It all started with “Wayne & Brenda”
|Brenda is my lovely ex-wife and current Best Friend. Yes, folks, miracles can happen! As “Wayne & Brenda” we’ve toured the world. Brenda is usually the first person to hear a new song, and her honest reaction tells me a lot!|
|Brenda and I formed a group called “Cartune” We played in Reno and Lake Tahoe and did a USO trip to Japan and Parts East. As you can see, we took ourselves very seriously. The big guy in the back is Ralph Sappington, the bass player. We had two other bass players as time went by, but Bob Dickson, the drummer, heroically stuck with us until the end.|
|I started working with a variety of performers, playing piano for their acts and writing “special material.” Two of my favorites were comedian/actors Michael Greer and Liz Torres. I lost count of how many shows we did together.|
|I started putting shows together as a producer and getting known as a songwriter. Liz Torres and Brenda were joined by Deborah Tranelli for “3 Broads 3″, a big hit. I was asked to be part of the first ASCAP evening of composers for the Cabaret Convention at Town Hall in New York. Deborah, Brenda and I are joined by Matt Lehea. We sang “The Bette Davis Chorus” and brought the house down!|
About this time the first of the Hollywood Shows [see "There's No Place Like Hollywood" for that story] was produced at the Olio Theater in Los Angeles. During the run, the actor playing W.C. Fields left the cast. I was playing piano for the show by that time, so I pre-recorded two songs, ran downstairs and changed clothes, came on and did Fields’ number with Mae West, then ran back up and played piano again. Ah, show business!
One song of which I’m very proud was written for an actress playing Hattie McDaniel. It was called “Listen To Mammy.” It starts with her playing the character from “Gone With The Wind” and then she transforms into the big star Hattie was in real life, singing “Now everybody listens to Mammy.” I had to fight for the song in two productions. Everyone was afraid of the stereotype. But the audience went crazy when both Brenda and Stephanie first came onstage; they love that character. And after the transformation the song stopped the show, literally every night.
|Here is a show I was in. “Too Old For The Chorus (But Not Too Old To Be A Star)” directed by Robert Schrock played a good, long run at the Celebration Theater in Los Angeles. It was written by Mark Winkler, Shelly Markham and Marie Cain. As I told everyone, I was the youngest man in the show! I got to introduce a remarkable song called “Dog Passages.” For once, I was the one stopping the show!|
|“24 Hours” was a wonderful show for which I was Musical Director. It’s a rock musical about a 24 hour help hotline for teens. No one thought I could handle a rock score, but they didn’t know about those garage bands in high school! Jim Tauli directed the show for the Stella Adler Theater in Hollywood. Book & Lyrics by Bruce Goodrich, Music and additional lyrics by Rob Hartman.|
|“Queens Of Drag” is a documentary about drag queens in Hollywood. They sing a dozen of my songs including the title song which I wrote for the film. You haven’t lived until you watch 30 men, in men’s clothes but wearing high heels, rehearsing your song!|
|”I Know I Came In Here For Something” Book and Lyrics by Carl Ritchie, Music by Wayne Moore, played for a summer of sold-out performances at the Taconic Stage Company in upstate New York. There is a company of the show playing in Las Vegas and I produced one here in L.A. A very funny show!|
|I adapted Thomas Hodges’ original music for this play making it for piano and cello. The play, by Patricia Loughrey, takes Harvey Milk’s speachs and writings and weaves them together with interviews with the people who were there in San Francisco in the 1970′s. We ran for the summer at the Lee Strasberg Theater. Directed by Anthony Frisina.|
“The Next Fairy Tale” is a new musical with Book, Music & Lyrics by Brian Pugach. It was my honor to be the Musical Director of this charming new take on Fairy Tales that we only think we know. We had a long run at the Celebration Theater directed by Michael Sheppard. This was a magic cast. I loved doing this show.
| I am currently Musical Director for the phenomenon that is “I Love Lucy: Live On Stage.” For the first six month run of the show at the Greenway Court Theatre we never had less than a full house. I did all the musical and vocal arrangements (including The Ricky Ricardo Band) and wrote special lyrics for the show. There are several companies throughout the US in the works.
On March 2, 2012 I won the LA Weekly Theater Award of Best Musical Director for “I Love Lucy Live On Stage.”
The Original Cast l-r: Ed Martin, Mark Christopher Tracy, Bill Chott, Lisa Joffrey, Tom Christiansen, Bill Mendieta, Amy Tolsky, Sirena Irwin, Gregory Franklin, Kerri-Anne Lavin, Cynthia Sciacca, Denise Mose, & Gina Torrecilla. The Band: Wilbur Hatch (me), Ken Francis, Adam Halitzka, Ivor Francis, David Olivas, Jon Bradley & Andy Belling.
"24 Hours" got a massive re-write, a new name: "Stay On The Line" and a new production at Theater 68 in Hollywood. A new script by Scott Mlodzinski and some new songs by Rob Hartmann. And truly one of the best and most talented casts of young people I've ever had the pleasure of working with.
Carl Richie brought our bucolic revue “The Real Desperate Housewives Of Columbia County” to the Laurie Beechman theater in New York for a limited run. We got raves! My first “New York” reviews. Book & Lyrics by Carl Richie Music by Wayne Moore