Table Read -- April 12

At long last, the cast is assembled. Nearly one month ago, two other gentlemen and I were chosen to be in this project. After much more agony, the other two cast members have been secured. And at this morning's table reading, we discovered that even the guest cast was in place and ready to roll. Very exciting.

Starting at the top, literally, is the 6-foot, 4-inch Stephen Dunham. He plays the oldest of the roommates and, in the pilot, we find out he has a long-lost daughter, who is now 18 and moving to New York to go to college. Stephen and I have been involved with casting the two female regulars so we've hung out a bit. He's a nice guy and has a good hold on a slight goofiness that's very funny without being stupid. Look for him this summer in Brendan Frasier's The Mummy as the rival expedition leader.

[the new Friends...?]

Stephen Dunham -- David Alan Basche -- John Ducey
Neisha Trout -- Rena Sofer

The other roommate is New York actor David Alan Basche. He is in an off-Broadway show in New York these days called Snake Bit. The costumer was bringing in 'looks' that she had cut out of magazines for some of the characters. For David's character Norris, she had envisioned a hip, New York artist sort of look. The outfit in the magazine layout that represented her vision was being modeled by none other than David himself. So at least the wardrobe department agrees with the casting choice.

Neisha, the young lady playing our 18 year-old, is very cute and funny. Today she impressed everyone. She's great. Rena Sofer ran the marathon route to get to the table read today. I read opposite her the whole way as she impressed studio executives, network heads, and the show's director over the course of the auditioning process. It was exciting to have us all together.

As I mentioned, even the guest cast had been secured. Beautiful women, handsome men. It's a good-looking show to say the least. All of us had been brought together for the grand adventure of making a pilot, the ultimate possibility under a constant cloud of the harshest disappointment. If a success, the show would change a lot of lives. But along the way, there would be dangers at every turn. One misstep and the project could disappear like a morning fog, only a memory for those closest to it and a footnote in the ABC archives.

The reading today was a big success. I was very impressed with the script, an updated draft from the creator, Alan Ball. There was some very funny stuff. It was made funnier by the cast. I had already seen Stephen and Neisha do some great things. David brings a nice third-dimension to the rooming group. Where Stephen is goofy and I am snide, David has a natural understated dryness that is fun to watch. And even Rena, who I had been watching perform for the last two weeks, actually surprised me. I had been watching her do these more dramatic scenes for so long that when she finally got to do some lighter, funnier stuff, it was amazing.

The show has a lot of possibility. Today's reading proved that. Then again, so did The Hanleys a year ago. Much will happen in the next two weeks while we make the show and then in the following two weeks while we sweat out ABC's decision. It should be an exciting process. What we all want is another one of those happy endings.

Go on to Day 1

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