Sunday, March 30, 2008


Yesterday we had a birthday party for my eldest daughter, who recently turned eight. It was your typical elementary school birthday party - a dozen 8-year-olds, birthday cake, presents. When we got home, she opened her presents. One included a card:

Wait for it...

Speechless. I am utterly speechless.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Award-Winning Band of Players Moves To Port Authority

The Atlantic Theater Company, the Off-Broadway company that first produced the 2007 Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, recently announced the cast for its production of Conor McPherson's Port Authority. The limited engagement will feature Tony nominee Brian d'Arcy James, Tony winner John Gallagher, Jr. and Olivier winner Jim Norton.

The play has been penned by one of today's most celebrated playwrights, currently represented on Broadway with The Seafarer. Should this multi-generational play make a move to Broadway, it will be sans James, who (now officially) will be playing the title role in November's much-anticipated Shrek (guess that rumor was true).

I saw Brian in last season's The Apple Tree but look forward to seeing him in a play. I'm sure his performances in Inishmore or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels outshone his turn at the Roundabout. However, I fault the material, not him. I think he's a solid performer and I am highly anticipating his performances in both Port Authority and Shrek.

A similar anticipation holds true for Johnny. I look forward to seeing him in a play since I've seen him only in a musical environment: Spring Awakening, Old Springs Pike or with Joe Iconis. While he did flex his acting muscles a bit in Spring, I look forward to seeing him in a role where his entire focus is on the acting. I missed his turn in Rabbit Hole (or any of the other Lindsay-Abaire he did for that matter). Plus, after he left Spring to be in The Starry Messenger, which subsequently fell through, I'm glad to see him back on stage.

I've never seen Jim Norton perform but he's an Olivier Award winner with clear ties to the playwright. I would imagine there is a lot of trust in that relationship and that there is a reason he shows up in McPherson's plays.

I predict that this will be a riveting evening of theatre. If any of the names associated with this project are remotely tempting to you, I would suggest you get your tickets now as the theatre is small and tickets seem to be going quickly.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Hey, Old Friend!

One of my absolute favorite things is live theatre. Undeniably. During my formative years, my father, an English professor and Shubert Playwriting Fellow (that sounds cool, huh?), directed all the shows at a branch campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Essentially, I've been around theatre and theatrical types since birth. It has been the constant in my life that has led me to some of the most incredible experiences and people a person could imagine.

The other night, one of those incredible people and I ate lo mein, drank coffee and talked theatre. For about four hours straight. Local dish. Broadway dish. Who's doing what. Creative concepts. I mean it is down and dirty theatre talk and it is not for the faint-hearted. Please understand, I have amassed a lot of knowledge in my 40 years but this guy makes my head spin.


Starting next month, I will be directing the musical version of Peter Pan at a local theatre. Being the diligent artisan that I am, I was re-reading the script a few days ago. I was actually in Peter Pan a couple decades ago and my memory has admittedly faded a bit. I just didn't remember Liza, the maid, prancing about Neverland. Neither did my husband, who also thought Liza seemed a little out of place when he was reading the script. We quickly concluded that the actress who played Liza must've been sleeping with the producer. I then made a mental note to look the actress up on IBDb.

So the other night I was relaying this amusement to my walking-theatre-encyclopedia-of-a-friend and he says: "Oh, you mean Heller Halliday? She was Mary Martin's daughter with Richard Halliday, Peter Pan's producer!" He just pulls these names out of his bum and there goes my head spinning every which way but loose.

He is just one of those people that gets me. He makes me think of a Sondheim lyric from a favorite show of ours:

Hey, old friend
What d'ya say, old friend?
Are you okay, old friend?

Are we or are we unique?

Time goes by
Everything else keeps changing
You and I, we get continued next week

Most friends fade
Or they don't make the grade
New ones are quickly made
And in a pinch, sure they'll do

But us old friends
What's to discuss, old friend?
Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few!

(And yes, we talked about John Doyle's Watermill production of our beloved Merrily, seen during my recent trip to England.)

I enjoy my time with my old friends. It is true, also, that new ones are quickly made. Even our oldest friends, if you think about it, were new friends at some point. I've made several new friends in the past year. A few of them actually feel like old friends. I think it is because they get me.

This weekend I will be seeing John Waters' new musical Cry Baby with a few of my blogospheric theatre friends and then joining them for brunch on Sunday. Though we've never met, the signs all indicate that future old friendships will be made. And what better way to forge those bonds than over a show, a cocktail and a spirited theatrical discussion? Top the weekend off with a Sunday matinee of Joe Iconis tunes and you basically have the equivalent of a theatre geek's wet dream.

With that, I will take my leave and prepare for an awesome weekend.

And here's to friends, old and new, that get you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rumors From The Swamp

I am very selective about what news I post on my blog and when I post it. There have been times when I’ve heard inside information and, out of respect for the informants, I wait until the news is official. I feel it is the classy thing to do.

However, when I hear or read something and it is, as far as I’m concerned, nothing more than a rumor, I feel compelled to share. Since I am sincerely looking forward to
Shrek: The Musical, I have been keeping a close eye on its progress. Others anticipating the big green guy’s move to Broadway have been waiting to hear casting decisions for the eponymous role and his chatterbox sidekick. At the stage door for Next To Normal, Brian d’Arcy James was overheard stating that he, in fact, will be portraying the loveable ogre.

DreamWorks, if this rumor is true, I’m still buying what you’re selling!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Scouting for Girls

One of the "perks" of my job is the occasional trip to the UK. A favorite thing to do when in Great Britain is to listen to Virgin Radio and discover new music that hasn't yet made its way across the pond. A trip last year produced a bounty of discoveries: Razorlight, The Feeling and The Fratellis, all bands that haven't yet made their way to true US popularity. Sadly, my last few transatlantic journeys have left me with nothing to add to my iPod. This time around, I am happy to report, the drought is over!

Scouting for Girls, a three-man band from London, released their self-titled debut album in September. It has since gone platinum and their future continues to look bright. While it was "Elvis Ain't Dead" that first caught my attention, its predecessors, "She's So Lovely" and "It's Not About You", are equally as catchy.

So, check it out and then download their tunage! You'll be glad you did.

Official SFG Fan Site
Unofficial SFG Fan Site
SFG on MySpace