 11 happened. I don't want to jump on the September 11 bandwagon but, originally, the first story arc was going to end with a bomb threat at a theater. I took some time off and just re-plotted everything because that made me uncomfortable. So I did deal with September 11 in the serial, but not in an exploitative way. You can't have an event like that and not have it enter your landscape.
TM: What sorts of things have served as inspiration for the serial, aside from Les Miz?
SL: If something is happening in the national psyche, I try to reflect that. The first volume was about this girl named Lori Newton, which was my little tip of the hat to Armistead Maupin: Mary Ann Singleton [of Tales of the City] was single, so I decided to go with Lori Newton since she's always in a new town. That first volume was about the way performers are always thinking, "If I get a Broadway show or I get this or that, then everything is going to be perfect," but the reality is that there isn't a final destination. If you achieve something, that's great--but you still have to move on. I like the metaphor of being on the road. The second volume is about trying to figure out who you are: Lori is having to do a lot of growing up and some of the other characters are confronting issues with their parents or their offspring, so there are all of these familial dynamics going on within the context of the tour.
SL: She's an understudy to the ingénue role, Valentine.
TM: Would you describe The Glamorous Life as a soap opera?
SL: I like the word "serial" better. I'd say it's an Internet serial. Again, going back to Armistead Maupin: Tales of the City was written as a serial in the form of daily newspaper columns.
TM: It seems that Tales of the City definitely served as a model for what you've created.
SL: To an extent. We were in San Francisco [with Les Miz] when I got the idea to do this. I was just bouncing around the city, seeing places that I had read about in Maupin's books. I thought, "Being on the road is sort of fun and interesting, and not a lot of people get to do it." So I thought, hmmm...column! That was the jumping off point. There are some insider jokes that people will get if they read between the lines. Like the girl that Lori replaces in the show; her name is Carrie Buckley. There are all sorts of little things like that, the combination of the first name "Carrie" with the last name "Buckley." And there's a program [for The Count of Monte Cristo] with all the bios, so I came up with fake names for musicals. Like Noah and the Amazing New Zoo Review--which, of course, some people might assume is Joseph...
TM: Since you still don't have an advertiser, I guess you're doing this out of love.
SL: Yeah. I really have built up quite a wonderful and devoted following. I'm glad that, with the re-launch, I won't be getting those nasty e-mails: "It's been three weeks! I don't have anything to read when I get to work! Why aren't you writing!" One of my favorite characters [in the serial] is this psycho fan who is obsessed with the show and stalks the actors, and it's been interesting how many letters I've gotten asking, "Is this character based on...?" Apparently, every tour has its own psycho groupie.
Don't show this again.