May 2009 Archives
Someone bring me my smelling salts -- I just fainted!
Okay, maybe I am a little disappointed that Hugh Jackman isn't returning to Broadway in a musical, but this will do!
From an article on Playbill.com :
Two major Hollywood box-office draws will join forces in the fall for a new Broadway play.
No official announcement about the production has been made; however, should it come to pass the drama will likely be the hottest ticket of the fall season.
Barbara Broccoli, who was a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang producer, will produce the Broadway outing.
A Steady Rain tells of two seasoned cops whose lifelong friendship is severely tested when a seemingly routine domestic disturbance call results in the death of a young boy. When the horrific truth of the situation is revealed, one of the two must take the blame for the fatal mistake.
A Steady Rain would mark Craig's Broadway debut. His film credits include "Defiance," "Quantum of Solace," "Flashbacks of a Fool," "The Golden Compass," "The Invasion," "Casino Royale," "Infamous" and "Renaissance," among others.
Jackman, who was recently seen on screen in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," earned a Tony Award for his work in the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz.He is also known for his film roles in the "X-Men" trilogy, "Someone Like You," "Swordfish," "Kate and Leopold," "Van Helsing" and the recent "The Fountain" and "Happy Feet" (in voice). His stage credits also include Trevor Nunn's staging of Oklahoma! at Britian's National Theatre and award-winning work in productions of Sunset Boulevard and Beauty and the Beast in his homeland.
A Steady Rain played a six-week sold-out engagement at Chicago Dramatists in fall 2007. The cast and artistic team, headed by director Russ Tutterow, remained intact for the 2008 run at Chicago's Royal George Theater.
Playwright Keith Huff is the recipient of a Drama-Logue Award, the Cunningham Prize, the John Gassner Award, the Berrilla Kerr Award, and three Illinois Arts Council Playwriting Fellowships. He has developed plays at American Repertory Theater, The O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference, Steppenwolf, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage and Film, and The Public Theater. His plays have been produced nationally and Off-Broadway.
"I saw it in the window, and I just couldn't resist it"
I was (and still am) a huge fan of The Carol Burnett Show. I loved the comedy, the music, the ensemble, and the Bob Mackie costumes! I loved it when Carol Burnett would come out at the top of the show in a glamorous gown, designed by Bob Mackie of course, and answer audience questions. I still remember watching the “Went With The Wind” episode live and busting a gut when she came down the stairs. I mean, didn’t it seem a little strange in the actual movie when Scarlett comes down the stairs dressed in a perfectly tailored green velvet dress that she just happen to whip up from the curtains? They barely had any food, yet the sewing machine was in perfect working order? This costume was a perfect send up of that scene, and the curtain rod is priceless!
I’m thrilled that Bob Mackie’s “Went With The Wind” dress is becoming a permanent part of television history in the Smithsonian’s Kennedy Center Honors Collection!
Movie parodies were always a mainstay of the Carol Burnett Show—and her 1976 Gone With the Wind takeoff is unforgettable. Between the artistry of Burnett and fashion designer Bob Mackie, it’s a comedic tour de force:
Miss Starlett, with her home and finances ravaged by the American Civil War, is visited by her beau and needs to doll up so she can work him for a little cash. Deciding to use her green velvet curtains to make a dress on the fly, Starlett meets her man in one of the grandest, most memorable entrances in television history.
Like Miss Starlett, the Smithsonian saw that Bob Mackie dress in the window and couldn’t resist it. That’s right, folks, the curtain rod dress now honors the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian as a part of the American History Museum’s Kennedy Center Honors collection. And that’s hardly something to fiddle dee dee about. Not only is the dress representative of Mackie’s decadently innovative designs, it’s a monument to the art of parody and the golden age of American comedy. dNo word yet on if and when it will go on public display, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Because, frankly, we give a damn.
And for all you Bob Mackie fans, he will be designing the costumes for the new musical CATCH ME IF YOU CAN premiering at The 5th Avenue Theatre this summer in Seattle. Plus, don't miss the June 9 Spotlight Night at The 5th Avenue Theatre -- Bob Mackie will be there!
Gotta go...my banana phone is ringing! Oh, silly me!
From The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2009
Springtime for Hitler in Berlin
THE PRODUCERS opens in Germany to nervous laughter
The German transplant of Mel Brooks’s ridiculously popular 2001 Broadway musical, THE PRODUCERS, based on his 1968 film about two Jewish con men who cook up a scheme to produce the world’s worst musical and defraud the investors, was anxiously awaited in the nation’s capital.
In the weeks leading up to opening night, newspapers here were full of headlines such as “Can Berlin Laugh at Hitler,” in reference to the show-stopping musical number “Springtime for Hitler.”
This certainly isn’t the first time that Germans have had the opportunity to laugh at Hitler—films ranging from Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” (1940) to Swiss director Dani Levy’s 2007 comedy “Mein Führer” are not unknown to German audiences. The original movie version of “The Producers” was banned in Germany for nearly a decade but finally shown in 1976 at a Jewish film festival (with the title “Frühling für Hitler”), where it gained a cult status that it retains to this day.
Still, the sight of real Germans goose-stepping in Nazi uniforms and dancing in Swastika formation (that symbol is unconstitutional in Germany, though a dispensation is made for works of art) promised to be a different animal, especially for an audience snacking on blutwürst with sauerkraut at intermission. (In fact, most of the principle cast is Austrian—like the führer himself—as this production comes to Berlin by way of Vienna, where it recently ended a year-long run two months early due to poor ticket sales.)
In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Brooks said that he expects most of the Berlin audience—at least those born after the war—to understand the show. “I don’t think there’s a problem at all. . . . They’re hip, they’re bright and Berlin has always been a great theater town.” At the same time, he’s been insistent that THE PRODUCER is not a musical about Hitler or Nazism, but about the boundaries of taste.
It is a message that seems to have been lost on most people here.
At Sunday’s gala premiere, everyone seemed pumped to ridicule the führer. Politicians, actors and rock stars crowded the courtyard of the Admiralspalast, which was a sea of red and black as Nazi flags with pretzels and sausages in lieu of swastikas fluttered about. Ushers in traditional Bavarian dress handed out flags and armbands and scattered audience members sported World War II helmets and other regalia. Showtime was announced by an air-raid siren, which added to the giddy carnival atmosphere.
But inside, the theater held a palpable charge of nervous energy. Germans have been doing so much apologizing for the past 60 years that they need to justify how they could laugh at Hitler. This has been evident not only from the buzz surrounding the show, but also in a marketing campaign that alternately struck tones of irreverence and sobriety. No surprise then that the playbills carried a quote from Mr. Brooks about the importance of laughing at Hitler. “If you denounce such people with humor, they simply have no chance.” Having been granted permission to laugh, the audience eagerly awaited their moment of catharsis.
Before the curtain rose, the Club of German Film Journalists awarded Mr. Brooks the Ernst Lubitsch Prize for achievement in comedy, named for the Berlin-born filmmaker whose 1942 film “To Be or Not to Be” was among the first Nazi satires. The presenter reminded the audience that Hitler’s bunker was but a short distance away, and grouped Brooks together with Lubitsch and Chaplin as an artist who bravely harnessed humor to combat fascism. Huh? THE PRODUCERS is many wonderful things, but a pointed satire of the Third Reich it is not. Seriously, there’s nothing deep about Nazi showgirls pirouetting or carrier pigeons doing the Hitler salute.
Judging by the reception opening night, I’m sorry to report that Mr. Brooks seems to have overestimated his audience. While his nothing-is-sacred breed of skewering everyone and everything—not only Nazis, but also Jews, homosexuals, the elderly and blondes— seems to have gone over well (Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, was screeching in the box from which Hitler used to watch operettas), the fundamentally Jewish nature of so much of the humor does not resonate for a society that has been starved of Jewish culture for the past 70 years. Add to that the fact that THE PRODUCERS is in large part a send-up of the whole Broadway musical tradition, an unfamiliar one to Germans. Many of the show’s best jokes were greeted with dead silence. It was somewhat like going to see the original Broadway production surrounded by clueless out-of-towners.
So far, the reviews have been mostly positive, although—predictably—very focused on the Nazi content. The Berlin tabloid BZ answered the question of whether Berlin should be allowed to laugh at Hitler with a resounding “yes.” “Not only should we laugh about Hitler. We must laugh about him. Especially in Berlin.” That’s a pretty strong imperative, but something tells me that Germans are historically sensitive enough to use it wisely. And with caution.
The gala audience certainly laughed loud and long during the “Springtime for Hitler” centerpiece. But despite this, the number of empty seats did not augur well for the remainder of the show’s two-month run.
Boy, I would have like to have been a fly on the wall that night!
I laughed, I cried, I sang along!
I am embarrassed to say that I had never seen SHOW BOAT on stage before! Yes, I'd seen scenes from the movie (thanks to THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!) several times, and yes, I knew a lot of the songs, but no, I'd never actually seen that seminal musical. SHOW BOAT with music by Jerome Kern, and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, is based on the novel SHOW BOAT by Edna Ferber. The Village Theatre production is directed by Jerry Dixon, choreographed by Stanley Wesley Perryman and is music directed by Bruce Monroe and Tim Symons.
I was excited to see this production of SHOW BOAT because a friend of mine, the extremely talented Richard Todd Adams (who starred as Brett Mansford in my musical PLANE CRAZY in New York, and most recently played the Phantom in the national tour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) is playing Gaylord Ravenal. Rick is a great leading man because not only does he have an incredible voice, but he also has a wonderful sense of comic timing!
I was also looking forward to seeing Kathryn Van Meter in the role of Ellie May Chipley. I worked with Kathryn on the Village Theatre KIDSTAGE production of SAVE AS..., so I was really looking forward to seeing her onstage.
From the SHOW BOAT program:
Climb aboard for the story of SHOW BOAT, a show that spans 47 years in the lives of Cap’n Andy Hawks and his troupe of entertainers. The curtain opens aboard the Cotton Blossom, a showboat docked in Natchez Mississippi. A handsome riverboat gambler, Gaylor Ravenal, is charmed by Magnolia Hawks, an aspiring performer and the daughter of Cap’n Andy. Meanwhile, the company’s leading lady, Julie, and her husband Steve are struggling against persecution by the law as an interracial couple, which was considered a crime at the time. One of the most majestic scores in musical theatre buoys this vivid chronicle of changing lives in changing times and the passion, pride, love, and betrayal of the period.
I loved this show! I was so surprised at show contemporary and fresh and alive the whole show felt. I can only imagine what the audience reaction must have been like in 1927 when it originally opened on Broadway!
The whole cast was amazing. I could listen to Rick’s voice all night long, and together with Megan Chenovick as Magnolia, it was a perfect duet. I didn’t realize Old Man River came so early in the show. It was beautifully sung by Ekello Harrid Jr. And Kathryn was simply delightful alongside Greg Allen as Frank Schultz! And the whole show skipped along nicely at 2 hours and 45 minutes. The sets and costumes and orchestra are terrific as well. All in all, a thoroughly delightful evening.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and I gotta go see SHOW BOAT again!
Will the real Frank Abagnale please stand up!
It’s funny how something you haven’t seen or thought of in years comes right back to you. During The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Gala and live auction in April, the men sang the opening song from the new musical CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Marc Shaiman (music), Scott Wittman (lyrics) and Terrence McNally (book). As soon as I heard “My name is Frank Abagnale...my name is Frank Abagnale...My name is Frank Abagnale”, the show To Tell The Truth instantly popped into my mind! (I’m guessing they start the show there and flashback...)
I hadn’t thought of that show in years! It was one of my absolute favorite shows (a list that included Beat the Clock and the Watergate Hearings...). I still remember the tune to “Do you know how to tell the truth?”. I loved the trying to figure out who the real celebrity was. And I loved the ending when the host said will the real so and so please stand up. Then the two imposters and the one real celeb would do this shuffle of almost standing up, but then sitting down again, until the real celebrity stood all the way up.
When I saw this clip of Frank Abagnale on To Tell The Truth, I wondered to myself, was it always this easy to tell who the real guy was? I mean, really! And for that matter, could a show like that still work in this day of “everyone’s face everywhere all the time”? It seems a bit weird that people didn’t know who these people were. I guess the internet has changed all that...
Now this is why I miss New York!
The Astaire Awards, presented by Ava Astaire in tribute to her Father and Aunt, will be held this year on June 1st at 7:30pm in The Haft Auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Wow. What a night! Alan Cumming will host the evening, with Liza Minnelli presenting Stanley Donen with The Douglas Watt 2009 Lifetime Acheivement Award, Georfffrey Rush presenting The Best Choreography in Film Award and Bebe Neuwirth presenting the Best Male Dancer Award!
Here are the nominees from Broadwayworld.com:
BEST FILM CHOREOGRAPHER NOMINEES: Mamma Mia: Anthony Van Laast Slumdog Millionaire: Longines Fernandes Center Stage Turn It Up: Aakomon "AJ" Jones Make It Happen: Tracy Phillips Fados: Patrick De Bana and Pedro Gomes High School Musical 3: Kenny Ortega Were the World Mine: Todd Underwood
BEST FEMALE DANCER NOMINEES: West Side Story: Karen Olivo Rock Of Ages: Angel Reed, Katherine Tokarz, Savannah Wise Guys and Dolls: Kearran Giovanni You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush: Pia Glenn
BEST MALE DANCER NOMINEES: Billy Elliot - role of Billy: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish Billy Elliot - role of Michael: David Bologna, Frank Dolce White Christmas: Jeffry Denman Pal Joey: Matthew Risch
The Astaire Awards, established 26 years ago by the Anglo-American Contemporary Dance Foundation, recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season. The awards were established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire to honor him and his sister, Adele, who starred with her brother in 10 Broadway musicals between 1917 and 1931. In 2008 the Awards were expanded to include dance in choreography for film as this was the métier that brought Fred Astaire to international fame and a permanent slot on every list of the top movie stars of the century.
In addition to the Awards Ceremony, the show will include some of the best live Broadway and Hollywood dance numbers! Holy Top Hat Batman! Not only that, but a friend of mine and extremely talented playwright, Randall David Cook, is writing the show (you know, the stuff that is said between numbers and awards, and creating the order of events!) So that means I am one degree of separation from Liza...just sayin’!
i have a sudden urge to put on my tap shoes!
"A Garden of Giving"
Or, How much is that doggie in the window?
The Fairmont Olympia Hotel in downtown Seattle was hopping last Saturday night with The Village Theatre Gala! Free champagne and helping to raise money for a theatre are the only reasons I ever put on nylon stockings anymore, so I glammed up (hubbie in a tux!) and headed out!
The auction was divided into three sections – Act I, Act II and the Live Auction plus dinner, hosted by John Curley. Act I was slighter smaller items while Act II items were larger and included lots and lots of cool wine. After Act II closed we all headed into the Spanish Ballroom for a delicious dinner and live auction.
Before the auction got underway we were entertained by Rich Gray, Bobbi Kotula, and Randy Rogel. Rich and Bobbi sang some wonderful Rich Gray songs (Don’t Go Into Show Business, The Leading Man and I Hate The Sun, to name a few). Randy is the book writer, composer and lyricist of the new musical THE GYPSY KING which will appear on the Village Theatre mainstage next season. But even more thrilling, Randy wrote the songs for one of my favorite animated shows THE ANIMANIACS! He performed Yakko’s Nations of The World song – too fantastic!
Then the auction began! Boy, John Curley is an amazing auctioneer (apparently he does more than 85 auctions a year)! He kept the evening going quickly, and did that “auctioneer” fast talking, all the while cracking jokes, and getting up close and personal with the audience. And yes, one of the live auction items was a labradoodle! What a cute puppy! (This is why you never want to drink too much at an auction! ) I ended up with a walk-on role in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS being produced at the Village Theatre next fall! So, combined with my walk-on role in ON THE TOWN at The 5th Avenue Theatre, I’m fully booked for next season!
THE CHRISTIAN DUHAMEL SONGBOOK RELEASE PARTY!
Well, I know where I’m going to be on Monday June 8 at 11pm! No, not happily sleeping in bed, but at Martin’s Off Madison in Seattle, happily listening to local artists singing the music from Christian Duhamel’s new songbook, HERE WITH ME. Yes, I know I need my beauty sleep, but this is more important!
Christian Duhamel is an extremely talented Seattle-based actor, singer, dancer, writer, musician, director, musical director and teacher. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Christian on my Adventure Musical Theatre musical THE MERCER GIRLS – Christian was involved in the very first workshop and is now touring with THE MERCER GIRLS cast as “the man of many hats” (and voices), piano player and musical director. Christian also appeared in The 5th Avenue’s production of SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS as one of the high-kicking and high-jumping suitors!
I was first aware of Christian’s great songwriting talent when I went to see his musical A BEAUTIFUL END at the Freehold Theatre in Seattle this past January.
From the Release Party facebook page:
Join us to celebrate the release of "Here With Me - A Collection of Songs By Christian Duhamel". A concert of local artists singing the music of Christian Duhamel will begin at 11:00 p.m. Tickets will be sold in advance for $5 and a $5 bar/food minimum is required. Martin's Off Madison's Happy Hour will be in effect so come join us for food and drinks prior to and during the concert. Songbooks (including an accompaniment CD) will be available at the concert and can also be purchased in advance for $25. Contact Charissa Bertels at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase tickets and/or songbooks.
Get your tickets now. I hear they are going like “hotcakes”!
Dear Mister Mercer...
The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Adventure Musical Theatre (AMT) program put on a performance of my musical THE MERCER GIRLS for donors at Downstairs at the 5th on Tuesday May 12. Very, very exciting! The 5th Avenue Theatre commissioned me (Suzy Conn) to write the book, lyrics and music for a new musical based on the true story of The Mercer Girls, eleven women who travelled from the east coast to Seattle in 1864.
THE MERCER GIRLS is still on tour around Washington state schools, but the cast (Charissa Bertels, Jason Kappus, Christian Duhamel, Jon Lutyens, Anne Kennedy, Sara Parish, Elise Campello, and stage manager Jen Geisler) made a pit stop at DAT5 to do their 95th performance of the show!
We started with a lovely wine and cheese reception beforehand, and then David Armstrong and Bill Berry introduced the show, talking a bit about the AMT program in general, and THE MERCER GIRLS specifically. This is the 15th year of AMT, and in their first year they only performed at 20 schools!
It was great to see the amazing set again, and marvel at how the cast sets it up and packs it away after every performance and stuffs it into a van with all the costumes and props!
The show was awesome! The last time I saw THE MERCER GIRLS performed was back in the first week of the tour, and the show has gotten so much tighter and everything is humming along like a well-oiled musical machine! It was extremely rewarding to see the show so beautifully performed. They only have two more weeks of shows before the run is over. I’m going to miss this cast, so I’m definitely going to catch another school performance!
Thanks to the cast, crew and everyone involved at The 5th Avenue Theatre for making THE MERCER GIRLS a success!
Next year AMT will be touring JOURNEY WEST (the Lewis and Clark story) in rep with BEST OF NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF. I am proud to say that my musical version of LARRY GOT LOST IN SEATTLE made the cut and will be part of BEST OF NORTHWEST BOOKSHELF!
For more information and to book an AMT show at your school, contact Anya Rudnick at The 5th Avenue Theatre.
THE TONY AWARDS at The 5th Avenue Theatre!
The 5th Avenue Theatre will be hosting a Tony Awards party this year!
This is going to be an amazing party! This year Neil Patrick Harris is hosting the Tony Awards (maybe he'll sing the Confrontation from LES MIZ with Jason Segal!) so don’t miss this chance to see it in style!
From The 5th Avenue website:
The 63rd Annual Tony Awards ...In Your Own Backyard
SUNDAY JUNE 7, 2009 7:30-11:00 PM The 5th Avenue Theatre --- 1308 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
There’s a Little Bit of Broadway in Everyone
Join us for the biggest Tony Awards party in town! Watch the festivities with fellow theatre lovers as Shrek The Musical competes for 8 coveted Tony Awards, including Best Musical! Follow other Seattle stars such as The 5th Avenue’s own Louis Hobson (Best Musical Nominee, Next To Normal), as they shine on stage at Radio City Music Hall.
Meet past Tony Winners and Nominees. Challenge the 5th Avenue's Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong with Broadway Trivia questions! Win exclusive Tony swag playing "Broadway Bingo" and "Name That Showtune!"
At 8 PM, watch the Tonys on the big 5th Avenue Theatre screen! Games and Entertainment will fill the commercial breaks!
Tony Winners ($130): Enjoy an exclusive preshow champagne reception in the STAR dressing room of The 5th Avenue Theatre. Experience what it is like to be a Broadway star as David Armstrong shares stories of the many Tony Winners who have shared your dressing room. Be seated in the BEST seats for the Tony Awards party with your personal Tony Swag Bag that includes one complimentary ticket (value $71-$78) to a preview of Catch Me If You Can! (Limited to 30 guests)
Tony Nominees ($63): Attend the Tony Party at The 5th Avenue Theatre with reserved seating among the other nominees. Receive a Tony Swag Bag filled with gourmet snacks and fun showbiz prizes including one complimentary ticket (value $71-$78) to a preview of Catch Me If You Can!
Special rates for artists ($25) and high school students ($15).
Dress: Smart Casual/Festive
RSVP BY WEDNESDAY MAY 20, 2009 For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kat Ramsburg in the Development Office at (206) 625-1418 x285 or email@example.com .
Mack David and Hal David -- Legendary Songwriting Brothers!
Wow, talk about songwriting talent running in the family! Mack and Hal David are brothers (Mack was older by nine years). Hal David is probably most famous for his collaborations with Burt Bacharach (“What The World Needs Now”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” just to name a couple!).
Now, I knew Mack David was a songwriter, but I never knew just how extensive and famous his song catalogue was, and that he sued Jerry Herman over “Hello Dolly”, claiming that it was partially taken from David’s “Sunflower”; they settled out of court.
Here is Mack David’s impressive bio off the fabulous Songwriters Hall of Fame website
Mack David was born in New York City on July 5, 1912. He originally thought of becoming an attorney, and attended Cornell University and then St. John's University Law School. When his younger brother Hal David was considering careers, Mack advised his brother against becoming a songwriter and urged him to take up a more stable profession. However, he failed to follow his own advice, and instead of following a career in law, Mack David began writing songs on Tin Pan Alley.
His song "Moon Love", written with Mack Davis and Andre Kostelanetz, and based on a theme by Tchaikovsky, was a hit in 1939. In 1945, he wrote the words for Duke Ellington's "I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So," and in 1947, he had a hit with a novelty number "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba", written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman.
While primarily a lyricist, David sometimes also contributed to a song's music, and he wrote both words and music for 1948's "Sunflower" (years later, he filed an infringement of copyright lawsuit over resemblences between this song and Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly").
In 1948, David moved to Hollywood, where he became active in film and television. His songs were featured in the score for the Disney animated featureCinderella (1950), written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman. These songs include "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes", "The Working Song", and the film's hit song "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo", which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950. For another Disney feature Alice in Wonderland (1951), the same team wrote "The Unbirthday Song". The nomination for "Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo" was the first of eight Academy Award nominations David would receive. The other nominations came for his songs "The Hanging Tree" (1959, title song, with Jerry Livingston), "Bachelor In Paradise" (1961, title song, with Henry Mancini), "Walk On The Wild Side" (1962, title song, with Elmer Bernstein), "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1961, title song, with Ernest Gold), “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964, title song, with Frank De Vol), "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" (1965, from Cat Ballou, with Jerry Livingston), and "My Wishing Doll" (1966, from Hawaii, with Elmer Bernstein.).
Another great success came in 1950, when he wrote the English-language version of "La Vie en Rose" (French lyric by Edith Piaf, music by Louigny). And in 1961, the Shirelles had a hit with his song "Baby, It's You", written with Burt Bacharach (whose collaboration with Mack's brother Hal David has become legendary) and Barney Williams. Mack David and Jerry Livingston wrote theme songs together for many successful television series, including Caspar the Friendly Ghost, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and Surfside 6. Their theme song “This is It” for 1960's The Bugs Bunny Hour also became a hit. In addition to those already mentioned, Mack David's collaborators included John Green, Jimmy Van Heusen, Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney, Count Basie and Franz Waxman. Mack David died on December 30, 1993 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.
Boy, I'm really glad he decided not to become a lawyer!
My walk-on role in HELLO DOLLY at the 5th Avenue Theatre!
The critics agree -- I was a hit!
At last year’s 5th Avenue Theatre Gala, I bid for and won a walk on role in HELLO DOLLY. I was really excited, but it seemed like it was so far away for so long. Finally HELLO DOLLY opened on March 12 and my walk on was imminent!
The whole walk-on experience is amazing and so professionally handled. First, you pick your date and then you have to send them your measurements (gulp). Then as you get closer, you have your costume fitting! I tried on a petticoat, a day coat, a collar ruffle and some wonderful Mary Poppinesque lace up boots.
The evening of March 27 had arrived. At 7pm I was greeted at the stage door by a photographer and Lonnie Angle, who is the Special Projects Managaer at the 5th Avenue Theatre (and trust me, I’m a special project!). The photographer started snapping shots and didn’t stop until I was in full costume!
First Lonnie showed me the show bricks! Every show that has played at the 5th Avenue Theatre has a personalized brick in the wall! It’s really amazing to see these artistic, amazing bricks (Sweeney Todd was my favorite). Then it was off to my dressing room – it even had a gold star with my name on it on the door! Yes, I had my own dressing room while Cornelius, Barnaby and Ambrose all had to share one, not to mention all the female interns squished into one dressing room! C’est la vie!
My dressing room was adorned with flowers, copies of my bio, a HELLO DOLLY poster signed by the cast, and a 5th Avenue chocolate bar! I was joined by my daughter Myrna, who was a performance intern for the show (squished into the aforementioned intern dressing room!).
First I got into my costume, and chose a hat. I chose the beige gloves and the beige hat with the feathers to go with my beige costume (don’t pull focus!). Then it was off for tech talk! This was really, really fun and interesting. Not only did I get more pics take of me onstage, but I got to see how “the magic” happens backstage. The whole backstage is like a puzzle. To move a set piece, another set piece has to move first. And then there’s the stuff hanging from the celing. And by “stuff” I mean Irene Malloy’s hat shop! Large set pieces are dangling securely and have to be lowered and raised as needed. I saw the train on which I (and many others) would be riding for “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”. The train would be pulled and pushed by the stage crew – ouch!.The people who work backstage are truly the hardest working people in showbiz!
A quick rehearsal with my wrangler (cast member Karen Skrinde) and I was done with my tech talk!
Just before the show started I was lucky enough to have my picture taken with lots of cast members – Pat Cashman (Horace Vandergelder), Krystle Armstrong (Ermengarde), Mo Brady (Barnaby Tucker), Rich Gray (Rudolph), just to name a few! Then it was off to make up and wig! I even have pictures of me in my flattering wig cap! I wore an auburn wig, and my hat. I was ready for my grand entrance.
The walk on role occurred in the reprise of the “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” number, as the train arrives. I waited in the wing during the first part of that number, which was thrilling. I was so close to the cast who were singing their hearts out! Then it was time! Cast members Ty Willis and Karen Skrinde guided me across the stage and onto the train where I proceeded to wave my arm off, and throw a thousand kisses as the train made its way across the stage! The lights! The music! It was thrilling!
Then it was back to my dressing room to de-costume and de-wig! Before you could say “holy cabooses” I was seated next to my husband and daughter Trinity in the theatre watching the rest of the show, which included my daughter Myrna who performed in a blonde wig in “Before The Parade Passes By”!
Thanks to Lonnie, cast and crew of HELLO DOLLY for giving me a magical night I’ll never forget!
Next year’s walk on roles were auctioned off at the 5th Avenue Gala on April 18, 2009. Up next? Another starring walk-on role in ON THE TOWN!
ROBERT MCKEE Story Seminar in New York City!
Aka “Shut up and listen!”
When I realized I hadn’t been back east for almost two years since I moved to Seattle, I decided a trip to New York was in order. And what better reason to fly 5 hours than to attend Robert Mckee’s famous “Story” seminar. Yes, I had read his book, aptly named “STORY”, but I wanted to experience it first hand since I had heard so many great things about his seminars. So my husband and I signed up, and started packing!
From the website:
Over three intense days, McKee's Story Seminar effectively demonstrates the relationship between story design and character. Quality story structure demands creativity; It cannot be reduced to simple formulas that impose a rigid number of mandatory story elements. Robert McKee's course teaches you the principles involved in the art and craft of screenwriting and story design, and proves the essence of good story is unchanging and universal. Whether on the big screen, on television, in novels, on stage and in ALL creative work, everything works in the shadow of classic story design.
The seminar ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am -8:30pm. Yikes! I haven’t sat for that long in a long time. And it didn’t leave much time to see any shows! I did manage to squeeze in a matinee of EXIT THE KING (Geoffrey Rush is amazing!) and the last 30 minutes of TOXIC AVENGER!
I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar, and having Robert Mckee basically talk us through the book really helped solidify the concepts and ideas in my mind. And he runs these workshops with a iron (and grumpy) fist. No questions allowed except at break time (by then, you’re too scared to ask!) and no cell phones at all. If your cell phone rings by mistake, you have to pay him ten dollars. If it happens again, he kicks you out. And he loves to go off on tangents (aka rants) on the current sad state of movies, and various political topics. Perhaps his grumpiness had something to do with the fact that he had just badly hurt his back playing golf and had to sit the entire time.
One of my favorite parts of the seminar was the screening and anaylsis of CASABLANCA (the seminar really is geared towards the cinema, but the fundamentals of story apply to other mediums as well, such as musical theatre). Plots, subplots, text, subtext all unfolded before us. Interestingly, I don’t remember CASABLANCA being so funny! I chuckled constantly throughout the film. That is until the iconic farewell scene as the last plane out is about to take off. It was then that I realized, to my horror, that I had left my cell phone on from the last break! Oh no! What to do, what to do? And my cell phone sounds like a jet engine when you turn it on or off!
I thought about making a run for the door, but then in a moment of pure genius, I waited until the screen was full of loud, rotating airplane propellers and I pressed the off button. The jet engine sound of my phone was muffled by the movie! Robert Mckee remained blissfully unawared of my cell phone situation, and I watched the last few minutes of the film peacefully (ignoring the disgusted glare from my husband who couldn’t believe what had just happened!).
Mckee does this story seminar around the world, as well as single days devoted to genres (love, comedy etc.) .I would highly recommend his seminar to anyone who is in the business of telling stories.
When I read the words "children's jazz puppet show", I just had to post this press release that I got!
Culture Project Presents The Cat Who Went To Heaven,
Captivating Jazz Puppet Show at The Harlem School of The Arts
with Music And Lyrics By Nancy Harrow
Based On The Newbery Award-Winning Book By Elizabeth Coatsworth
Directed By Will Pomerantz
Six Special Performances Begin Wednesday, May 13, 2009 (suggested donation $10)
New York, NY, April 13, 2009 — Culture Project (Allan Buchman, Artistic Director), who brought to the stage the successful, seven season run of the children’s show Maya the Bee, has announced a special, six-performance run of the acclaimed children’s jazz puppet show The Cat Who Went to Heaven at The Harlem School of the Arts Theater (647 St. Nicholas Avenue @141st Street). Directed by Will Pomerantz, with music and lyrics by Nancy Harrow (creator of the Maya the Bee production), this delightful show is based on the 1931 Newbery Award-winning children’s book by Elizabeth Coatsworth.
The Cat Who Went to Heaven features notable instrumentalists Clark Terry, Kenny Barron, Frank Wess and the voice of Grady Tate. The delightful tale is about the intertwined fates of a struggling Japanese artist, his housekeeper, a Buddhist priest from the local temple and an inspirational cat named Good Fortune. The story’s timeless message of compassion for all beings resonates with people of all ages.
The Cat Who Went to Heaven brings together contemporary jazz and the traditional Japanese art of “Bunraku” puppetry. The full cast includes the singing voices of Ms. Harrow (as the title cat), Grady Tate (as the Artist), Anton Krukowski and Daryl Sherman, with Kameron Steele as the narrator. The puppeteers include Matt Brooks (as the Artist), Melissa Creighton (as the Cat), with Anna Sobel, Lara MacLean, Kate Katz and Eric Wright.
The full design team includes Jane Catherine Shaw and Amanda Maddock (puppet design and construction), Amanda Maddock (costume design) and Joseph Silovsky (set design).
“The show is a perfect introduction to jazz for children,” said Allan Buchman, Artistic Director, Culture Project. “For more seasoned jazz lovers, the show is an opportunity to enjoy Harrow’s beautiful score while soaking in the visual feast of Japanese Bunraku Puppetry.”
The six performances will take place at The Harlem School of the Arts Theater, 647 St. Nicholas Avenue between West 145th and 141st Streets, New York, NY 10030 as follows:
Suggested donation is $10. Reservations can be made at 212-479-0829.