July 2008 Archives
Yay, you should all read this Diva Talk with Susan Blackwell on Playbill! I especially liked when she talked about the assorted opening night gifts she and the other members of the [tos] gang received. =) At the end, there are some Diva Updates, which include the fact that Bernadette Peters is going to be on the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy! Also, we'll be seeing the return of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Denny Duquette, whom I love. Was that the correct use of whom??? Oh well. =P
Here is an interesting article on Playbill that talks about how Legally Blonde the Musical and MTV collaborated over the reality Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods, and also the airing of the filmed musical in fall 2007 which I had no idea had existed. Sadness, wish I could have seen it. It's worth reading, since it talks about how they kept Bailey Hanks' identity a secret to the devoted viewers of the reality show, since the episodes weren't aired until after her rehearsals had begun. Haha, will make you smile.
The Songs of Kander and Ebb - now that's HAD!
John Kander and Fred Ebb certainly have the market cornered on what I llike to call "Had". That's because all their songs are "happy/sad". Don't let that bouncy vamp fool you kids, there's real pain in there! Liza Minelli is the queen of happy/sad (sometimes mostly sad…) and nobody sings a Kander and Ebb song quite like her. Maybe it's like the chicken and egg question…which came first -- Kander & Ebb or Liza? But I digress…
I went to the library and checked out the cast recording of AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND THE SONGS OF KANDER & EBB. It's fun to spice up the CD collection in the car (I also checked out CHEETAH GIRLS 2, and BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL) since I'm driving so much these days (both my daughters are in rehearsals for summer shows…)
AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND THE SONGS OF KANDER AND EBB opened on March 18, 1991 at the Westside Theatre, New York City. It was conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson, and starred Bob Cuccioli, Karen Mason, Brenda Pressley, Jim Walton, and Karen Ziemba. It was directed Scott Ellis, and choreographed by Susan Stroman (does she get all the great gigs or what?)
I didn't recognize a very young Karen Ziemba or Bob Cuccioli or Jim Walton in the picture of the cast that was in the CD sleeve. It was only after listening to the CD that I figured out they were in the cast, duh.
It's a fabulous compilation of Kander & Ebb songs, from "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup" to "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" to "New York, New York" (sung in many different languages!). Some of my favorite cuts are "I Don't Remember You/Sometimes a Day Goes By", "Colored Lights" , "Coloring Book", and "Arthur In the Afternoon" (I can just imagine how great Karen Ziemba was dancing in that number!). Just when you think all Kander & Ebb do are bouncy uptempos, they hit you with unbelievable ballads, like "Coloring Book" and "A Quiet Thing". What a writing team!
This celebration of Kander & Ebb's work was before the hugely successful revival of CHICAGO (now in its 150th year…), before the revival(s) of CABARET and new shows STEEL PIER, FOSSE, THE VISIT, and CURTAINS.
I think it's time for another revue!
Elicia Mackenzie is the winner of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, the Canadian reality show in which contestants were voted on by the Canadian public for the chance to be Maria in The Sound of Music in Toronto (hometown shout-out). You can see one of her performances here.
If you remember from my previous post, Elaine Overholt, my vocal coach, was on the judge's panel and Janna Polzin was one of the contestants in the show. She survived until the last week (congrats!) and you can see one of her performances here.
On television July 28, after months of competitions, 23-year-old Vancouver actress Elicia MacKenzie was revealed to be the top vote-getter and will jump into rehearsals as the novice who wins over a chilly Austrian family in the famed Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.
MacKenzie will join rehearsals in the Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and David Mirvish production of The Sound of Music, which begins previews Oct. 3 at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
"I'd like to thank Canada for their votes and the judges who saw something that could get me this far," MacKenzie stated. "This has truly been the experience of a lifetime and I'm so very grateful."
After studying everything from vocal training to mountaintop twirling, Canadians voted for their favorite Maria.
The Canadian series mirrored an earlier series in the U.K. that sought to cast the West End revival of the show, produced by Lloyd Webber.
Congratulations both Elicia and Janna, who made it so far. Tickets are now on sale for the show, and you can obtain them here. Performances begin October 3.
La Jolla Playhouse, by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, will present a developmental run of Peter and the Starcatchers, billed as a prequel to the story of Peter Pan, in winter 2009.
The new play by Rick Elice, directed by Roger Rees and co-directed by Alex Timbers, will be part of La Jolla Playhouse's Page to Stage program, the same program that launched The Farnsworth Invention, Zhivago, the Tony Award-winning 700 Sundays and I Am My Own Wife, which went on to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Based on the popular novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatchers will play La Jolla Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, in California, from Feb. 13-March 8, 2009. No cast has been announced.
I remember reading and loving Peter and the Starcatchers. It's a really good book, you all should pick it up today. So, I am pretty psyched to hear about this. I wouldn't mind seeing it. Tickets go on sale in September. To buy tickets, we're going to have to probably click here or call (858) 550-1010.
For those of you who have been waiting for hours for the past three days, refreshing the BlogwayBaby home page every 5 minutes in the hopes that a new post would appear, I'm very sorry. My mother and I went to San Jose to see Wishful Drinking (post to come), Carrie Fisher's one-woman show about her life and such. 'Twas excellent.
We stayed at the Fairmont San Jose, which was the best hotel ever. It was across the street from both the San Jose Museum of Art and the Tech Museum of Innovation. It was also walking distance from many restaurants and stores and such. There was a Starbucks 2 minutes (walking) away, and the San Jose Repertory, where the show was, was probably 4 minutes (walking) away. I definitely recommend this hotel if you plan on staying in San Jose, and want to have a good time.
We got room service by the pool (delish chicken and cheese quesadilla) and read historical fiction novels about the Tudors... :D Plus, we definitely saw Carrie Fisher. Like at the pool. No jokes. So we stared at her as she walked into her hotel room which had a patio that opened out onto the 4th floor pool. Mark Hamill/Marie Osmond moment...... for Suzy Conn =O
So, I will be posting again this week. I know you missed me >:-)
A pig, a spider and a lamb walk into a barn…
I’m so excited to see the play CHARLOTTE'S WEB at Youth Theatre Northwest on Mercer Island, running August 1 to August 10.
Of course, I'm a wee bit biased, since my daughter Trinity is in the play! She's the Lamb, as well as a Spectator and a Fair-Goer. They're in pretty seriously intense rehearsals right now and they open next Friday.
For tickets to CHARLOTTE'S WEB call 206-232-4145, or visit their website.
Fun exceeds the legal limit at the Hollywood Theatre!We bought our tickets for Donny & Marie at the MGM Grand back in November 2007. We figured we'd get good seats and it would force us to get away for at least a weekend in July 2008. As it turns out, it was a brilliant idea. I don't think we would have gone away for our "Hot and Sweaty 08" vacation in the desert if we hadn't bought those tickets. Of course at the time we didn't know they were going to also do a six month gig at the Flamingo Hotel starting in September!
At the time we also bought tickets that included going to the sound check before the show. That was very cool. About 75 people got to go into the theatre around 6:30pm, and Donny and Marie came out and chatted with us. Donny gave occasional sound notes (Hey guys, I'd prefer a real acoustic guitar for "The Twelfth of Never") but mostly it was just hanging around, eating a quick snack before the next show. Marie came out first munching on some ice cream. She looked amazing. She's lost over 40 pounds and looks fab. I asked her if she was considering doing Broadway again (She did THE KING AND I and THE SOUND OF MUSIC). She said she's had three offers but is really looking for a day gig since she has 8 (count 'em, 8!) kids, including a five year old. I knew that as a youngin' I had a huge crush on Donny, but what I didn't know was that my husband had (or should I say "has") a huge crush on Marie! It never occurred to me that she was a teen heartthrob - duh! So needless to say he was dumbstruck during the sound check and didn't ask any questions. It was like his "Mark Hamill moment" when he saw Luke Skywalker in the lobby of the Marquis Theatre in New York and stood frozen! But I digress…
We came back for the show at 8:30pm and had a-mah-zing seats! The theatre seats about 1500, but we were at a table that had a railing in front of it so there wasn't anybody in front of us at our eye level. It was as if Donny & Marie were performing just for us (weren't they?). The couple sharing our table was from Utah and their daughter had actually dated Donny's son, Brandon. Too cool!
The audience might have been made up of 40+ women and their husbands, but we screamed like teenyboppers when Donny & Marie came out singing. They had singers and dancers and a great band. They did a few rockin' numbers together (eg. Dancing in the Streets) and then each did their own segment. First Marie went and started with (of course) "Paper Roses" and then went on to do a varied set of rock, country, Broadway and opera! I never realized what a versatile, powerful voice she has! Marie invited one lucky male audience member up on stage with her and challenged him to a water chug (he won the first time, they tied the second time). Apparently she prides herself on her water chug! Then of course she had to sing her Broadway medley with a belly 'o water! Did you know her "Dancing with The Stars" partner Jonathan choreographed her dances for her segment? Now you do!
Donny started his segment with "Soldier of Love" his 80s comeback hit (he was helped in that stage of his career by Peter Gabriel - who knew?) Of course we all sang along for the "na na na na na na na na I’m a soldier of Love' bit. Did you know Donny has two grandkids? Now you do. Then he did a medley of hits from his favorite singer, Stevie Wonder and really danced up a storm. Did you know Donny broke his neck body surfing and had to have his neck fused? Now you do! Then he gave us a medley of his hits (Go Away Little Girl, Puppy Love etc.) When he sang the lyric "someone help me, help me" my table mate and I stood up and screamed "I'll help you!" . Sort of like the time my Swedish friend and I chased Rene Simard to his limo. But I digress…
Donny finished his segment off with "Any Dream Will Do" from JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, which he toured for six years! I saw him twice in Toronto. It seems like such a long time ago!
Then Donny and Marie got back together for a dance off (Marie won) and "I'm a Little Bit Country/I'm a Little Bit Rock and Roll" and a medley of the hits they had together. They ended with their classic goodbye song from their tv show:
May tomorrow be a perfect day
May you find love and laughter along the way
May God keep you in His tender care
Til He brings us together again…Goodnight everybody!
<sigh> Back to reality…
Yay this is awesome! I really love Emma Thompson - I first saw her in Love Actually, which is probably my most favoritest movie ever in the history of the world ever forever ever ever. I've also seen her in Stranger Than Fiction (another good movie with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal) and, of course, Harry Potter. However, I have never seen anything she's written (I know, hard to believe that I didn't jump at the chance to see Nanny McPhee... =S).
Columbia Pictures announced June 5 that it will join forces with CBS Films to create a new film version of the classic musical My Fair Lady that will be produced by Duncan Kenworthy and Cameron Mackintosh.
The film will utilize the legendary Lerner and Loewe score but will adapt Lerner's original book by drawing additional material from Pygmalion, upon which the musical is based. Producers hope to "dramatize as believably as possible for present-day audiences the emotional highs and lows of Eliza Doolittle as she undergoes the ultimate makeover, transforming under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins from a Cockney flower girl to a lady," according to press notes.
Well I can't wait until this comes out! 'Tis going to be interesting... :D
Here I go again!I get it! I finally get it! I saw Mamma Mia yesterday and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to go back and see it again. Meryl Streep is my favorite superhero this summer! Take that Batman!
As background, I was a gigantic ABBA fan when I was a teenager (I also loved disco, there I said it). My best friend was Swedish and she introduced me to ABBA and she always got the latest album ahead of everyone else. I was hooked. ABBA was standard fare at sleepovers, and we'd dance around the pool table in her basement (I always wanted a pool table!) to Mamma Mia. Yeah, yeah, the cooler kids hated ABBA, but I've never considered myself cool. I liked all kinds of music, but there was something about those arrangements, those voices, those melodies, those cute Swedish inflections that just made me get up and dance, and sing along.
So of course I was excited about the stage musical production of Mamma Mia when it came out in the early 90s. However, when I actually saw the musical in Toronto, with Louise Pitre as Donna, I really didn't like it. Maybe it was because the decibel level was so high it made my ears bleed, or maybe because the arrangements sounded different. Or maybe it was the silly storyline. I don't know but I never bonded with the musical for some weird reason.
For some reason I'd been really excited about the release of the movie. Maybe because I heard that two of my cuties, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, were cast in the movie. I love Meryl Streep but I was skeptical about her vocal prowess. But the trailers looked really exciting and fun, so the girls and I went today.
I totally loved it. I laughed, I cried, I boogied.
I finally felt the feeling of twirling joy I used to feel when listening to the ABBA records. The Greek island setting was perfect, the colors, the sun, everything. Meryl Streep is amazing as Donna Sheridan, and she has a great voice and totally inhabits the character. It's like she's dancing around inside an ABBA song. I don't mind the silly story line, and I love the way the movie is a musical, full stop. No apologies needed for breaking out into song and dance, whether you are a main character or part of the "greek chorus" of villagers. I mean, isn't that why you do musicals in the first place?
And let me just say that Colin Firth has a great voice. Very folky, but with a surprisingly high level of musicality to my ears. Pierce Brosnan isn't a singer per say, but Remington Steele slash James Bond can do no wrong in my ears. (Hmmmm, I think I know what age group this movie is targeted at…). I'm not as familiar with Stellen Skarsgard who played the third "dad", but he was good too!
The whole cast rocked (Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters) but one of my favorites was Christine Baranski. She was hilarious.
And did I see cameo shots of Benny and Bjorn in the movie? Methinks I did!
Make sure you stay for the credits!
Say Something: A Spoken Word Salon, an evening featuring spoken word performances from a mix of writers and actors, will be presented Aug. 15 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.
The 6 PM performance at the West 42nd Street venue will boast the talents of Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Phil Geoffrey Bond, Paul Cavalconte, Donna Lynne Champlin, Christine Lavin, Carl Kissin, Christine Pedi and Kate Shindle.
The artists, according to press notes, will offer "new work as well as excerpts from some of their favorite texts."
THE SHOW GIRL MUST GO ON!
As I write this post, I’m wearing my super cool "Bette Midler The Showgirl Must Go On" T-shirt! My husband and I finally got away on a much deserved "awaycation" (we already had a "staycation" with the kids earlier in the month. The final leg of our "Hot and Sweaty 08" tour was Las Vegas (following triple digit weather in Palm Springs)) to see Bette Midler in concert at The Coloseum at Caesar's Palace, as well as Donny & Marie (yes, I'm over 40, duh!) at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre. But more on D&M in another post…
We don't smoke or gamble, so there is really only two other (legal) things to do in Vegas - see a show and hang out by the pool. Friday night we sent to see Bette Midler in The Coloseum, the ginormongus 4,000 seater theatre that was built for Celine Dion. It is currently being shared by Elton John and Cher. You can't get more seventies than that! We had bought our tickets a while back, so we had awesome seats, although there was a large screen for those seated in the nosebleed seats.
What an awesome show! Bette started with "Big Noise From Winnetka" and "The Show Girl Must Go On" and came out in a sparkly silver pantsuit, very Vegas. She had three amazing back up singers (The Staggering Harlettes) an amazing band, and a great line up of chorus girls (The Caesar Salad girls, with as little dressing as possible!). It's hard to believe she is 60 years old, running back and forth across that huge stage, and jumping up and down in a mermaid costume while singing and dancing! She is so funny, and so much fun to watch. Of course, no body sings with such emotion as Bette. She's the only singer I know who can make me cry just by singing. She did a crowd-pleasing set of her hits:
In The Mood, From A Distance (which she sang barefoot, in contrast to her usual six inch heels!), Do You Wanna Dance, The Rose (which included audiences waving their cell phones back and forth like lighters), Hello in There, and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
She also did wonderfully zany segments as the finned "Dolores Delago" and "Soph", the oldest living showgirl -- "they gave me a f%@#$%ing chihuahua?"
Bette closed the show with Wind Beneath My Wings. I could listen to her forever!
In that it's so horrid, but I can't stop watching!
Well, I've probably talked about how much I kinda hate watching reality TV shows where nobodies get sent home to continue their unfulfilling jobs as paralegals when they really want to be the next American Idol. It just makes me feel bad. That's why I like Dancing with the Stars - those people are already celebs, so when they get sent home, they're going back to being famous and doing what they love.
However, with High School Musical: Get in the Picture, not only are they sending home people who don't have their dreams waiting back home, they're sending home young people. For example, last Sunday and Monday were the Eastern semi-finals and finals. They sent home a girl who was 16. 16!!! I don't know, but that made me really sad.....
Other than that, the show is pretty good. The talent is... okay. But the structure and premise of the show are really good.
From the official High School Musical: Get in the Picture website:
This summer's reality show, Disney's "High School Musical: Get in the Picture", will award one prize winner the chance of a lifetime -- he or she will literally "get in the picture" when that person stars in a music video shown in the end credits of the feature film, Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," opening this fall. In addition, the winner will also receive an exclusive talent hold agreement with ABC and a recording contract for two singles with Walt Disney Records, one of which will be a version of the song from the music video.
Hosted by Nick Lachey, the television series debuts on ABC on Sunday, July 20 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) and runs Sundays and Mondays (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) for three weeks, then continues Mondays at 8:00 p.m., ET through mid-September. During the series, finalists will ultimately participate in a summer music program to hone their skills, and one talented newcomer will become a part of "High School Musical" history.
Executive producers of "High School Musical: Get in the Picture" are Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh (both of "Here Come the Newlyweds"). The production company is The Jay and Tony Show.
Next week the Western auditions are on. That means more crying and feeling sorry for these poor young people whose dreams are crushed when they get sent home... But I can't wait!
Shout out to my friend Seth Weinstein, who wrote the music for HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD AND FIND TRUE LOVE IN 90 MINUTES. I met Seth when he did a fabulous job musical directing my show PLANE CRAZY at NYMF in 2005. I loved HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD AND FIND TRUE LOVE when I saw it in New York. I saw Hollie Howard (who played Holly Banks in PLANE CRAZY) in the role of Violet Zipper and she was amazing. It's really a great show, so go get your copy today!
A cast recording of How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes, which played Off-Broadway's New World Stages/Stage 5 Nov. 4-Dec. 31, 2006, is now available.
The recording features the original Off-Broadway company, including Michael McEachran as Miles Muldoon, Anika Larsen as Julie Lemmon and Nicole Ruth Snelson as Violet Zipper with Stephen Bienskie, Natalie Joy Johnson and Kevin Smith Kirkwood as The Greeks.
The CD, which was recorded January 2, 2007, at Avatar Studios in Manhattan, also features conductor Seth Weinstein on keyboards, Jonnah Speidel on piano, James Bettincourt on bass and Greg Germann on drums.
The complete track listing for How to Save the World follows:
Love or Fear
I'm Afraid of Everything
The Country Song
The Melon Ballet
Why Are All the Good Men Unconscious?
The Voices in My Head
I'm in Love With a Terrorist
Who I Am Matters Not (I)
Love Is Violet
Yoga Class/Fifteen Minutes
I Want to Know You/Read My Mind
He's a Pussy
When the Music Played
We Can Save the World and Find True Love
Save the People
Who I Am Matters Not (II)
Oh, God The Company
Read My Mind
With book and lyrics by Jonathan Karp and music by Seth Weinstein, How to Save the World. . ., according to press notes, is set at the United Nations and concerns "a cowardly bookshop clerk, a sexy diplomat and an idealistic slacker [who] confront their deepest fears when an office romance leads to international crisis."
Christopher Gattelli directed and choreographed the Off-Broadway run. The creative team comprised Beowulf Boritt (set design), David Murin (costume design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design) and Peter Hylenski (sound design).
The CD, priced $14.95, includes a 16-page color booklet with lyrics and photos. For more information visit www.howtosavetheworldandfindtruelove.com.
On Sunday, Max Crumm and Laura Osnes, winners of the reality TV show Grease: You're the One That I Want!, ended their run on Broadway as Danny and Sandy in the Broadway revival of Grease. However, that means that Derek Keeling and Ashley Spencer will replace them..... They're the ones that I wanted (see my previous post)!!!!!
Keeling was most recently seen in the West Coast premiere of All Shook Up and also played Danny Zuko in a national tour of Grease. Spencer was recently on Broadway playing Amber von Tussle in the Tony-winning musical Hairspray.
The current cast of Grease, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, includes Janine DiVita as Rizzo, Ryan Patrick Binder as Doody, Susan Blommaert as Miss Lynch, Will Blum as Roger, Jeb Brown as Vince, Allison Fischer as Patty, Robyn Hurder as Marty, Lindsay Mendez as Jan, Jose Restrepo as Sonny, Matthew Saldivar as Kenickie, Jamison Scott as Eugene, Kirsten Wyatt as Frenchy and "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel. The ensemble comprises Josh Franklin, Natalie Hill, Matthew Hydzik, Keven Quillon, Allie Schultz, Brian Sears, Christina Sivrich, Amber Stone and Anna Aimee White.
For tickets, visit here. I really hope that I get to see this!!
Last night was the season finale of Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods, and Bailey Hanks was selected as the next Elle Woods on Broadway in Legally Blonde! Rhiannon was eliminated at the beginning of the episode, leaving Autumn and Bailey as the last contestants in the competition. The final audition required the girls to perform three numbers from the musical with real Legally Blonde cast members, sets, costume, and orchestra! Plus, Jerry Mitchell was added to the panel of Paul Canaan, Heather Hach, and Bernard Telsey.
Okay, so I'm really happy for Bailey, and she definitely is Elle Woods. Her performance was genuine and easy to watch. However, I enjoyed Autumn's much more. Autumn has the better voice by far. Sorry Bailey, but at times you're a little flat :S Autumn still brought the character to life, but her voice was quite amazing. Maybe after Hanks has finished her run, Autumn will be next in line...
Congratulations Bailey! I hope that your experience as a leading lady on Broadway is as magical and fulfilling as you've always dreamed it to be! Bailey starts her run on Broadway on July 23. For tickets, visit here.
Wow, that was really cool.
On Sunday I went to the 8pm showing of 14/48 - the world's quickest theater festival. The two-hour event included 7 plays that all fell under the same theme: Off the Deep End. That morning was when the directors, actors, and design were selected. Each show was scored, teched, and premiered in the same day. Saturday followed the same procedure (however, the theme was revenge). Therefore, by the end of the weekend, this ensemble of performers, directors, theatre people, etc. had produced 14 brand new plays in 48 hours.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. The entire experience was really cool, and all around the plays were very well-written. The actors were all very talented, and I was surprised at how complete the sets were considering each play had only been written the night before. I would have to say my favorite pieces were The Story of Bacon (written by Alex Harris) and Deep Blue (written by Celene Ramadan, and also in which my Last Exit director and Urinetown choreographer, Kathryn Van Meter, performed - holla! =P). In between each play the 14/48 band performed songs relevant to the evening, previous play, or next play.
14/48 will be happening again next weekend, July 26-27, at the Seattle Center House Theater. I recommend buying tickets in advance, because then you're set (yes, there was a pretty good crowd there) and they're cheaper. Visit brownpapertickets.com for details. Just because it happens real fast, doesn't mean it isn't real theater!
Last Saturday, I saw the matinee performance of the first student production that the Village Theatre in Issaquah has put on so far this summer. It was called The Spitfire Grill, and was presented as part of Village Theatre's KIDSTAGE's Summer Independent program. "Summer Independent" means that the entire show was produced, designed, and directed by young artists ages 20 and under. Professional mentorship was provided by Village Theatre artists and staff, including Kathryn Van Meter, R.J. Tancioco, Kristin Culp, Brian Healy, Jessi Wasson, Jim Henderson, and Skyline High School.
The Spitfire Grill is the story of a young woman named Percy, and her journey as she rejoins the human race after 5 years in prison. To start anew, she travels to the little town of Gilead, Wisconsin, and is employed at the only restaurant in the area: The Spitfire Grill. What ensues is a story of community, love, and renewal.
The cast was amazing. This production starred Eliza Palasz as Percy Talbott, Heather Nobis as Shelby Thorpe, Julia Bicknell as Hannah Ferguson, Danny Kam as Caleb Thorpe, Colin Hartman as Sheriff Joe Sutter, Rachael McLachlan as Effy Krayneck, and John McDevitt as The Visitor. The extremely strong ensemble included Daniel Arteaga, Rachel Beck, Jim Blackett, Sawyer Mittelstaedt, Kendyl Morris, Sarah Oates, Cassie Smith, and Ellen Washburn. Everyone was talented and committed on stage, but I'd like to give a special shout-out to Julia, Rachael, Kendyl, Cassie, and Sawyer, my fellow Last Exit castmembers!
I thought that Justine Stillwell did an excellent job of directing this piece, and I really loved the set. It was detailed enough that you could picture the Grill accurately, but not too elaborate - a very delicate balance when it came to this show. The music was soulful and hummable, and the storyline was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Overall, I had a very good time!
As you read this blog, if you live in the Issaquah/Sammamish/Seattle/Bellevue/Kirkland/Mercer Island/basically anywhere in that area, you should buy tickets NOW by calling the box office at (425) 392-2202. The last performances are THIS WEEK people, so make sure you get tickets for the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening shows, or the Saturday and Sunday matinees. You won't regret it, and it'll be the perfect addition to your summer! =D
Well then. Apparently, Access Hollywood learned **exclusively** that Fergie (aka Stacy Ann Ferguson) of the Black Eyed Peas has been cast in the upcoming movie version of the musical Nine. This is Fergie's first major movie role, although she has appeared before on screen in Grindhouse and Poseidon.
From an article on Access Hollywood:
From an article in the New York Times:
As a performer, Mr. Bell has a cuddly, golly-gee manner that is endearing. In contrast Mr. Bowen takes a more businesslike approach, which includes an obsessive need to correct his friend’s every grammatical lapse. Ms. Blackwell’s idiosyncratic humor is a distinct asset. Learning that the authors have earned a lot of attention from an Internet video promoting the show, she cracks, “I’m gonna go onYouTube and announce that I want a golden pony.”
The cheery Ms. Blickenstaff is the strongest singer in the cast, and the only one to have appeared on Broadway previously, mostly as an understudy. If “[title of show]” has a purpose larger than mere diversion, it is to expose the obstacles — internal and external — that artists on the fringes of the business claw past every day to keep their aim true and their egos from imploding. Ms. Blackwell keeps having to remind her friends that she can’t be hanging out brainstorming or rehearsing all day because she actually has to earn a living as an office manager. Later she leads a funny, pointed song, “Die Vampire, Die!,” about the specter of self-doubt that visits all struggling artists in the wee hours — and the not so wee ones, too.
From an article on Newsday.com:
Created and performed by two self-described "nobodies in New York," the first entry of the new season is a clever and often adorable little invention about writing a musical about two nobodies writing a musical while performing the musical. Got that?
The title is what composer Jeff Bowen and author Hunter Bell - both show-biz obsessives - called this meta-project while filling out the application form for the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2004. The men and their two self-described "secondary characters" - Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell - were a hit at the festival and Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in 2006.
Their inside-baseball humor, their sardonic attitude and their Cinderella story arrive at the creators' mainstream fantasy fulfillment with a passionate fan base, nurtured on the Internet by a come-on-along YouTube series about the show.
Everyone in Michael Berresse's production is quick and charming. The setup - four mismatched chairs, street clothes and a grimy rehearsal room - has a prepossessing anti-spectacle ordinariness. The show-tune pastiche - think Laura Nyro as interpreted by William Finn - is accompanied by the amusing Larry Pressgrove on a lone keyboard.
From an article in the Daily News:
The production's greatest asset remains its score. Bowen's melodies and harmonies are gems, and his bright lyrics offer insight into everything from self-doubt ("Die, Vampire, Die!") and friendship ("What Kind of Girl Is She?") to integrity ("Nine People's Favorite Thing").
The performers are great fun to hang out with for 90 minutes and as idiosyncratic as the title — especially the irresistibly offbeat Blackwell. Blickenstaff has girl-next-door charm, and her gorgeous voice soars on the soulful show-stopper "A Way Back to Then."
Michael Berresse's stage and dance experience shows in his vibrant direction and choreography, which puts imaginative spin on each number.
Goodness gracious, I fell in love with this show the first time I saw it at the Vineyard Theatre in 2006 (so long ago, goodness). It was so creative, funny, and original, with fantastic talent and heart. Now, I can't believe that it's opening on Broadway. Holy peanut butter. I mean, oh my god.
I feel so happy for everyone involved in [title of show], especially Hunter, Heidi, Jeff, and Michael who accepted my Facebook friend request. =D Just kidding, everyone who has made this show what it is now rox. I couldn't find Susan on FB, so props to her. She rox extra hard. :D
I've read the blog every day for the past forever, which has kept me interested and excited about the show and its future. There's a really cool article here about [title of show]'s evolution through the Webnets... Check it out.
So, just wanted to give a shout-out to everyone at [title of show] (=P). Have fun tonight, and congratulations!
Woo. I need to sit down for a second. Calm down, take a few deep breaths. Cool off, if you will. Why? You may ask that. Or not. Whatev. I'll tell you anyway. I just finished watching Acts I and II of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and I was BLOWN AWAY. I mean, OH MY GOD.
This epic mini-series stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion (HOLY MOTHER OF), and Felicia Day. Dr. Horrible is an evil genius, with a PhD in Horribleness. I won't tell you anymore - except that he has a blog and is part of a crazy love triangle with Fillion (GOODNESS GRAYSH) and Day.
Harris is hilariously funny and he makes me smile. He has opened my eyes to a different side of supervillains through his portrayal of Dr. Horrible :D Nathan Fillion is -- Wait. I need to take a second to breathe here. Nathan Fillion is probably one of my most favoritest peoples ever, and I never knew he could sing. Well, he can. Like, really well. Felicia Day is also really good as Penny, playing perfectly the role of the beautiful and big-hearted laundry buddy... =P
Okay. So, you probably guessed already, but Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a musical. Usually I'm very picky about music, but I really enjoyed listening to this! The music was melodic AND epic. I mean, I don't think it gets any better than that. The storyline and script were funny without being too one-notey (word of the day), and the talent (as mentioned above) is astounding. They can all sing, and portray the complex emotions required to pull of this serious drama. Hehe...
Act II was JUST released TODAY, and Act III is coming out this Saturday, July 19, 2008. All of the episodes will come off of the website at midnight on Sunday, so make sure you watch them! However, there was mention in the master plan of a DVD... =O
So, I really think you should watch this TV/Internet/Blog epic musical/epic/comic book. (P.S. about the comic book thing, it's like a comic book but you don' have to read =D) I'm off to work on my evil laugh... and then rewatch Acts I & II!!
If you are interested in making it big on Broadway in the musical version of 'Spiderman,' you should check out the open call in New York at the Knitting Factory on July 28 starting at 10am.
Requirements from the Article on MTV Movies Blog:
The producers of “Spider-Man” have announced an open casting call in New York for singers and actors to audition as Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and Arachne. For Peter Parker, they’d like a male aged or appear to be aged 16- to 20-years-old, with a greak rock voice. He “can be nerdy with understated sex appeal” with a “good sense of humor.” For Mary Jane, they’d like a female in the same age range, with a strong pop/rock singing voice, who has a “beautiful girl-next-door” look. And for Arachne, a dangerous but seductive Spider-Woman, they’d like a female aged 25- to 35-years-old, with “amazing rock vocals.” “Think Sinead O’Connor with a Middle Eastern/Bulgarian/Greek twist,” they say. Foreign accents welcome.
So all those eligible performers, get out there and show your stuff... Stuff that could end up on Broadway!!
Complete casting has been announced for the Broadway production of Billy Elliot—The Musical, which will begin previews at the Imperial Theatre Oct. 1 with an official opening scheduled for Nov. 13.
As previously announced, young actors David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik will alternate in the musical's title role.
Haydn Gwynne, who created the role of dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in the show's original London cast, will repeat her work for Broadway audiences. Also cast are Gregory Jbara as Dad, Tony winner Carole Shelley as Grandma and Santino Fontana as Tony. David Bologna and Frank Dolce will alternate in the role of Billy's friend Michael with Stephen Hanna as Billy's Older Self, Joel Hatch as George, Leah Hocking as Mum, Thommie Retter as Mr. Braithwaite and Erin Whyland as Debbie.
The ensemble will comprise Juliette Allen Angelo, Tommy Batchelor, Kevin Bernard, Grady McLeod Bowman, Heather Burns, Maria Connelly, Samantha Czulada, Kyle DesChamps, Eboni Edwards, Brianna Fragomeni, Greg Graham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Eric Gunhus, Meg Guzulescu, Izzy Hanson-Johnston, Keean Johnson, Aaron Kaburick, Donnie Kehr, Cara Kjellman, Kara Klein, David Koch, Jeff Kready, Stephanie Kurtzuba, David Larsen, Caroline London, Merle Louise, Marina Micalizzi, Mitch Michaliszyn, Matthew Mindler, Tessa Netting, Daniel Oreskes, Jayne Paterson, Liz Pearce, Corrieanne Stein, Jamie Torcellini, Grant Turner and Casey Whyland.
I saw Gregory Jbara originate the role of Andre Thibault in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Broadway (with John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Sherie Rene Scott, and Joanna Gleason). He was quite fantastic. I haven't listened to the Billy Elliot soundtrack yet, but I am interested in seeing the show. I mean, they don't even have to put the name on the poster.......
With only four girls left, I'm getting the same feelings that I get when watching America's Next Top Model. Like the judges said, I wish I could take a little bit of each girl to make the perfect Elle Woods. Autumn is now my second favorite, with Lauren being my favorite.
Wait, what's this? She was eliminated. WHAT?? I didn't think that was a very good decision, but whatevs. Last week I was really confused as to why they kept on Rhiannon, but she is INCREDIBLY watchable. Bailey was pretty good, especially since she was given the wrong hat... LOL.
This week's audition was to perform "What You Want," complete with difficult choreography and quick change. You can watch the full performances here. Notice how many feathers were falling off.... lol quality control!
Don't forget to watch the season finale next week on MTV at 10pm.
There are some awesome photos of the BROADWAY BARKS book signing on July 12th (last Saturday). Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters hosted it, again helping many homeless animals find permanent homes. More than 6000 theater fans, pet owners, and animal lovers appeared to join in the festivities. An awesome Broadwayworld.com article can be viewed by clicking on the smiley:
The pictures are there too! Wish I could have been there...
Whoopi Goldberg will join the Broadway company of Xanadu as one of the musical's scheming muses, it was announced on "The View" July 14.
Goldberg – a co-host of the ABC talk show "The View" – revealed on live TV July 14 that she would join the Broadway production in late July. Tony-nominatedXanadu cast member Mary Testa was in attendance for the live announcement. Goldberg has been cast as her sister muse Calliope/Aphrodite, currently portrayed by Jackie Hoffman.
Goldberg will join the Broadway production beginning July 29, for a six-week limited engagement through Sept. 7. Hoffman will be on leave from the production to promote the release of her album "Jackie Hoffman Live from Joe's Pub." Hoffman is scheduled to return to Xanadu Sept. 9.
Apparently, Meryl Streep is a fan favorite with the Australian crowd! According to an article in the Herald Sun, the attendees of the Melbourne Central premiere of Mamma Mia! (opening in theaters July 18) "...gave [Streep] a standing ovation. Streep, in turn, waved regally and blew kisses to her fans." That's what I call a rep!
Unlike most major international movie stars, who leave before their screening in Australia starts to be schmoozed by film company minders at expensive restaurants, Streep stayed for the entire film, appearing to be genuinely interested in the reaction the movie would get from the Melbourne audience. At the post-screening party, people working on the premiere had to "...sign forms stating they were not to approach [Streep]... and could only speak to her if she spoke to them first." DUDE!
If you just can't wait for the movie to come out, and you're in the Big Apple, you can go see the live show on Broadway! I remember when I saw the show when I was quite little in Toronto... Party in the house!!!!
So, hats off to Meryl Streep, who truly knows how to work a crowd :-D
First Bartlett Sher, Artistic Director of the Intiman goes and wins a Tony for directing SOUTH PACIFIC at Lincoln Centre, and then I hear about my friend Jenny McMurray starring as Nellie in SOUTH PACIFIC at the Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theatre!
I met Jenny back when we both lived in Toronto when she appeared in the very first reading of PLANE CRAZY at the Poor George Theatre. Now as fate would have it, we are both living in Seattle! Small world, isn't it? And the director of that first workshop, Sam Berger, will soon be moving to Vancouver! But I digress…
The Snoqualmie Falls Theatre is an outdoor theatre that sounds like an absolute blast, complete with BBQ dinner! I remember I went to see PETER PAN at the Forest Theatre in Carmel and had a really magical evening, so I imagine it will some enchanted evening when I see SOUTH PACIFIC outdoors!
Here's the 411 on the show (click on the smiley for the offish website - :D ):
What: "South Pacific"
Where: Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theatre
When: July 19 - August 31,
Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm, Sundays at 3pm
Today, July 11, musical theatre writer Suzy Conn (PLANE CRAZY, THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND, BECKY AND THE BOOGER, THE MERCER GIRLS) and her husband Grad Conn are celebrating 21 years of marriage! Wow! Now that's something to write about!
Here are a few other notable historical theatrical events for July 11…
1915 A King is born today... in the form of Yul Brynner. Brynner will, of course, go on to star as one half of the title of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King And I, opposite Gertrude Lawrence. Brynner will go on to play the role in numerous incarnations of the production, as well as in the film version (for which he won the Academy Award), and a short-lived, non-musical 1970's sitcom called "Anna and the King."
1985 Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings, a comedy about a family's reunion for a traditional English Christmas, opens at the Joyce Theatre. The American Theatre Exchange production was helmed by Pat Brown. The play ran previously in London and then made its American premiere at Houston's Alley Theatre in Texas before making its way to Off Broadway.
1989 Sir Laurence Olivier dies today. The celebrated actor of stage and film was 82 years old. Olivier appeared on Broadway and in the West End in a large array of roles, ranging from Shakespearean tragic heros Hamlet and Caesar to lighter fare like No Time For Comedy. As a stage director, Olivier staged the London bow of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring his wife, Vivien Leigh. Film credits include his Academy Award-winning version of "Hamlet," which Olivier also directed, and "Clash of the Titans."
1998 After playing 12 previews and 240 regular performances in William Luce's Broadway bio of John Barrymore at the Music Box Theatre, actor Christopher Plummer will kick off an eight-city tour of Barrymore tonight. The Broadway production closed Nov. 2, 1997, but Plummer took some time off to rest from the role which won him the 1997 Best Actor Tony Award, as well as a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award.
2002 Comedian Robin Williams hones a new standup act in Robin Williams Live on Broadway, which plays a 3-performance limited run at the Broadway Theatre, starting today.
Here's the next 21 years of marriage!
July 10 (Bloomberg) -- The acclaimed Broadway rock musical Passing Strangewill close on July 20 after a six-month run, its producers announced today.
Investors haven't recouped any of the $5 million the show cost on Broadway.
The coming-of-age story of a young black American musician in bohemian Amsterdam and Berlin wowed critics but never attracted a mass audience. Last week it played to just over one- third capacity and was the lowest-grossing show on Broadway, taking in $176,068.
Not going to lie, did not love their performance at the Tonys. However, it did show how Broadway is evolving. It definitely was not "traditional" Broadway that some young people (not my friends...hehe) shun. Therefore, we must take a moment of silence to mourn this loss.
Okay, moment's over.
I've been commissioned to write next spring's AMT (Adventure Musical Theatre) show for the 5th Avenue Theatre. I'm really excited about this project because I had a blast working on this year's show, NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF 2, which incorporated two of my pieces, LARRY GETS LOST IN SEATTLE, and DAISY THE FIRECOW. I also had the great pleasure of attending a number of performances at elementary schools around Seattle. It was so incredibly rewarding to sit and watch the kids watch the show. Everyone should visit a school during one of these performances, and then they'd realize how important musical theatre is to education. In case your school missed it, they are touring NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF 2 again, this fall. Check out the 5th Avenue's website for more information.
When the 5th Avenue Theatre approached me about writing a musical about "the Mercer Girls" I was immediately interested. After all, who didn't love Bobby Sherman in "Here Come The Brides", that cheesy tv series supposedly based on the story of the Mercer Girls. And Perry Como singing "Seattle" as the theme song was a total plus! Turns out, it wasn't totally historically accurate! Well knock me over with a feather!
Needless to say I spent a great deal of time researching the Mercer Girls, ordering out of print books from Amazon, and renewing books from the Library several times over. It really is an incredible story, especially when you realize a) how young these women were, and b) how different life on the two coasts really was. It wasn't the same as flying from New York to L.A.!
One particular woman, Elizabeth Ordway, was especially interesting to me. She was a true suffragette, and didn't let the fact that she was an unmarried woman get in her way of pretty much shaping education in the Northwest. Of course, she often used her initials, L. M. Ordway, so that people wouldn't know she was a woman!
And Asa Shinn Mercer was quite the character. We sometimes forget that the government hasn't always been involved in everything aspect of our lives. Back in the 1860s, sometimes you just had to go and "do it" if you wanted to get it done! And Mercer was definitely a "don't ask permission now, beg forgiveness later" type of guy.
We're doing a table read in August, and a workshop in September, and starting rehearsals January 2009! Hmmm, I wonder if Bobby Sherman is available…
I'll keep you posted!
A Brand New Musical... THE MERCER GIRLS
February 2-May 29, 2009
On May 16, 1864, the first eleven "Mercer Girls" reached Seattle. The women were recruited by University of Washington President Asa Shinn Mercer and sailed to the Puget Sound area from the East Coast to work as teachers and to increase the population of women in the Washington Territory. The cost of the trip was $250 and the people of Seattle were eager to welcome the women into their community while finding them new homes and jobs in various schools. The women were full of hope and aspiration, but life in the new city was often difficult. This original musical follows the journey of the Mercer Girls and their experiences in the fast growing town of Seattle.
Your students will travel on an unforgettable journey from Massachusetts to Washington during a time when the city of Seattle was new and hopes were high. Enjoy a lively, entertaining musical and learn about the women who became the teachers, as well as the wives, mothers and grandmothers of the founding families of the Puget Sound area.
50 minute performance, plus a 5-minute question-and-answer period.
Maximum attendance is 300 students per performance. For a larger number of students, schools must book a double performance.
Western Washington locations: Single Performance - $600 Double Performance - $800
Outside Western Washington locations: Single Performance - $875* Double Performance - $1,150*
Payment may be made in advance or at the time of the performance. * Share the news! Get another school in your area to book a show and receive a $100 discount! Book both Northwest Bookshelf 2 and Mercer Girls and receive a $150 discount.
To schedule a performance
The AMT Touring Company visits schools throughout Western Washington, and in select locations throughout Central and Eastern Washington. For more information and to book a performance, please call 206.625.1418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Available dates fill fast, so we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.
From the E-mail Advertisement Sent Out:
DON'T MISS EXCERPTS FROM THE SOUL OF A WOMANEXPERIENCE AN ARTISTIC EVENING WITH WONDERFUL TALENTS SUCH AS FELICIA LOUD, MARION NESBY, MELISSA NOELLE GREEN, CHERI PAVI DAWSON, DONALD BYRD AND MORE. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AND MOVING :-) PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS TODAY AT http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/35678.
Dancer and choreographer, Vania C. Bynum debuts her 2nd major production, Excerpts from the Soul of a Woman on July 11th and 12th at 7 pm in the Broadway Performance Hall. Her first production, sponsored by the Allied Arts Foundation and Microsoft, raised over $13,000 for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Excerpts from the Soul of a Woman showcases a diverse array of Seattle's best talent including Spectrum Dance Theater's Donald Byrd, Jerboa Dance, Northwest Tap Connection, Felicia Loud, Melissa Noelle Green, Roy Warren, Marion Nesby; and Cheri "Pavi" Dawson's Dance Inspired Art Installation. The show is highlighted by a new work entitled We All Suffer, inspired by Female Faces of War, a powerful documentary produced by Moni T. Law, Esq. and directed by independent film maker Kiya Bodding, We All Suffer explores how the effects of war are shared by women across the globe. Purchase your tickets now at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/35678
"As women of this world, we are unique individuals with similar stories in life" -- Vania C BynumThe production of Excerpts from the Soul of a Woman offers an opportunity to educate, encourage, and empower women of all backgrounds while celebrating their existence. It is made possible with support from 4Culture - King County, the Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Bossak Heilbron Foundation of New York, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, the Central District Forum CREATION PROJECT Grant, Shunpike, and individual contributions.Bynum is dedicated to a vision of serving others through art. She imparts this awesome vision through Arts for the Greater Good, a non-profit organization she founded in 2005 dedicated to utilizing artistic gifts to serve others. In addition to serving the community through Arts for the Greater Good, Bynum also serves through Liturgical Dance Ministry at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship. In April 2008, she offered the inaugural Liturgical Dance Workshop at Spectrum Dance Theatre in Seattle.
See Excerpts from the Soul of A Woman - PRESS RELEASE
According to "International Musician"(Official Journal of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada),
"The legendary group of Los Angeles-based studio musicans known as The Wrecking Crew was inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk June 25, 2008. The RockWalk is the only sidewalk dedicated to honoring artists whose work has made a significant impact and lasting contribution to the fields of rock and roll, blues, and R&B music. Members of The Wrecking Crew had their handprints, faces, and signatures forever etched into the sidewalk among inductees that include Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and Bonnie Raitt. The Wrecking Crew backed dozens of popular performers in Southern California during the 1960s and can be heard on television theme songs, film scores, popular hits, and even commercial jingles. Earlier this year, the group was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame, in Nashville, Tennessee."
From an interview with Denny Tedesco on the website:
"The Wrecking Crew were a group of Studio Musicans in Los Angeles in the 60s who played on hits for the "Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mamas and Papas, Tijuana Brass, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Rivers, and were Phil Spectors Wall of Sound."
It's amazing not only that one group of musicians (including one woman, Carol Kaye on bass) could produce and influence so much great music, but that the general public hasn't any idea how important they were to the sounds, feel, emotion and signature riffs of a song. Based on my experience in Nashville, I know that if you get a great set of studio musicians together, who regularly play together, and give them only a number chart of a song, they will create fabulous intros, riffs, and rhythms and help bring a song to life. In fact, it's pretty much business as usual, that if there is a great intro, or solo on a demo, the record label will reproduce that when the star artist records the song.
The Wrecking Crew Rocks!
I'm very excited about the opening of my kids show THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND at Theatre Building Chicago on Wednesday July 9!
I (Suzy Conn, in case you didn't already know) wrote the book (adapted from the Beatrix Potter book) and lyrics, and Mitchell Kitz wrote the music. It's a really fun, coming of age pig story. THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND first appeared at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Theatre Building Chicago is putting on our show as part of their "New Musicals for Kids" series.
Here are the details of the TBC production of THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND:
Director: Jenny Stafford
Music Director: Brandon Magid
Choreographer: Anthony Apodaca
Stage Manager: Garrett Stibb
Set Design: Julie Eberhardt
Costume Design: Andrea Davies
Pigling Bland: Andrew Redlawsk
Pigwig: Casey Whitaker
Cat/Aunt Pettitoes/Policeman: Caitlainne Rose Gurreri
Dog/Alexander: Christian Vernon
Piperson: Anthony Apodaca
THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND runs at Theatre Building Chicago until July 24.
For more information and to order tickets, check out the TBC website:
Ohmegee. On Saturday night, I went to the second-to-last performance of Zanna, Don't! at the Poncho Forum at Seattle Repertory Theatre (in/right beside the Seattle Center) and I LOVED IT!!!! The cast (Casey Craig as Zanna, Bill Williams as Steve, Sarah Davis as Kate, Mackenzie Miller as Mike, Diana Huey as Roberta, Don Darryl Rivera as Tank etc., Lindsey Hedberg as Candi etc., and Arthur Allen as Arvin etc.) was freakin' AWESOME. Everyone had really good voices and crantastic acting chops.
The show itself was hilarious and super fun. The story takes place in a high school in a world where being gay is normal and being straight is unacceptable. Zanna is a matchmaker who is open-minded, optimistic, and selfless. The one-act tells a tale about prejudice, love, and acceptance, while also making you laugh your face off.
Zanna, Don't! was originally produced Off-Broadway by Jack M. Dalgleish in association with Stephanie A. Joel. The New York premiere was presented by Amas Musical Theatre: Rosetta Le Noire, Founder; Donna Trinkoff, Producing Director. This Seattle premiere was directed/choreographed by Brandon Ivie, musical directed by Mark Rabe, and presented by the Contemporary Classics: Artistic Director, Brandon Ivie; Managing Director, Robert J. Aguilar; Production Manager, Danielle Franich.
I'm very sad that I couldn't see the show earlier, so I could tell you all to buy tickets, but alas the show is over. However, it closed to a (well-deserved) sold-out house. This show was so good, I believe my life would have been a little bit less if I hadn't seen it. Toodles! :D
What a party!
I took my oldest daughter Myrna to see the Seattle Men's Chorus "Funniest Songs" concert with special guest star Leslie Jordan (better known as Beverley Leslie, the hilarious nemesis of Karen Walker on Will & Grace). His Seattle Men's Chorus appearance is one of the first stops on his book tour for "My Life on the Pink Carpet" (we bought a signed copy of course!).
Seattle Men's Chorus is a wonderfully large choir complete with upper first tenors, lower first tenors, upper second tenors, lower second tenors, upper baritones, lower baritones, upper basses and lower basses! Whew! Talk about trying to find your note!
Dennis Coleman is the artistic director, Eric Lane Barnes is the assistant artistic director and Evan Stults is the accompanist of the Seattle Men's Chorus. This concert was choreographed by Kathryn Van Meter, who directed Myrna in LAST EXIT at the Village Theatre. Before I go any further I have to mention Kevin Gallgaher, the ASL interpreter for the Seattle Men's Chorus. While all ASL theatre interpreters do a great job, Kevin is in a class by himself. Not only was he signing, but he did it in a very uniquely rhythmic, theatrical way. We found ourselves listening to the choir, but watching Kevin! He was aweseome.
The evening was fantastic. They started with "Comedy Tonight" and ended with an encore of "Dancing Queen" and Leslie Jordan dressed in gold, go-go dancing on a pedestal. How they got there resulted from a combination of wonderfully funny renditions of wonderfully funny songs like "He Vas My Boyfriend", "Deep Love", "Every Sperm is Sacred", "Be a Clown" and "Sordid Lives", and the hilarious, sometimes touching anecdotes of Leslie Jordan -- growing up in Tennessee with a penchant for bridal dolls and football captains ( along with a father in the military)! He even had a funny story about Debbie Reynolds.
And speaking of Debbie Reynolds, she will be the guest star at the Seattle Men's Chorus "Singing in the Rain" concert in March 2009.
I'm going to get my tickets for that now!
The movie version of Mamma Mia! I mean, could they have picked a better cast (no!)? Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, the list goes on. I am super excited for when it opens in the U.S. It opened today in the U.K., and arrives in the United States July 18. However, I hope that I have a better time watching it than I did when I saw the live musical in Toronto a loooong long time ago...
The most memorable part of it for me was the unbearably loud sound. I mean, come on! We can hear it without it having to destroy our poor eardrums... The rest of it wasn't very memorable, but I still love the music!
So, I will give a full report as soon as I go see Mamma Mia! Here's hopin...
Oh my god. I have always been a huge fan of [title of show] ever since I saw it at the Vineyard Theatre. Actually, probably since my mom came home from the NYMF in 2004 and went on and on about how funny it was =) Their first BROADWAY preview is tomorrow (omg) and I wish I was there!!!!!!!! Well, I'm there in spirit (freaky) and I fully intend on seeing [tos] on B'way!!!!! Yay!
I saw WALL-E, the new movie from Disney-Pixar, during its opening weekend. I was really excited, because the trailers looked pretty amazing! My expectations were met and exceeded. The story follows a little robot named WALL-E, and his quest to help humankind return to an Earth that he has been trying to clean up for hundreds of years. There's a love story, action-packed chases, and... wait? Yes folks, the opening credits to WALL-E are underscored by Put On Your Sunday Clothes from the musical Hello Dolly!
The rest of the movie uses Put On Your Sunday Clothes and It Only Takes A Moment as vital insights into WALL-E's character, romance with Eve, and his dreams about the planet Earth. Plus, it exposes the younger generations (I mean, these were little kids) going to see the movie to the extremely hummable and well-constructed melodies and lyrics of Jerry Herman.
From an article in The Canadian Press:
Last night, my family went to Wild Waves because of the INCREDIBLY HOT WEATHER (omg), and then we visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. For dinner, we decided to try a new restaurant that I'd spotted on my first trip to Tacoma to visit the Washington State History Museum for my Pacific Northwest History Online Course called The Melting Pot (a fondue restaurant). I have to say that we had SO much fun!!!
We started with the traditional swiss cheese fondue (but the spinach artichoke dip looked equally delicious...), served with apple, raw vegetables, and pieces of very tasty bread. I never realized there was so much wine in a cheese fondue, but it made it way less rich and heavy. I'm not a big cheese fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic appetizer :-)
Then, each person had a salad. I ordered the Tropical salad, with hearts of palm, candied cashews, and mango :D My mother had a caesar salad that was (according to her) one of the best that she'd ever had (with parmesan-encrusted pine nuts). The spinach and mushroom salad was my sister and father's favorite.
Finally, my favorite course had to be the entree. Instead of oil, which spits when you cook seafood, we chose to cook our meat and vegetables in a vegetable broth with some wine, garlic, mushrooms, and shallots. The selection that we chose included shrimp, salmon, filet mignon, teriyaki sirloin, and chicken. Next time, we're going to bring stopwatches to have more precise cooking times, but everything still cooked very well. =D There was a variety of delicious sauces, but my personal favorite was the spicy cocktail sauce (for the shrimp).
We did not get any chocolate fondue (sadness), but I would either try the Flaming Turtle, Cookies & Cream Marshmallow Dream, or "Build my Own" by mixing dark chocolate with Chambord. Delish. So, you should check it out. Apparently there are locations in Seattle and Bellevue as well. We had SOO much fun, and our waitress was really nice, explaining how to order from the menu and how the entire "fondue" experience worked! If we're talking about stars, I would rate The Melting Pot 5/5 stars!!
I have to deeply apologize for the lack of posts lately, but we don't have air conditioning so the room containing my computer has been 90˚ for the past couple of days. It's starting to cool down, so I'm going to be posting regularly again :D
Sooo, apparently, John Lloyd Young (Tony-award winner for Jersey Boys, one of the best musicals eva!!) will be heading the cast of the new musical MYTH, in a staged reading at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford this week!
From Courant.com's article on this joyful news:
Pamela Myers, Marva Hicks, Paul Oakley Stovall, Wes Taylor, Maureen Silliman, Deborah Lew, Dylan Collins, Dane DeHaan, Brandon Espinoza and William Parry are also featured in the John Mercurio musical, which runs Sunday to July 5. Jeremy Dobrish directs.
If you're in town, you should def check it out!!! I wish I could but this week is our family's "staycation!" Don't forget to check out Iron Curtain as well, which will also be performing as part of this National Music Theater Conference (July 12 to 19).