Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Bonus of Sweeney Todd

OK - I am definitely behind when it comes to my posts. There are film reviews, theatre reviews, stories to share, Golden Globe nominations... the list goes on. As usual, there is no time to write. I'm hoping that next week's vacation will afford an opportunity or two.

Among the list of backlogged reviews is my review of Sweeney Todd. Of course, I really feel the film warrants a post all its own. HOWEVER - I wanted to share this little nugget from my outing to the cinema. Prior to the Feature Presentation, they played the trailer for the film version of Mamma Mia! While I'm sure that musical theatre purists with slay me for saying so, I am looking forward to this move to the big screen more than I was to Sweeney's. That is primarily because I just loved Mamma Mia! - jukebox musical fluff that it is - and I've never had a true love of Sweeney. Of course, comparing the two is, really, just silly.

But I digress...

The trailer that I saw in the theater is certainly lots of fun but I prefer the one on the Mamma Mia! The Movie Web site because it has a couple of scene clips, in addition to the montage set against the title song. While I was skeptical when I heard Meryl Streep was playing Donna, after seeing the preview I have much higher hopes. I do like seeing her in more comical roles and that is not something that happens too often. And Colin Firth, one of my FAVORITE actors, is just an added perk!

Honestly, I just can't wait!

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Lifelong "How Many Have You Seen?"

I was born in the late 60s when bohemian artist lifestyles were abundant. As such, from very early on I was exposed to art in various forms. I was fortunate enough to be raised under the roof of a Theatre/English professor, so my proclivity lies with the dramatic and literary arts. Living in a house filled with play scripts and Broadway soundtracks, it only makes sense that theatre became a foundational part of who I am.

Over the past four decades I have had the great fortune to see many shows. So I thought I'd take the "How many have you seen?" section of the Playbill a tad further and share my personal, lifelong version. I'll also share how many times I've seen it, provide a rating and perhaps a comment or two. It is a bit of a brag board, I suppose. But also a way to share my opinion with those who find value in it.

For the time being, I will include only Broadway and West End shows, with a smattering of smaller NY/London shows. I should think this a very fine place to start. And then we'll see where it goes from there.


  • Avenue Q (1x, 3/5) Okay - this is definitely a fun and edgy show but I think I saw it to0 far into the run, so I wasn't as surprised by it.
  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (1x, 5/5) Snarky and irreverent with a catchy score, clever book and a sassy cast. Can't wait to see it again!
  • Dirty Dancing (1x, 2/5) UGH! I loved the movie but didn't love the musical. Probably more fun to be in than to watch. But I'm not sure.
  • Hair (2x, 5/5)
  • In The Heights (1x, 4/5)
  • La Cage Aux Folles (1x, 4.5/5)
  • Mamma Mia! (2x, 4/5) I had so much fun at this show. I love ABBA and look forward to this one being on the community theatre circuit. And in the cinema!
  • Next to Normal (2x, 5/5) A rock musical that defies all convention with a story so riveting it was honored by a Pulitzer.
  • Sondheim on Sondheim (1x, 3.5/5) The performances were enjoyable but the video content featuring Sondheim himself was better. Loved Euan Morton singing "Franklin Shepherd, Inc."
  • The Kid (4.5/5) Based on Dan Savage's book about when he and his partner adopted a baby. The cast, led by Christopher Sieber, was superb and the story equal parts amusing and touching.
  • The Lion King (1x, 5/5) I know purists aren't fans of Disney but Julie Taymor's production is visionary and magical. I'm saving the second time for the kids.
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2x, 4/5) Laugh as ye may, Andrew Lloyd Webber is still around. And this one is lush and romantic and delights old and young alike.
  • Wicked (2x, 5/5) I'm a long-time fan of Stephen Schwartz and this extravagant version of the novel of the same title doesn't disappoint.


  • 110 In The Shade - 2007 Revival (1x, 5/5) Absolutely amazing! I will forevermore make a point of seeing anything Audra McDonald is in. Period. The end.
  • A Chorus Line - Original (2x, 5/5) A show that I saw in the West End when I was 10 and on Broadway when I was 17. Quintessential musical theatre.
  • A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum - 1996 Revival (2x, 3/5) I saw this with both Nathan Lane and Whoopi Goldberg as Psuedolus. I worked lights for this show in college and my husband played Hysterium in an am-dram production. Basically, I've had my fill of this play that I never really took a liking to.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire - 1992 Revival (1x, 3.5/5) The acting by Alex Baldwin, Jessica Lange and Amy Madigan was not as good as I wanted it to be.
  • A View From The Bridge - 1997 Revival (1x, 3/5) Anthony Lapaglia started the play shouting and had nowhere to go. That's what I remember the most from that one.
  • Aida (2x, 4.5/5) Elton John's music and the tragic story will always make this one a favorite.
  • Amadeus - 1999 Revival (1x, 4/5)
  • Annie (1x, 4/5) First professional production ever, in London's West End.
  • August: Osage County (2x, 5/5) Without a doubt one of the most riveting three hours I've ever spent in the theatre. A wonderful script, flawlessly performed. Don't miss it!
  • Beauty and the Beast (2x, 4/5)
  • Big River - 2003 Revival (1x, 4.5/5) This was such a beautiful and innovative production.
  • Blood Brothers (1x, 4/5) I was so pleasantly surprised by this show.
  • Cats - Original (2x, 3.5/5) I had high expectations. But it has its place in the history of musical theatre.
  • City of Angels (1x, 3/5) My date fell asleep. Technically amazing.
  • Company (1x, 3/5) Loved the instruments onstage. Made me a fan of Raul Esparza.
  • Crazy for You (2x, 4/5) Fun, fun, fun!
  • Cry Baby (1x, 2/5) I left feeling entertained but wondered if there was really a story worth telling there. The answer? Not really.
  • Cuba & His Teddy Bear (3x, 4/5) Mediocre play with A+ cast. Met Robert DeNiro after the show and subsequently discovered that he called my house looking for me.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1x, 4/5) Wordy (as one would expect), lavish and well-acted.
  • Damn Yankees - 1994 Revival (2x, 4/5) Victor Garber and Bebe Neuwirth were amazing, Jerry Lewis and Charlotte Damboise were not.
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1x, 4/5) Lots of fun. I love the movie/story and David Yazbek. And I finally got to see Norbert, since I missed him in Wicked.
  • Footloose (1x, 3/5) I had a good time.
  • Grease - 1994 Revival (1x, 3/5) Xena: Warrior Princess at Rizzo!
  • Godspell - Lamb's Theatre (1x, 4/5) Very authentic, hippie interpretation.
  • Grand Hotel (1x, 3/5) Ho hum... But got to hang out backstage with John Schneider, who I had a childhood crush on. 'Course didn't know it was him until after the fact. DOH!
  • Hair - 1994 West End, 2007 Delacorte (2x, 4.5/5) Love the show and loved BOTH productions. Though I've yet to see something that supercedes my personal vision
  • Hairspray (1x, 3.5/5) I didn't see this until Feb 2008, when shows tend to go into auto-pilot. I liked the play better than the movie but neither really "blew me away".
  • Hamlet - (1x, 3.5/5) The 2008 Shakespeare in the Park offering kept me engaged longer than most versions I've seen. But I'm still not a Shakespeare fan.
  • Indiscretions (1x, 2/5) Hated it. Kathleen Turney was terrible. The sets were cool and Jude Law was naked. Otherwise I would have given it only 1 star.
  • Into The Woods - OBC Concert (1x, 4/5) Glad I saw it.
  • Jelly's Last Jam (1x, 4/5) This was when I got to meet Ben Vereen, so it was pretty special.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1x, 3/5) Too young to appreciate it.
  • Kiss of the Spiderwoman (3x, 5/5) Chita Rivera was amazing, Maria Conchita Alonso was not. I also got to see an early Brian Stokes Mitchell in this.
  • Les Miserables (4x, 5/5) Classic.
  • M. Butterfly (1x, 3.5/5) I just remember it being long. But John Lithgow is amazing, I got to go to his dressing room and he wrote something cool on my Playbill.
  • Merrily We Roll Along (1x, 3/5) I love the score and the story and still think Merrily has potential yet to be propertly recognized. John Doyle directed this production at The Watermill with instruments. To answer your question: yes, they got in the way.
  • Miss Saigon (2x, 4/5) I rushed to see this the first time. It was worth the wait.
  • Parade - 2007 Donmar Production (1x, 4.5/5) Missed this on Broadway so I was glad to see this production in the intimate Donmar space.
  • Port Authority - 2008 Atlantic Production (1x, 5/5) Three of theatre's finest actors performing Conor McPherson's beautiful words. Bliss.
  • Peter Pan (1x, 3.5/5) On a whim. Revival is much more lively than the Mary Martin version.
  • Prelude to a Kiss - 2007 Revival (3.5/5) Didn't blow me away but it was a nice night out.
  • Ragtime (1x, 3/5) Didn't leave an impression on me.
  • Rent (3x, 5/5) One of the few plays that has moved me to tears. The immediacy of the live performance far surpasses the film.
  • Rock 'n' Roll (1x, 3.5/5) OK - my head hurt after this one. It was brilliantly acted and had some nice scenes but I didn't feel particularly engaged.
  • Spamalot (1x, 4/5) Strike me dead for saying so but I am not a Monty Python fan. HOWEVER - I thought Spamalot was quite funny and had some great performances.
  • Spring Awakening (10x, 5/5) Never before have I experienced this kind of energy and connection in a production. It is visceral, haunting and timeless and serves as a great launching pad for some of today's best young talent.
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (1x, 4/5) William Finn's music is exquisite. And his characters deftly guide you through a very fun evening.
  • The Apple Tree - 2007 Revival (1x, 3/5) And now I'm officially bored with Kristen Chenoweth onstage.
  • The Black Suits - (1x, 4/5) My love affair with Iconis' music and the stupendously talented performers that brought Suits to life at the SPF overshadowed its minor flaws.
  • The Fantasticks - Original (3x, 5/5) Another classic. Simplicity begets elegance.
  • The Farnsworth Invention (1x, 3/5) Can't decide if it wants to be a play or a film. Lots of exposition, adequate acting and lazy writing with a big "so what?" at the end.
  • The Foreigner - 2004 Revival (1x, 4/5) Great cast! Matthew Broderick does well in those intimate spaces.
  • The Life (1x, 3/5) I vaguely remember Sam Harris in this.
  • The Odd Couple (1x, 3.5/5) They raved. Then they stopped raving. I expected mediocrity. And was pleasantly surprised.
  • The Pillowman (1x, 5/5) Amazing play. Disturbing, haunting and lyrical. Billy Crudup is a great actor.
  • The Producers (2x, 4/5) I liked it but wish I liked it more.
  • The Red Shoes (1x, 1/5) I'm guessing the book was better because the stage adaptation wasnt.
  • The Vertical Hour (2x, 3/5) It's like the play that kind of went there but not really. Julianne Moore was decent and Bill Nighy was great.
  • Secret Garden (1x, 4/5) This was a beautiful play and Daisy Eagan was delightful.
  • Some Men (1x, 4/5) Great cast but not McNally's best script. He's done poignant better.
  • Tommy (3x, 4/5) Gotta love a rock musical!
  • Will Rogers Follies (1x, 3/5) Hokey but entertaining.
  • Xanadu (1x, 3.5/5) This musical film parody is so much fun with some powerhouse performances - most notably Mary Testa and Jackie Hoffman.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Great Short Film: my name is lisa

A friend of mine forwarded this video to me. Like he did, I felt compelled to share. I'm sure that it will resonate more for some than others. Subject matter aside, it is well-acted, nicely scripted, engages you right away and has a running time of under 7 minutes!

my name is lisa

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cyrano de Bergerac: Delightful

Only a few days after seeing the unbelievable December 9th performance of SPRING AWAKENING, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner perform in CYRANO de BERGERAC at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show was, as one would expect, wordy. And quite honestly, I expected it to be funnier. Naps were stolen on either side of me during the three-hour play but it was, as my father would say, really delightful.

Kevin Kline was impeccable. As I expected he would be. However, the Richard Rodgers is a large house and the intricate language was often lost in that vast space. In fact, a man a few rows behind us shouted out, "A little louder please!" Kevin improvised, said something about ghosts in the theatre, upped his volume and carried on. The nerve of some people! Bottom line, Kevin Kline is truly a craftsman and it was a privilege to see him perform live.

Jennifer Garner as Roxanne gave quite an enjoyable performance. There was an affectation to her voice that, honestly, I didn't care for. I would prefer to see her in a more intimate space. There is a sparkling charisma to her voice when she is just speaking, as she did during the Gypsy speech after the show. I am sure that many will beg to differ but there you go. Overall, she was charming. And she very kindly shook hands with people in the front row, so gracious.

Daniel Sunjata delivered an affable Christian. I remember him from DEVIL WEARS PRADA as the guy that makes the deal with Meryl Streep. I didn't love him, I didn't hate him.

And I didn't realize until I got to the theatre that Euan Morton was in it. I was momentarily delighted because I just finished watching my copy of SHOW BUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY and was so moved by his segment in that film. But then it was realized that his understudy was on that night. And there you have it, life in the theatre.

If you have the opportunity to see it, I would recommend it. As long as you can endure its length and eloquence. The sets are gorgeous and the costumes are lush, very pretty to look at.

(By the way, after the curtain call, Mr. Kline auctioned off his prosthetic nose to someone in the audience for $900 to benefit BC/EFA. Before the auction began he said, "You all have been a great audience. With the exception of one. [beat] Can you hear me now?" A gentlemen to the very end, just like Cyrano.)

More theatre commentary to come, so stay tuned!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Even In Broadway's Darkest Moments...

This is just too cool not to share: Cast of SPRING AWAKENING Outside A Dark O'Neill

The recent strike initiated by Local One has left Broadway dark for a week now. As I sit here with my onstage seats for the November 27th performance of Spring Awakening, I am seriously hoping that everyone can come to an agreement. Seriously. Like you have no idea.

This video just explains so simply everything I LOVE about this show. That the actors sang for the fans says a lot. The way this cast connects with the fans and with each other is unreal. I read something about Patrick Page (a.k.a. “The Grinch”, “Mr. Paige Davis”) doing something similar for the kids outside the St. James. These are the people who get what theatre is about. **SMILE**

Some cool things to note in this video (for the true Junkies!):

* That is the uber-talented, Tony Award-winning Johnny Gallagher, Jr. accompanying on the guitar.

* Matt Doyle (u/s Melchior/Swing) was meant to go on as Melchi that night because Groff is off filming a TV pilot. And he is holding his new puppy.

* This is a nice treat for those of you who haven’t heard Blake's Ernst.

* Kim Grigsby is conducting (you can see her pink gloves pop into frame from time to time).

* And I believe that is Christine Estabrook between Matt & Johnny, enjoying the impromptu performance.

Let’s hope the lights become bright on Broadway once again and that these talented performers can get back onstage where they belong!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

JRB's Parade Makes West End Debut

As I mentioned in a recent post, I spent this past weekend in London on a bit of a theatre binge. Since I've got another one coming this weekend, I figured I should be diligent in my posting so that I am sure to get all my reviews and commentary in while they are still relevant!

My Friday evening was spent at the London production of Wicked. Mind you, I was fortunate to have seen the original Broadway cast, with the exception of Norbert Leo Butz who was having back surgery. But his understudy was Taye Diggs, so that was cool. What was not cool was the fact that I was suffering from a rapid onset of the flu and don't really remember that much of it. Of course, I have since become very familiar with the show and was happy to finally see it with a clear head.

Saturday afternoon was spent at the Dirty Dancing matinee. You can read my complete review but I think I can sum it up in one comment: The only way that you will get me to see that show again would be if Prince William himself was Johnny Castle. I'm appalled that the presale for this show was the equivalent of ~$24M. GAWD!

Fortunately my Saturday night ended on a theatrical high. When I was checking out listings, I was absolutely thrilled to stumble upon the fact that JRB's Parade was due to begin previews the very weekend I was going to be in London's West End. I have been wanting to see this show live and what better place than at the respected Donmar Warehouse?

After a quick spot of Indian food, I headed over to the Donmar to watch this haunting and distinctly American musical unfold before a British audience. Rob Ashford, who was the swing in the Broadway production, adapted the musical nicely to the small space and effectively reduced the cast size from a staggering 35 to a modest 15.

The story, based on actual events, is skillfully retold by Tony and Pulizter Prize-winning author Alfred Uhry and the increasingly popular composer Jason Robert Brown. Set in 1913 Atlanta, Parade tells the story of Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman who is accused of killing a 13-year-old girl in the basement of his pencil factory. The ensuing trial and media circus provides a timely commentary on one of those shameful points in American history where ignorance and greed will out over truth and justice.

After having sat through an afternoon of tortured American accents, I was pleased to see that this cast had been well-coached. Their Southern drawl was believable enough to pass muster with me anyway. So I was able to quickly more to the heart of this production. The cast. Led quite impressively by Bertie Carvel as the mild-mannered Leo Frank, this troupe manages their multiple roles in a way that truly defines ensemble.

Ashford's crisp staging has the actors facilitating the scene changes, allowing little opportunity for interstitial applause. This technique benefits this particular production nicely and is aptly managed through use of music, a quickly-paced dialogue or the establishment of a new scene. While Ashford is noted for his Tony Award-winning choreography, I felt his staging bested his choreography, which came off as frenetic and out of place. Also out of place was the "phantom actress", who was double-cast as Lila and Mary Phagan, when she appeared from time to time in full Scarlett O'Hara regalia.

Jason Robert Brown's music really is quite beautiful. And there are moments in this score that just cut you to core. Almost as harrowing as Moritz Stiefel's funeral in Spring Awakening is the scene when the young girl who has been murdered is buried. Making use of the traditional hymn, "There Is A Fountain", Brown overlays the ballad "No It Don't Make Sense" with devastating effect. Watching a parent bury a child is about as gut-wrenching as it gets and, in this instance, it is exquisitely accompanied by the score.

I was disappointed, however, that "Big News" was cut from this production, as it really is a great piece. However, it is challenging for even the best of singers and sometimes directorial and artistic decisions have to be made. There are several other beautiful ballads in Parade but the song that you leave the theatre humming is "The Old Red Hills Of Home". The show's opener and closer, with its patriotic build and well-blended harmonies, is gloriously sung by this London cast.

Of course, every cast has its standouts. Carvel navigated his character's emotional and vocal levels with just the right blend of timidity and fortitude. Lara Pulver delivered a fine performance as Lucille, Frank's crusading and supportive wife. However, there is a lyric describing Lucille Frank as a mousy wife and Ms. Pulver read more stunning and refined than mousy. Mark Bonnar was convincingly detestable as the prosecuting attorney, Hugh Dorsey, and Stuart Matthew Price, as the murdered girl's vengeful friend, countered the ugliness of his character with a lovely tenor.

The minimalist set served the various scenes nicely, with an upper level used for the factory, the judge's bench, a fishing bridge and the gallows from which Leo Frank is lynched. This climactic moment needs a little tightening, as it seemed an eternity that I was focusing on the caribiner being attached to the actor's harness. The backdrop, a weathered portrait of a community in the Confederate South, added a bit of interest without being overbearing. The one exception is when the Confederate flag is illiminated by a garish red light for some reason, which I can't recall. It must not have been to any tremendous dramatic effect or I think I would remember.

The costumes remained within period, with the exception of the black jersey-knit boxer briefs that Leo Frank was wearing when he stripped down to his skivvies. I don't usually tend to comment on costumes, unless something really stands out. Since this was the second public performance, I will presume that the safety pins that held many of the costumes will be replaced by sturdy thread. And while I am commenting, they needn't bother strapping down the bosoms of the actresses portraying the younger set, it does not flatter the costumes. I'm quite certain all will be in order come opening night. Believe me, I know what opening weekends can be like.

All in all, I found this production to be very moving. It had the right blend of talent, structure and material to make me feel as though I spent my money wisely. This is definitely a production where the return on your investment stays with you long after you paid your credit card bill.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Omigod, omigod you guys! Set your TiVo, there's a big surprise!

In an unprecedented television/theatrical event, MTV will air Legally Blonde: The Musical, in its entirety, on Saturday, October 13th at 1:00pm.

No musical has been aired on television in the middle of a healthy run. None that I can recall anyway.

Making currently running musicals available via other media is a recent trend that has a had a positive impact on Broadway box office numbers. MTV now ups the ante by making the crossover to the small screen, an action that I think deserves kudos. In my opinion, I think it is critical to experience Broadway. Of course, this opportunity is not readily available to most. How wonderful to afford America the opportunity and not in the form of a history lesson or an awards show!

Let's hope this is the beginning of a new trend. And whilst we hope, set your DVRs and enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Time Of My Life? Not So Much...

As good fortune would have it, my work occasionally gives me the chance to cross the pond and spend time in one of my favorite places in the world - Great Britain. My office is about an hour from London, so when I am there I make every effort I can to see something that I would not have the opportunity to see on Broadway.

When I was here a year ago, it was right around the time that Dirty Dancing had just raked in its £12M pre-sale for the London run of the Australian hit. I have to admit, I was curious. I loved the movie. In fact, I saw it 7 times in the theatre and even got to the 1988 video release party at the Palladium in Manhattan. So I took the bait. One of the great things about travelling alone is that you have a higher likelihood of getting a ticket to sold-out shows. And I got one...

Upon arrival at the Aldwych Theatre, the first thing I noticed was the female to male ratio was about 30:1, if not higher. I would expect this - it is dancing after all. And no matter how dirty that dancing is, watching football at the pub 'round the corner almost always trumps musical theatre. At least for the gents.

Now there is no shortage of film-based musicals on stage - 9 on Broadway and 6 in London. Original ideas are the anomaly in the theatre world, a fact I've come to accept. I've seen several of these "formerly-known-as-a-film" productions and have even enjoyed some of them. But Dirty Dancing doesn't leverage the film, it practically rapes it. Virtually every scene is blocked as a frame-by-frame replication of the 1987 film and seldom does the book stray from the screenplay. Utilizing a revolving stage, a cyc, gobos and video effects, the technical designers did their utmost to keep up with the constant change of scene. The scene where Baby is learning "the lift" in the lake is as close to a mash-up as I've seen in live theatre, with just the right combination of video, smoke, sound and light.

Now Dirty Dancing is being billed as a musical. I find great humor in the fact that there is an original cast recording available for purchase. There were only a few numbers that were, in fact, sung by the cast. The soundtrack is just that - a soundtrack. During the campfire scene, one of the few original moments in the play, "We Shall Overcome" is beautifully performed. However, furthering Neil's more serious freedom ride storyline seems forced in a jukebox-style musical. When the cast did sing, they did it well. Chris Holland's falsettoed performance of "In The Still of the Night" was lovely and performances of the 80s music were fun, albeit out of place.

But this is a show about the dancing, isn't it? As such, that is the area where I had set fairly high expectations. I had read a few reviews before seeing the show and raves for Kate Champion's choreography were a common theme throughout. Of course, I wonder how Kenny Ortega feels about that, since she managed to lift virtually every single dance move that he created for the film. I guess he's too busy basking in his High School Musical glory to care. And it is the dancing that carries the show.

That and Josef Brown's six-pack abs.

From their reaction, you would have thought that English women never saw a physically fit man in their lives. There were several moments when the screams and whistles were so loud that you couldn't hear the dialogue. Mind you, this was not a total tragedy because the acting was REALLY BAD. I don't know if it was because the actors were focusing too hard on their American accents or if the bad acting was meant to be an homage to the mediocre acting in the film. Again, it is a dancing show, so I can forgiving.

And there was that six-pack. Or was it an eight-pack?

At the top of Act 2, when Johnny gets dressed, people were actually moaning with disappointment. I told the woman seated next to me that I felt badly for the actors, since somewhere between "Cry To Me" and "Love Is Strange" the show seemed to cross over into the realm of exploitation and soft porn.

So, do I have anything positive to say? Sure I do. When Johnny comes back to Kellermans at the end of the show and boldly states that "nobody puts Baby in the corner," you can't help but cheer. And you're still thrilled when Baby does the lift, even though you know it's coming. But do you need to spend £35+ for the live action version of the DVD?

I think you know my answer.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Great Local Theatre Resource

I am very excited to let you all know about one of the new projects that I am involved with. After over a decade of involvement in Connecticut theatre, I (among others) have recognized the need for a single source of information for theatres and theatrical artists in our fair state. There are several great resources out there, mind you, be we felt there could be so much more. About a year ago, I stumbled upon The Connecticut Callboard and, as it would happen, its editor Sean had a similar vision. When poking around the site, I noticed that most of the information was very Litchfield County-heavy. So, instead of reinventing the wheel for Fairfield County, I reached out to Sean and asked him what he thought about joining forces. Apparently, he thought it was a good idea, because I am now a contributing editor.

So what does that mean? It means that I now have a new blog, Page2Stage (and back again), over at The Connecticut Callboard where I can pontificate about all things theatrical. Those who know me, know that sharing my opinions is something I'm always happy to do. Furthermore, I will be leveraging my professional database marketing experience to help to make the site even more robust than it is (and I have to say, it's pretty damn good!). I expect great things from this site in the next few months and truly believe that it has a future as the single online source of information for theatre artists in Connecticut.

If you are involved in or appreciate theatre in any way, I urge you to wander over to The Connecticut Callboard. Take a few minutes to register/subscribe and you will find, at your fingertips, a compendium of information related to Connecticut community theatre including audition & show details, discussion forums, reference materials and more!

And tell 'em Alicia sent ya! :)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Are You Stupid or Just Full of S***?

A funny e-mail forward that I received from a friend:

In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli (E.coli ) bacteria found in feces. In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of poop.

However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine (or rum, whiskey or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through the purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

Remember: Water = Poop, Wine = Health

Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of shit.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information: I'm doing it as a public service.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Theatre - Repeatedly & Retroactively

When I moved from Florida to the Tri-State area in 1985 it was with the wide-eyed hope that I would one day see Cats. Joke all you may but from our tropical little peninsula, Andrew Lloyd Webber was theatre's latest "it" boy. I arrived to Connecticut shortly before Les Miz reigned supreme as Broadway's newest sensation and little did I know that Sir Andrew was about to send Phantom our way.

As luck and budget would dictate, I ended up seeing the shows in reverse order of release: Phantom first, then Les Miz and finally Cats. And I saw each more than once. Yes, even Cats. Until this, my 38th year, Les Miz held the "Most-Attended Broadway Show" title for me. Tonight it will become tied with Spring Awakening, as I go for my 4th time. Of course, I saw Les Miz four times during its entire original run... SA hasn't even been on Broadway for a year!

Remember, I'm a theatre geek. It's okay. I get a certain pleasure seeing great shows more than once. Only then that you can spend time enjoying the subtle nuances of the performances, focus on staging and technical elements or spend a few minutes away from the action to watch Kimberly Grigsby deal with a busted piano string during a performance.

I was reminded of my reverse appreciation for theatre when I purchased my ticket for Parade at the Donmar Warehouse in London. My appreciation for several composers tends to be retroactive. Jason Robert Brown is a perfect example. I stumbled upon Parade when a friend of mine was telling me that one of his dream roles was Leo Frank. So I listened to the soundtrack and immediately became a fan of the show. Subsequently, I've become a fan of JRB's. Funny how theatre works out that way.

Oddly enough - and I'm sure I'll be slain for saying so - I was NOT a fan of Stephen Sondheim's for most of my theatrical life. I appreciated certain Sondheim shows but never really LOVED any of them, save West Side Story, which is only half his anyway. Maybe it was because I wasn't old enough. Or educated enough. But now I love his work. Perhaps it was being in Assassins that opened the floodgates. That was the first Sondheim show that I was ever in, so maybe that is the trick. Once you've performed it, the appreciation grows exponentially.

So the two theatricals lessons that I have to share in this post: (1) Always be open to new (and old) writers, composers and their bodies of work and (2) If you have the chance, see a show more than once. It will heighten your sense and appreciation the entire production and its building blocks. Well, at least it has for me...

Those are my thoughts for the day. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

They Didn't Get It

OK - it has been quite a while since I've posted. Mostly because my life in the summer is sheer insanity. Plain and simple.

I do have an RRS-Redux post that I'm keen to make but I'm not in the mood to go there today. I will be turning off that road in a few months and, I'm happy to say, there are definitely a couple of interesting stops along the road ahead. Stay tuned!

But today's post is about Spring Awakening. I have tried to ensure that my blog gives fair and equal attention to many things - theatre, film, family, life - so I took a break from pimping my favorite show. But I have come to a realization about this show and I wanted to share it.

First, because I only gave brief mention to the Tony Awards (8 of them, by the way), I want to say that I did indeed jump up and down like a little kid when Gallagher won for Spring Awakening. I haven't been that theatre geeky since crying during Daisy Eagan's acceptance speech. Sadly, my busy summer has precluded me from getting in to see many NY shows, so I've been suffering a bit of SA withdrawal. My sister, however, was watching the girls this week and noticed my "HAVEN'T YOU HEARD..." t-shirt and asked about it. Of course, that was like opening the floodgates. I promptly played "Totally Fucked" for her, which I knew she'd appreciate, and then I showed her the "Bitch of Living" video. Needless to say, we're going on Tuesday. My withdrawal symptoms go away and another Junkie is born, in one fell swoop!

So to my realization.

Several of my friends, younger and older, have seen Spring Awakening and I'm always anxious to hear their response. The show has met with varying degrees of favor among my friends. Most of them, as I do, love it - and several of them have seen it more than once. If a friend had a negative review I would usually rationalize it by saying that they were too old or too old-fashioned. Because usually statements like that fit. But it's more than that.

I have always been a fan of the rock musical. Those that think that Spring Awakening is breakthrough in that respect are wrong. In college, Hair was my rock musical of choice (and I loved Tommy, too!). And then Rent came along. I remember having very long debates with the Chair of the Department about the artistic value of Hair (whilst I was a student there) and Rent (when I went back to visit). He would drone on and on about how both shows were basically kids whining about everything that was wrong in their lives, with bad books and loud music. I would guess that he'd say the same about Spring Awakening.

Let's see... War, racial prejudice, drug addiction, child abuse, illness, depression, religious and parental oppression, pregnancy, sexual discovery, abortion, suicide... Yeah, I think kids have a right to whine, nay scream, about these things.

And HELL YEAH I think it should be set to loud rock music!

I then realized that Spring Awakening and its predecessors aren't about age. They are about passion. Perhaps the people that don't like these shows aren't passionate about these things. And maybe the music is too loud for them.

So when people say that they didn't get it, I'm glad that I can say that I did. Thank God that I remain passionate about the things that I was passionate about when I was 20. I'm sure the day will come when I don't get it and I'm screaming at them to turn it down... but that day is not today!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My Latest Broadway Prediction...

Life has been a flurry of activity lately. The Rising Stars will be hitting the stage in under a week, so a lot of the evenings have been focused on that. There are also a few acting opportunities that I might pursue. And acting is always tempting... I guess it all depends on how 2008 starts looking as theatres announce their seasons. I have a couple potential directing gigs and that always plays a big part in planning out the year. Sad that I have to plan the year this far in advance. And then there is the ol' corporate grind, which continues to occupy the daytime slot.

But I digress...

True to my theatre-geekedness, I had to hop on to Blogger to give you another prediction. (NOTE: Scroll back to my Spring Awakening posts and you'll see what I mean).

As soon as they are on sale, I urge you to get tickets for The Farnsworth Invention, a courtroom drama penned by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Aaron Sorkin. Mr. Sorkin has not written for Broadway since he wrote A Few Good Men and got whisked away to Hollywood. If "You can't handle the truth!" is a part of your vocabulary or you are a fan of West Wing or Studio 60, I am fairly confident that this excursion will not disappoint.

Hank Azaria stars in this courtroom drama with Jimmi Simpson, who originated the role of Philo T. Farnsworth. This fact-based play about the bitter legal battle between Farnsworth, the boy-genius that invented television, and David Sarnoff (Azaria), the head of RCA, sounds intriguing. Sorkin will undoubtedly give us a meaty monologue or two with a few points about the words "patent pending."

The show opens on November 14th with previews beginning October 15th. For more information go to

That's it for now. Back to the mayhem.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer Days... Driftin' Away

Summer is such a busy time of year - the kids are out of school, Richter is in full swing and, without fail, the day job is typically crazy.

Lately the girls won't shut up - and when I say the girls, I mean Grace, Olivia and Cady. For those of you who know those ladies, you know what that means. I just spent a week with my mom in May and that always tends to ignite the writing process. As soon as we are back to school and the dog days of summer are over, I think I'm due for a bit of a retreat.

My theatrical life is still in full swing. Richter Rising Stars are kicking into a higher gear as we prepare for our upcoming performances. Of course, something that was meant to be simple and stress-free has still managed a little mainstage cross-contamination but fortunately the ensemble we've got has the wherewithall to overcome stupid people and outdated traditions.

Next year is already looking promising for directing gigs, as I'm already in talks with a couple of area theatres. It would seem that if all goes as planned, those endeavors would preclude me from continuing on the Board at Richter. Ah, isn't that too bad? *SIGH*

And, of course, I cannot go without mentioning the fact that Spring Awakening won the Tony for Best Musical! Can I call 'em or what?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Future of Richter

Okay. A while back I posted about some strange coincidences in my life, specifically around my involvement with MAR, the theatre where I am currently directing and also where I serve on the Board.

This theatre gives me agita, truly. But a good kind. Like the kind you get when you eat sausage and peppers... You love it but you regret it later. What is worse, around every bend there is a challenge worse than the one before. As I anticipated, the departure of my dear friend and respected colleague has made it all the more challenging. Since this is MY blog, and I know that few people read it, I'm going to be what I aimed to be when I started - completely honest.

First, I have to say that I was hurt and offended when I was not approached or considered to direct either of the shows left vacant by our former President (see previous post). Of course, I did not have high hopes for this to happen, since I was never considered for the mainstage the first time around. Instead, they have hired back two directors from seasons past. I cannot really make an assessment about their abilities in this capacity because I haven't worked with them directly. In a season of such great struggle, I only hope that they lead us to success. I have to say I'm a bit unsettled by the fact that they've yet to cast principal and ensemble roles in the second two shows. But far be it from me...

Within my control, however, is the Richter Rising Stars program and the incredibly AWESOME ensemble we have put together. Over 100 people auditioned for the program and we filled all 20 spots. In fact, we are having additional auditions this Sunday, for kids that weren't back from school at the time of the initial auditions. What a thrill it is for me to go to rehearsal and hear the music that I love being sung by such talented performers. I guarantee you that some of these kids will end up on Broadway. You heard it here!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the theatre struggles as they leap hurdle after hurdle. For those that don't know, Musicals at Richter is situated on the property of Richter Park, which is shared with the Richter Arts Associaton and a nationally top-rated golf course. With the knowledge that Richter Park is being assessed by a marketing firm that specializes in golf promotion, the MAR Board entered this season with obvious concerns for our livelihood. Not too long after the season began, we received the unfortunate news that the top two floors of the Richter House and the basement were being sealed off from use because of various health and safety issues. The rooms that house our dressing rooms, sets, props, costumes and offices were suddenly no longer available. The remaining space (the first floor) has now become a shared space between Arts (the house is their gallery/events space), the childrens' theatre camp and Musicals at Richter.

Again, Richter rose to the occasion with its die-hard supporters schlepping the house's contents to various storage and temporary facilities. The room that once was known as our "paint room" now houses our new office. For dressing rooms? I think the discussion is leading in the direction of trailers, tents and quansot huts. Nonetheless, we tend to smile in the face of adversity and plow on.

And here we are, plowing the field that grows ever more rocky. Last week's challenge was the discovery that we did not have a master carpenter. Now, mind you, I have been going to the Board with options for a master carpenter since about January. But never you mind, it was meant to be handled. And it just was. This week. By me.

But wait - there's more! For years we have had the benefit of two local lighting guys that have hung and focused our entire season. However, this year, they merely dropped off the equipment and informed us that they are unavailable to hang and focus this year because they are too busy. This is such a newly constructed bridge for us to cross... All I have to say is, "Grumble... Grumble... ROARRRR!"

I know that I shouldn't be so concerned about this theatre that has treated me and most of my ideas as substandard. But I think that within the Richter Rising Stars there is the potential to save this theatre and bring it into the 21st Century! I know that there is a reason that I am hanging on, albeit by my very hangnails. Am I meant to lead this theatre? Or am I meant to start my own? Dunno.

One thing I know for certain. When my husband reads this post, he'll say neither and then say something responsible like, "Keep to your knitting." (But he wouldn't say that...)

Well, I guess the next few months will be the true test of MAR's future and how I fit into it. So stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

John Gallagher, Jr. Is My Only Friend

Everyone who knows me, knows that the best way to get in touch and/or keep up with me is via a computer. This blog, in fact, was the beginning of my public existence in cyberspace. For the longest time, it was my social network as I had avoided opening a MySpace account because it was too big.

Recently I found Facebook and it seemed more contained, less "out there." I love Facebook and it is my preferred network (God, I sound like a cell phone commercial)! ANYWAY - after discovering that MySpace is the preferred social network of many people, I took the plunge. I decided to brave the flood of Friend Requests from strangers "wanting to know my heart" and I set up a MySpace page.

Wanting to start small, I invited about six people. I anticipate that my network will grow and I know that my fledgling page will not look the same in a month's time. Therefore, I took this screenshot of my first add on MySpace:

For the people who know who Johnny Gallagher is, you know why this is both cool and amusing, since I only met him the night before.

And for those who don't know who he is... all I have to say is:




Go see Spring Awakening!

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.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Spring Awakening - A Video Lesson

OK - so I tried posting a YouTube video to my blog and it screwed up all the sidebar stuff, so I'm going to with a more traditional approach to giving you some insight into what I predict to be Broadway's next juggernaut. I implore you to get your tickets while you still can. I bought my ticket the day before they did their Letterman/The View junket. It's been years since I've anticipated seeing a show this much... I can't wait!

You gotta love a theatre season that sees Vanessa Redgrave and Angela Lansbury playing down the road from an angst-ridden rock musical about first-time plunges into sensual waters. Ya just gotta!

Here is a video journey for those that have not yet heard of or seen anything about this show.

- CBS Feature on Spring Awakening
- A&E Feature with a performance of the first half of "My Junk"
- Interviews with cast members and creators
- "Bitch of Living" video
- Cast performs "Bitch of Living" on Letterman
- Cast performs "Touch Me" on The View

And a rave review from Zach Braff on his blog never hurts... he seems like a cool dude.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Life So Theatrical

Let's talk progress on my writing. No - wait. Let's not. What you are reading now is basically the most that I have written in months. The Harvest Home revision sits in my brain collecting dust. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, only one person knows the story and I doubt that he could recollect it. I could be wrong... But I'd rather not wait and see. I will rewrite eventually - hopefully before that bus happens by.

So, what has been occupying my time? Well, I mentioned back in June that I had started doing theatre again. Of course, for me the theatre is like a warm blanket. Familiar, pleasant and soothing... despite its typical tragedies. The theatre invigorates me. So much that after stage managing Damn Yankees, I auditioned for, and was cast in, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins at TBTA. I played Emma Goldman and was in the Ensemble. I had so much fun! It was the first time that I had been onstage in 10 years! Marriage, children, jobs and the occasional bump in the road really never afforded the opportunity. It seemed that any time a role I wanted became available, the timing never worked out. However, the timing worked out that past September and I look forward to the next time the Moon is in the 7th House and Jupiter aligns with Mars.

The autumn brought a new position at work as a Database Marketing Manager. I really enjoy the job and the people that I am working with. It is also more analytical and strategic than my old job, so I get to use my brain (which my new boss once said was "as big as the planet" but I think he is prone to hyperbole).

I have also been elected to the Board at Musicals at Richter, which has been an interesting, challenging and rewarding experience all at once. I have been able to channel some of my marketing and database experience into my role on the Board, which has been a fun way to use my "day-job skills". For the 2007 Summer Season, I am also directing/choreographing a new group called Richter Rising Stars. It is going to a lot of fun because the repetoire will consist entirely of selections from contemporary musical theatre that premiered in 1985 or afterward. Why 1985? That was the year that Richter was founded! And these Rising Stars? They are the next generation of Richter! It will be, as Randy Jackson says, "The bomb, dawg!"

Currently, I am directing The Diviners at TBTA and sometimes things truly are better the second time around. Certainly my first experience will always be special and doing it again leads me down Memory Lane once or twice a night but the years have made a difference. And, of course, it is great to cast actors that are the actual ages. I am fortunate to have some very talented actors in the cast and look forward to how this rarely done play is received.

In other theatre news, I purchased my ticket to Spring Awakening and am so psyched to see it! I've watched all the You Tube postings, saw The View and have been listening to the soundtrack non-stop! I love it when a show breaks the mold, attracts young and old alike and becomes a sensation. I predict great things for this show - it is the Rent of this decade. I saw Rent a few times and will likely see this one more than once! It's a thing with me... a theatre geek thing.

Santa brought my husband and I subscriptions to the Roundabout, so we saw The Apple Tree with Kristen Chenoweth and are going to see Prelude to a Kiss tomorrow night! If I were diligent, I would review those. But when it comes to blogging, diligence has not been my strong point.

For those that have returned, thanks for keeping the faith!

For those that have stopped by for the first time, come on back, I might be here.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Every year at this time I turn my focus to two things:

(1) Writing
(2) Film (and TV) Awards Season

For the first area of focus: I am anxiously awaiting my annual writing holiday, hoping I don't find myself too distracted by the mundane so that I actually spend time writing. During my 2005 holiday, I wrote the first draft of Harvest Home, my magnum opus. 2006 saw the inception of this blog and the establishment of my film company, Woolgathering Films LLC. But no rewrite. And here comes 2007... Will I actually finish the rewrite of Harvest Home? Will I actually start positioning myself to write something that could get optioned? Will actual filming of HH ever see the light of day? We shall see...

Numero Dos. Awards season. With a bit of luck, this blog should see responses to GG, SAG and AA nominations (that's the Academy folks, not the Alcoholics). I also think it's high time I went to the 2006 Radar and posted my updates. And don't forget the 2007 predictions... Without doubt, 2007 is the Year of the Blockbuster. I mean really, an estimated budget of $300M for Spiderman 3??? But I know I'll be there. My eldest twin's love of Spidey ensures that. Next summer will be fun - if nothing else - the 2007 release docket assures that!

But, given the fact that this is my first post in a dog's age, I shan't get too hasty! We'll start here and see where we go.

For those of you who are readers from earlier this year and still meander back from time to time, wondering where I've been and what I've been doing, here's the short version: stage managing Damn Yankees, performing in Sondheim's Assassins, getting a dog, starting a Brownie Girl Scout troop, travelling, getting a new position in my company, getting a directing gig for 2007 at TBTA and joing the Board of Musicals at Richter. And that's the short version.

More later.. I am hoping.