Friday, September 30, 2005

Awesome Irving Berlin Event: Sing-along with Meg & Billy!!

OK, maybe you've done a Messiah sing-along. Maybe you've even gone to one of those Sondheim sing-alongs that are held every March in honor of his birthday. But tell me truly, have you ever gone to an Irving Berlin sing-along??

As you know, we're doing Miss Liberty coinciding with an exhibition and celebration of Irving Berlin at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum. (SFPALM

SFPALM is hosting this Berlin sing-along on Friday evening, October 14th at their facilities. Billy Philadelphia and Moonie stalwart Meg Mackay are the hosts for the evening. Space is limited so reservations are absolutely required.

Make your reservations (and get more details) here.

I think this sounds mega-cool.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

UPDATED: Miss Liberty Update from Greg, including casting change

I know, Red Hot and Blue! isn't even half way through what I'm sure will be referred to as a triumphant run, and here we are starting rehearsals for Miss Liberty on Monday.

Greg filled me in a bit on the show:

"I'm very excited about MISS LIBERTY -- this is a show that should have had a much, much longer life -- so much heart and soul in the script, some genuinely touching dialogue (a refreshing change after the brassiness of Red Hot!), -- and such wonderful music. The score will surprise even those who have heard the MISS LIBERTY cd, because several songs were left off the original album. Sometimes it's definitely Berlin writing in his LOUISIANA PURCHASE "hot" mode, and those were the songs that were left off!"

I definitely can't wait for that! I was in Lousiana Purchase some mumble mumble years ago at the Moon, and that music was FUN to sing! [Wacky idea alert: Hey Greg! You should revive LP next season in honor of New Orleans, and maybe get underwriting and do benefit performances...they're going to need help long after the public gets "compassion fatigue" as one of my buddies puts it.] Anyway, if you only know Berlin as the composer of patriotic ditties or winsome ballads you're missing out! Sounds like Miss Liberty will fix that.

So, there you go, Miss Liberty opens less than 2 weeks after Red Hot and Blue! closes, so it's a frantically busy Fall for 42nd St. Moon.

UPDATE: Seems we spoke to soon with our casting news earlier this morning. Stay tuned.

Moonie in the (wind-swept) world: Milissa Carey

You may or may not know that our very own Milissa Carey (most recently Queen Aggravain in Once Upon a Mattress) has been off traveling the continental U.S. in the National Tour of Evita.

Well, unfortunately their tour left them smack dab in Houston as Hurricane Rita approached. Milissa sent me the complete saga of her exodus from Houston. Hers is a story with merely an apprehensive beginning, a stymied middle and a decidedly happy ending, but having never been in such a situation myself I was pretty fascinated with the whole process of trying to get outta Dodge.

Don't forget that if you want to help those who were less fortunate, there are many ways.

Milissa Carey's Evacuation Story
Wednesday Night: Company Meeting at half hour: Because of the impending Category 5 hurricane, Rita, all performances for the remainder of the week canceled. Company will evacuate to Oklahoma City, (yes, Oklahoma City - 449 miles north -- on two buses, the following afternoon at 1PM.) Gia Solari, Philip Hernandez, Milissa Carey meet at midnight and decide to leave that night in Phil's rental car in order to beat the mass exodus of refugees clogging the roadways, fleeing the Texas Coast and heading north to Dallas and points beyond, (including Oklahoma City.)

Depart Houston's Doubletree Hotel: 1:30pm. Personnel: Gia Solari, Philip Hernandez, Milissa Carey. Transportation: White Ford Focus. Refugees required to transport all belongings with them on the planned company evacuation to Oklahoma City (yes, we really did say OKLAHOMA CITY). Planned route: Houston to Dallas, via Hwy 45, through to Oklahoma City to rendez-vous with fully deployed company. Vehicle fueled 100%, supplies contained: groceries (red pepper hummus, soy yogurt, cheese, cereal apples, pears, oranges), water, 6 Doubletree Hotel cookies and a left-over chicken.

Freeway Progress: Hwy 45 commences at speed for approximately 3 miles. Speed reduced substantially, to approximately 3 MPH for the next 3 hours. Yet a "creative" use of exit lanes, entrances ramps and the occasional shoulder maximizes progress of white ford focus, (courtesy of Juan Andretti, AKA Juan Peron.) Refuges witness cars camping on the side of the road, passengers riding on hoods of car and entire families riding on the couches in the backs of their trucks. At the first rest stop, we refueled, re-coffeed and peed. We thought a map might be needed so we procured said map. We paused when we heard the announcement "Shower #8 is now available", and we decided to soldier on.

By now, Hwy 45 was a "no go." It was a parking lot. We decided to veer west in hopes of increasing speed of evac. Upon closer examination, the map we had procured proved insufficient to our needs, (there was a BIG crease on our precise location). Bummer. It was decided that a more detailed map was now needed. Reconnaissance spotted a Walmart. Juan Perriti, I mean, Peron, with engines running, ran into the Walmart in search of a serious map. Success. Western Atlas - Huzzah! Only 4.97, (that rest stop was such a rip-off -- that same map at the rest stop was $112 and it was a 2005.) With navigation now maximized we re-deployed suitably equipped, for a planned route zig-zagging west/north through Dallas, still aiming to meet company in Oklahoma City (yes, we said Oklahoma City.)

Now heading west and, um, STARVING, we began looking for food, we soon found a La Rosarita in the sprawling metropolis of Waller, Texas. Next to the nursing mother's table, the three of us ate four plates of huevos rancheras and met a nice man who said "forget about heading north on 290. Stay on the 'old 290', turn left at the convenience store across from the MacDonalds." We were happy as we were actually moving. Sadly, we missed the next turn off which led us to stopped traffic - people headed to Waco/Dallas - bumper to bumper, campers again. Once again, bummer. We toyed with making a U-turn on the road, didn't. Should have. Oh well. Bummer.

One hour-ish later, we found the magic Route 79. Glory be. (Gia fell asleep again.) No traffic, we're flying, trying to emulate Juan Perritti's earlier success, Milissa is behind the wheel of the white ford focus. Our new destination - AUSTIN, TEXAS. The long way. Small towns, one stop light each. Via cell phone, the Internet and the West Coast connections (Gia's husband), the last remaining hotel room was secured in Austin. One burning topic of discussion of this escape was the actual existence armadillos. Phil insisted they were real and lived in this part of Texas. Yeah, right. Passing just beyond the town of Milano, (named after "Fleg Milanos," of course, see notes below), we suddenly spied a strange shape, could it be, no it couldn't. Wait. Yes, - we exploded with excitment beyond words, as we realized it was in fact a real, actual, bonafide armadillo in the middle of the road. On its back, feet sticking straight up in the air, we zoomed passed the dead armadillo, screaming wildly as we went. Yup, road kill. And the proof Gia and Milissa required.

Phil and Gia took a nap. No traffic, no hurricane pursuing us, we cruised into the Austin Hilton and unloaded our 47 bags, (OK, 45 bags belonged to Milissa and Gia.) Great room. Great naps all around. Swimming, spa with apple water. We were all safe. Unfortunately, the chicken didn't make it. Alas, poor chicken, we hardly knew ye.

What to do, we went to Manuels, a swell Mexican restaurant. It was muy bien. Next planned activity - sleep. Sweet. Many hours. All good. Late check-out.

On a beautiful, sunny, cloud free, traffic free, hurricane free day, we headed to our final stop: San Antonio. We were confused as we arrived without any refugee drama to the home of Steve and Mary, Gia's in-laws, who graciously accepted the refugees in the white ford focus. Introductions and house tour completed, we sat down to the first refugee repast: sliced honey crisp apples and Don Juan Manchego cheese. And, oh yes, Cosmos. The first of many delightful eating experiences at this particular refugee stop in San Antonio.

Fin: Part 1

Epilogue: 5 parties in all set out from Houston, 2 turned back, 3 made a successful run from the hurricane. Best time - our heroes: 12 hours to Austin (typically a three hour drive). Meanwhile, armed with the news that it was now a 24 HOUR DRIVE TO DALLAS, due to the traffic, the company changed their plans and decided to stay put and weather the storm at the Doubletree. With bathtubs filled with water, bags stowed in the bathroom, and a contingency plan to convene in the protected 2nd floor ballroom when the storm hit, the company awaited the inevitable. The storm veered east, bypassing Houston as our refugee heroes sipped margaritas (in honor of Rita) and dined on crab filled portabello mushrooms, courtesy of the peerless culinary expertise and generous hospitality of the Steve and Mary Welch Refugee Center for wayward actors.

Like I said, Milissa and her troupe were lucky, if a bit worse for wear. G;ad to hear she was OK.

To help those who are not so OK, try one of these resources.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Excellent Chron review

I better get off my own butt and arrange my tix for Red Hot and Blue! I can assure you that once you get a lovely review in the San Francisco Chronicle (little man sitting up and clapping enthusiastically) ticket sales are directly and immediately impacted!

And that's exactly what Klea and the RHB crew have gotten this morning.

Key excerpt (among many):

"Klea Blackhurst hits a note, settles inside it and brightens it from within. Her voice has the broad, lively brassiness of the young Ethel Merman -- a quality she exploited well in her 2001 Merman tribute (and CD), "Everything the Traffic Will Allow" -- and she can modulate the tone to sound like brass dipped in honey. When she hits a high note, she not only sustains it but breathes new life and breadth into it along the way."

Sounds dreamy, no?

Considering this review, the fact that it's a Cole Porter show, and the fact that there was only limited availability of tickets with the 20% off blog reader's discount, consider this your regular reminder to take advantage of said discount...ASAP!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

First Red Hot and Blue! review

Chad Jones, from loves Klea, loves some of the Cole Porter classics, loves several other performances, including Steve Rhyne's, Kalon Thibodeaux's and Deirdre O'Neil's, and has words of praise for just about anything specific to the 42nd St. Moon production. Do you hear a 'but' there? Yeah, he has some quibbles about the "silly plot."

I'll take it :)

Anthony Newley's birthday this past weekend

Thanks to intrepid Annette I learned that Anthony Newley, composer/star of Roar of the Greasepaint would have been 74 years old this past Saturday.

But Annette's intrepidity failed her because she said she couldn't find an listing for Newley. Here it is, Annette.

Shots from Opening Night

Here's what the cast looked like after the show...

A big group shot, nearly everyone involved:

Happy Red Hot and Blue! couple, Klea and Steve:

Some of the adorable women of Red Hot and Blue!:

Monday, September 26, 2005

First shots from The Roar of the Greasepaint!

As always you seem them here first on the blog!

First shot is of "Cocky" (Kristopher McDowell) learning the rules of the game from Craig Jessup as "Sir" and "The Kid" (Annie Donahey).

And in this shot "Cocky" is dismayed to see "Sir" move in on "The Girl" as played by brandy Collazo.

Looks colorful and fun, no?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Moonie in the world: Katie Dedarian

You know the Equity actors who work at 42nd St. Moon usually have other jobs they do. If they're lucky they're pulling together a living via theatre and voiceovers and print ads and whatever other performing work they can get. But most of us have other non-performing jobs that help pay the rent.

And then some of us have regular full-time jobs and are crazy enough to take on theatre in the evenings. If you're thinking that results in very little free time you are correct. I actually tried to pull off the full time job/regular theatre work life for quite a few years. At some point I decided it was time to focus on my non-performing career because I had goals like buying a house (in the Bay Area no less.) So it's been quite a few years since I have trod the boards in an actual show (vs. a cabaret evening of song here and there.)

When someone is really really lucky, then their "day job" is also related to the arts. (I was working in technology...not very closely aligned to my creative side, but lucrative.) Such a lucky person is Moonie Katie Dedarian (most recently Luce in The Boys from Syracuse), who was recently appointed the Development Director for the San Francisco Girls' Chorus.

I think we should all make Katie look good in her new job, check out the SFGC site and support the Chorus.

Of course this assumes that you've already done your part to support 42nd St. Moon, right?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Somebody Loves Klea...or should I say everybody does?

Because so far, she's on a roll.

The latest lovelink is from Peter Filichia of

"I had a better time when I went to see Klea Blackhurst at Joe's Pub. Throughout her Vernon Duke show, I felt that I was watching a future living legend. Just as it's now an event when Julie Wilson appears at the Oak Room, I suspect that people will be flocking to see Blackhurst 30 or 40 years from now. She also reminded me of Elaine Stritch, who, when singing about "the right people" in Sail Away, made a gesture that included the audience. Blackhurst did the same on the word "friends" when singing "Poor as a Churchmouse." By that point, she'd totally disarmed us."


Julie Wilson and Elaine Stritch. Pretty good company, wouldn't you say?

Peter, we loves you right back :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

A cast member's totally unbiased review ;)

Russ Lorenson reports in with a totally unbiased objective review of how the first preview of Red Hot and Blue! went:

"OK, here's one actor's take on the preview...all I can say is I am one of the luckiest actors in the world to be in this show! The show is fantastic - my castmates all knocked it out of the park last night, and the audience was
fantastic! They wouldn't stop cheering for Klea after she stopped the show with "Ridin' High" - appropriately so!! I only wish we could have joined them!!

Speaking of "Ridin' High", let me just take a moment here: I've said this to Klea herself, but I want to go on record to say how much I and every member of the cast I've talked with admire her leadership of the company. We did a run-through on Saturday, and two run-throughs on Sunday, and Klea never once "marked" her performance - she gave everything she had, every performance, ESPECIALLY in "Ridin' High", an exhausting number for her. Now, while that's admirable, what's exceptional about Klea is that after doing 2 run-throughs on Sunday, she immediately went to the airport and got on a red-eye flight to New York arriving at 6:30am NY time, because she had an audition for the Broadway revival of "The Pajama Game" at 11:30am NY time! I wish that I were such a trouper - I know that if it were me, I'd have saved as much as I could during the Sunday run-throughs, but not Klea. She gave it everything, and inspired me and the rest of the company to do the same. She is the very definition of a professional.

What's been interesting to me is that both audiences we've had have seemed to take the show to heart, and become an extension of the company - they're so invested in it, that when it's over they really seem to be sad to leave the theatre. There's something about the show that is so infectious!

OK, and speaking of infectious, I will also point out another moment in the show that is a personal favorite - when Steve and Klea perform "De-lovely". They are so magnetic during this song, that what could be a very long song (5 refrains, I think Steve told me) just flies by - it's just over too soon for me (and judging from the audience reaction last night, for them too). They are having so much fun performing it, that you can't help but smile.

A personally fun moment for me was during the curtain call, when the entire cast is lined up across the stage, and we sing a reprise of "De-lovely". There was a sweet older gentleman sitting in the front row right in front of me, and when I
looked down, I could see him singing along with us. Our eyes met, and for the rest of the song, he and I were singing together, and he was just beaming.

I guess I'm a little biased, but I think Moon has a big hit on it's hands!

Biased or no Russ has me convinced!!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Intrepid Annette's first look at Red, Hot and Blue!

While tonight's first preview was just about sold-out, there was actually an audience last night too...the kids from the School of the arts. And our own intrepid Annette.

Here's Annette's 10-second recap:

"It's an awesome cast -- everyone is so entertaining. Some standouts: Kalon is SO funny, there were tears running down my face! Deirdre O'Neil is a Moon newbie and does a great job as "Peaches LaFleur". Steve Rhyne does great as the "tug-of-love object" of Deirdre and Klea. And there aren't enough words to say how fabulous Klea Blackhurst is!! We're so lucky to have her here for our season opener."

The very first review, which of course you read here first!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

First Red Hot and Blue! preview tomorrow night

In case you were wondering, the 20% discount for Red Hot and Blue! does apply to Preview performances too. Why see a Preview? Well, first and foremost, some of us simply like to be the first on the block to see anything. We like sneak previews of movies and we like preview performances at the theatre. Some of us are even weird and like to see it once in previews and then again late in the run and see if we can spot what changed.

If economics is what motivates you, then you might want to note that even without the blog readers' discount preview performances are less expensive, only $20 pre-discount.

So, if you like sneak peeks, head to the Eureka tomorrow and Friday night for the first look anyone'll get at Red Hot and Blue!

And don't forget to pick up the phone and pick up your the 20% discount.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Free Night of Theatre in October; Promotion starts today!

Theatre Bay Area, sponsored by a long list of organizations is promoting a "Free Night of Theatre"

That's right, on and around October 20th over 85 theatres in the Bay Area will be offering free tix to their shows.

Tickets can be reserved on the TBA site starting at 6PM tonight, but I believe you can get a head start on all the lazier folks around by going to TBA's kick-off event today in Union Square:

Here's the info from TBA:

Launch Event Tuesday, September 20 at Noon!

You're invited to the kick off for our exciting new program, "Free Night of Theater." The campaign begins with the launch event in Union Square on Tuesday, September 20th and culminates with Free Night of Theater on October 20th.

Join us Tuesday, September 20 from noon to 1PM in Union Square for our kick-off of the campaign. We are encouraging the press to be present as we launch this unprecedented effort to attract new audiences to the theatre. A big turnout will help us deliver the message that theatres in the Bay Area are making headline news. And catch great performances from "Crowns," Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Woman's Will, Asian American Theatre Company and BATS Improv! among the first to reserve your own free tickets (2 per person) by visiting the TIX Bay Area pavilion, starting at noon. Tickets may be reserved online at beginning at 6:00PM on September 20.

Sounds cool. Be in Union Square or just be square :)

Yes, I just made that up right now, and no, I don't think it's all that clever.

Moonie in the world: Russ Lorenson

Well, Russ is a busy guy since he's also doing a Moon show, but he has managed to squeeze in his Empire Plush Room debut!

I know it's hard to for non-profits and charities right now to get any attention because we are all so focused on Katrina. Rightfully so. But Russ' performance at the Plush Room is to benefit a worthy organization, so if you still have a little cash left in your wallet (and want to see what sounds like a great show) then consider this:

WHAT: "Shawn Ryan and Friends: A Fundraiser for The Young Actors' Theatre Camp Scholarship Fund"
WHERE: The Empire Plush Room, located at the York Hotel, at 940 Sutter Street (between Hyde and Leavenworth) in San Francisco.
WHEN: October 2nd at 8:00pm
WHO (besides Russ): The Kelly Park Trio, Kim Nalley, Linda Kosut, Lua Hadar, Barry Lloyd, Terese Genecco and others
HOW MUCH: Tickets are $25, and there is a two drink minimum, with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund. There will also be a Live Auction so bring your check books!
HOW: Reservations are HIGHLY recommended! Call the Plush Room box office at (415) 885-2800 for tickets.
WHY: To provide scholarships to kids who otherwise could not afford to attend The Young Actors' Theatre Camp.

Check out he organization, then check out the show!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Urgent call for volunteer ushers this Thursday night!!!

It's our first preview, and we need you!!!

We are desperately seeking ushers for Thursday evening's preview, Sept. 22nd. We have room for three, and you are welcome to stay for the show afterwards. You may be asked to help sell concessions at intermission.

You would need to report for duty at the Eureka Theatre - 215 Jackson Street - at 7 p.m. Showtime is 8 p.m.

We welcome volunteer ushers all the time, so if oyu can't make Thursday there are still some spots available during the rest of the run, but we REALLY need some for this Thursday night.

Call Annette Lai at: 415-255-8205 and see Red Hot and Blue! for free while helping out your buddies at 42nd St. Moon.

Tomorrow: Speaking about blogging to arts groups

There's only a handful of us blogging about and for theatres in the Bay Area...42nd St. Moon may focus on "old-fashioned" musicals, but they are "new-fangled" when it comes to their online efforts!

But lots more groups are getting curious about blogging, and podcasting and even videoblogging. Hopefully I'll be converting some of those groups tomorrow night at an event sponsored by David Perry & Associates.

Taking place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts the target audience is arts and non-profit organizations, and the panel discussion is about how to incorporate some of these new online media channels into your marketing and communications plans.

I look forward to talking about my 42nd St. Moon experience.

You can read more about it over at my Worker Bees blog.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Haunting of Winchester at San Jose Rep

Intrepid Annette and I saw this premiere musical at the San Jose Rep last night, starring Moonie (and upcoming star of Miss Liberty) David Curley.

Here is my review.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Have you seen "De-Lovely"?

I just watched this movie bio-pic of Cole Porter's life on DVD last night. My review is over at my personal blog.

It was a mixed bag, and Greg may be proud of me that one of the things that bugged me the most was the totally inaccurate depictions of Porter shows on stage. The scene from Kiss Me Kate, in particular, bugged the hell out of me. I've actually done that show a couple of times, and I was sitting there wondering why they decided to make So In Love the Shakespearean-clad finale of the show!?

Anyway, what can't be beat is hearing all that lovely Porter music...even when Kevin Kline had to scale back his vocal prowess since Porter wasn't much of a singer in real life.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bay Area Reporter interview of Klea

Cute article, accompanied by a couple of cute photos too :) Gets in plugs for both Red Hot and Blue! and the CD Release Part benefit concert next month, so a one-two punch for 42nd St. Moon PR!

Moonies out in the world: from blog correspondant Michael Austin

Michael is leaving Saturday, yes this Saturday, for a month-long trip to Florence, but still had time to tell me about some Moonies and what they're up to:

1. Michael himself is going to Florence for a month-long tour there with Shakespeare at Stinson’s Compleat Works of William Shakespeare, Abr.

2. Alexandra Kaprielian, she of many Moon productions (Cabaret Girl, Can-Can and Boys from Syracuse last season alone) is opening up in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Palo Alto Players this Saturday, and is sure to sound and look brilliant and beautiful. If you haven't seen it, the show is a cute look at relationships from first dates to golden wedding anniversaries. You'll probably recognize yourself in there somewhere.

3. Last night Michael had the pleasure of seeing The River’s End at Marin Theatre Company (MTC), and here is his review:

"I highly recommend it. It’s a world premiere musical based on a true story, intertwining two possible explanations of what might’ve happened to a couple who disappeared without a trace on the Colorado River during their honeymoon in 1928. Odd subject for a musical, it might seem, but it’s quite compelling, with a very solid, suspenseful script, excellent, full characters and some soaring harmonies. The production is lavish—the whole stage is transformed into the grand canyon, complete with steamy waters and steep, craggy red walls—and the performances are excellent all around, especially from Moon alums Dani Marcus ("Roberta") and John Patrick ("Boys from Syracuse".)"

Marin is a looong haul for me, but I have read about this show already, and it does sound totally intriguing. I might have to settle for getting my ration of intrigue by seeing Moonie David Curley this Saturday in The Haunting of Winchester at San Jose Rep.

But after Michael's glowing review I'll have to give Marin another thought.

So much good theatre to choose from.

Just make sure you get your blog reader's sepcial tix for Red Hot & Blue!, by following the instructions found here, (and remember there are only a limited number of blog reader special tix per performance.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A beautiful day at the ballpark

For those of you who couldn't make it, here are some shots of Klea's engagement singing the National Anthem for the Giants game this past weekend.

Looks like a beautiful day at the ballparK;

And here's Klea with the ever-intrepid Annette:

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Wanna be a Moonie?

The next round of auditions for 42nd St. Moon's Spring Season are coming. Here are the deets:

We are now accepting pix/resumés for THE GOLDEN APPLE (Latouche/Moross) and MACK & MABEL (Jerry Herman/Michael Stewart).

GOLDEN APPLE: 9m, 8f, one m and one f role are dancing, non-singing, all other roles require legit musical theatre voices. All roles open. Rehearse/perf Feb – April.

MACK & MABEL: 8m, 9f. Especially need female tappers. Reh/perf Mar – May.

Auditions for both in early-mid November. All ethnicities are encouraged to apply.
AEA (BAT, Tier 1) & non-AEA. Stipend.

Send headshots and resumés to Casting, 42nd Street Moon, 601 Van Ness Avenue, #E3-621, San Francisco, CA 94102. Info (415) 255-8207 or

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Rehearsal shot

Here's a shot of the entire cast starting to get on their feet and stage a number. The highly amused young lady in the center is Tiffany-Marie Austin.

Friday, September 09, 2005

News Flash: Klea sings the Anthem at the Giants game tomorrow (Saturday)

Klea Blackhurst will sing the National Anthem at tomorrow's SF Giants game against the Chicago Cubs. Game time is 1:05 p.m. If you want a sneak peek/listen to Klea's pipes - come to the Giants game tomorrow - but don't be late!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Speaking of our orchestra of one

Here's the orchestra of one for Red Hot and Blue!: Mr. Dave Dobrusky

He may look like he's posing for the camera, but Greg probably just caught him stretching. You may not know this, but sitting at a piano and playing for hours on end can be pretty brutal.

Sort of like sitting at a computer keyboard, blogging :)

How to evoke costumes without being costume-y

You'll notice several differences between 42nd St. Moon's "staged concerts" and full-blown musical theatre productions.

Perhaps the most obvious is that we have an orchestra of one. 42nd St. Moon has been blessed with some outrageously talented musical directors who don't give you a chance to miss an orchestra. You also have a chorus of less than 10, not dozens.

Another obvious one is the lack of sets and most props. Sure, we use furniture (a chair here; a table there) and some small props, but mostly the setting is left to your imagination.

But the production value that acts as a bridge between the audience member used to full-blown productions and the 42nd St. Moon style is the costuming. Costumes at 42nd St. Moon need to evoke a certain era, or milieu, but they can't go right over into overt costumes, because then it would just highlight what wasn't there in other areas.

So, I asked Red hot and Blue! costumer (and frequent 42nd St. Moon performer) Amy Cole:
How do you evoke costumes without getting too "costume-y"?

She replied:

"Luckily, we have access to private costume collections and those of the other professional theatre compaines in the area so while we're really just looking to "imply" costumes, we can do that with vintage pieces or ones specifically built for the period. Because of the short rehearsal period and back-to-back productions at The Moon, full costumes are just not practical. What becomes challenging is bringing a costume wardrobe in the stage that does not look like it's been borrowed from 4 different places (which it often will be.) For me, making sure that the period of dress is consistent, that the color pallette is cohesive and sometimes building some of the key pieces myself will help achieve a unified look. Since the costumes are often the only "stage dressing" in Moon shows, they really have to set the proper tone."

I'll try to post some pictures to illustrate what Amy is talking about, once we have some.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Where are they now? Starring in the movie!

I think it's cool, I really do, that Chris Columbus has kept most of the original cast of Rent for the movie.

I mean, OK, they're about 10 years too old for the roles now, but Jack Nicholson has gotten to sleep with such young beauties as Michelle Pfeiffer, Helen Hunt and Amanda Peete when it just seemed way out of the realm of possibility, so that's Hollywood.

I have seen rent twice, once in NY once in SF, and I don't think I saw much of the original cast if any by the time I saw it on Broadway. So actually I'm pleased to get to see them strut their stuff.

I hope they cut some of the stuff that was annoying and keep all of the stuff that was deeply heartfelt, moving and emotionally thrilling.

Is that too much to ask?

What's your favorite audition story?

I've already mentioned the "reality theatre" show that has a different set of actors "auditioning" each night. The Times does a blurb on that and another small show that is about auditioning, albeit a more traditional comedy.

For anyone who has acted the descriptions of these shows make them like they cover easily recognized territory.

My favorite audition moment? Gwen Verdon telling a line of us (at a singer's audition) to lift our skirts, so she could get a better look at our legs. Well, actually it may not be my favorite audition story ever, but it definitely involves the most famous person.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Give generously, find new music

Our intrepid Annette forwarded a message from an apparently equally intrepid Ann Hampton Calloway with some donation suggestions. Some of them were the usual suspects, but I thought this one was in aprticular keeping with the spirit of artists everywhere:

Go to this URL at CD All of the artists with CDs found on that page have agreed to donate the entire wholesale price of the CD to the Red Cross.

I think I could spend the rest of today perusing just the massive World Music section!

Enjoy, expose yourself to independent artists...and help.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Recommending Blogway Baby again

I've linked to Blogway Baby before, and of course it sits permanently in our blog roll, but in case you don't immediately go subscribe to every little blog I mention I thought I'd remind you. In particular Blogway Baby has been fascinating as of late because the blogger, Suzy Conn, is the composer/lyricist for a new musical that was chosen and is being performed as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival this month.

If you have ever wanted to walk through all the steps of putting together a new musical...hiring the director and other staff, holding auditions, seeing designs for the first time, Suzy is chronicling it all.

let me warn you, Suzy is enthusiastic, thrilled, upbeat, relentlessly amazed and pleased with her good fortune. If you want cynicism and bitching and moaning Suzy is not your girl.

And I like it that way.

So check it out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Somebody's looooves Audra McDonald

Getting a review that any actor would die for, Audra McDonald apparently steals the show (Anyone Can Whistle) from such stalwarts as Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris.

I did the role 7 years ago at Foothill, and it is a huge, meaty role. Ballads, uptempos, belting, non-belting, playing the vamp, playing the prude. Fun, fun, fun.

And the score is glorious, from the title song to With So LIttle to Be Sure Of.

But I'm sure it's true that the concert-version gets to deliver all of the strengths while letting them avoid dwelling on some of the weaknesses of the piece.

Concert versions are good for that ;)

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