From Texas to the SCV
Poore, a native of Texarkana, Texas, moved to Los Angeles in 1978. He started his music career playing piano bar at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel. He also worked in music publishing before turning his attention to full time composing.
He is the published author, lyricist and composer of dozens of stage musicals, including “An American Cantata,” which had runs in New York and Los Angeles, “The Tennessee Williams Cabaret” in Los Angeles and “Wild Dust…The Musical,” which ran in New Jersey, Florida and Los Angeles, as well as European dance hits like “Desire” and “Young Men.” He was the founder of Stagecraft for Kids, an afterschool theater enrichment program that operated for a decade in elementary schools in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Poore and his family — his wife, Wendy; son, Tim; and daughter, Megan, moved to Canyon Country in 1986. His children attended Leona Cox Elementary, Sierra Vista Junior High, Canyon High School and Academy of the Canyons.
Wendy Poore, now retired, taught at Canyon Springs and Fair Oaks Ranch Community Schools.
“When I was a kid, I always thought it would be cool to have my music in the movies,” he said. “I had seen a documentary where they showed how a movie was made and I actually visualized being on the set watching my songs being filmed.”
He met Brown in the early 1980s. They collaborated on the hit comedy song “Cause I’m a Blonde,” which was written for a different project but also made its way into the “Earth Girls Are Easy” film.
“Film critic Leonard Maltin called ‘Cause I’m a Blonde’ the Valley Girl anthem,” said Poore.
Brown and Poore wrote “Brand New Girl” especially for the film.
“When I was standing on the set of ‘Earth Girls Are Easy,’ I realized that I was living my childhood fantasy, that my music was going to be in a film,” he said.
From screen to stage
Poore said Brown has retooled the theater script to better reflect many of the original ideas she had for the movie that never made it onto film.
“’Earth Girls’ is a known product,” he said. “We have to be careful and are taking our time. We have 19 songs written for the show, and now we have put it on its feet.”
A workshop production of the musical was performed at the Cavern Club Theater in Silver Lake in July.
The process has taken nearly four years, while Brown and Poore worked on other projects.
“We have an idea now of what works and what doesn’t so we can move forward and fine tune the show,” said Poore. “We are working on a bigger opening number, for example.”
Poore said he enjoyed watching the audience as they experienced the show during the July performances.
“The most rewarding part of this process is seeing the reaction of the audience,” said Poore. “When they laugh, and groove on your song, there’s no better feeling. When they sing along with the songs they know, that’s what makes it worth it.”
Brown said the show is “happy and silly” by design.
“It’s fun, not with heavy or dramatic moments, like a lot of Broadway shows,” she said.
After all the hours spent writing and conceptualizing, Brown said it’s really fun to see the show on stage.
“The point was to see what we have and it turned out better than I thought it would. We learned a lot, where we need new songs, what songs work, what doesn’t. We also saw what type of actors work well in different parts,” said Brown. “Some roles require actors who can perform very physical comedy. We had to see it on stage to learn these things.”
Brown and Poore have different creative processes with Brown’s starting point being the lyrics for each song that she writes herself or with the show’s co-writer Koehler.
“Earth Girls Are Easy” is designed with the idea of each song reflecting a different 80s rhythm.
“It’s very challenging,” said Poore. “It’s not easy.”
“We’ve spent a lot of time listening to 80’s songs,” said Brown. “The music is very specific, even the instrumentation can be very specific.”
“Sometimes, Julie will come in with a melodic idea or I will,” said Poore. “Then we just work on the song from that starting point.”
Poore and Brown have been adamant about keeping the uniqueness of “Earth Girls Are Easy.”
“We never wanted the show to sound like a Broadway show, we wanted it to sound like a 1980s show,” said Brown.
It is easy to see how “Earth Girls” appeals to current nostalgia surrounding the 1980s.
One critic recently wrote upon seeing “Earth Girls Are Easy” for a second time: “As funny and silly as ever, it’s even more interesting to watch as a period piece, exulting in the dream of the San Fernando Valley of the 1980s.”
Logistics often play a role in how Brown and Poore continue their work on the musical. Depending on how their schedules coordinate the duo can be found working either in Poore’s home studio in Canyon Country or around the original piano, where they wrote “Cause I’m a Blonde” in Brown’s Studio City home.
They also have found it necessary to collaborate occasionally on Skype.
“It can be done, it’s not perfect, but it can work. We’ve never successfully been able to make Facetime calls work on our iPhones,” said Brown.
Perhaps the most difficult thing with their process is continuity.
“It’s hard to keep track of where we left off,” said Brown. “Or remember what we said we wanted to work on in the next session.”
Brown and Poore said the process of bringing the show to a wider audience, including Broadway, will require finding a producer and planning another production.
Brown said the name recognition of “Earth Girls Are Easy” will be an advantage in attracting an audience.
“I’ve always known there would be audience for this show, but the path isn’t always obvious,” Brown said. “Right now, I think there is an audience of people who just want to have fun.”
Brown said finding a producer with the “right fit” is important.
“We want to find a producer who gets ‘it,’” Brown said, “and gets us.”