Friday, June 30, 2006
If you want to know what I'm up to, check out the BlogHer Conference. Or you can sign up for my monthly newsletter here.
Hopefully we'll get Intrepid Annette up and running on here too, so you don't go through Moon Withdrawal. You can always subscribe to the weekly email, which will probably resume when the blog goes more active again...that way you don't have to check back every day...as I know you rabid Moonies must!
Finally, the new season starts in three weeks, so make sure you get in on the action...check it all out here.
Happy Fourth of July and have a great summer!!!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Harry Connick, part 1
There are two flavors of listenable tracks on The Pajama Game...the Sid/Babe duets, and the Gladys "hot" numbers. In the former category we have "Hey There", "Small Talk" and "There Once Was a Man." Harry Connick Jr. has a smooth, Sinatra-like flavor. I was wondering as "There Once Was a Man" if he was going to pull out the more booming belt of that number, given that he typically is more laid back. Never fear he does go for the gusto. As does Kelli O'Hara, who surely establishes herself as one of today's more versatile young women on Broadway. The leap from The Light on the Piazza to The Pajama Game is a big one! She reminds me a bit of Marin Mazzie...who can belt it out with the best of them and has a wonderful lyrical soprano voice too. Same kind of retro beauty too.
The other crowd-pleasing numbers are, of course, "Steam Heat" and "Hernando's Hideaway." Definitely more fun to see than just to listen to, but still pretty fun on recording. Where The Pajama Game just loses me is with its overall plot and secondary plot lines (secondary to Sid and Babe I mean.) Forgive me for bringing politics into musical theatre, but with the Senate once again striking down the notion of a minimum wage hike, and the current minimum wage leaving a full-time worker below the poverty line, I don't find the whole "Seven-and-a-half Cents" number amusing. And if it was played with irony on stage, well, I missed it.
Politics over, I also have to say that the comic duo's numbers don't translate that well to a listen-only mode. i.e. they're not so funny.
Then again, my memory of seeing this show a few years back in London is that the show is pretty dated...its humor and its ethos.
I wonder if this is available on iTunes, because like most musicals, I'm sure there are but a few songs I'll listen to, while skipping the filler between leading man and lady ballads!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Moonie in the World: Kristopher McDowell
This weekend only!
WHAT: Carol Channing in Concer, Starring RICHARD SKIPPER with special guest KRISTOPHER McDOWELL
WHEN: Friday, June 23 @7:30pm and Saturday, June 24 @8pm & 10pm
WHERE: Octavia Lounge, 1772 Market Street, San Francisco
MORE INFO: Richard Skipper returns to the Octavia Lounge following two successful shows last September. "Carol Channing in Concert Starring Richard Skipper" is a brand new show, which will come to San Francisco's Octavia Lounge after the New York premier at Helen's Supper Club on June 5. Musical Director Barry Lloyd.
MORE, MORE INFO: Kristopher will be premiering material from his new act, THE JOKER-The Story of Anthony Newley.
HOW MUCH: $20 cover charge, no drink or food minimum.
TICKETS: Reserve online at octavialounge.com or call the Octavia Lounge reservation hotline (415) 863-3516.
More info about Kristopher's appearances can always be found at his web site.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
It's only fair...
But Victoria is an example of a smart blog marketer, continuing to keep track of what I'm writing and looking for opportunities to present something relevant to me. And she totally found one!
She wrote me the following note yesterday:
Thanks for posting about the Tony Awards! Its great that you posted how you honestly felt about the Awards and their winners! I was wondering if there is the possibility to post up some song clips from Harry's latest album to give your readers the opportunity to hear for themselves. Thanks for your time and enjoy the clips once again!
OK, I will totally bite. I said Harry seemed a little uncomfortable, and yes, I will post clips from his latest album, Harry on Broadway, Act 1, so y'all can hear for yourselves.
The first CD of the 2-CD set features songs from The Pajama Game, and here are some clips:
A New Town is a Blue Town
The second CD features songs from Connick Jr's Broadway composing debut, Thou Shalt Not:
I Like Love More
The Other Hours
They are quite short clips, but I'd have to say I'm far more intrigued by Thou Shalt Not. There's a kind of languid, retro feeling to both clips.
So, anyone out there a Harry fan who already has the album? If so, what do you think?
Monday, June 19, 2006
Tonight Only! Moonies n the World: Kristen Sharpley, Lianne Marie Dobbs
It benefits the American Cancer Society and features a number of local divas, including a coupla Moonies:
It's tonight; it's in Los Altos; it's not that pricy, and it's for a good cause, so consider going! Learn more here.
SF Theatre Festival needs volunteers
The San Francisco Theater Festival Seeks VOLUNTEERS for a variety of tasks at the festival e.g. ushers, setup/breakdown, check-in, etc.
WE NEED LOTS OF PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT SKILLS AND MINIMAL SKILLS TO HELP!
Join the festival team. Meet people. Get involved. Donate some time. This is a volunteer, unpaid short term job. Lunch & T-Shirt provided. The Festival takes place at Yerba Buena Gardens. Sunday, July 23, 2006, 11 am—5 pm.
70 Theater Groups & Solo Artists Perform on 10 Stages. The free SF THEATER FESTIVAL presents live showcase performances by Bay Area theater arts organizations, including comedy, drama, musical, children’s theater, hip-hop, Shakespeare, solo performers, improv.
For Info Contact: Bill Schwartz, 415-291-8655. bill@SFTheaterFestival.org, www.SFTheaterFestival.org.
The SFTF is a theatre-lover's dream. Among the many many Bay Area theatre particiapting, 42nd St. Moon will be there performing scenes from Li'l Abner.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Moonie in the World: Brian Yates Sharber
I wanted to let you (and hopefully all of the more internet-savvy people of the world) know that someone actually hired me again!! I am going to be in the SF Playhouse summer production of Putting It Together! With Dianna Shuster directing, and the cast and artistic team we have, it's sure to be lots of fun. Our show opens on Gay Pride weekend (6/24). A Sondheim revue opening Gay Pride weekend? I'm not sure that [producer] Bill, et. al. is aware of this potential coup.
Checking out the show's press release, I can also see that Moonie stalwart Dave Dobrusky is the Musical Director...so we can breathe easy knowing the music is in excellent hands!!!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Some Li'l Abner switcheroos
First, some of you may know that the original plan for this show was that I was going to be playing Marryin' Sam. Due to some family situations, I finally decided that I needed to withdraw from that role. We were lucky, though, to get Doug Santana to replace me. I know a lot of you know Doug, and he worked with us in The Cabaret Girl a couple of years back.
But wait! There's more! Chapter Two:
Some of you may also already know that, likewise because of family considerations, Dyan McBride has regretfully had to withdraw as director of Li'l Abner. So, with time short and options limited (and with the time commitment much less than if I were performing), her replacement will be -- me! I guess I am destined to do this show after all, and I am really excited that I will indeed get to be working with all of you.
The production team has already met, and Tom Segal and I have been throwing around ideas for some of those big numbers (including a really nifty one for the Sadie Hawkins Day race that we'll let you know about shortly)
Sometimes it's hard to keep up!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Some fun Li'l Abner links from Greg
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Celebration for Dean Goodman
Dean Goodman has dictated the following message for us here at Theatre Bay Area and all of our members. There will be a tribute, which he plans on attending, on Monday. See below for details. Theatre Bay Area extends our deepest respect to Dean Goodman, who has been such a positive force in the history of Bay Area theatre and who has so deeply contributed to its successes.
"Dean Goodman is terminally ill and in the last act of his long, fruitful life. He is grateful for the outpouring of concern and respect from his friends in the theatre community and wishes good luck to all artistic directors and managers, performers and actors, technicians and all associated with the theatre. He urges all of them to continue to strive for excellence."
So, here are the details:
A Celebration for Dean Goodman
A pre-birthday bash (his real B-Day is actually July 2, but time is of the essence) and/or a chance to say thank you for all he has given to the Bay Area theatre community.
DATE: Monday, June 19
WHERE: At A.C.T
5:30pm: Doors open
6:30pm: Dean arrives
7:00pm: Staged Reading
A reading of Dean Goodman's new play Bloody August
R.S.V.P to Phoebe Moyer at 415-464-0578
Refreshments: Contact Kenna Hunt (415-492-1179) if you can donate food and/or beverages, and/or paper goods.
Readings: Contact Elizabeth Holmes if you want to participate in a tribute to Dean or if you can't attend and would like a tribute read by George Maguire in your absence.
Please pass this invitation on to your friends and colleagues.
Monday, June 12, 2006
So, what did we think of the Tony Awards?
Since my grandmother died in 2001, I'm lucky to make it there once every couple of years, and my last trip, in March, didn't even include time for theatre. The last couple of years were the first where I had not seen a single nominated musical or play. So it's hard for me to feel very emotionally invested in the outcomes. Obviously I still have favorite actors, composers etc, butthat's rooting for legacy recognition, not current recognition.
My thoughts on the show:
-Well, only one winner had music start playing under him, and that's good, because nothing bugs me more than when they start interrupting someone, especially if it's someone who's actually saying something moving or amusing or anything other than a list of "thank yous"
Of course they may have been able to avoid the music play-off by keeping the pace of the show so rapid it felt like they were trying to win a race. 60 stars, count 'em! They'll be moving by so fat it'll be hard to actually count 'em, but you get the idea.
-Color me shocked that Pajama Game beat out Sweeney Todd for Best Musical Revival. I've only seen the show once, in London, and it seemed like your basic, blah 50s American musical. My S.O. and I were noting that the last few years Tony voters have really favored the frothy/fluffy over the substantial, but Pajama Game struck me as onle average material. Kelli O'Hara clearly shows her versatility, moving from the lyric ingenue of Light in the Piazza to the modern woman (and belter) Babe, but didn't Harry Connick Jr seem a little stiff and uncomofortable? Sweeney Todd remains my favorite musical ever, and everyone has raved about this re-imagining of it, so this was the most surprising moment for me last night.
-The second most surprising moment (but one I enjoyed) was seeing LaChanze take the Best Actress in a musical award. I have loved LaChanze ever since I saw her in Once on this Island over 15 years ago. The Color Purple was obviously getting the BIG Tony voter snub last night, so I thought Patti LuPone had it sewn up. Maybe Sutton Foster. LaChanze is a wonderful performer, and her life has had a few tragic turns (her husband died in 9/11) so I was very happy that she won.
-It's hard for me to imagine that Jersey Boys is really that good...I'm not typically a fan of jukebox musicals. But it certainly did look entertaining last night. Anyone seen it?
-I love Cyndi Lauper and would love to see her in a show that could use her interpretative skills and emotional intensity, but having done Threepenny Opera some years back I was reminded: I really don't like it. Long, rambly, non-melodic, non-poetic songs...just like I remember :) And now that the same artistic staff sleazed up Cabaret a few years back, this just looks like they had a production meeting and decided to do the exact same treatment to Threepenny without a lick of customization. Throw a little leather here, a few tattoos there, some homo-erotic and S&M-oriented undetones here and there...Presto! You've got a "re-interpretation!"
-Why wouldn't they let us see Patti LuPone play the tuba? Whyyyyyyy?
-Molly Ringwald is coming to San Jose, playing Charity in Sweet Charity at AMT. Hence I was a little disturbed to see her looking so uncomfortable on stage! If her eyes popped open any wider I was afraid we'd have an incident straight out of the season finale of House. (Yes, I'm mixing my theatre talk with TV references, so sue me.)
-Lastly: The Wedding Singer looked appallingly, embarrassingly bad, didn't it? Horrible song...which might have been carried off if there were even a soupcon of irony in the mix. But no. It just was horrible, (And horrible, frenentic, cliched choreography too.) My jaw dropped soon into the number, and I never got it closed until the number was over.
What do I want to see based on the show? (Since it is mostly a big commercial for Broadway, after all.)
Sweeney Todd (but that was already true)
Drowsy Chaperone (looks fun, no doubt)
Color Purple (those are some powerful women performers up there!!)
Jersey Boys (I can be convinced this one is worthwhile...and those boys are definitely talented!)
How about you?
Saturday, June 10, 2006
And now for something completely different
According to Annette:
Favorite line of the night was something like...
Said by Iraqi/Middle Eastern-looking characters:
"You Americans take all the rights you have for granted... rights like... THE RIGHT TO DO MUSICAL THEATRE! " And then they launched into a Gilbert & Sullivan parody. I laughed loudly at that one.
Another funny number was a parody of "Springtime for Hitler" from "The Producers," called "Springtime for Liberals...and Hilary!"
No punches were held back... they made fun of everyone on the political scene ("Dubya," Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hilary, John Kerry, the Supreme Court Justices,
and more) - although they didn't take a swing at Mayor Newsom... but they did take a swing (excuse the pun) at Barry Bonds. They also did a parody about illegal immigrants called "Juan," sung to the tune of "One" from "A Chorus Line."
Annette points out they're playing in Santa Cruz tonight, so it's not too late to check them out :)
Friday, June 09, 2006
Kander & Ebb's last show finally being mounted
Many a Broadway stalwart is making the trip to L.A for the production, including personal faves Jason Danieley and Karen Ziemba. And apparently David Hyde Pierce has decided he likes the theatre post-Frasier, because he's set to star.
42nd St. Moon is doing two of Kander & Ebb's older works this season, Flora the Red Menace and Zorba, but as you can see they were still actively at it decades down the road from these shows.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
What plays in Vegas, closes in Vegas?
So, is it the lure of the slots? The lure of the nudie revues? The lure of Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil that keeps audiences away?
Could it be that by dumbing down (and really, how do you dumb down Hairspray!!??) these musicals, cutting stuff and making them run an intermissionless 90 minutes they're understimating their audiences and short-changing them...and people don't want to pay for that?
Nah, it's probably the nudie revues.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Annette's Excellent Adventure
So, where are the future 42nd Street Moon performers?
Well, some of them are probably in the Danville Girls Chorus! I ventured out of the City (and across the Bay Bridge!) on Saturday to see their show, "That's Broadway!" I went to see a friend's daughter perform and was treated to songs by some of 42nd Street Moon's best friends: Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Rodgers and Hart and more! Congrats to artistic director Kenneth Abrams, staff and chorus for putting on a fine show. (They sang songs from everything like "It's De-lovely," to "Over the Rainbow," to medleys from "Oklahoma!" and the faculty-performed "West Side Story".)
They also sang a song from "Leave It To Me!", but I didn't keep the program, so I don't know which tune.
To find out more about the DGC, please visit their website.
Wow...all the way across the Bay Bridge! I get in trouble with my East Bay friends all the time because I look at it as some far-off foreign land, not even really the Bay Area! (One friend used to chastise me pretty strongly, telling me her hometown of Alameda was actually on the bay!!!)
It's ironic I should behave that way, given I lived in Queens when I live in NYC, and I heartily lamented the fact that my Manhattan friends looked down their noses at other boroughs and rarely, if ever, crossed a bridge to visit me.