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.