summation of the "Metropolis" cast CD story
"Metropolis" was a surprise hit for Pentacle Theatre.
This site has much information about the show. For those who want to know more, START HERE for more background.
This page and the others connected to it concern the aborted cast-album project.
Some Pentacle members, including my personal friends, have said they feel I am obsessed and over-the-top in the way I have tried to make the "Metropolis" cast CD happen, and the way I have insisted in trying to figure out what went wrong with it.

My feeling is that the story of the CD's demise is very disturbing, and requires our attention. I feel that after you have looked through this page and the accompanying letters, you will better understand why I have been so relentless and vocal concerning the CD. --Randy Bowser

When the composer of "Metropolis," Joe ("You Light Up My Life") Brooks arranged for Pentacle to produce and sell an original cast album of our production, the theatre was being offered a very rare opportunity for an amateur theatre.

Volunteers labored long to produce a professional recording, and the public was kept abreast of the project through the enthusiastic reporting by The Statesman Journal's arts reporter, Ron Cowan.

But the project was eventually dragged down in a quagmire of legal wrangling, extremely contradictory reports from the board, personal attacks, and even anonymous threats.

Pentacle's Governing Board has a directive to protect the interests and future potential for the theatre, and have been many sincerely motivated people who have held seats on that board, including current members.

Considering the reaction I've gotten from the board and its defenders, the message seems to be that Pentacle members, such as myself, are not supposed to question the board's decisions. My simple request for straight-forward answers have consistently been met with contradictory and convulted replies that make it quite easy to conclude that there is something very wrong indeed with how the board handled the CD.

Without being accused of questioning the integrity of the board as an institution, I and all Pentacle members must be able to inquire into details about the board's dealings without being made to feel that it is somehow not appropriate to question their decisions.

On this site in a "blog"-like way, I have made several attempts to inform and update about Pentacle's aborted "Metropolis" cast CD project.

Several letters are now gathered together on this site, together with brief commentary, which should more clearly sum up everything up to this point.

First, here in brief, is an outline of the CD's history.

1--In the second half of 2002 "Metropolis" composer Joe Brooks suggested to me, Randy Bowser, director of Pentacle Theatre's production of his show, that a cast recording be made.

2--I agreed the recording is an excellent idea, and Brooks agreed with me that the project should be done as a fund-raiser for Pentacle Theatre.

3--While the show is still running in December, 2002, the entire cast agreed to meet within a month after closing, to record a cast album. The idea had the blessing of the Pentacle Governing Board member most closely associated with the show.

4--In January, 2003, the cast gathered for several weekends at Frank Fullerton's Fullertone Studio to record vocal tracks.

5--"Artist waiver" forms were distributed, and their importance was explained to the cast. The forms were a necessary legal step, giving permission to the theatre to sell the cast album, without compensation to the participants. As with all Pentacle projects, those involved were volunteers.

6--Pentacle's Governing Board agrees to participate in the CD project, and I originally anticipate being able to pay for production costs myself.

7--The email from Brooks giving Pentacle the rights to record and sell the CD was sufficient for beginning the project, but it was always understood that a properly drawn up and legally binding contract would eventually be needed, binding Pentacle and Brooks' production company to a strictly outlined agreement.

8--Brooks' contract arrived and was extremely specific on what rights he was granting Pentacle: 300 units could be sold (only through the theatre's lobby and ticket office) with profits to be shared 50-50 between Pentacle and Brooks' company; the theatre would own the recording, and NO ONE else (including Brooks) would be allowed to sell or profit from the CD after the limited run.

9--While Frank Fullerton began the very long process of mixing the recorded vocals with the music tracks produced for the stage production, more details were worked out between me and the board about the handling of the CD and its sale.

10--I became unable to finance the production costs as originally hoped, and the board becomes concerned about Pentacle having to put out the approximately $1,600 to mass-produce the CD. The cast and I are certain we will be able to sell the modest run of 300 units allowed by Brooks, giving the theatre over $2,000 in profits. (go to top of right hand column)

11--Two attorneys pronounced the contract from Brooks' attorney to be sound. They pointed out that the singers were completely protected from being taken advantage of either by Pentacle or Brooks' company.

12--Some board members became skeptical of many of the project's details. Second-guessing the theatre's attorneys, the contract itself was not trusted.

13--It came to light that one cast member never signed the necessary waiver. When contacted by board president, Dave Davis, this person said he would never sign. Eventually, he relented enough to say that if the board ended up actually putting the CD out, he would then sign.

14--While Fullerton kept working on the tracks, and Jonathan Pedersen and Melissa Turner put in many hours designing the CD packaging, the board continued to back-track on the entire project.

15--In June the board announced a decision to not release the CD. But board president, Dave Davis, immediately informed me that there was actually still hope.

16--A confusing period followed, full of contradictory messages from the board, rumors, and the cast and I groping for information.

17--A prolonged and heated meeting was held between the board and Metro representatives, at which it was made clear there were board members firmly entrenched against the project, but for vaguely stated reasons. The shows reps suggested there was animosity against me personally which clouded the process, and the board reacted to that suggestion with great indignation.

18--I then easily procured outside funding for the CD, when I saw that the board remained convinced that not enough CD units would be sold to recoup their losses. Initially the board said that with outside funding, there would be no problem with going ahead.

19--But with all the money needed in my hand, the board still contiued to back track, seeming to scramble for new reasons to not release the CD.

20--In September, after 7 months of on-again off-again wrangling and sometimes inexplicable email communications, phone calls etc., I was suddenly told that my reports about the CD on this website had offended some board members and that as a result, the project was being cancelled for the final time.

I urge every Pentacle member to read all the letters I have posted on the link below, to see why I firmly believe something very wrong happened with the board's handling of the CD project, and that the future stability of the theatre is in jeopardy when business is conducted in this manner.

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