Archive for May, 2012

Yesterday

It really does seem like yesterday that I was on stage in what is now my third favorite role ever.  A few fantastic parts over the last 6 years or so have pushed it back a few places.  I’m not one to play favorites but let’s be honest… some roles just hold more meaning behind them.  It was either May 29-30, 1992 or May 22-23, 1992 (I’m sitting here looking at my mobile calendar) I’ll have to look at my old Log of E to find out the correct weekend but right now I have a bat roaming the premises and an Aunt visiting from California who just arrived  and decided to run and hide while she could 😉

Annie will always hold a large piece of my heart.  It was the last time I performed on the stage of the old high school auditorium.  It was the final time (and only time) Ma 2 directed a musical I was cast in.  It was the best cast of the three theatrical productions I was involved in at EHS.  It was this cast and crew that first gave me the impression that a group of performers could be so much more than a group who performed two shows (I still could have done so many more) and went their separate ways.  It created that sense of family that only the best experiences can create and the first which I was actually sad to see end.  Several of my friends were cast as well as my sister and two of my cousins and the experience only tightened that bond.  And Daniel Francis Hannigan/Rooster Hannigan/Danny the Dip was the first character that made me realize that I am a serious character actor (seems like a contradiction in terms “a serious character actor”?)

I know that I have related the audition process previously.  How I “nailed” the role of Daddy Warbucks but “could do so much more as Rooster.”  I just knew that I had to recreate that role somewhere down the line somehow.  Even when I was not cast in the role in FCF’s production a few years ago, I was not THAT upset because it would not have had the same meaning as it did the first time.  Although I did hear several audience members (many complete strangers) comment that the part was horribly miscast.

The wrap party was hilarious for many reasons.  Remember “Coke II”… previously marketed as NEW Coke?  Yes, this was my first and last experience with the beverage.    I don’t remember being as emotional after the wrap party as I was following opening night.  Maybe it was sitting through the sluggish Star Trek: The Motion Picture that caused the tears to flow. “Ah, YES, I remember it well.”

ANNNND coming this Fall… the 35th Anniversary Broadway Production.  All of the orphans and Miss Hannigan have been cast.  Alas… I am not a dancer which was something that came up this evening at work.  There was a “Vault” photo in the Earth tonight of Aggie, Warbucks, Grace Ferrell, Annie, President Roosevelt, Lily, and myself which I attempted to scan but to no avail.

What a fun trip down memory lane!

Happy 100th Birthday

This year marks two centennial anniversaries.  Of course, the most famous being the launch and sinking of the SS Minnow (err,,) RMS Titanic.  Today, our village celebrated the anniversary of the dedication of Clem, the Civil War Monument that first stood at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Indiana Street until it was moved to its present location on July 22nd, 1972 (just under a year before the author of this post made his own appearance in the world).  Clem’s dedication date was May 30th, 1912 but what a lovely (if a little warm ) day to honor him.

My preparation for the day began shortly after my recital.  I had been asked if I would be interested in performing a few songs for the day around the time of “Songs I Have Learned” but really had hard little aside from the inquiry.  The songs I had to choose from was vast.  I figured two from the Civil War era would be appropriate or anything patriotic.  I decided on first, “Aura Lee” a little ballad written during the period which lent its melody to a very popular song made famous by a past artist which was the title of his first movie.  ANYONE?! (no cheatin).  With some help, I also decided on “Just Before the Battle, Mother” another lovely tune that was popular (with different lyrics) on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

I was going to perform the pieces accompanied by my guitar-playing coach.  Unfortunately, she forgot that she had a prior commitment today.  I eventually decided that I would sing them a capella unless a suitable accompaniment track could be found.  Fortunately, yesterday I was informed that another performer for the event had a copy of “Aura Lee.”  Because I was really unfamiliar with my second selection, I decided to sing “America the Beautiful.”  A good thing I did, because the other singer was singing “Just Before the Battle…”

This morning, I made my way to the bandstand where the accompaniment tracks were waiting.  I could have sung them either way but the tracks were both easy to perform to even if they were in a lower key.

So, after the Right Honorable Mayor /Friendly Friar made his opening remarks and the high school band played a few pieces, I was invited to take the stand and performed my “five pieces.”  It could have been five; however, the other singer stole at least three of the pieces I had considered (“Oh, Shenandoah,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as well as the aforementioned piece).  I was congratulated on my performance by several members of the crowd who braved the temperatures.  At least there were not trains that passed by as happened a few years ago when my cousin and I performed during our summer festival.

All in all, a fun little ceremony and a very fitting tribute to Clem and all the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Hopefully, we all made a special effort to remember them today but also everyday.

 

 

A Different Super Power Movie

If you have had your fill of The Avengers and are looking to fill the gap before  The Amazing Spider-Man opens followed by the final film in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, there is a very intriguing, very different take on the genre.  Chronicle tells the story of three high school lads who discover a crater which they follow underground in which they discover a glowing object and pass out.  After inexplicably returning above ground, each of the teens discover that they have the power of telekinesis (the ability to move objects with their minds).

One of the interesting things about Chronicle is that it is shot in “lost footage” style.  Andrew (the central character of the piece) has a penchant for filming everything from school to his family life.  What starts out as creating with Legos with no hands soon develops into increasingly dangerous pranks until a big battle in the skies of Seattle ensues.

For me, the most fascinating theme of the movie is the question of what having “Great Power” means to three young men.  It is fun to see Andrew (the outcast), Matt (the “normal, everyday” teenager), and Steve (the Big Man on Campus) experiment with their newly acquired skill; however, it delves into the darker side.  If Uncle Ben had not given his sage advice hours before his death, would Peter Parker have become a hero?  Would Clark Kent have battled for “Truth, Justice, and all that other stuff” if he had not been raised by his morally upstanding Earthly parents?  The timely nature vs. nurture scenario.

A fun little film that I was not aware of three months ago when it hit movie theaters.  There are no big name stars but still a different take on two (at the moment) popular genres.

Diamonds and Roses

Last night was Kathrines’s 6th Annual Recital (it was my second).  I began the day going for one last run-through (for both of us as she accompanied me).  Following my triumphant gig a little more than a month ago, I was challenged to get out of my Musical Theatre box and try something a little more artsy.  “The Little Irish Girl” was a fun piece which not only allowed me the opportunity to attempt an Irish brogue but also a chance to portray the gentleman suitor and the titular figure of the piece along with the “pigs that number seven.”  Must have left them at the “cabin”.

Following my rehearsal, I had time to come back home and relax for a few hours and bake the cookies I was taking (I think the Acus’ will have more than a few cookies for a while).  I was told that there was a great shortage for the reception 6 years ago.  The young man who informed her of this had a plate containing 7 cookies!  Good call that!  So for each subsequent recital, more than enough parents or performers step up and provide.

Last year, the students were divided up into two separate shows to allow for the limited confines of the Little Theater.  Carol and I were the final performance of the night and were sequestered in the green room so that M. And Mme. Thenardier could be revealed in magnificent fashion.  Last night, I was the second student on stage following Davey Jones whom I thought had passed on a few months ago (but no, this was not the lead singer of the Monkees… I think I may have mentioned him in last year’s wrap).

Because I selected the piece little more than a month ago, I was pleased with the result.  Members of the audience must have thought so, too!  After my performance, I sat with Tiff, Keith, and Trudles who all were complimentary.  At intermission and at the reception, Mr. Ed (who delighted the audience with a glorious performance of “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” on the church’s piano) remarked how amazed he was with my voice.  Other audience members remembered “Master of the House.”  Glad I am so memorable!

I was happy that I got to sit in the audience for the rest of the evening.  This gave me the chance to see the other students and ensembles from young to more seasoned.  There was a mix of genres from Christian to Country to Elvis to Lance’s “Orphan’s Tears” (a rap) and a little Broadway.  Kathrine’s little guy, Drew, gave his first performance on voice and guitar which was really cool!  Over the last several weeks, I have heard Rob practicing “Burnin’ Love” with Kathrine backing him on percussion (he is wrapping up as I arrive for my weekly lesson).  The only thing missing was the high pitched female (or is it Elvis in falsetto) “AH, AH, AH” towards the end.  I forgot to ask why they were missing.  I also heard one of my favorite pieces of any genre that I must track down…. think I will save that for another time.

There were also door prizes.  Inside two of the programs which I distributed, there was a rather huge drawing of a rose.  Totally unmistakable.  The two program holders each received a rose bush.

Not sure about the rest of the audience, but I thought the recital was lovely.  Although sitting through 24 performances might otherwise seem dull, each student gave their best, entertained and flowed.

I saw someone standing up taking pictures throughout the evening so one or two may be coming.