nOtes frOm my Opus, tOO 6/14/11 Finding a collaborator in New York is like finding a tennis partner; no one wants to play with someone worse than they are. I was still working with Tranny Annie on “SIN!” but that composer was not into the sounds of Brazil. “RIO” was insinuating itself like a nine month pregnancy. My needs were specific. Santa Clause with Bad Teeth (my pet name for the master composer) was not totally the right choice, but he begged, begged me to give him a chance. He needed the income. “Your story,” he advised, like a piano teacher who smacks your knuckles with a blunt object, “needs a real writer. I know someone. Call him.” I did. When I met the writer at a Starbucks, where all great collaborations begin, he gave me a sample of his work, a musical about Jews and Jesus, which was actually very similar to the idea of “SIN!” Naturally, I took that as a sign. Thus began the rewriting of “RIO: the musical novella”. In those days, everything was a sign, as in a sign from God. When I first searched for a composer for “SIN!” I found him through a stream of “coincidences” too numerous to enumerate. We all now know there are no coincidences. I eagerly ran off to the city to knock on his door. It wasn’t until that moment I considered he could be armed and dangerous. Too late to turn back. The door opened. An older man with a genial face on a large, imposing frame appeared. Me: How do I know you’re not an ax murderer?” Him: How do I know you’re not? (Note the dialogue. You can see my writing style was clearly taking shape.) I liked him. Next hurdle. I was shy. Not adept at writing music, in fact incapable, I developed my own method of memorizing the fifty to one hundred tunes I’d composed. I showed him my music written in dots. It was his job to transpose, arrange and play it, which meant I had to sing it to him. We toiled for a year or so. That was about the time another chain of coincidences led me to good ol’ Tranny Annie.