Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Katrina's Aftermath: How to Help
For the rest of us non-GM employees here are some handy links:
America's Second Harvest
HUmane Society of the US
Richard Rodgers special on PBS
Coming up tomorrow night at 9PM on Channel 9 is a profile of Composer Richard Rodgers. Check your local listings.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Moonies out in the world: David Curley
I haven't been to the Rep in a long long time, but this show, The Haunting of Winchester is going to get me in the door.
And you can see a picture of David's back in the photo in yesterday's Merc feature on the show:
Photo credit: Kimberly P. Mitchell - San Jose Mercury News
David plays the architect of the monstrosity.
So, since we're on the topic I gotta ask: they recently cut down the trees that lined Winchester Blvd. and blocked the view of the house from Winchester. I am sure they did it to lure more visitors in, but I feel like some of the mystique is missing now.
Who's with me?
The again I've only been there once in my decades of living in the San Jose area, so perhaps the folks tha run the HOuse don't really care what I think :)
Monday, August 29, 2005
Rehearsals for Red, Hot & Blue
I'm waiting for my first dispatches from the front.
Ellen Greene at Martuni's
Here's my review of her performance.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Isn't this sort of like "Edwin Drood"?
An audience pays $15 to watch actors deliver audition monologues. And then votes on who they want to see perform cold readings in the second act.
But the thing is, each of the actors know the night they're "auditioning", the only question is whether they'll have a minor or major role. So, not sure the urgency really is the same.
And I'm assuming they're getting paid some kind of fee for this...and I sure as hell never got paid to audition when I lived in NY!
It more reminds me of The Mystery of Edwin Drood than reality TV. The audience got to vote on the ending and that determined who got to sing a big song in the end.
One of my theatre friends, though, thinks this sounds like the coolest.
Am I missing the charm here?
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Bernadette Peters Interview
She talks a bit about Sondheim, a bit about being an icon to the gay community, and a bit about gay marriage.
Two albums to look forward to...one coming out soon that contains the rest of her famous Carnegie Hall debut concert that wasn't included on the first album release of that concert, and then a new studio album, by the end of the year.
I'll be ready to download them both! (Legally, of course, legally.)
New Blog in Blog Roll: Cool as Hell Theatre Podcast
Michael Rice conducts his own Bay Area Internet Radio Talk Show in the modestly titled Cool as Hell Theatre Podcast blog. He's been doing it for less than 2 months and already has posted 14 podcasts. He does reviews and interviews, focusing on our local theatre scene.
Check him out.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
KQED is auctioning off a 42nd St. Moon subscription!
The starting tomorrow (Friday the 26th) head on over to the KQED auction site and place your bid.
You'll have one week to get your bid in and win this season subscription for two, all while benefitting both 42nd St. Moon and KQED.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Get your Red Hot discount here
The blog reader discount for Red, Hot & Blue is a blanket 20% off every seat for all performances (excluding Sunday matinees.)
The discount code is: "Red Hot"
The discount can be obtained via phone or window sales only, not online.
The box office number is 415-978-2787.
Also, please note this is a Limited Availability offer only. Cole Porter is a big draw, so we expect ticket sales to be very heavy. Something to bear in mind if you're a natural procrastinator!
The show opens (well, starts previews) on September 22nd, a scant 4 weeks from tomorrow.
Remember...it's "Red Hot"!
Moonie in the World: Austin Ku
"I'm performing in "Much Ado About Nothing" with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (Shakespeare in the Park) this summer--and it's FREE!!!
In case you are not familiar with the show, it's a witty comedy about 2 couples and their love/hate relationships, throw in a lot of misunderstandings and scheming on the part of the half-brother villain. I play Balthasar, the messenger/minstrel--a supporting part who has a couple of scenes and also sings a couple of songs over the course of the play.
We're in Lake Merritt this weekend (Sat's and Sun's at 4 pm), and then in the SF Presidio all 4 weekends of September (Sat's at 7:30, Sun's at 2:30, special Labor Day performance at 2:30).
It's outdoors, so bring whatever food (and drink!) you like along with your lawn chairs/blankets and layers (in case it gets chilly--esp. the Sat. evenings in SF); have a nice picnic dinner and booze it up while watching a show!"
Booze it up? Moi? Well, actually no, because I developed an allergy to alcohol about 4 years ago...terrible right? Thank God for good theatre to ease the pain!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Oh, BTW...we'll be noshing in style
That food and drink I mentioned would be served at the concert is coming from Trader Vics.
Bring on the Mai-Tais!
Monday, August 22, 2005
Tix now on sale: Klea Blackhurst CD Release Concert
Tickets are $75, of which $50 is tax-deductible. Call 415-255-8205 to purchase tickets.
Food and drink will be served.
Check out the details here (and listen to a clip from the CD too.)
Stay tuned for the blogger discount for Red, Hot & Blue
What I can tell you now is this:
-The discount will be 20% off all seats for all performances (excluding Sunday matinees.)
-The discount will have limited availability only, due to the historical popularity of Cole Porter shows at 42nd St. Moon. So once we announce how to get the discount you'll want to jump on it.
What I don't know yet:
-We're still working on whether we can accept the discount code via phone only, or whether the online site will be able to handle discount transactions.
-What the actual promotion code is.
So, stay tuned.
Oh, and in case you're wondering: the show opens on Thursday August 22nd and closes on Sunday October 16th. (Yes, this one has a 4-week run.)
A proponent of the Good Old Days
That's a bold statement!!
Now, I totally get what he's saying about the recent crop of musicals that seem to apologize for being musicals. The fact is that we who love musicals laugh at certain numbers in shows like The Producers because of knowledge of all the other musicals they're parodying. It's an insider's laugh. But there is that hint of self-loathing isn't there? The "if you can't beat them" in mocking musical theatre "then join them" mentality. I rarely walk away from today's blockbusters, such as The Producers or Hairspray with the same enthusiasm that is somehow expected.
But I just don't buy the argument that the "serious" musicals that became more en vogue starting in the 70s are "ascetic, eat-your-vegetables 'serious' musicals." Just as I've never bought the argument that Stephen Sondheim can't write hummable melodies. I find sweeping romanticism and high drama in many late 20th Century "serious" musicals...hardly asceticism. From Sweeney Todd to Ragtime I believe there are great "serious" musicals. Yes, they may follow a more opera-like form, being more sung-thru than most classic musicals. But that's merely taking the breakthrough techniques of Showboat and then Oklahoma to the next, logical level.
Friday, August 19, 2005
The prescience of Yip Harburg
As blogger Jaime Weinman points out, Harburg's 1957 lyrics seem pretty applicable today too.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Big, I mean BIG Casting News!
This just in from Intrepid Annette:
"Greg called all the way from a location mystérieux to say that the role of The Countess in MISS LIBERTY will be portrayed by...(imagine the drum roll please...Kathryn Crosby!
Mrs. Crosby was last seen on a 42nd Street Moon stage in ROBERTA and we look forward to welcoming her back this fall. Mrs. Crosby of course is the mother of Mary Frances Crosby, the woman who went down in TV infamy as the woman who shot J.R. on Dallas.
She was also married to Bing."
But let me just say that I saw her on Broadway in State Fair not so very long ago, and she was lovely.
Some good blog scoop for the day!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
What Greg buys on Ebay
"It identifies Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante, and shows, in pencil, the paper's crop markings. The picture is from the first scene in the play, where Merman, as Nails O'Reilly Duquesne (an ex-manicurist, now a rich widow), meets Durante, as Policy Pinkle, a con who is on the prison polo team (look closely at his outfit!) -- In our version, of course, it will be Klea Blackhurst and Kalon Thibodeaux."
I love the prison polo outfit!! And look how young and quite lovely Merman was. (Although the shoes are dreadful.)
The modern technology of Ebay and digital scanners...bringing us all a little closer to the golden era of Broadway musicals :)
Monday, August 15, 2005
When blogging worlds collide
Over at HealthyConcerns, I link to and discuss an article from a New York doctor giving Ten Tips to Singers.
Check it out.
OK, I could get into this
Yes, I know, I'm the one who laments the lack of original stories on Broadway (and in the movies too come to think of it), but The Princess Bride is about as likely a candidate for the Broadway Musical treatment as any other source material I can think of.
And the fact that they're retaining William Goldman, who not only wrote the screenplay for the movie, but the charming book upon which the movie was based, is a very good sign.
Adam Guettel is attached to be the composer, and I like that idea. I think The Princess Bride is a classic fairy tale, even if written in modern times, and as such would be much better served with a classic score, as opposed to a pop-infused Elton John or Marc Shaiman approach.
So bring it on.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Klea's CD is out...and she's performing in its honor
So, if you're a 42nd St. Moon blog reader, but happen to live in New York, you can see Klea perform in support and celebration of her new release at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, NYC) for two performances only. Featuring Michael Rice and The New Pocket Change Trio, shows will be presented on Sunday, August 28th and Monday, August 29th at 7:30PM.
For tickets call Telecharge.com at 212-239-6200. Tickets are $20.00 plus a $12.00 food or two drink minimum per person. Doors open at 6:00 PM. For table reservations call 212-539-8778.
Of course for we locals let's not forget that Klea will also be performing a CD Release Concert as a benefit for 42nd St. Moon in October.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Can't we all get along?
Well, apparently Broadway composers have as much spare time on their hands as anyone else, and instead of channeling into something productive, like blogging for instance, they've decided to start a new feud.
Seems Composer #1 thinks the American Musical is "dead" (hmmm, where have I heard that before?) and Composer #2 (listed among those contributing to said deadness) thinks Composer #1 is a pompous ass.
Um, they're both right?
I liken recent big-hit musicals, such as The Producers, Hairspray and probably Spamalot (haven't seen that one) to Chinese food...it's good while it lasts, but it kinda goes right through you. I don't think, however, that it's particularly new phenomenon. Certainly it's been true for at least 2 decades since the British Invasion led by Trevor Nunn and Andrew Lloyd Webber started.
And I bet back in the golden era (and I'm sure Greg may have a comment on this) there were more "fluffy" musicals for every serious piece. Are we in a special kind of hell with the jukebox musicals a la Mamma Mia? I'm not even sure that's unique. There were plenty of musicals back in the day that were simply revues of popular songs. (It's just that popular songs used to be more aligned with Broadway than these days.)
But like the actor who does a blockbuster every three years to support his indie film habit, the real question is:
Does producing the blockbuster, artistically-challenged shows enable the more daring fare to also be produced, or does it push that fare out?
I wish the former, not sure it's not the latter though.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Where have all the male actors gone? Two theatres in desperate need!
But usually men are a much rarer commodity, and two theatres in the area are desperately seeking some. Both of these are community theatres down the Peninsula and both have short notice needs for more than one male actor. If you can think of anyone and can help them out, they're in dire straits:
Opportunity #1: Godspell at the Studio Theatre of California in Sunnyvale
A small theatre in Sunnyvale is producing Godspell this fall, but hasn't found a Jesus and Judas! Yeah, that could be a teensy problem. I'm actually a fan of Godspell's score; it's full of great music for both of these guys. They're holding special auditions this Saturday the 13th. Here's the info:
Saturday, August 13 at 2:00 p.m
Sunnyvale Congregational Church.
Performances are the first three full weekends in October.
For more information, go to www.stoc.org and click on auditions. Or call Claire at 408-866-7870.
Opportunity #2: Elton John's Aida a the BusBarn Theatre in Los Altos
I've been to many productions at BusBarn because some of my friends love performing there and do so often. Three men have dropped out of the show in the last three days due to extenuating personal circumstances! They now need a Pharoah and an Amonoroso (older men) as well as a couple of male ensemble members.
The show would run from Sept 9-Oct1 in Los Altos.
Anyone who is interested should contact:
Barbara J. Cannon at 650-941-5070
As you can see, this show was already in rehearsal and a month from opening, so it's every director's nightmare.
Both of these theatres are fairly small and may actually have to cancel productions if they can't get the right actors, and for both theatres that would be potentially devastating.
I If you can help out, or know anyone you think would be interested, please pass this along and help save the day!
Monday, August 08, 2005
Apparently our "controversy" is no controversy.
Well, apparently we were just creating our own little tempest in a teapot, or mountain out of a molehill, or [name the cliche here]!
We received this message from Brad Rosenstein from the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. He enjoyed our passionate little non-argument over a non-issue:
"I was quite amused to read about the great “cast album” controversy. I shared your message with David Leopold, who also appreciated the furor. He’s honestly not sure what all the fuss is about, since he doesn’t recall saying that "Miss Liberty" was the first cast album. The case in the exhibition contains four albums ("Annie Get Your Gun" from 1946, "Miss Liberty" from 1949, "Call Me Madam" from 1950, and "Mr. President" from 1962), and the caption cites these as the only four original cast albums Irving Berlin saw released in his lifetime. David had overlooked "This Is the Army", which is “more or less a cast album,” in his words, and we have since added it to the case as well.
Maybe you misunderstood something David said during the tour or he was somehow unclear – perhaps he was noting that Berlin was especially pleased to have a cast album of "Miss Liberty", especially given its short run. As you recalled, he had always regretted that "Louisiana Purchase" didn’t have one.
At any rate, so glad to have people so passionate and knowledgable paying close attention to the facts. We pride ourselves on doing our best to get our history right, but deeply appreciate our friends at 42nd Street Moon setting us straight when the need arises! And thanks so much for letting people know about the exhibition – I know they’ll enjoy coming to see it."
I bet Berlin was pretty bummed not to have a recording of Louisiana Purchase. Having been in 42nd St. Moon's production, oh those many years ago, I can tell you it has a really catchy, jazzy, score. My family tortured themselves and me for weeks after breaking into the title song's jumpy melody.
Guest reviewer tackles "Oh My Godmother"
And now she is turning that interest over to being a theatre critic, and has sent me her personal review of Oh My Godmother, the show written by Moonie Ron Lytle, and a cabaret debut performance by another Moonie, Russ Lorenson.
Take it away Annette:
"If you haven't yet made it over to Alameda to see Ron Lytle's new musical, "Oh My Godmother!" - RUN and go
next weekend (next weekend is the last weekend it's playing at the Altarena)... today's performance was sold out.
And it's quite the star turn for Charlie Levy, our wandering minstrel from ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, in his role as "Cinder-Albert." :-)
Visit http://www.altarena.org for more info.
I also went to see Russ Lorenson (soon to be in RED HOT & BLUE) sing at the Cafe Majestic - and he did great, too!"
Annette seems to be constantly on the go. I, on the other hand, haven't seen any theatre in a little while, although I am going to see Foothill's production of Brigadoon this Friday night.
So thanks for taking up the local theatre review slack, Annette!
Friday, August 05, 2005
Moonies (doing good) Out in the World
Let's first acknowledge our Moonie-behind-the-scenes, Annette, who has volunteered for a couple of years now to be on the Transportation Committee for the fundraiser, shuttling guest artists to and from the airport and rehearsals. Let's see, private drive-time with Broadway legends and free access to the performance...pretty cool volunteer work.
Here were Annette's favorite moments this year:
1. Betty Garrett in her rendition of "A Woman's Prerogative" (Styne/Mercer) from ST. LOUIS WOMAN. She starts the number dressed up a la Little Bo Peep and does a "quick change" into a leather dominatrix outfit-not bad for an octogenarian!!
***You may just know Garrett from Laverne & Shirley, but she is a Broadway regular since the 1940s.
2. Ray Garcia (who'll be in the film version of RENT), Mark W. Smith ("Port Charles" - soap opera) & Kevin Spirtas (last seen the Bay Area in A CHORUS LINE at AMTSJ.) in an all-male version of "Gotta Have a Gimmick" (Styne/Sondheim) from GYPSY!
***I have not seen this song done this way. And according to Annette I should be very, very sorry about that...eye candy galore!
3. Local favorite Paula West's version of "Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe" (Arlen/Harburg) from CABIN IN THE SKY!! She was fabulous!
4. Broadway leading lady Christine Andreas in her Act I finale of "Don't Rain on My Parade!" (Styne/Merrill) from FUNNY GIRL.
5. Susan Anton going to town with "Blues in the Night" (Arlen/Mercer) from the show of the same name.
5. Lorna Luft singing one of her mother Judy Garland's career standards... "The Man That Got Away" (Arlen/Gershwin) from A STAR IS BORN.
The show also starred Jane Russell (yes, THE Jane Russell), Debby Boone, local faves Meg Mackay, Tim Hockenberry, and Sony Holland, Dorian Harewood, and more!!
Exec. Producer/REAF Executive Director Ken Henderson talked briefly about how the face of AIDS has changed over the years... how it used to be "helping people with the disease live out their lives with dignity, but now that people are surviving and living with HIV, it's about sustaining their lives." Local agencies benefitting from Monday night's gala include: The
Center for AIDS Services, Meals of Marin, Positive Resource Center, Shanti, and the UCSF AIDS Health Project.
***Wow, what a line-up...I'm sort of not getting over the Jane Russell/Debby Boone combo. I am clearly not on the right mailing lists because I didn't hear about this one.
Anyway, thanks to Annette for providing the report, and for lending her time and energy to a good cause.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Have a great theatre story?
"Library researcher Brad Schreiber is an author, screenwriter, literary consultant and playwright living in Los Angeles. He has recently begun writing a book about things going terribly wrong during performances in the live theatre. It's called Stop the Show! A History of Absurd Incidents and Insane Accidents in the Theatre and it will be published next year by Thunder's Mouth Press. The book will be a collection of stories and anecdotes of actual mishaps, both tragic and comedic, that have taken place in the theatre in the past 100 years.
Brad needs your help. If you have a funny or tragic story to tell about an experience in the theatre, Brad would like to hear from you. Stories can be about the lowliest amateur production to Broadway and the West End. Standup comedy. Performance art. Personal anecdote or one gleaned from publication or a story told. United States or the UK, any time in the last 100 years or so. Onstage, backstage, in the audience, in the lobby, in the flies above the stage.
You can share your stories with Brad by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brad promises that all contributors will be acknowledged, either in the body of the story, if the person is involved, or on an acknowledgments page, if the person is relating a story secondhand."
Now, just imagine if blogs had been around for the last 100 years, and theatre had them like 42nd St. Moon does. How much easier would Brad's research be?
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Music as a universal language
At one point I was sitting with another blogger and somehow the topic of 9/11 came up. Surprising how often 9/11 still comes up in conversations. How often people still end up comparing notes.
Well, as it turned out I was in NYC on business that week (I told my whole 9/11 story on my Personal blog this past September day by day by day), and while she lived in Boston at the time, she had plans (and kept them) to go to NYC the weekend after 9/11.
She told me a story: she was into this hard-core industrial trance dance scene at the time and they used to go to a club mainly frequented by Israelis. The Saturday after 9/11 the scheduled DJ was a Palestinian Muslim, and the atmosphere was a little strained as people wondered how he and the crowd would handle it. But he threw on a version of John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance and the crowd lit their lighters swayed, cried, and sang along, and felt like one world.
I, on the other hand, decided to show my support by going to the theatre the first night Broadway went live again, Thursday night. I decided to stand on the cancellations line for that season's impossible ticket, The Producers. At the end of the show the cast, looking drained from the strain of being so upbeat, so relentlessly full of positive energy, led the audience in singing God Bless America. We all stood, swayed, cried and sang along...and again felt like one world.
The scene may have been so very different, but the foundation was the same. Creating beauty and art together is a powerful force. And music, whether 60s protest rock or Broadway show tunes can be the universal language that we all can understand.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Controversy over cast albums
"Mr. Leopold's book on the works of Irving Berlin will be published later this fall by Harry N. Abrams. This exhibit is a joint venture between PALM and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which is where the exhibit will move to early next year after it leaves SF.
(Ed. Note: And is where they have an incredible musical theatre score collection and is where I used to go copy all of my audition music back when I lived there...was I breaking copyright laws? Looking back...I think so.)
42nd Street Moon got nice plugs at the Exhibit's gala opening and tonight during the lecture. Mr. Leopold
says MISS LIBERTY has a great score and he hopes to maybe come see the show in the fall."
But 42nd St. Moon controversy erupted because Annette reported that Leopold said: Miss Liberty was the first show to have a cast recording.
Not so! No way! Now we're trying to figure out what landmark the Miss Liberty cast recording might represent.
Greg says: "OKLAHOMA! in 1943 is usually credited with being the first American "Original cast album" (the Brits had been doing it for years before that), although in reality THE CRADLE WILL ROCK really was the first in the late 1930s. By the time MISS LIBERTY came around in 1949, there had been numerous cast recordings released -- including Berlin's THIS IS THE ARMY, so ML wasn't even the first Berlin show to get a cast recording. And SOUTH PACIFIC, I believe, from a few months before MISS LIBERTY, was the first cast recording released as an LP instead of on 78s."
(Greg is clearly a scholar and a gentleman, how else could he know this stuff!?)
Then Annette thought perhaps the landmark was that it was the first Irving Berlin recording out on LP, because it was mentioned that Berlin had really wished that the earlier work Louisiana Purchase had gotten a cast recording.
I tell this story because I think it illustrates pretty well what 42nd St. Moon's work on these older shows really entails: sifting through information that is not always well documented, expertly archived, or easily deciphered. We take for granted today's technologies and how easily they let us record for posterity how things are or were.
As for the Hirschfeld story: I met a guy recently who has a daughter named Nina (as Hirschfeld's daughter was.) During the dot.com boom, when he thought he'd be rich and it would last forever he actually hired Hirschfeld to do one of drawing of his daughter. They flew out to New York and spent the day at Hirschfeld's house, where she posed for Hirschfeld. Now my friend has an original Hirschfeld of his non-famous daughter Nina hanging in his house. How cool is that? Gotta be one of the more unique mementoes of the dot.com boom, don't you think?