Archive for May, 2008

Breakfast With The Little Women And Two Men

This morning in an effort to promote our upcoming production of Little Women, a few of the cast members, director, and a rather outspoken woman who was attempting to interest a few children in the children’s theatre later this summer, met at the library for an impromptu presentation for young minds. It was rather enjoyable as each of us in turn introduced ourselves by telling who were were playing, past theatrical experiences, and what theatre means to us. Our director lead a short intro to theatre in general and asked our audience of approximately 20 children who ranged in age from about 8-14 a few questions. I was really surprised to learn that a young girl of about 10 knew why the stage directions of “Downstage” and “Upstage” were so named. For those not in the know, stages used to be built on an incline because the audience seating was flat. As the performers moved up the slant or down, the audience had a better view of the action.

Later, the little peoples engaged in theatre games. “Who am I” involved the children walking around with signs on their back. On the signs were names of people, animals, and occupations. Harry Potter, bear, and nurse were a few. The children wandered around asking each other yes/no questions in an attempt to figure out what was written on the sign. I was surprised that it took the only young man the entire game to come up with “Mickey Mouse.” Much like a game I am fond of called “Hedbanz” except the players wear a band with a card attached.

To wrap things up, the children’s theatre director presented a piece on audition etiquette. What to do and what not to do when auditioning for a play. Speaking loudly and clearly as well as having confidence were a few of the dos. Turning off the cell phone (that goes for audience members, as well), not chewing gum, and NOT ACTING LIKE A GOOF?! were a few of the no-nos (I believe I saw a few glances my way when the the word “goof” was mentioned… mostly from the person leading the discussion). I always thought that acting like a goof was a sure way to get the part.

So, a fun few hours. Anytime young people can be introduced to something fun and ultimately rewarding is time well spent.

Little Women (The Illus Children’s Library)

Funrise Toys Headbanz Adult Game

Sometimes When You Dream

Tonight’s rehearsal was full of very hard work but it was all fun. We spent nearly an hour-and-a-half blocking and walking through the most elaborate piece of the show: “The Weekly Volcano Press.” The scene is essentially Jo telling a story that she has written to the Professor and Mrs. Kirk. The story is chock full of characters drawn out of fairy tales and other sources that come to life on stage. There are a chorus of trolls, hags, monks, a damsel in distress, the hero and of course the “aristocratic melodramatic stock villain” Braxton Prendergast (thank you Chris for your help). That is all I will elaborate upon so I do not spoil it for those who may wish to come and enjoy the show for themselves. I do believe that when fully realized this will be one of the highlights of the musical. There is something going on musically and visually every second of the piece.

Once again, the director commented to me a few times. He seemed to be amazed at how well I know my character. Well… every character in any play has a story. It is up to the actor to find that story and BRING IT!!!

It was also bio-night. Each of us was given a form on which to list our past theatrical experiences, awards (“Dancing Star”), any acknowledgments we would like to make, future endeavors, and any words of wisdom we would wish to share. Needless to say, mine will probably be edited for length. I just could not shut up about how much I love doing this.

Finally before we were excused, volunteers were asked to attend a mini-theatre seminar at the local library Saturday morning. Guess who had their hand up before anyone? “Big Surprise,” exclaimed Mr. Director.

Little Women The Musical (2005 Original Broadway Cast)

Happy Birthday, 007

Well, to his creator anyway. Ian Fleming was born May 28, 1908. WOW… that would make him 100 years old today… of course he passed away many years ago. Ironically, he left the world mere months after the release of From Russia with Love on the big screen in 1964. The centennial of the author’s birth is being celebrated in at least two ways. Today sees the release of the newest James Bond novel Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks. In November, the 22nd film in the Bond franchise Quantum of Solace will be presented on the big screen with Daniel Craig reprising the role of British Secret Service agent 007.

In total, Fleming wrote 12 Bond novels and two collections of short stories. Following his death, other writers have taken up the mantle. Although most of the plots for the books and the movies have very little in common, fifteen of the movies take their titles directly from the books. The novel From Russia with Love was high on President John F. Kennedy’s favorite reading list which prompted the production of the second film. Below is a list of Fleming’s 12 Bond novels and 2 short stories and the order in which the movie was released which are not synonymous.

Casino Royale (21)

Live and Let Die (8)

Moonraker (11)

Diamonds are Forever (7)

From Russia with Love (2)

Dr. No (1)

Goldfinger (3)

For Your Eyes Only (12)

Thunderball (13 sorry… 4)

The Spy Who Loved Me (10)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (6)

You Only Live Twice (5)

The Man with the Golden Gun (9)

Octopussy (13) and the Living Daylights (15)

(GoldenEye takes its name from Fleming’s Jamaican home where he wrote the stories)

Fleming’s writing was not limited to the world of the spy. He also penned the children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.


James Bond Novels

A Boy And His Horses

In more Harry Potter related news, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry himself) will be making his Broadway stage debut on September 5 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Last year, he received rave reviews for his London stage debut in Peter Shaffer’s play, Equus. The story of Alan Strang, a rather disturbed young stable boy who has an unusual fixation with horses. However, the psychiatrist who attempts to must solve the mystery of Alan’s sexual and religious perversion has his own hidden psychological trauma. Incidentally, the psychiatrist will be played by Richard Griffiths who also plays the role of Harry’s eternally frustrated Uncle Vernon in the Potter films. A few words of warning to those who may think that the play will delight the young fans of the boy wizard (although “delight” may not be the most appropriate term). Equus is definitely NOT a play to introduce to young children. Its heavy adult themes and scenes are much too heavy perhaps even for some adult theatregoers.

Want tickets to a sold out show? Click here

Are You Ready For Some Football Or Was It Softball?

Tonight, I watched my nine-year old niece at her softball game. The weather made me recall many mid-October Friday nights in the stands of a high school football game; it was that cold. This was one of the few I will be able to make this summer with musical rehearsals soon to be taking most of my evenings. Apart from the 50 degree weather, it was actually fun watching the game. Elizabeth went 3 for 3 at the plate. Her first hit went between the third baseman and short stop… a line shot. Her second time at bat, she hit another line drive that unfortunately went foul. Then, she eventually hit the ball that landed in front of the plate, leaving Elizabeth stunned for a second until everyone told her to go.

She also did well in the field at short stop. “Well” is a relative term as these were a group of 8-10 year old girls who are still pitched to by their respective coaches. I don’t remember being pitched to by a coach. I remember going from hitting off a tee to having my peers pitch before I was 8. Elizabeth made a few nice stops in the field and tagged a runner attempting to advance to third base.

Also nice to see at this developmental stage of the young ones play is the parents in the stands. Shouting words of encouragement instead of shouts of disgust at bad calls, bad plays, etc. Those will start in a short time. But for now, there were no runs kept track of and maybe a few more strikes per batter as they are still learning the basics, so EVERYONE WINS!!! Although when the 90 minute limit was up, more than one mother was happy that the game was over and able to get out of the cold.

Remember

Today as we go about our everyday busy lives or maybe enjoy a barbeque with friends and family, it should be appropriate to take just a moment to reflect upon why we have this day off from work.  Right now, it may not be the most popular public view to have men and women in Iraq fighting for the past seven years but those men and women have parents, spouses, children, and other loved ones who are hoping and praying for their safe return.  Also to remember those lost in not only the current overseas struggle but also those lost in previous wars.  Without those, we would not have had the many freedoms we all hold dear.  So hopefully everyone took just a few moments while eating that hot dog around the picnic table to maybe not attend a Memorial Day Service but just stop and think about the people who have fought and continue to fight whether or not it seems like the right thing to do.

Godspell Or Not

My favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is by far his most controversial. Jesus Christ Superstar may not be the most accurate telling of Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem up to the point of his crucifixion, but the music found in this show is some of the most powerful, moving, and beautiful ever to be put on stage. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the controversy originated because it indeed tells the story of Jesus as a man seen largely through the eyes of the confused, almost sympathetic Judas.

The most powerful part of the show is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to His Father. Christ asks God why he must be the one to suffer and die on the cross and indeed what his death will mean in the big picture. Will he be more noticed then he ever was before. Would the things he said and did matter any more. By the end of the triumphant piece, he has accepted the role he must play whether or not he understands what the ultimate consequence for those he leaves behind will be. He will drink the cup of poison and allow himself to be broken and nailed to the tree…. but he wants it to be done quickly or he will change his mind. All too human.

One of my favorite parts of the show is King Herod and his show stopping song. A totally flamboyant character who makes a list of demands for Jesus to perform in order to prove that he indeed is the Christ. Walk across my swimming pool, change my water into wine, etc. By the end of the vaudevillian act, Herod has become annoyed with Jesus and his unwillingness to perform the simple tasks. He condemns Jesus as just another false Messiah and not worthy to be prosecuted by him and sends him back to Pilate to be judged. One of the only comedic moments in the entire production. I cannot see it done in anyway that it would not be memorable.

“I Don’t Know How To Love Him” is probably the most famous song in the musical and is sung by Mary Magdalene. After she soothes an upset Jesus to sleep, Mary reflects on her feelings of physical love for the man. She has never known another like him and as a prostitute has known many but has never loved. She does not know how to and indeed if she should act on those feelings. Plus, if he were to say he loved her in return she would not know what to do. She is a frightened young woman.

There are so many layers to this masterpiece (and I hope that it will be the show Lord Webber is most remembered for) that it would take hours to explain and debate its significance. Controversial or not it is hard not to imagine what Jesus would be thinking or feeling if he were an ordinary 33 year old man placed in such an extraordinary position. And this comes from someone who has never seen a staged production but pictures in his minds eye while he listens to the music without the visual. It must be magnificent (as long as it is not the 1973 film adaptation that I found to be horrible).

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Death Returns To Hogwarts

Tonight while at work, a co-worker as me if I had heard the news about the stabbing death of Harry Potter in a brawl. WHAT?! I was shocked to say the least. She was not sure if it was true or not but she thought she saw the headline flash across the CNN ticker earlier today. Thank heaven she asked me this with 15 minutes before closing time, I do not think I could have withstood 8 hours not knowing if the report was true or not. Of course, this would not be the first time one of the actors in the franchise had met with tragedy. Prior to the theatrical release of the second movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Richard Harris who played Professor Albus Dumbledore passed away. Subsequently, Michael Gambon has played the role in the remainder of the films.

However, it was not Daniel Radcliffe himself. Another young actor named Robert Knox (who just completed filming his scenes as Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) was untimely struck down outside a London tavern over something as trivial as a cell phone. Senseless, tragic.

Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-6)

Same Cat Time, Same Cat Channel

Batman has undergone several transformations in the 70 years of his creation. One of the most debated is the television series that ran on ABC television from 1966-1968. It was an all-out camp version of the Dark Knight that at first delighted fans and was an instant smash, in fact it spawned a theatrical version that did not do well. Stars Adam West and Burt Ward were forever typecast in the roles of the dynamic duo.

The formula for the first season of Bat-episodes was the same throughout. One of Batman’s colorful adversaries would commit a heinous crime. Commissioner Gordon would use the red bat-phone to call the caped crusader for help. Bruce Wayne and his “youthful ward” Dick Grayson slid down the batpoles to the mysterious Batcave in the catacombs beneath Stately Wayne Manor to instantly change into the crimefighters. Then would race in the Batmobile to police headquarters and learn what problems had befallen the good citizens of Gotham City. Shortly thereafter, the heroes would follow the clues to the hideout of the villain of the week which usually led to a cartoonish Bat-fight full of “Biff”s, “Bam”s, and “Crash”s. Then, the villain would place the duo in a seemingly unescapable trap and leave. TO BE CONTINUED. In the conclusion, the heroes would escape the deadly trap with the aid of their utility belts, hunt down the evildoers, and stop their dastardly plot.

By the mid-point of the 2nd season, the formula was becoming weak, the creators of the comic book were becoming increasingly embarrassed by the campiness. Batgirl was introduced, but she did little to improve things (although Yvonne Craig did fit the costume very well, thank you very much) and the series was soon canceled.

The best thing about the series was the rogues gallery of supervillains who would attempt to bring chaos and destruction to the fair metropolis 😀 . The Riddler, The Joker, Catwoman, and The Penguin were the main adversaries carried over from the comic book adventures. During its heyday, several stars of the 60s wanted to cash in on the series popularity and new (often forgettable) villains were created. Dastardly nogoodnicks like Egghead (played with egg-cellent deliciousness by Vincent Price), King Tut, Shame, Bookworm, and Liberace (?) as Chandel are but a few of the one or two time villains of the week.

Then we had the ridiculous phrases uttered by the Boy Wonder… “Holy (…), Batman!” Some of the more ridiculous utterances:

Holy uncanny photographic mental processes

Holy one track batcomputer mind

Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods

Holy interplanetary yardstick

In total, the Boy Wonder made 356 of the goofball, but at times timely, observations.

Only the theatrical Batman movie has ever made it to DVD. However, if you follow one of these two links, you two can have hours of entertainment or at least a few laughs at the campiness that was Batman of the 1960s.

http://youtube.com/user/MondayNitroIII

http://youtube.com/user/FanOfBats

Your one stop shop for Batman, Superman, and more – WBShop.com!

Morat Strikes Back

HELLO EVERY PEOPLE!!!!! I a return to this town in OHHO country to a see this strange person at the food shop. I a see this woman who a tell me she a like Morat when he was at the school in Edgertown, OHHO when he read a the Liswathistani stories of The Three Wooly Sheep and Morat and the Three Bears to the little people for the “PTO Family Night.” The woman say she enjoy very much the accent of Morat and say he a very funny person. Strange man person he just stood ans hook his head. Why he do that I not know.

As I a cover for news next owner America country, I a still not get to speak to the woman who I do not think will be new owner. I try and try but every time Morat get close to her, these funny looking man persons with things sticking out of there ears come and chase Morat away. I a not understand this at all. I a just humble person who come to find America country. I a come close to speaking to Medulla Oblongata, but he no speak to Morat, too. So I say, VOtE For MORAT. What was a that crazy movie I saw Vote For Pedro… Bonaparte TNT? AH…. Napoleon Dynamite. OK… I like Liswathistan name better. Very big in Liswathistan right now… number one movie for 2 days.

I also watch final of America Idol show. Two Davids? Only one Morat. Little David lose to old David. I think Simon helped vote for old David when he said young David won before vote. Morat sill say he should be America Idol. I sing the Livin’ Viva Loca better than anyone. EVERYONE WINS!!!

Get tickets to the American Idol Tour at TicketsNow Homepage

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