Thursday, April 28, 2005
Guest Blog Review: Michael Austin reviews "Syracuse"
"A party of around 10 represented the "Minnie's Boys" cast last night at the first preview of "Boys from Syracuse." It was a great time for all, and all cast members were flattered to be recognized by so many sweet regular patrons in the audience, commenting "not performing tonight?" or "so they gave you a break?" It was also easy to recognize us in the house; though we made up only a small percentage of the nearly-full house, we were easily 50 percent of audience reactions, laughing
uproariously and cheering wildly, especially for "Minnie's' vets Anil and Kalon.
If I had to narrow it down to your famous "5 best things," I guess I'd say:
1. Harmony: The cast nails every challenging harmony in the show. Musical Director Dave Dubrosky has done it again. Whether it's a chorus number with everyone, or a duet or trio, wherever the many harmonies appear in this score full of winning songs, they always sound chillingly on.
2. Choreography: The entire cast also does well with the choreography from Jayne Zaban. She makes everyone look by
turns graceful, hilarious and sexy. The chorus numbers especially are a treat.
3. Alex Kaprielian's "O Diogenes": I don't know who Diogenes is or was, but Alex's big 11 o'clock show stopper made me want to. Seriously, she looks beautiful and acts her character well the whole show, but when she busts out that beautiful voice and lets her personality and charm out in her big number, that number alone makes the show worthwhile, even with all its many attributes.
4. Anil's hilarious character choices: Anil Margsahayam (last seen as Chico (Leo) Marx in MB) has 3 characters to play, in addition to being in the chorus. Each one is unique and fully developed, not to mention fall-out-your-seat hilarious. From his high-strung businessman to his bloodthirsty corporal to his hunchbacked and desperate Sorcerer, you wish his parts were much, much bigger. But he makes his every moment so memorable it seems like they are. Truly a performance after my own
5. The Dromios: Ok, so they don't actually look that much alike...but when they're as good as they are, who cares? Both Ron Lytle and Kalon Thibodeaux truly make the most of every moment and line they have, turning some pretty old jokes to gold, and making challenging timing and physical humor look easy. Most impressively, they really seem to channel each others' characters' personalities, so that whether or not they physically look alike, they really do seem like brothers.
Good songs, fun show."
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Short and sweet
You blog readers can save yourself the trouble: she reports the show is one hour, 45 minutes including intermission!
I love a good, brisk show.
It used to be one of my biggest complaints about going to see shows at AMT SJ. Somehow they managed to turn every show into three hours. They could probably make a one-act play three hours long!
OK, if it's Angels in America, I can handle the seven hour marathon, but good, old musical theatre? Give me the two hour show any day!
Moonie featured in India-West, the largest Indian-American weekly paper
In an act of online lameness they only archive the first paragraph or so of old articles, making you subscribe to the see the whole thing.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Inside report from traditional Board run-thru
A little birdie (or 42nd St. Moon staff member, as the case may be) gives this report:
"So, we're getting close to our first preview of The Boys from Syracuse and had our traditional Board-sponsored dinner for the cast followed by a run-through of the show. Dinner was some delicious salads, roasted veggies, baked chicken with mushrooms and some dessert (strawberries and assorted cookies/brownies). It was YUMMY!!
Theatregoers are in for a comical treat with this Rodgers and Hart show - not to mention some of the most enduring songs in the American songbook such as "Falling In Love with Love", "This Can't Be Love", and "Sing for Your Supper."
Some funny moments and some great singing, too - don't miss it!"
Personally I'd go for dinner after the run-thru, wouldn't you? I usually don't even eat for a couple of hours before a performance...don't want to run the risk of something disagreeing with me, or of feeling bloated in my costume.
But all props to them for making sure there was plenty for the vegetarians!
Andrea Marcovicci...More than an "honorary" Moonie?
Greg begs to differ:
"Actually, by this point I think Andrea Marcovicci counts as a "Moonie" too, having starred in "On a Clear Day" and so generously supported us by appearing in every single one of the galas we’ve done."
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Ooops...my bad...Syracuse runs for THREE weekends!
Let me repeat that: The Boys from Syracuse in running for only three weekends and closes May 15th NOT May 22nd, as I stated yesterday.
So, now they have a full week between closing and the Gala...piece of cake, right?
Mea culpa, no excusa.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Just a reminder: Syracuse opens this coming week!
And a bunch of performers are going straight from one to the next. If I'm not mistaken, Anil Margasahayam (Chico in Minnie's Boys) is the only one crazy enough to be going from Minnie's Boys to Syracuse to the Gala.
So, this is a general housekeeping note, making sure you don't lose track of all this great 42nd St. Moon theatre (and song) coming your way in the just the next four weeks:
Syracuse starts Previews on Wednesday (the 27th) and opens on Saturday (the 30th.) It's playing for four weekends, closing on May 22nd. It's running at the Eureka Theatre. Don't forget Blog Readers get 20% off all Regular tix (Sunday matinees excluded) by using the promotion code ONLINE when calling the box office at 415-978-2787.
The Gala, A Trip to the Moon on Gossamer Wings, featuring the songs of Cole Porter, is the very next night on May 23rd. It's at the Herbst Theatre. The special guest stars at the Gala include Brent Barrett, Klea Blackhurst, Lea DeLaria and Andrea Marcovicci. Many Moon regulars are performing as well, including Meg Mackay, Darlene Popovic and Bill Fahrner.
Rodgers & Hart and Cole Porter...that's a lot of sparkling, witty music in the pipeline.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
A Moonie's idea of "taking a break"!
His answer completely cracked me up. It was the typical theatre person's response.
First you start with a "I'm taking a theatrical break"
The you go on to list only about five theatrically-related things you're going to do! For Michael it's:
-A reading of a new musical in May
-More children's theatre throughout May and into June
-And finally, taking some voice lessons, and maybe an acting or acting-on-camera class, to sharpen up the skills
Doesn't sound like my idea of a break. FWIW, my idea of a break involves pool-boys and massages from Hans.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Meet the Moonie: Austin Ku
I actually first saw Austin perform this winter at Foothill Music Theatre, playing Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd. He certainly got to show off his pleasing tenor in that role...which is very vocally demanding.
I asked Austin why he keeps on coming back to the Moon stage, and the answer was pretty simple:
"I'm happy to come back any time Greg and Stephanie let me, because I know that I will have a great experience personally as well as professionally. I know that in a Moon show everyone will not only be talented but also be easy and fun to work with. With Moon casts being so small and with such a short rehearsal time, we spend a lot of time together and
because everyone is so great we always get along and become a family."
(And Austin is lining up to collect $5 bills from the rest of the cast right about now!)
I only can take his reason seriously because I know I kept coming back and doing shows, no matter the size of role because a) I knew the shows would be different and good b) I knew I'd like the people and c) never underestimate the appeal of that short rehearsal schedule!
When I asked Austin his favorite moment (so far) in the show, this is what he came up with:
"It's the reprise of "Falling in Love with Love," sung by all the ladies. The choreography for the number is so charmingly
tongue-in-cheek, and the women in the cast have such lovely voices--the number just works perfectly."
More $5 bills for Austin.
Oh, and like everyone else these days...Austin too has a web site
Check it out and get to know Austin even better :)
Monday, April 18, 2005
One Last Great Minnie's Boys Review
It's from TalkinBroadway.com.
Meet Relative Moonie Newbie: Nancy Dobbs Owen
I noticed Nancy right away in Can-Can last fall...her first 42nd St. Moon show because she did a fantastic tango sequence with Tom Segal. No surprise given her serious dance pedigree.
Now she's back playing a Lady of the Evening in The Boys From Syracuse.
But let's hear something direct from Nancy:
Question: What's your favorite Syracuse moment?
"There are a few--being really slutty in Ladies of the Evening, a few lines in that song are really dirty which is surprising in an older musical--unexpected. Also, some moments which I won't share, that will be funny surprises for the audience."
Question: How many shows have you done at 42nd St. Moon, and why do you keep coming back?
"This is my second show with 42nd St. Moon. I really like the people."
Question: If you could play a different role in Syracuse than the one you have...which one and why?
"NOT playing a whore might be a nice experience...." [Note: Nancy also played a lady of the evening in Can Can]
So, she enjoys being really slutty, but wouldn't mind a change of pace next time around I guess!
In getting ready to introduce Nancy to the blog, I check out her web site.
You should too. Not only does she have some awesome photographs of herself in her Performing section, she is a self-taught jewelry designer.
Nancy is clearly a high on the creative scale...and she's bringing it to 42nd St. Moon's stage in The Boys from Syracuse.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Minnie's est mort, Vive Syracuse
Yes, Minnie's Boys is closing on Sunday, but never fear, The Boys from Syracuse is opening on April 27th. (Well, starting previews...actual opening is Saturday the 30th.)
And the Syracuse discount is online and ready to go.
Just like Minni'es Boys, you can get 20% off all tickets (excluding Sunday matinees) for Syracuse by calling the box office at 415-978-2787 and using the promotion code: ONLINE
All performance details are here.
Syracuse is bound to be a hot ticket...Rodgers & Hart, well-known score...so I'd get hopping!
Great Greg story from talkback
Someone in the audience asked why they hold the scripts, as someone in the audience almost always does, and Greg talked about the fact that the audience has to fill in the blanks with their imagination.
He told a story that perfectly illustrated how audiences do just that:
Some years ago they did a production of a show which included a scene in an art gallery. Flash forward a couple of years later and an audience member came up to Greg, praising the theatre and particularly mentioned that scene and how lovely the paintings were that they used in the art gallery scene.
You know the punchline, don't you? There were NO paintings. The audience member had completely conjured them up in their mind, and years later remembered them as though they were real.
Pretty cool, huh?
Off to party with the politicians
I'm also a delegate to the state convention and that's where I'll be for the next 2.5 days.
Enjoy Minnie's closing weekend without me :(
Thursday, April 14, 2005
GREAT SF Weekly review!
Only FOUR more performances left for Minnie's Boys.
You know, just in case you were wondering.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
A Minnie's Boys review in brief
[Note: Scroll down to the Ongoing section to find the mini-review.]
Moonies around town
The common thread, usually, is that the performance features someone who has been involved with 42nd St. Moon at some point. But then there are the times when Broadway icons like Ellen Greene or Marin Mazzie come to town...and I can't resist letting you know about that.
So, here are a few local upcoming performances you might like to know about, this time all have direct 42nd St. Moon connections:
Last year's gala featured some terrific local and non-local singers. Two of our 2004 gala performers have gigs coming up at the Plush Room:
Natalie Douglas will be there May 3rd-7th only. Debbie DeCoudreaux will be there May 10-14th. You can buy tickets for either one at TicketWeb.
Next on the list is something completely different from a sophisticated, elegant evening taking in cabaret at the Plush Room. It's Zombie Prom! at the Palo Alto Players, running April 30th through May 15th. It stars Our Mattress Minstrel, Charlie Levy, as the Radioactive Zombie himself! Charlie was also in Hooray For What? last fall, so in a very short time he seemed like a Moonie regular.
Now, you have to admit that the line-up above provides a little something for everyone. Jazz, cabaret, zombies.
Monday, April 11, 2005
More from the Minnie's Boys Talkback
- There was literally only one copy of the Minnie's Boys score at publisher Samuel French. They didn't want to send that single copy to 42nd St. Moon, in case it got lost in the mail. So the we had to wait for them to make a copy of the score before they could send it!
- Zeppo was called Zippo at first, but that was already the name of a performing chimpanzee, so they changed it. Also, Zeppo was also apparently the "funniest" brother, but he was also the youngest, so when they started out it was Groucho that got to be the real comedian, and Zeppo had to play the straight man. While they were still doing stage shows Groucho got sick, and Zeppo stepped into Groucho's roles...and outshined him! Groucho got better really, really fast! Zeppo only did the first 4 or 5 movies, then he left..probably sick of playing it straight.
- The Marx Brothers released their first movie, "The Coconuts", in 1929, the first year there were talkies, and it also ended up being the year Minnie died. So she really did just see them get started down the road of massive fame, but didn't get to see how the story ended.
There's always more to the story. Where else will you learn it?!
Remember: Only ONE MORE WEEK of performances for Minnie's Boys. Don't forget to use the blog reader's promotion code 'ONLINE' and get 20% off your tickets by calling 415-978-2787
Meet Moonie in Spirit: Original Minnie's Boys cast member Gary Raucher
Our guest that day was Minnie's Boys original Broadway cast member, Gary Raucher (seen here with Greg).
Gary played the unsung Gummo in the original Broadway cast, then later played Chico in a major revival starring Kaye Ballard. Gary had a lot of interesting things to share about doing the original production of Minnie's Boys;
- First of all he really liked the show. It was the first time he had ever actually seen it! He made a special point of praising Darlene as Minnie, saying she approached the role more like Kaye (warm, grounded, earthy) than like Shelley. He kind of left it to our imagination to fill in the blanks on that one.
- Apparently Shelley was not terrific at learning lines, and her nerves made it even worse. Every night she went up. Gary told a great story about one of those moments you really wish you could take back. It was their first tech rehearsal, and he was standing in the wings right before Minnie's first number, "Five Growing Boys", and Shelley went up on her lines. Gary said (under his breath so he thought) "why don't we just get a teleprompter?" But it was one of those unfortunate moments when silence had fallen, and apparently people, including Shelley, heard his snarky comment. Needless to say he was mortified, and even momentarily feared for his job, but he apologized and everything was fine.
- Gary refuted the rumor that Ms. Winters missed a lot of performances. he says she only missed a couple that he can recall.
- He also talked a bit about the Marxs. Chico and Harpo were already dead by this time. Miltie (Gummo) was none too happy about how they shoved him right out of the limelight. I guess in real life he was one of the original two that were out there performing. But he gave up on the idea pretty early, so they just skipped his early involvement altgoether. Gary also was unconvinced that "special adviser" Groucho was happy with the results, but Gary added that by then Groucho seemed a bit like cranky old man.
Gary is now a drama therapist in San Francisco. I found an interesting description of what that means online here.
There's more to tell from the talkback session, but this is the Gary stuff. And here's another shot of him with Greg and also Stephanie:
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Who's Who in Syracuse
"Tielle Baker, who I believe is new to the company, is playing our lovely ingenue Luciana. Kathleen (Katie) Dederian whom you might have seen recently in Hooray For What is playing Luce. William Giammona is playing our Antipholus of Ephesus. Ron Lytle, playing Dromio of Ephesus, was last seen Once Upon A Matress. John Patrick Moore, playing Antipholus of Syracuse, was last seen in By Jupiter, while Kalon Thibodeaux, playing Dromio of Syracuse, is also in Minnie's Boys as we speak playing Harpo (talk about a full schedule!) Stephanie Rhoads, playing Adriana, is of course also our Moon Artistic Director along with Greg. Brandy Collazo and Nancy Dobbs Owen who are playing our Ladies of the Evening along with Kristen Sharpley. Brandy and Nancy were both in Can Can with me and Brandy also took part in Mattress with Ron. Mike Figueira is playing our Aegeon (the Father of the two Antipholus twins), and Austin Ku, Angelo the Tailor, was last seen in Oh Captain along with Tim Kuster who is playing The Duke of Ephesus and also was in Mattress. Last, but not least, Anil Margsahayam plays our Wizard and can also be seen as Chico in Minnie's Boys with Kalon."
Phew! Thanks for doing that hard work for me, Alexandra!
Saturday, April 09, 2005
One little vowel pronunciation changes everything
Did you know Chico was pronounced chick-o, not cheek-o?
Because he was always chasing girls around. Girls=chicks=chick-o.
News to me.
"Minnie's" just barely open, but "Syracuse" already in the works
I've already gotten a little inside scoop from Alexandra Kaprelian, she of the star turn (and the wardrobe malfunction) in Can-Can last Fall.
"This is Alexandra, playing The Courtesan. Brandy Collazo and Nancy Dobbs Owen are playing other Ladies of the Evening along with Kristen Sharpley, and both Brandy and Nancy were in Can Can with me. There is something quite odd that I have noticed. "Lady of the Evening" or "Courtesan" can also be known as "whore." I'm not joking. And what I realized is that I am placed as the whore a lot, and recently, that has been going the same with Brandy and Nancy. I mean, in my first show, Paint Your Wagon, I was a whore along within Oh Captain, Can Can and now this show. Although I didn't play one in Frenchmen, I did get to do some naughty things with the men...(I might have added that on my own though.) Secondly, Brandy and Nancy were my side whore-kicks in Can Can and are now playing the same in this show.
Hmmm, oh well, that just means I can have a lot of fun with the men and that's OK in my book if you ask me."
It's also really interesting to me, because people always have such prim and proper impressions of classic Broadway theatre, especially musicals...but as you can see they are rife with whores and other unsavory characters. OK, usually the whores have hearts of gold, but still.
And classic Broadway musicals have:
Gangsters (Guys & Dolls, Anything Goes, Kiss Me Kate)
Psycho attempted rapists (Oklahoma!)
Philanderers (Camelot...and a female philanderer at that!)
Sounds like last week's episodes of The Sopranos, Law & Order SVU and The O.C., no?
Thursday, April 07, 2005
More on the little details
"I am proud to say that you came on the day my own personal costume piece nightmare seems to have ended - the china hats that Amy and I wear for all of 30 seconds, would NOT stay on my head!!! It was a hit or miss situation. I think there were 2 nights that it acually stayed, and I honestly thought I had gotten used to using it. Then, on openning night - it fell off - the simplest things can drive you crazy sometimes - and that prop has been my nemesis for the last week and then some. So, was Sunday just a lucky day, or did Amy (as our wonderful costume mistess) really help me to end my worries? Only time will tell."
More on the moustache
"We did go with the tape at the beginning, and for a moment at the end, but actually after Anil sticks it on my face, I duck behind the trunk, tear it off and replace it with the black greasepaint makeup, also painting on the eyebrows. It’s a real pain to try to wash off (especially out of the eyebrows) but Doug (Zeppo) insisted I was cheating the audience if I just used tape at the end, because it just didn’t look as good. Ah, what we do for our "art" huh?"
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
If my rave review alone isn't enough for you...
His review is here...very similar in tone to mine actually.
Monday, April 04, 2005
My Minnie's Boys review
Don't think there are many spoilers in the review, but you know if you like to be completely surprised by a show, then anything is a spoiler.
I also sat through the audience talkback session, which featured guest Gary Raucher from the original Broadway cast of Minnie's Boys.
I'll be posting more about that over the next couple of days....lots of interesting stuff!
Oh, and PS: Looks like MIchael went with an electrical tape moustache at the end of the show...cracked me up after reading all about his trials and tribulations trying to figure out what to use.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Behind the Scenes: It's the little details
"We've been struggling to find just the right substance with which to paint on my Groucho mustache and eyebrows for the show. I used some fairly wet cream-based make-up for the original photo shoot, which worked pretty well there. But what to use for the show is trickier, as I only wear the mustache and brows at the very beginning and the very end, and it must come off very quickly and onstage after the beginning, and go on very quickly onstage at the end.
My first thought was burnt wine cork, which I used on my face when I was a coal miner in my very first youth theatre production ("The Thread That Runs So True"), because it would be dry and not very messy or hard to clean off, so I tried that for our first dress rehearsal Sunday. It looked pretty good, but the problem with putting burnt cork under your nose is that you breathe in a lot of it, and carcinogenic ash in one's throat and nose is hardly the thing to assist one's singing--I felt so dry and dusty I could barely croak my songs!
So yesterday I picked up a black make up pencil, which looked ok, but took far too long to apply in a thick mustache. My next idea was a thick greasepaint stick (probably similar to what Groucho really used), which we tried last night. It looked great, but was very difficult to remove onstage...by the time fellow actress Kris (playing Miss McNish/Miss Murdock in the show) did her best to wipe it away onstage, I ended up looking like the coal miner of youth once again!
Then when my friend Anil (playing Chico in the show) tried to draw the mustache back on at the end of the show, he had so little time to put it on me that he got nervous and smeared it awkwardly across the whole left side of my face. It was so hilarious to myself and ridiculous-looking to all of the others onstage that we barely made it through the number we were doing.
My next thought is a washable marker, which I picked up today, and will try tonight before the show. But if that doesn't come off easily, perhaps I will just go with the suggestion of our stage manager and a few others, and try plain old electrical tape! It's a little over-symmetrical, and may sting a little upon removal, but it sure seems easier than all this mess!"
Ed. I'm sure I'll find out today exactly which way Michael ended up going with. I'm kind of selfishly hoping for the smeared across one side of the face look...that sounds hilarious.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Meet the Moonie: Brian Yates Sharber
Brian had this to share...and I warn you, if you are looking for tortured artist angst, you are barking up the wrong tree with Brian:
"First of all I am compelled to say out loud that 42nd St. Moon is one of my favorite companies with which to be involved. Not just because they gave me my first Equity contract, but because Greg, Stephanie, Lauren and the gang produce such great material in such a great way. You have to search long and hard, as an actor, to find a good job on which you will have this much fun and education. I always learn so much when I work here (this is my fifth show, just like Gaf.), and I find great cabaret songs that I'm certain to use later!
[Ed. Note: I agree...that is a great benefit from working/attending 42nd St Moon songs if you're a singer...you find these awesome songs that also happen to be little-known gems.]
"On this show in particular, I am, once again, realizing the value of my total career experience so far (and I'm only 32 years old ...anyone buying that number?) while having the time of my life, and earning union health and pension weeks! Kudos to the company, and its supporters, for the company's continued development (and my continued involvment :)
I also feel just a pinch of guilt with this show. I am having sooooo much fun, I should be paying them ten dollars a week!!
[Ed. Note: Aw, Brian, why'd ya have to go and tell them that! And here we try to make sure people know we suffer for our art!]
"Darlene and her 'boys' are killing me they're so funny (and I mean every run through). Every single character in the production - lead and supporting - is so well developed (kudos to my castmates) that an audience member has to see this show twice so that he/she doesn't miss anything. Being a great director, Greg has broken down the Mark Bros. "schtick" (esp. the rehearsal when we first moved into the theatre) to the point that one has no choice but see this show at least twice to catch everything. Having the 'boys' he has certainly must help. These guys are a hoot! Tonight I started to laugh on stage at some of their antics (oops, Greg might read this).
[Ed. Note: wow, Brian is pretty good at pushing ticket sales, huh? Don't forget you can get 20% off by using the code/phone number found here. (Couldn't let him be the only one getting in a plug for the show, now could I?]
"As for me personally, I couldn't ask for a better job! I get to have so much fun - while at the same time doing my work. I get to play two totally different people - and boy are they 'different' - in three scenes. Any actor would jump at the chance. To have this much fun with an acting challenge...who could ask for anything more?"
I believe one can only describe Brian's enthusiasm as infectious! I can't wait to meet this guy on Sunday!
Lea DeLaria's new album hits the jazz charts
I love the concept, which is pop and rock songs done in the jazz idiom. The song choice is intriguing, from Jane's Addictions Been Caught Stealing to Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun.
Back when I lived in NYC I started doing my own cabaret act...doing your own thing is about the only way you can control your destiny as an artist. My "farewell" act that I performed at Don't Tell Mama's the month before I moved back to California was called "Pop Goes Elisa." I still think it's a cute name, I don't care how much anyone snickers! Anyway, I kind of went for the same thing...although I didn't really re-interpret them as jazz songs. I just found songs that worked in that setting in a fairly straightforward manner.
Lea is definitely going farther afield than I did...I mean I did do one of Cheap Trick's ballads, but Lea's heading into grunge and punk territory covering Soundgarden and Green Day!
Anyway, congratulations to Lea, and if you're interested in the album:
I'm downloading it from iTunes as I blog. Here's the URL for you to listen to some 30-second clips from iTunes too. You can download the whole album for $9.99 at iTunes.
You can also listen to some clips and buy Double Standards on Amazon.com for $13.99.