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And it was morning and it was evening, the first day.

Got to the studio on W. 55th (around the corner from Random House!) at 9 am stoplaughing to begin recording the male actors for our THE FALL OF THE KINGS audiobook, the third in my Riverside series for Neil Gaiman Presents.

 Hung out in the Green Room as everyone got in.  Sue's fabulous assistant Valerie had laid out quite a spread.  But just coffee to drink. Robert Fass (Henry Fremont) bemoaned the lack of PG Tips.  Shared ours with him.  Simon Jones affable as ever, shared tips on avoiding bedbugs and encouraging opera.  Read his scenes first - his Roger Crabbe pitch perfect:  Nasty and brilliant, orating like crazy in the Debate scene.  He also threw in the wettest, juiciest Foster-Rag-and-Bone sneeze - the rest of the cast now wants to record sneezes, too! But they never will.

Just when you'd learned to loathe Nick Sullivan's Ferris in Swordspoint and TPOTS -- Wait! What is this!! Who is this intensely charismatic young magister of History, with a passion for learning and ancient kings, and a band of students who'd follow him anywhere . . . ?  Omg.  Nick utterly slew me by remarking (after he'd read the Debate scene):  "I love a well-reasoned argument."  And a well-reasoned argument loves you, Nick.  I can tell you from personal experience that it's really hard to read aloud the Lecture Scenes Delia Sherman & I wrote for Basil, with all their endless Historical narrative - but Nick's Basil not only holds your interest, he makes you want to sign up for his classes!

Delia got her professional "stage" debut as Justis Blake's girlfriend, Marianne.  She was delightful (and took direction well, when our director, Sue, asked her to try something).  Tim Jerome (the Rabbi in The Witches of Lublin - and currently on Broadway as one of the Theater Owners in Phantom of the Opera!) has grown mutton chops - which made it easy to suggest he make his Leonard Rugg more Falstaffian.  Jim Mundy's Polycarp and Richard Ferrone's Standish were the epitome of Privileged White Males dissing poor Basil - for me, it perfectly encapsulated the whole struggle in the tale - even though it's a short scene, I feel like in some ways it's the heart of it, and am so glad we had them to do it.

And then it was time for . . . The Students.

We are not, of course, Illuminating the whole book.  I read most of the scenes myself, including all the two-handers between Basil & Theron.  Because I am Sexy with the Mike. And Galing and Arlen and the Family Tremontaine....

But we really wanted the Students to be played by a real ensemble of 20-something men (or good approximations). Our Talent Search turned up some terrific finds!  The incomparable Robert Fass (Alec in Swordspoint) is Henry Fremont and everyone else we suddenly need him to be.  Wilson Bridges (Michael Godwin in Swordspoint - and just back from a national tour as the son in a Cage Aux Folles) is a beautiful Anthony Lindley. Bill Rogers (who voices some Pokemon characters!) was Marcus in TPOTS, and returns as Benedict Vandeleur.  And one of Sue's undergrads is Peter Godwin!  Our Justis Blake is a stage actor friend of a friend, and how we found him is a story for another day . . . Suffice it to say for now that we began the proceedings by teaching them to say, in chorus, Shut up, Henry!  We read some scenes, then sent them back to the Green Room for a bit . . . and when they returned, they were poking fun at each other and  saying "Shut up, Henry" to poor Fass whenever he got uppity.  Tomorrow is devoted entirely to them - and I fully expect to find, when we all reassemble at the studio in the morning, that their hair has grown down to their shoulders, and is tied back with ribbon or string.

As you can probably tell, Delia & I then went to Cognac Brasserie and blew her Actor Paycheck on Pouilly Fume and Prosecco.  And now it's time for bed.

So I know I'm leaving lots out - including some very fine actors and maybe even some good stories - but we'll post the final cast list when we can, and meanwhile Tomorrow dawns all too soon.  We'll wrap all the men's parts then, and I will be sorry - it is, as you can imagine, more fun that practically anything.

Delia & I have been Tweeting (and, in her case, FaceBooking) photos all day - mine are unde #FalloftheKings some photos on m Lockerz, I guess.  It's all a mystery to me.

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