Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh, Edith Ann!

Thanks to Rocky Allen over at WPLJ for alerting me to this You Tube post taken on the set of I Heart Huckabees. After finding a good version I just had to post a link on the trusty ol' blog.

I should think that Ms. Tomlin's grumblings/mumblings would get on any director's last nerve. However, David O. Russell's subsequent tirade makes Lily's liberal use of the "F" word sound like the utterings of Emily Post.

Goes to show that we're all human! And that's the truth! **raspberry**

What The F***!

OK - for anyone who has read my prior post, I just need to make you aware of why I get so freaked out by signs...

I wrote my previous post with musings at the significance of various signs that I've noticed of late. I was awakened from a fitful night sleep to find myself blogging at 3:30am on 19-Mar-07. Many of the mentioned signs are somehow intertwined with my theatrical life, particularly my involvement with Richter.

At 2:45pm that day I received an e-mail from the Executive Director of Richter stating that he will need to take a leave of absence due to some serious health issues.

Later that day, at 5:49pm, I received an e-mail from my dear friend and Richter President stating that he is withdrawing from directing On The 20th Century and Oklahoma!

And in the aftermath of those events I have been made to feel incredibly small and worthless by someone that seems hellbent on challenging every contribution and idea I have.

All I want to do is do theater, be around people that love it and people that appreciate my vision and passion for doing it. Is that so much to ask?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Signs: Part I

I extend my apologies to scribes and cinephiles that happened by thinking there might be something about M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong's film in this post. Nope. This is a post of a more personal nature. So bear with me or go back to your Google search and try again.

As insomnia strikes again, I find myself at the PC with the need to document a series of events whose relevance may end up being nil. But I will let you be the judge.

First, it is important that you know that I am a true believer that signs are everywhere and that your receptiveness to them depends on a state of being. With that, I would like to share with you the unfolding of some recent events.

In the past year I have found myself immersed in the life of the theatre and have been loving every minute of it. I knew that once I started again that I would not be able to quit. Theatre is my drug - the people, the production, the art. I grew up in the theatre. My father was a Professor of Theatre & English at the University of Pittsburgh during my formative years. I spent many years as a rehearsal tagalong and saw many plays that were beyond my years. As a result, I have a solid knowledge of the art as a whole.

Over the course of the past year, I have had the occasion to meet some interesting and talented people. I have to say that theatre people are as diverse and insane as they come. Those of you who are thespians know this. There is one person that resonated for a couple of reasons. Through various conversations, I got to know about this person and various aspects of his life. This gentleman is about a decade my senior and he would often talk of his two daughters. Over the course of time I learned that he was divorced and was raising his daughters and that his ex-wife was an alcoholic.

My parents were divorced when I was 6 and my sister was 3. My father retained custody of us and, as it would happen, my mother's alcoholism played a significant role over the years. She is now, thankfully, in recovery.

During conversations with this person you will find yourself mired in fancy words and would be fairly certain to hear a casual name dropped at least once an evening.

My father was an English teacher for crying out loud. Vocabulary was not taken lightly in our home (I think I posted a while back about my love of words...) And I can think of so many names that have been dropped over the years - all of which I believe to and/or have experienced to be legitimate.

A common discussion had in the theatre is about shows you'd like to do, roles you'd like to play and shows that you have already done. This actor was practically salivating as he talked about approaching the ideal age to play Dysart in Equus.

My father directed the Pennsylvania premiere of Equus at the Pitt, where he played the role of Dysart. My father resurrected that role in the late 80s for Seventh Sign Theatre in NYC (see aforementioned note about seeing plays beyond my years).

This actor played Don Quixote in Man of LaMancha.

My father and I auditioned for a production of Proof in Ridgefield and when my father received his "no thank you" call, they asked him if he would consider auditioning for their upcoming production of Man of LaMancha.

This man is an art framer.

My father's current wife is an artist and curator for Sacred Heart University.

This person is interested in directing an obscure show written by Lanford Wilson, in which, he said, there is a role suited for me.

My father once intereviewed Lanford Wilson (see aforementioned namedropping note).

As they always do, closing night for this production came followed by the typical mandatory strike the next morning. About an hour before I left for the theater I received a call from my father telling me that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

So what does this mean?

Perhaps nothing. But there have been other signs... Which I won't divulge just yet. In the meantime, there are some other interesting theatre notes that I'm going to share because they may end up being relevant.

  1. This year I was supposed to direct Extremities at TBTA but we were unable to procure the rights. At the last minute we decided to do The Diviners, the very first full-length show I directed.
  2. Musicals at Richter is doing On The Twentieth Century, which the very first musical I was ever in. On a recent trip business trip, I was driving home from the airport listening to the soundtrack when a truck happened by with the letters MAR spray-painted on the tailgate. I desperately wanted to audition for the role of Lily but have to secede to my husband's "it's my turn" argument.
There you have it. That may be the end of my tale but I suspect it is not... We shall see. Strange that these are the thoughts that clutter my brain.

And I wonder why I have insomnia...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

And Just What Are The Rising Stars?

The Diviners at TBTA has officially opened and we've got two weeks left in the run. It has been just as much fun the second time around and I miss the cast already, even with 5 performances left to go. However, as the lights go down on one show, they go up on another. One week after The Diviners closes come auditions for Musicals at Richter. Part of this year's season includes Richter Rising Stars, my next project.


What is Richter Rising Stars?
Richter Rising Stars is an elite group of young musical theatre performers that will perform prior to Richter’s main stage musicals and at various venues in the Danbury area. Richter Rising Stars will be limited to 20 performers with strong musical and dance abilities. RRS will be directed and choreographed by Alicia Dempster with musical direction provided by Charles Wade.

What are the age restrictions for Richter Rising Stars?
Richter Rising Stars is limited to performers aged 21 years and under, with a repertoire especially suited for high-school and college-aged performers. While there are no minimum age restrictions, the repertoire requires performers that are self-disciplined and quick learners.

What is expected of the Richter Rising Stars?
Richter Rising Stars performers are expected to learn the repertoire and be available for select performance evenings throughout the 2007 Season. Additionally, RRS will be performing at Danbury area venues over the summer. The flexibility of the repertoire/schedule allows for performers to commit to performance dates based on their summer schedules (e.g. other production commitments, work, vacation, camp, etc.).

What are the rehearsal requirements for Richter Rising Stars?
RRS will rehearse on Sundays from 2-6 during the months of June, July and August. There will be weekday evening rehearsals scheduled in May, exact dates TBD. Due to the limited number of rehearsals available to RRS, excessive rehearsal conflicts may prevent performers from being cast.

What does the 2007 RSS Repertoire include?
In cooperation with ASCAP and BMI, Richter Rising Stars will be performing age-appropriate selections from contemporary musical theatre. All selections to be performed in 2007 have the distinction of being from musicals that premiered on Broadway after Musicals at Richter opened its lawn in 1985.

- “Light in the Piazza” from Light in the Piazza (SSA Choral Arrangement)
- “Waitin’ For The Light To Shine” from Big River (SATB Choral Arrangement)
- “Lay Down Your Head” from Violet (Female Solo)
- “Skid Row (Downtown)” from Little Shop of Horrors (Group w Solos)
- “Mama I’m A Big Girl Now” from Hairspray (SSA Choral Arrangement)
- “The I Love You Song” from 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Trio)
- “Big News” from Parade (Male Solo)
- “Written In The Stars” from Aida (M/F Duet)
- “We’re All In This Together” from High School Musical (Group)

WICKED – No One Mourns the Wicked, The Wizard and I, One Short Day, For Good, Defying Gravity, Finale (SATB Arrangement w Solos)

MAMMA MIA – I Have A Dream, Mamma Mia, SOS, Take A Chance On Me, Thank You For The Music, Dancing Queen, Waterloo (SATB Arrangement w Solos)

RENT – Rent, One Song Glory, Without You, Santa Fe, La Vie Boheme, Will I?, Seasons of Love, Finale (SATB Arrangement w Solos)

JERSEY BOYS – Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, December 1963, Let’s Hang On, Stay, Who Loves You, Working My Way Back To You (TTB w Solos)

AN AMERICAN TRIBUTE - Patriotic Medley for 4th of July Performances, etc. – America The Beautiful, America, Battle Hymn of the Republic

** NOTE: Repertoire is subject to change based on casting and rehearsal progress.

For more information about Richter Rising Stars and auditions, visit the Musicals at Richter Web site.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Life! Do You Hear Me? Give My Creation... Life!

I was having lunch with a dear friend of mine yesterday and we were chatting about the current and upcoming Broadway offerings. Being AEA, a former BC/EFA employee and a Manhattanite, he is usually pretty in the know. A while back we had chatted about the reading of Young Frankenstein and I asked him if he'd heard anything official. And he had not.

And then lo and behold but to what should our wondering eyes appear the very next day on

The latest official word from the Great White Way...

Megan Mulally will play the role of Elizabeth, played by Madeline Kahn in the film. Kristen Chenoweth was offered the role but declined due to landing a TV pilot. The ever-talented Sutton Foster will play the role of Inga and Shuler Hensley will play The Monster, made famous by the late Peter Boyle.

Roger Bart has been offered the role of Igor, played by Marty Feldman in the film, and Andrea Martin has been offered the role of Frau Blucher. Nothing official yet because their TV gigs might prevent them from accepting the roles.

The role of Young Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) was offered to Zachary Levi but he had conflicts and also had to decline. Rumor has is that Eric McCormack is in discussions.

AND... regarding the issue with the music rights all I have to say is: "If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go where fashion sits... 'UTTIN' ON THE 'IIIIITZ."

Friday, March 02, 2007

I Am A Junkie

And my junk is Spring Awakening.

It is 2:00am and I just returned from seeing it the first time. Given the hour, I am going to make this simple: GO SEE IT!

If you have not purchased or downloaded the recording - do so now! Most of the people that I know have said that they loved the music - regardless of how they feel about the production or the story. WARNING: Not a CD to be played around the kiddies... But you'll find yourself turning it up when they're not around!

Next, if you've not already done so, order your tickets so that you have the opportunity to see the original cast. It seems that the leads are in quite high demand so they will likely move on pretty quickly. It is also worthy to note that the entire cast, save Christine Estabrook and Steven Spinella, are under 21. Their boundless energy and incredible talent are amazing. You will find yourself on your feet. I know I did.

OK - I am tired now and tomorrow promises to be a long day but I promise to deliver a detailed review after I've had a nap.