June 2009 Archives
Believe it or not!
I just found out that one of my fav songs, Indiana Wants Me,was written and performed by a Canadian songwriter R. Dean Taylor. According to the Summer 2009 edition of SOCAN's Words and Music magazine, R. Dean Taylor was the Motown Records first white artist to score a No. 1 hit!
From Words and Music:
In the early 1960s Canadian songwriter R. Dean Taylor found himself at the right place at the right time: in Detroit working for Motown Records. He quickly earned a reputation as one of the label's best writers and producer, co-penning smash hits such as All I Need (for the Temptations) and Love Child (for The Supremes).
Indiana Wants Me is one of those songs that always gives me chills when I hear it. I mean, when those sirens start at the end of the song, and the gunshots....Someone should make a made-for-tv movie musical out of that song! Hmmmm....
For the record, songs that also give me chills are: In the Ghetto, Cats in the Cradle, and thought I hate to say it, Teen Angel (which was written as a gag and turned into a hit!) I guess I'm a sucker for the melodrama!
It's time to see WICKED again!
Usually WICKED isn't on the top of my list of shows to see when I'm in New York. Don't get me wrong, I love the show, but I have seen it twice -- once on Broadway with the original cast, and once in Chicago. As well, we did the backstage tour, bought the t-shirts, sheet music, and the CD! Finally, you have the feeling it will run forever, so what's the rush?
Maria Eberline, a friend and extremely talented musical theatre performer, is making her Broadway debut in WICKED in July! Maria was previously in the first national tour as understudy for Elphaba and Nessa. She took a quick break to get married to Rick Todd Adams and have a baby, and now she is back to work in WICKED (ensemble/Elphaba and Nessa understudy) on Broadway! And she looks as gorgeous and svelte post-baby as she did pre-baby. How is this possible?
Congrats and break a leg Maria!
The best kind of deja vu...
I saw this show last summer and it was a blast! Not only was it funny, but I really liked the music too!
Brandon Ivie, who is the Artistic Director of Contemporary Classics is directing the show again, with a lot of the same cast members as last year. Contemporary Classics also presents the concert series New Voices (the next one is August 3 at ACT in the Falls Theatre), which is always a blast, and is introducing Showtune Suckapunch!
From the Facebook event page:
ZANNA, DON'T! is a hip musical fairy tale about a matchmaking teen who turns relationships upside down, challenges our point of view, and changes the world forever. In a world where it's normal to be gay and taboo to be straight when Kate and Steve fall in love it's up to Zanna, the local love fairy, to search for the right spell to make the world safe for the two lovers. But Zanna's spell has a bigger impact than he planned. Is this new world really what he wanted? With a little magic and a fresh pop score, ZANNA celebrates the discovery of love in a world of adversity.
The Seattle production was named one of the Best Musicals of 2008 by Seattle Gay News and won a Seattle Times Footlight Award.
Director: Brandon Ivie
Music Director: Mark Rabe
Set Design: Andrea Bush
Costume Design: Harmony Arnold
Lighting Design: Robert J. Aguilar
Zanna: Justin Huertas
Steve: Jared Michael Brown
Kate: Sarah Davis
Mike: Connor Russell
Roberta: Diana Huey
Tank: Don Darryl Rivera
Candi: Lindsey Hedberg
Arvin: Arthur Allen
"Few shows have the appeal of ZANNA, DON'T! Something about it's pure sugary hopefulness satisfies a sweet tooth that many of us may have forgotten we have."
-The New York Times
"ZANNA, DON'T! is hands down the gayest thing I have ever seen on stage - and that's a good thing‚ It isn't without a profound message that's bound to put ideas into people's heads."
"A joyful romp!... ZANNA, DON'T! is a sparkler la John Waters to brighten your Fourth of July celebration."
-The Seattle Times
Hey, ZANNA DON'T! opens next Friday! Better get your tickets soon!
"...And if not this festival then somewhere out west..."
The DIE VAMPIRE DIE WORKSHOP is coming West To Seattle! So take that novel out of that sock drawer and sign up!
For those of you who don't know, Die Vampire Die is my favorite song from the amazing Broadway show [title of show]. For me, this song was always the heart of the show, and always made me tear up (as in cry, not rip something).
The only other time I've cried while watching a Broadway show was in LES MIZ, when Fantine is dying and she thinks she is talking to Cossette. Sheesh, I just got a lump in my throat again....
As they say in Die Vampire Die, a Vampire is any person, thought or feeling that stands between you and your creative self-expression.
Hasn't everyone had those moments of self doubt that try to kill our creative output? Heaven knows I have!
This is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I encourage everybody (musicians, artists, writers, songwriters, directors, Microsoft employees, politicians, accountants, nurses etc.) to sign up for this workshop. Seriously, whether or not you are in "entertainment", this workshop will be of value...I mean, isn't public speaking of any kind like performing?
So I only have two questions for Susan and Hunter:
1. When will the sheet music for Die Vampire Die be available?
2. Will you be serving Babaganoush at break time?
From the Facebook event page:
The ‘DIE VAMPIRE, DIE’ WORKSHOP
A writing/performance workshop lead by Broadway’s Susan Blackwell and Hunter Bell FEATURING YOU.
Are you a performer who wants to write your own material?
Are you a writer who wants to perform your own material?
Are you a creative challenge-seeker looking for a fun, safe environment to try something new?
Are you rocking creativity for your New Year's resolution?
Just want to kill some Vampires*?
Join Susan Blackwell and Hunter Bell on July 20 th from 2 pm to 8pm for the ‘Die Vampire, Die’ workshop!
Susan and Hunter will lead you through a series of exercises to get your creative juices flowing and your thoughts up on their feet!
Cost - $125 per person (to cover Susan and Hunter’s fees, flights and hotel)
Please bring yourself, a positive attitude, a lined notebook and a pen.
Some performance experience is helpful, but not necessary.
An open, constructive attitude is mandatory!
Themes of this workshop include:
- Creative Writing
- Identifying and taking creative risks
- Tapping into brave artistic freedom and self-expression
- Establishing a creative safe space
- Contributing to a collaborative process
- Performers who want to write their own material.
- Writers who want to perform their own material.
- Creative challenge-seekers looking for a fun, safe environment to try something new.
- Groups looking to foster a safe collaboration.
*From [title of show]’s Vampire Hunting Guide: A Vampire is any person, thought or feeling that stands between you and your creative self-expression.
To RSVP for this event, please email Kat Ramsburg at email@example.com for further instructions.
Be still my heart.
Broadway's upcoming season will hereafter be known as the Season of Hunks! First, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig will be appearing in A STEADY RAIN.
And now Johnny Lee Miller will be on Broadway this fall.
I have been a huge fan of Mr. Miller since I saw him in the films Mansfield Park and Afterglow. And nobody was as crushed as I was when they cancelled his television series Eli Stone (well, except for the writers...).
Roundabout Theatre Company, in association with Sonia Friedman Productions and Ostar Productions, announced on June 10 that Jonny Lee Miller, of "Trainspotting" and the ABC series "Eli Stone," will be Sienna Miller's co-star in the fall production of Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie.
Sienna Miller will play Miss Julie, and Jonny Lee Miller will play John. Both will make their Broadway debuts in the American premiere of this updated (to the 1940s) version of August Strindberg's classic play Miss Julie, directed by Mark Brokaw.
After Miss Julie will begin preview performances Sept. 18 and open officially Oct. 22 at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd Street). This is a limited engagement through Dec. 6.
BELOW THE BELT at ACT, A Contemporary Theatre!
We used the first of our “Year of Theatre” tickets last Saturday night at ACT to see BELOW THE BELT by Richard Dresser. BELOW THE BELT is directed by Pam Mackinnon, featuring Judd Hirsch, John Procaccino and R. Hamilton Wright.
BELOW THE BELT is being performed in the Allen Theatre, the same “in-the-round” theatre where I saw Sean Griffin as Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL last December. Normally, I'm a bit wary of in-the-round theaters because I usually feel, no matter where I sit, that I'm missing something. But both BELOW THE BELT and A CHRISTMAS CAROL worked really well in-the-round, and I never got the feeling I wasn't "seeing" what was going on.
From the ACT website:
Below The Belt is a farcical skewering of globalized corporate culture. Somewhere, in an anonymous factory cranking out units of some unnamed product, three men try to maintain some semblance of humanity and self despite a crushingly conformist and hypermasculine bureaucracy. Cross the sitcom The Office with Samuel Beckett, and the results might look like something like this—darkly funny, and disconcertingly familiar.
To be honest, I was originally interested in this play because Judd Hirsch was in it. My hubbie and I are big Judd Hirsch fans, and loyal followers of his tv shows, Taxi, Dear John and George and Leo. But we loved the play, and having spent a few years of my own in a large corporate setting, can say that it rang hilariously true! And it sounds like a case of art reflecting real life for the playwright:
(From an interview with Richard Dresser in the Encore Program)
Q: In an interview about why you became a playwright, you addressed your time working as a plastic molder at a plant. Did that experience shape the characters of the factory workers?
RD: My own experience working in factories - I worked at a lot of factories in New England - certainly shaped my conception of the industrial compound and the workers. One of my first factory jobs involved making the thighs of G.I. action figures. In another factory I found myself operating a plastics molding machine which produced white cones in twenty second intervals. The foreman came over the first day to see if I had any questions. My first question involved the procedure for turning off the machine, and he made it clear that was never to happen under any circumstances, even if no one came to relieve me on the next shift. My follow-up question was, "What are we making in this factory?" He stared at me and cautioned me not to be a wiseass.
You just can't make that stuff up!
Judd Hirsch was wonderful, as were R. Hamilton Wright and John Procaccino. I really enjoyed John Procaccino as Willie Stark in ALL THE KINGS MEN (at Intiman) where he was directed by Pamela MacKinnon. He just has a way of owning the stage when he enters. As the boss, Merkin, he is able to utter riduculous things, and make them honest.
BELOW THE BELT is totally worth a second viewing for us before it closes. Next up in our "Year of Theatre" odyssey, A THOUSAND CLOWNS at Intiman.
Broadway royalty right here in Seattle!
It was a little surreal to be honest. Seriously. I was only a few rows away from Bob Mackie.
The theatre was packed, and there was a palpable electricity. Forget the fact that the event was free (yes, you heard me, free!), it was one of the most enjoyable, exciting nights in theatre I've had!
Spotlight nights are hosted by David Armstrong, the Producing Artistic Director of The 5th Avenue Theatre and are a great way to familiarize yourself with upcoming shows - hearing songs performed, learning the history behind the show, meeting the creative team, as well as gaining new, interesting perspective on shows you already know. The CATCH ME IF YOU CAN spotlight gave insight on the creation of an exciting, new musical!
The evening was divided into three acts:
The Incredible True Story!
David recounted Frank Abagnale's true crime adventures on both sides of the law and discussed this with special guest, Ken Kirkpatrick, President of US BANK, Washington State. Ken had actually hired Frank not so long ago to consult on bank security and fraud so he had lots of interesting anecdotes about this incredibly charismatic man (everyone throughout the evening commented on how charismatic Frank Abagnale is, and how he can walk into a room and suddenly command all attention!) and tips on how to avoid bank fraud - micro shredder and the uni-ball pen (it can't be erased from a cheque with acetone unlike other pens.) When Ken asked Frank whether it would be harder to pull of his fraud nowadays versus in the 60s, he said that today it would be far easier to do everything! Downloading logos, lifting signatures, wiring money...but I digress!
Meet The Dream Team
Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (HAIRSPRAY), playwright Terrence McNally (THE FULL MONTY), director Jack O'Brien (HAIRSPRAY), choreographer Jerry Mitchell (HAIRSPRAY, LEGALLY BLONDE), musical director John McDaniel , and legendary costume designer Bob Mackie gave an inside look into how a Broadway musical is conceived and created. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman told the story of how they were looking around a bookstore and Scott saw a CATCH ME IF YOU CAN movie book on display and said, Hey how about that? So they bought it, and called Steven Spielberg the next day and they were on their way! I was most intrigued by the description of how they were taking the film and putting it on stage. They weren't going to compete with the movie's ability to show Frank's narrow escapes from the law or just put the movie on stage. Instead, The songs/scenes would be how Frank would view the characters as if they were in a big tv show spectacular. The mid 60s was the time of tv variety shows and specials, with a variety of musical styles from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones. So, Marc and Scott went for a sort of Ed Sullivan Show soundtrack! It sounds very, very cool. We saw Bob Mackie's sketches for the costumes and they look absolutely fabulous. It was so special to be able to listen to this team talk about putting this show together.
The whole team agreed that four weeks of rehearsal might seem like a long time, but they have a lot of work to do so it will fly by!
Meet The Stars
Norbert Leo Butz, who plays the Tom Hanks FBI agent character Hanratty, Aaron Tveit, who plays Frank Jr., and Tom Wopat, who plays Frank Sr. all performed songs from the show (Fifty Cheques, I'm Good At What I Do, Happy Ending, Making Butter Out of Cheese, Seven Wonders). Wow, all three of these guys were amazing. I got chills!l And they also announced that Kerry Butler, and Felicia Finley (who played Linda in THE WEDDING SINGER) will be in the show. dThis is going to be an amazing cast!
Oh, and one more piece of trivia - the song that Neil Patrick Harris sang at the end of the Tony Awards night was actually written that night, over the course of the awards, by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman! They said it was like putting together a puzzle, and they had lots of options to go with depending on who won the awards (the Fonda/Honda rhyme never made it into the song!)
Hurry and get tickets to see CATCH ME IF YOU CAN live and in living color!
Those were the days!
this CD in the Children's section, filed under comedy! What a gem!
Carol Burnett, Featuring If I could Write A Song is a combination of a record released in 1971 plus three bonus tracks that were originally released as singles -The Christmas Song, Love's The Only Game in Tow, and You're My Reason.
Other tracks include:
If I Could Write A Song, It's Too Late, Those Were The Days, Rainy Days and Mondays, Who's Sorry Now, Saturday Morning Confusion, For All We Know, Rose Garden, Try To Remember, Sunrise, Sunset and Guess Who/Turn Around, Look At Me
And what a great singer she is. I've always associated her voice with her comedy, but listening to an entire of Carol Burnett just singing? I loved it! It's called easy listening, because it is so darn easy to listen to! Duh!
From the original liner notes by Morgan Ames:
It was not until about four years ago that I realized what a lovely singer Carol Burnett is. It took that long because she doesn't make a big deal out of her singing. She doesn't hurl her voice at us dramatically, insisting on its impact. Instead, she comes over with natural sweetness and simplicity, as if to say, "Here is a song; would you like to hear it?
And as only liner notes from the seventies can say:
But the first thing this lady is...is just that: a lady - warm, real and in full flower.
One of my favorite tracks on the CD is Saturday Morning Confusion, written by Robert Russell. It reminds me of Saturday mornings when I was a kid!
From the re-release liner notes:
Saturday Morning Confusion is a charming evocation of parenting woes that Burnett, the mother of three daughter, delivers with knowing wisdom. The tune was written by Robert Russell, whose best known composition, The Nights The Lights Went Out In Georgia, was a #1 hit for Vicki Lawrence in 1973 (at the time, Lawrence was both Russell's wife and a featured performer on The Carol Burnett Show.
I’ve got cabaret fever!
It seems every time I turn around (which is often) someone is thinking about, planning, or doing a cabaret night, or one man/woman show! Krystle Armstrong did a one woman show, Thoroughly New York, Christian Duhamel is doing a Songbook Release party, and I've heard Billie Wildrick is thinking about doing a one woman show in the fall (just to name a few). Wouldn't it be neat to have a regular place for artists to perform, for audiences to have a drink or two, to get to know a congenial host, perhaps something along the lines of Jim Caruso's Cast Party in NYC? Or how about Feinstein's at Loews Regency?
Meanwhile, self-starting Thaddeus Wilson is hosting his own one man evening of song at Amore! Thaddeus is a friend of my daughter Myrna, and also a very talented musical theatre triple threat currently appearing in SHOW BOAT at The Village Theatre (He appeared in HELLO DOLLY with Myrna at The 5th Avenue Theatre). His featured special guest, Cayman Jacobs, is playing Julie in SHOW BOAT. This sounds like an evening not to be missed!
From the facebook page:
"A Night Of Musical Theatre", is a show featuring me with songs by Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, with accompaniment by Kyle Clark.
The music of the "Golden Age" is my favorite music. With that in mind I decided to dedicate every Tuesday in June to my favorite composers and lyricist. The show will range with songs from shows like South Pacific, Babes in Arms, Higher and Higher and many more!
It's at this incredible little Italian restaurant that carries amazing food, drinks, great service and a wonderful atmosphere. Musical Theatre is my passion, so I am very excited to share my talent and knowledge of musical theatre to Seattle. Shows are at 7 and 9 with a little 10 min break in the middle of the show.
Opening Night is June 23rd. There is a cover charge of 8 dollars at the door. (Soon it will be dinner and a show, all for one price) So come join me for some musical theatre fun until the end of July! For reservations visit www.tasteofamore.com.
Featured Guest: Cayman Jacobs
I am so excited for this year’s Tony Awards!
First of all, I’m glad they are done with that whole “we don’t need a host” thing that they did last year. Every awards show needs a host! Thankfully, Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting this year! My oldest daughter Myrna is currently watching old Doogie Howser episodes, and Neil Patrick Harris looks about 6 years old on that show! He didn’t look that young when I watched it!
And that electric keyboard musical theme! But I digress..
Most of all I am thrilled that Hunter Bell is nominated for best book for TITLE OF SHOW! I still remember my “first time” at the 2004 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), sitting on wooden bench, looking down at Hunter, Jeff, Heidi and Susan perform a show I felt they wrote just for me! I also remember laughing so hard I actually fell off that wooden bench. I’ve been following them (no, not stalking, just following) ever since, reading the TITLE OF SHOW blog, watching THE TITLE OF SHOW SHOW, and even watching Hunter compete in LEGALLY BROWN: THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT PIRAGUA GUY.
So today as I was casually checking out their site, I noticed there is a “TONY VOTERS CLICK HERE” button on the site. I clicked through, only to be met with a login/password request. Foiled again! So it got me wondering – what marvels lie beyond that login page? What treats? Is it a portal into some kind of musical theatre wonderland?
Sadly, I may never know! All I know is that I’ll be tuned in to The 63rd Annual Tony Awards on CBS at 8pm on Sunday June 7, with a glass of champagne in my hand, toasting all the wonderfully talented nominees!
Mmmm, tasty theater!
At The Village Theatre gala on May 16, we successfully bid on the live auction item, "Year Of Theatre", as well as the silent
auction item, "Seattle Men's Chorus Subscription". So I finally got around to looking in the goodie bag to see what was there:
(you can sing along...)
On the first day of gala the Village Theatre gave to me:
2 tickets to ACT
2 tickets to Intiman
2 tickets to ArtsWest
2 tickets to Seattle Musical Theatre
2 tickets to THE TEMPEST at Seattle Shakespeare Company
2 tickets to UTOPIA LIMITED at Gilbert & Sullivan Society
2 tickets to On The Boards
2 tickets to Taproot Theatre
4 tickets to Unexpected Productions
Seasons tickets to UW Drama
and Seasons tickets to Seattle Men's Chorus!
I'm really excited about all of these tickets because I've never been to most of these theaters! I've seen productions at ACT, Intiman, SMT and Seattle's Men Chorus, but that is it!
First up, Judd Hirsch in BELOW THE BELT at ACT!