Archive for February, 2009

Conan’s Last Stand

Tonight at 12.35 eastern time will be Conan O’Brien’s final late show before he takes over the once coveted 11.35 slot from Jay Leno. I’m not sure how coveted the slot is but can well remember the battle between Leno and Letterman after the late great Johnny Carson retired. Fascinating that I do not see either host lasting nearly as long as the King of Late Night. Of course, Jay will soon be coming to Prime Time in some form. I prefer Dave when I feel so inclined.

I do have a connection to Mr. O’Brien. During my first adventure in New York City, a group went on the NBC studio tour. One of the other members of my group knew one of the writers on the show personally and we went to his office and scored tickets to that night’s telecast. I do remember that Dennis Miller was one of the guests and I sat in the middle of the third row. Tonight’s guest list does not seem to make me want to sit up and watch. The guide lists The White Stripes as the performers. Unless it is a group of performing zebras, I think I will pass.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

An Unexpected Song And Dance

Sunday afternoon is the annual All County Band and Chorus concert.While in high school, I always looked forward to this event. Not only did it mean two days out of school to practice, (I went for both groups all four years), but it also meant being surrounded by fellow students who shared a passion for music. However, one of the schools in the county, until recently, never chose to participate. During my junior year, we had the privilege of having R.D. Mathey as the guest clinician for the choir. It featured, among other pieces, a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber pieces. I was among the brave souls who tried out for a duet of “Unexpected Song” from Song and Dance. Unfortunately, I was not chosen to sing the duet. I do remember the performance of Jester Harrison’s “Amen” which was a staple of the BGSU Men’s Chorus under Mathey’s direction. I tried to find a youtube video but they must not perform it anymore.

Another common occurrence was the typical winter storm that would either cancel the concert or postpone it for a week. One year, it was delayed twice before it was finally shelved for the year. Why it has always been in the middle of winter, I do not know. Justj, is your youngest involved this year?

Grandpa Meet The Trolley

Tonight Act numero dos with the orchestra went much better than any of us had planned. Perfection… I would not go that far. There were some problems. Missed qs or rs. Songs falling apart, but I have been in a show or two when during the final week of rehearsal, we had the same thing happen. “A Victim of Gravity” comes to mind. But, I am really getting into this Grandpa thing. I had everyone on stage, in the orchestra, and a few people sitting in the audience laughing at some of his antics… to which madame director was quick to admonish. Tonight was also bio night. “John Truitt” mentioned that he had no idea what to include so I let him glance at my rambling. When he came to my favorite roles, he had to comment. Morat Notboratnichkov? Once again, the Liswathistani came out for a moment. Confusion arose since everyone naturally assumes this is Borat, but NO, NO, NO… not Borat… MMMMMMORAT. Plus, we attempted one of the most dreaded moments of any show: the curtain call. Has anyone EVER been in a show in which the curtain call went perfectly the first time? OK… maybe not the first. But I am sure we will need to work on it again and again. Especially when there is a 13 member chorus along with several walk on cast members and 11 principals. Grandpa took a seat on the trolley while everyone else fell over each other. Two weeks from tomorrow!

2-18-08 to 2-18-09

As taylhis pointed out in her recent post, today is the first anniversary of our foray into the blogging world.  I have found it to be a very fun yet therapeutic experience in recalling the good and otherwise events of the last year.  Memories that will be enshrined in this site forever unless something totally unfortunate occurs.  Truly fantastic times spent with friends on and off stage, on vacation (still one of the greatest weeks I have ever had), and some family experiences thrown in.  Then, one of the hardest times I have ever had to endure in my 35 years.  I think about Ma2 everyday.  I just know that she is in a far better place looking down on all of us who loved her so much and is there giving me a good swift kick everytime I fail to meet my potential (or maybe it is just me, but knowing Emily as well as I do… I don’t think so).  So… here’s to taylhis, Derek, admin, and I.  The rest of you tangential posters are just as good, too.

Throw Him In The Pit

Tonight was the first rehearsal for which we had an ORCHESTRA.  And I am pleased to say that it went remarkably well.  We finally started about 7.30 and got to the end of Act I shortly after 9.  Remarkably, we stopped very little although there were some problems with lines but only once or twice did anyone call for a line.  Good, bad, or indifferent we mae it through.  I was even surprised by the young girls playing Agnes and Tootie.  But for getting through the act in just over an hour-and-a-half was remarkable… evn the director said so after she delivered her long list of notes.  The one note she had for Grandpa was the necessity to learn the Scene 2 song which we have not practiced a great deal.

Performing with an orchestra can be a very interesting predicament.  You really have to be on your toes and know where you are in the music.  We were informed that most productions do not get the benefit of the orchestra until the week of a shows opening.  We have 8 rehearsals remaining, but it is STILL great to be on stage taking to heart all the comments and making note to find ways to improve upon the character.  Thursday nights Act II REHEARSAL SHOULD BE JUST AS INTERESTING. 😀

A Fresh Bill On Capitol Hill

“Some say if he walks like a duck and talks like a duck, he is a duck.  We say if he walks like a duck and talks like a duck, he will be the next President of the United States.”

I realize that this post is just a few months overdue, but I just could not pass it up. This afternoon, my three-year-old niece brought me two books to read to her. It was approaching rehearsal time so I told her I only had time to read one and I would read the other later.  “Duck for President,” by bestselling children’s author Doreen Cronin with illustrations by Caldecott Award winner Betsy Lewin, is a charming way to introduce the pre-school set to the election process.  There is even an entire website devoted to Duck and a campaign ad paid for by Farm Animals for a Change.   Apparently, General Mills donated copies of the 2004 book to the little children.  The story illustrates the plight of animals on Farmer Brown’s farm who are tired of doing chores.  One day, Duck stages an election to see who the animals want to lead and wins!  However, the ambitious quacker does not stop there.  However, as Duck progresses on his way to the top of the government ladder, he just may find that life on Farmer Brown’s farm “taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, and grinding coffee beans” is better than the grind of being the big goose in a white house.

Who’s Watching the Kids?

Tonight, I offered to sit with four of the best kids ever (I’m not going to be biased… since I do have several nieces and nephews who also qualify).  My friends had yet to see the theatre’s hilarious production of Over the Tavern so I said I would be happy to watch the little ones.  After rehearsal, I headed over and we went to dinner before the show.  By dinner’s end, the two youngest had zonked out.  I was slightly worried about Dis but I knew that “Goose” would help with her if the need presented itself.  Some of the highlights included artistry courtesy of the aquadoodle… very nice, no mess as the special markers only work on the mat.  We also had a session of school (I actually remember playing school? growing up).  The three of us later settled down to watch the Disney version of Tarzan.  Shortly after changing Beeber’s soaked diaper, C&L got back to find Sammers (surprise, surprise… but honestly, she was great) being the sole survivor until moments later when Dis decided to reawaken (hopefully, she did not keep them up too long).

A bit later, I asked if they had heard about Joaquin Phoenix’s interview on David Letterman a few nights ago.  Really, it made the Farrah Fawcett interview of a few years ago look good.  Dave even commented that they owed Farrah an apology.  Honestly, I’m not sure whether or not Joaquin’s “absence” was chemically induced or he is just REALLY not comfortable giving interviews.  Whatever the case, the segment is sure to cause a great deal of controversy for sometime.

Just had a very fun evening being a kid.

Loaded Questions

Last night, after doing a nine hour shift in the salt mines, I went to a WAY long overdue game night.  We even had a new very fun couple participate.  For some reason, they decided to play one of my favorite games without yours truly.  Why was that?  I a no understand.  I did arrive in time to join in another game in which you show your knowledge of the people participating around you.  One of the questions asked of everyone was “What is the most embarrassing thing that you own?”  I won’t go into detail on some of the other answers, but I received a pair of Spongebob Squarepants pajama pants from my nephew a few years ago.  Not necessarily my most embarrassing thing, but that is all I could come up with at the time.  I even wore them in my performance as a rather disturbed patient in The Clinic a couple of seasons ago.  Ironically, some of the other players had recently watched a recording of the show so my response was easily guessed.  I was pleasantly impressed with the guesses I made on my question “What one thing would you take to a party?”  I matched 4 responses to the correct people… not tooo bad… I know half of them well.  So… anyone own any mentionable items they may wish not to own… unlike one of the responses at the game table?

Stalking Deer In St. Louis

Last night was the first night we have been on the Huber stage.  I have been in the audience to watch a production of School House Rock, Jr (think I’ve mentioned that before).  However, stepping onto the stage was something else entirely.  An actual stage raised above the audience with an orchestra pit beneath.  Even a balcony in the audience and a thrust stage.  For being our first time on the stage, I thought it went really well.  We did manage to plunder our way through Act 1.

When I was not needed on stage, I was in the costume room looking for costumes.  I was enamored by the number of hats I found… everything from a fez, to a beret, to a genuine deerstalker which Sherlock Holmes himself would feel at home in.  I just need to find a light, summery suit.  Meet Me in St. Louis is set over the course of one full year so the actors on stage need to convey the change of seasons.  There is a Halloween and a Christmas scene as well as summer and spring.  Many costume changes.  Ever time I come on stage, I have at least one article of clothing unlike any other I wore previously.   So… night one on a new stage was fun and inspiring.  Different, not necessarily better, from the stages I have been on in the past few years 😉

How Do You Solve A Problem Like…

While looking over my Firestats, I came across an interesting link.  I have known for years that a common misconception surrounding the song “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music is that it is an Austrian folksong.  This is false. It was the final lyric written by Oscar Hammerstein II and had nothing to do with Austria aside from the flower that the title comes from.  The misconception seems to have arisen during the emotional reprise of the song by Captain Von Trapp during the festival near the end of the musical.  In the movie, the overwhelmingly Austrian audience is moved to tears and join in song before bursting in thunderous applause.  This could give the impression that the song is of great importance to Austrian people.

Also of note is the fact that the musical is not widely known in Austria.  Although Salzburg makes quite a haul by giving tours of the city and surrounding countryside to fans of the show,  very few of the tourists are  Austrian.

Below is a German translation of Hammerstein’s original by an unknown translator:

DEUTSCH

Musik: Richard Rodgers
Text: Oscar Hammerstein
Deutsch: Unbekannt

Edelweiß, Edelweiß,
Du grüßt mich jeden Morgen,
Sehe ich dich,
Freue ich mich,
Und vergess’ meine Sorgen.
Schmücke das Heimatland,
Schön und weiß,
Blühest wie die Sterne.
Edelweiß, Edelweiß,
Ach, ich hab dich so gerne.

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