Sunday, July 31, 2005
SF Gate feature on Moonie Anil's latest effort
Sounds like a very heavy-duty, political and particularly resonant piece about human rights in the context of a prison.
The show is now running and playing through August 20 at the Crowded Fire Theatre.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Moonies out in the world: and getting press
Just the kind of publicity his show Oh My Godmother needs! (Playing at the Altarena Playhouse, details in the article.)
Sneak Peek: Miss Liberty Photos
Here is a sneak peek at the Miss Liberty principal cast:
Here are David Curley, Nina Josephs and Mark Messersmith:
And here are David Curley and Lisa Peers:
Is it just me or does Lisa look a lot like Lesley Hamilton in this shot?
My little bird was wrong!
Greg has some corrections and additions to what my San Francisco Theatre Festival spy told me the other day:
"Katie Dederian did not sing "Count Your Blessings" at the Theatre Festival, it was Rodgers and Hart's "Little Girl Blue" (one of my personal favorite songs). All the songs were by Porter or Rodgers and Hart ("Count Your Blessings" from White Christmas is by Irving Berlin). And to make the list complete, Stephanie soloed on "I Didn't Know What Time it Was" and Mike Figueira also sang "I'll Tell the Man in the Street" from one of my all-time favorite musicals -- but I don't have to tell you which one, do I?"
No, he doesn't have to tell me, "The Man in the Street" is from I Married an Angel, the first 42nd St. Moon show I was ever in back in 1995 I believe.
It was, in fact, that song that sold me on the whole 42nd St. Moon mojo. Here was the gem of a song...beautiful melody, poignant lyrics, gorgeous song structure, sung just thrillingly by Leslie Hamilton-Hill, and I had never even heard of the song before, let alone heard it or seen it in context. I just remember feeling this thrill at hearing it.
I've never heard a man sing it, sorry I missed it. I personally love to sing songs written for men and hear the reverse.
Anyway, thanks for the more thorough and accurate programme, Greg!
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Recap of Sunday's San Francisco Theatre Festival
"The theatre festival went really well Sunday. Our little Moon-troupe sang to an SRO audience - which was so great! Mike Figueira and Alex Kaprielian teamed up for a rendition of "De-lovely," Katie Dederian sang "Count Your Blessings" and "Most Men Don't Like Love." Bill and Stephanie sang...Bill, something from "Fifty Million Frenchmen." Alex closed the show with her smoldering "Love for Sale," which brought down the house at May's gala.
At the table outside where we were passing out the literature, I guess the funniest moment was when some guy came up to the table and after looking at our "Uncommon Musicals" brochures that were taped to the front of the table said to us, "UNCENSORED MUSICALS! - I could go for that!" Heehee...
Major props to Russ Lorenson (who you'll soon see in RED HOT & BLUE) and his partner Dr. Philip Rey, who volunteered their Sunday afternoon and came to help out at the table!"
Sounds like a good time was had by all.
I myself have become a hermit, because I'm co-organizing this conference (about women and blogging, natch) and it s way more work to put on a conference than I ever inagined.
So I have an appreciation for the organizers of the Theatre Festival that I may not have had a few short months ago.
Monday, July 25, 2005
(Almost) final Miss Liberty casting
According to Greg, we're still short a couple of cast members, especially "The Countess," the grandmother of the title character, a fabulous character role for whom we'll have a fabulous character actress to announce soon!
Here's the MISS LIBERTY cast (so far!):
HORACE MILLER................................David Curley
MONIQUE DUPONT............................Nina Josephs
MAISIE DELL......................................Lisa Peers
JAMES GORDON BENNETT..................Craig Jessup
THE MAYOR /BARTHOLDI..................Mark Messersmith
JOSEPH PULITZER...............................Jeff Bell
MRS. VANDEMEER (Socialite)..............Katie Dederian
LISETTE (MODEL)...............................Joletta Hardman
DELPHINE (MODEL)............................Jennifer Martin
SOLANGE (FRENCH GIRL)...................Carly Ozard
Also, in RED HOT & BLUE!, we finally cast the long-missing role of Vivian Schuyler, the uber-debutante who has an affair with an ex-pickpocket (it was Vivian Vance's first major role in the original, and they just used her own first name, hence the character's moniker.) Anyway, Tiffany-Marie Austin will be playing Vivian, and Alli McGinnis will be taking over the role of Grace (in which Tiffany-Marie was originally cast.)
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The Musical! !!!!
They accuse Grand Hotel: The Musical in 1989 of being the first to do this.
Coincidentally, it's also 1989 that spawned the movie, The Tall Guy.
If you haven't seen it, it stars Jeff Goldblum as an actor in London who lands the title role in a new musical, Elephant!. Elephant! being the musicalized version of, you guessed it, the play, The Elephant Man.
Ever since seeing the movie, It's been a running joke for me to figure out what one word with exclamation point title could be given to new plays or books:
Journey! (musical version of Long Day's Journey Into Night)
Willy! (musical version of Death of a Salesman)
And so on, in ever declining taste.
Give it your best shot in the Comment, people!
More audition advice
Suzy is not just a blogger, but a composer/lricist whose paean to air travel in the 60s, Plane Crazy: The Musical is one of the very few submissions selected for performance at this year's New York Musical Theatre Festival.
I'm probably going to New York in OCtober, not September, which means I won't get the chance to see it :(
Anyway, she's been holding auditions in New York for the NYMTF production and has a post with one part advice and one part inside look at how people feel on that side of the table.
I commented because she has one piece of advice that I typically choose not to follow:
"...you can't help but be impressed by actors who...[snip-list of other things]... have memorized their sides..."
Check out her list, and my comment and tell me what you think. "Memorize"? or, as I advocate, know it really reall well, but go up there with it in your hand no matter what.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Woo hoo! We're the "Blog of the Week"
Well, this week we have been elevated to the Blog of the Week!
This also means we'll get a mention in the San Jose Mercury print edition...I am not sure which day's.
So there you go...traditional and new media getting along, and this blog bringing the arts to the attention of perhaps a slightly different crowd than typical (which is kinda the goal.)
Hello Merc readers...you're my hometown paper, and I'm happy to welcome you to this blog!
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Don't forget about a couple of local events
It runs from 11AM-5PM, and a bunch of Moonies will be on hand.
A troupe of Moon regulars will be performing a selection of songs from Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart from 3:25 to 3:50 in the Forum Theater.
Performing will be:
Over 50 local theater companies will be participating, so if you LOVE theater and the performing arts I don't see how oyu can miss it!
Then the Grand Opening of the Irving Berlin exhibit at the Performing Arts Library & Museum is the following Tuesday evening, July 26th from 6PM to 8PM.
There will be Moonies performing there as well, including Meg Mackay and Andrea Marcovicci.
Sounds like a great few days for local theatre buffs and Moon fans.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Moonies out in the world: "Simply Sondheim" is back on
First, the deets:
“Simply Sondheim” – A 75th Birthday Salute, Northern California’s only 2005 tribute to composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim
Monday, December 5, 2005
Kanbar Hall at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
Benefitting Theatre Bay Area’s “Mary Mason Lemonade Fund”
Hannah Rose Kornfeld
Peter Stein and Lauren Mayer, whose Sondheim parodies have delighted the man himself, will also appear.
Richard Ryan will direct, with musical direction by David Dobrusky of 42nd Street Moon.
Now, what sets Simply Sondheim apart? James Brewer is happy to fill us in:
"What makes "Simply Sondheim" - A 75th Birthday Salute somewhat different from and, to my way of thinking, more interesting than most of this year's tributes are a few things.
-Firstly, this performance is not a "cavalcade" of umpteen different performers being trotted out to do one or two numbers and brought back two hours later for a curtain call. Therefore, the show will have a cohesive shape, thrust and point of view. A distinct lack of that has been one of the criticisms of some of the other tributes this year.
-Secondly, this is about and in service of Mr. Sondheim's music, hence the title. We have been fortunate enough to get some "unsung" or "trunk" songs from the man himself, making this event even more exciting for both Sondheim fanatics and novices alike. His involvement has been very extraordinary. Also, having re-examined hundreds of his songs, we have once again recognized their timelessness as regards the human condition, especially in light of the socio-political state of the world today (Sorry to wax a little grand. The show will be also be very funny and entertaining)."
Well, as one of the above-mentioned Sondheim fanatics I'd have to say that piques my interest! I had no idea the "man himself" had been so closely involved.
Jim did not provide a web site to review for further info, so I guess if you want more info you'll have to spam him!
Cutting in line is American-pasttime?
The author is puzzled by the way Broadway audiences have taken to standing in single file queues to get in to the theatre before the show rather than pouring in through all doors as in a sea of humanity.
I agree that sometimes it does seem inefficient and curious the way people do that...especially because the theatres claim that people are doing it of their own accord...
I think that the blockbuster movie phenomenon is having an effect. Many movie theatres now let people in from lines they've formed outside. Then there's the fact that many of the patrons have probably just come from a long queue over at TKTS.
But the part of the column that really seems strange is that the author thinks standing in a proper line is somehow unAmerican...that our natural instinct is to find ways to cut in line.
That is not my experience. Americans are actually pretty good about lines. Oh sure, most of use would see nothing wrong with scanning the line to see if we spot a friend we can go talk to and glom onto their earlier place in line, but we got nothing on other cultures...where the standard is to brazenly simply push ahead daring someone to make the effort to stop you.
Is it just me?
Monday, July 18, 2005
Moonie out in the world: Anil Margsahayam
Intrigued? Me too. Here are the deets:
The Crowded Fire Theater Company is presenting the World Premiere production of Slow Falling Bird by Christine Evans, an explosive and surreal portrait of refugees and prison guards in Australia’s immigrant detention camps. As the tide of refugees fleeing from war-torn parts of the world grows, Evans asks us to explore the question of how we take them in – or leave them on the outside. With extraordinary passion and lyricism, she brings the issues at the heart of refugee detention front and center in such a way that we not only understand the complexity of the situation, but also feel the tension between the refugees, their guards, and the world outside. With Slow Falling Bird, Evans brilliantly reminds us how theater at its best can dramatically illuminate present-day political issues.
Directed by Crowded Fire Artistic Director Rebecca Novick, Bird features Crowded Fire company members Cassie Beck and Juliet Tanner, as well as Bay Area favorites Michael Storm, Dan Wolf, Sally Clawson, Anil Margsahayam, Rami Margron, Joe Estlack and Jeremiah Christopher Hill. The design team includes Crowded Fire company members Bree Hylkema
(costumes) and Heather Basarab (lights).
Heh. Anil is now a "Bay Area favorite", go Anil!
The logistical details:
Slow Falling Bird will run July 23 – August 20 (opening night gala July 30) at the EXIT on Taylor in San Francisco, just a few blocks from Powell Street BART. To reserve tickets ($18-25) and get more information, visit Crowded Fire’s website or call 415-675-5995.
Pay-What-You-Can Previews: July 23 (Sat.); 25 (Mon.); 28 (Thurs.); 29 (Fri.)
Opening Night Gala: July 30 ($30)
Run: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, August 4 – 20 ($18-25, sliding scale; $15 for students, seniors & TBA members)
My editorializing: This sounds pretty interesting particularly because I recently watched the movie Hotel Rwanda. Between that story which is only about a decade old, and today's horrific goings on in the Sudan, it seems like this show should have real resonance.
Or at least it would if we heard more about what's happening over there!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
42nd St. Moon's new partnership: School of the Arts
For several years now SOTA has sent several students over to intern at 42nd St. Moon, helping the stage manager with hanging lights and other technical tasks. This year 42nd St. Moon and SOTA are launching a new partnership program, adding 42nd St. Moon shows into the curriculum of the school.
I spent some time talking with the director of the program, Dan Kryston, about why and how this partnership came to be.
Discussions started about 3-4 months ago. Dan had called about internships, but Lauren had bigger fish to fry. So, what is the program?
With each show Greg will help Dan develop a curriculum that explores each show and its historical context. As Dan says, "the shows 42nd St. Moon chooses have a lot of history...there's a reason why each of these shows was produced." Season opener Red, Hot & Blue is a less famous show by a famous composer, and Dan intends to also tie part of the curriculum of this show into the jazz music department.
The students will be invited to attend each show's dress rehearsal, stay for a post-show chat with the actors and staff, then follow up with post-show classroom discussions.
All students are already required to see outside performances as part of a yearly requirement. This will help students fulfill that requirement, but with something different than the usual fare. SOTA does sometimes take organized field trips to theatre performances, but 42nd St. Moon is the only theatre that is working with them so closely, and offering them the opportunity to see their shows for free. Since SOTA is a true public school, the income levels of the students are widely disparate, and this program will help all students have an equal opportunity to take advantage of it.
I am looking forward to attending those post-show chats...and then maybe also attending the post-show discussion with the regular audience on the first Sunday. I'm curious about what kind of different take the two groups have on the same show.
Hopefully 42nd St. Moon is helping to grow a whole new audience for these classic American works of art with their partnership with the San Francisco School of the Arts.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Hot scoop: One Night Only-Klea Blackhurst celebrates CD release in a 42nd St. Moom Benefit!
Klea Blackhurst will graciously hold a CD release concert to benefit 42nd St. Moon on Monday October 10th at the Eureka Theatre. Musical Director Michael Rice will be at the piano.
Her new CD is entitled: Autumn in New York: Vernon Duke's Broadway.
The evening will include light food and drink. Right now the working theme is for the evening to have a "tropical" flare as the music from the CD lends itself to a tropical, deco kind of feel.
Now that "tropical" description may surprise you if you've only been thinking of Klea as the Mermanesque wonder from her CD Everything the Traffic Will Allow, but Lauren has heard tracks from this new CD and says: "It is just wonderful! Very unique and very "Klea," but different. It's not Merman at all - not that that is bad! It is just that the new CD is sweet and Klea shows off her voice, phrasing, and theatricality with perfection. The new work is truly a delight!"
So, consider this your blog exclusive heads up about the evening. This special one night only event is NOT to be missed! Tickets will be $75. But, they aren't on sale yet.
I'm promised more complete information next week.
Sondheim in Time
Anyway, Sondheim sat down for a short series of questions with Time Magazine, and some of it's familiar ground (he doesn't like some of the lyrics he wrote for West Side Story) some of it is surprising (he enjoyed the recent flop Taboo.)
They even ask him if he has an iPod :)
Check it out here.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
This blog is a Master Blog!!!!
Anyway, somehow we've been found and designated a Master Blog.
I'd like to thank the Blog Academy.
OK, well there isn't one, but they do describe their criteria here.
There's a new blog in town...well, actually a couple
Let's start with my local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury. Former Merc reporter Dan Gillmor is a blogging pioneer, and they've had a few other reporters who started blogs, but recently they amped up the effort on their Arts & Entertainment blog, A&E Interactive. And they're trying to involve the community, soliciting submissions for both Blog of the Week items and for a blog roll.
This week they added this very blog, the 42nd St. Moon blog to their blog roll, as you can see here.
KRON-TV is also getting into the bloggy spirit at their blog, The Bay Area is Talking. I'll have to get us on their blog roll too. :)
Monday, July 11, 2005
More on letting SF hear from you
That's the date of a COMMUNITY ARTS TOWN HALL MEETING
Sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Task Force
It's being held at the Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.
The Arts Task Force has a stated charter to:
-Sustain and stabilize community-based not-for-profit arts organizations serving, celebrating and supporting our diverse neighborhoods
-Build upon the our strong creative workforce and existing substantial arts economy to increase employment and leverage new economic opportunities
-Expand City resources for low- and moderate-income housing and affordable studios and workspaces to help retain artists in San Francisco
And they want your input, as part of the SF arts community (even if you're part of the community who appreciates and patronizes the arts.)
There will be an opening performance, a panel discussion to set the stage and stimulate ideas and then, most critically, open community input.
Deborah Cullinan (Executive Director, Intersection for the Arts)
Idris Ackamoor (Artistic Director, Cultural Odyssey) and
Andrew Brother Elk, (Director, Native American Cultural Center)
For more information on the town hall meeting call Task Force Chairperson Debra Walker at 415-552-6594 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Arts Task Force please visit the Task Force website.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Let San Francisco Hear You
Mayor Gavin Newsom (who is occasionally my hero) has augmented the San Francisco Arts Commission with a new Arts Task Force.
Their goal is to champion the Arts in San Francisco, and they have issued a survey to collect feedback not only from those who create and deliver art to the City, but those who are patrons of the art (that would mean you, 42nd St. Moon followers!)
As a blogger, where public conversation and feedback is part of the deal, of course I like this approach, and I took their survey.
You can find it here. [User=arts; Password=survey]
It's only seven questions, and what I like is that the questions are open...no multiple choice; no True/False...just open boxes for you to fill in as you see fit (or leave blank.)
The Task Force explains the survey thusly [excerpted]:
"Members of the Task Force have approached Arts Forum for assistance in gathering input from artists, arts administrators and members of the public who care that the arts in San Francisco thrive.
Arts Forum SF is an inclusive forum for sharing ideas and resources, grappling with difficult issues, and imagining and implementing solutions that will result in sustainable and forward-thinking arts programming, partnerships and policies.
It is critical that we understand, value, and utilize the vital role that artists and arts organizations of all types play in public policy making and involving the general populous in community-based social, political, and cultural dialogue and action. Our goals include:
-To unite, organize, and mobilize the San Francisco arts community.
-To create a space for the diverse array of San Francisco artists and arts organizations to come together to grapple with difficult issues and ideas in order to build a stronger and more sustainable future.
-To create long-term partnerships between the arts community and public policy leaders that will result in innovative arts programming and policy.
Information on upcoming Arts Forum meetings and past discussions can be found here.
To learn more about the Arts Task Force."
The deadline for filling out the survey is July 12th, and the results will be presented at two public meetings: an Arts Task Force meeting on July 20 4pm-7pm at The Thick House 1695 18th Street in Potrero Hill and also at the next Arts Forum meeting July 30th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue.
You can be cynical or you can get involved and give them a chance to at least earn your cynicism! Taking a 7-question survey on how you would support the arts seems like a pretty painless way to get started.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
West End is dark tonight
I was in NY on 9/11 and Broadway was dark for 2 days. On Thursday the 13th it went up again, and I thought that there was no better way for me, as part of the theatre community, to show that life doesn't stop in the face of such threats, than to go to a Broadway show.
I stood in line for 4 hours to get tickets to The Producers, which was Broadway's hot ticket at the time. And every theatre had similar lines and crowds. Standing in line with me were other stranded visitors from around the world, including a couple from England. We stood together for four hours, and then about 10 of us went and had pizza together before the show.
After a couple of days cooped up alone in my hotel room watching CNN, it was great to be in human company...and such diverse global company.
Seeing the show was very emotional for many of us in the house. Rocco Landesman gave a curtain speech, and we all sang God Bless America after the curtain call. And I'm sure our non-American friends in the audience sang as robustly as we did.
I hope that when the West End goes up again that the people in London experience a similar coming together and feeling of unity across artificial barriers. It all goes back to good old Aristotle and "catharsis" doesn't it?
Our thoughts are with London
London is a great urban center, like New York and San Francisco. In fact it reminded me of both those cities when I was there...the diversity and the upbeat energized feeling.
London is also a great town for theatre...and they love classic American musicals. England even has their own companies that perform staged concert versions of these classic musicals. It was England that produced Greg's script for Out of This World.
To take a cue from what Tony Blair said four years ago:
We're all Brits today.
And while most of us were unharmed, none of us is untouched.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Some local theatre discounts from Worker Bees
Did you love the Rat Pack, or do you wonder what all the fuss is about? Well, you can find out this month at the Post Street Theatre, as The Tribute: to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean comes to town straight from Vegas. Yes, Vegas, baby! (Apparently not everything that happens there, stays there.)
The discount is 40% off every ticket for every show between tomorrow, the 7th, and July 24th. They're even taking 40% off the Preview performance price of $30, so you can't beat that!
The code, which is good online or via phone is RATPACK. Here are all the deets and links.
Do you love men in skirts...okay actually kilts, but men in skirts is more funny in a Monty Python or Kids in the Hall kind of way, no?
Anyway, Foothill Music Theatre is doing Lerner & Loewe's classic musical Brigadoon from July 22 through August 14th, and you can get $3 off per ticket when ordering online. Here are all the deets and the box office link.
Oh, and I write the blog for Foothill too, so you know, it's equally charming :)
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The Fairy Godmother returns!
The show is returning to the Altarena in Alameda for three weekends (July 29-August 14, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00, Sunday matinees at 2:30.) This time around, it is a full production with orchestra and set (no scripts). Some of you may have seen it the first time around--maybe you'd like to see it again in a more full production? Either way, Ron would appreciate you spreading it around like wildfire.
The first run in February sold out before opening night (with people waiting in line two hours before the curtain hoping for cancellations!) And big crowds are always appreciated especially on opening weekend, so word of mouth can build the way it did last time.
By the way, the Altarena has a really great (and innovative) policy that you may not know about: The first Saturday is an "Actors' Benefit". The theatre takes the box office receipts from that night and splits it 50/50 with the actors in the show. So if you want to support your fellow actors, come on Saturday the 30th.
For more info on the show, go to Altarena's site (tix available online; no service fee, $15-18...what a deal!)
Saturday, July 02, 2005
I'm going to be a curmudgeon
I mean, say what you will about the thinness of many of the plots that abound in shows 42nd St. Moon produces, but often they are original, not based on a novel or a movie or, God forbid, a TV show.
I know basing musicals on source material has been around a long time. Rodgers & Hammerstein based almost every single one of their musicals on existing sources.
But then think about works by Sondheim like Into the Woods or Follies or Sunday in the Park. He and his librettists of course, took inspiration from a story or a newspaper article or a biography...and created a new story from that.
What makes me grumble today? Well, my buddy Blogway Baby has blogged about two new musicals that are workshopping in NY right now. One is a musicalized The Color Purple. Granted it does star one of my favorite performers, La Chanze, and at least the source is a Pulitzer winning novel (or will they base it more on the movie?)
The other is, I kid you not, a musicalized Happy Days. Yes, the TV show with Ritchie and Potsie and the Fonz.
Now come on. Really? It's bad enough the movies are revisiting only comic book heroes and nostalgic TV shows, but Broadway?
At least Suzy, Ms. Blogway Baby herself, is workshopping a new musical of her own, Plane Crazy that seems to be birthed from her fertile imagination more than the remote control. And she has a really cute site about it too.
I don't mind a little inspiration. I'm getting tired of imitation though.
Friday, July 01, 2005
CORRECTION: San Francisco kills another musical
When we don't like something, we clearly have influence!
Oh yeah, other cities tried to kill Christina Applegate's Sweet Charity, but they didn't have what it takes.
It took both Chicago and DC to kill Sondheim's Bounce.
But we, all on our own, have killed a few Broadway-bound musicals in our time.
Didn't see it. Can't comment on whether it's deserved or not. Esai Morales is yummy and Justine Machado is very talented. I guess that just wasn't enough.
Anyone out there see it?
CORRECTION: As Russ points out in the comments, reports of Lennon's death (like mine) are high exaggerated. Lennon is, as it happens, still making it to Broadway, in fact starting previews this week. So now I'm wracking my brain because I just know there was another Broadway-bound musical that never made it past San Francisco in the last couple of years, and I just can't think of what I was thinking of.
That would have been a great scoop indeed, but no, I was just wrong.