Thursday, March 30, 2006

Brought To You By The Letter S

From Wondershowzen on MTV2:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Das Cabaret

Wow- I just went through all the stuff I posted and thought, "I haven't written so much in such a short amount of time." Well, at least I'm almost caught up with my recent activities...

After I woke up from my nap on Saturday, I went to catch the "Anti-Cabaret" with Dan Cooney & friends at the theatre. One of his friends onstage was Michael Lanning (I think that was his last name), who might be better known as the Chevrolet "Heartbeat of America" guy and other jingles. Who knew he was a singer/show-tune singing guy as well? They had a great eclectic mix of pop-showtunes (Frank Wildhorn, Jason Robert Brown, etc.) and classic rock stuff (The Beatles, Van Morrison) and even a sing-along to S&G's 'The Boxer.' Pre-show, I went to the green room to say hello to Dan and got recruited to videotape the show, so I set up Michael's camera and proceeded to do the job. I also had the good fortune to have StephenGregory, Matt Connor, and Amy McWilliams seated right in front of me and they provided much entertainment as I watched them bob along to the good music being performed. Afterwards, there was some drink-sharing at the Office, where Munsen and Homey were as well.

Sunday, was the final dress rehearsal of our next show, "The Sex Habits Of American Women" and after that, Munsen and I ended up at the Office again for a beer and just plain spending to good old catching up time. We ran into Schaeffer and Michael Baron, the show's director, and also SGS & Matt on our way out. Since we were sitting in a booht in the back nobody knew we were there, so it was kind fun being all covert and stuff.

New York, New York

The best part about last week, aside from the new digs at work, was leaving for a short trip to New York City Thursday morning! Since my friend Sean's been in rehearsal and we were playing phone tag, I went ahead and made plans to stay with my friend Lisa's parents up in Rye Brook, NY- about 20 miles north of Manhattan. Lisa's family were extremely welcoming and I feel like they spoiled me just a little (only in the best way) by taking me out to lunch and then curbside service to and from the train station as well as making a wonderfully filling breakfast the next morning.

The first thing I saw Thursday night was a Seth's Broadway Chatterbox interview with Rachel York, who shared plenty of good, juicy stories about working with Julie Andrews and Liza Minnelli in "Victor/Victoria" and a couple funny ones from her stint in "Les Mis." While there, I ran into an old friend who used to work at Signature and I just lost touch with over 5 years ago. She helps Seth with the Chatterbox site and it was good catching up with her. Hopefully it won't be as long the next time we speak. After the C-Box, there was enough time to snarf a slice of Pizza and then go see the new production of "Sweeney Todd," featuring Michael Cerveris and (my own personal Diva) Patti LuPone. Now, while I think Sweeney is a near-flawless show, this scaled-down (by choice) conceptualised production- which garnered near-unanimous raves- didn't really do it for me. While reducing the cast to 10 and having them play their own instruments in a neat idea, the staging of them delivering their lines presentationally and not to each other killed any chemistry they may have had. The only time the show came alive when when people would interact with each other. Although, I do think that the sight of Ms. LuPone playing the tuba was worth the price of admission alone, I don't think the concept really worked in this case. Granted, the people around me were captivated by the show, so maybe I was just too jaded by this...
The other thing that bothered me that night was this guy in the row in front of me, right before the show began, took out his leftover dinner and started chowing down. I mean, really! How uncouth. Thankfully, some other patrons in his row made a stink about it (no pun intended). But is this what a Broadway audience has been reduced to?

The next day, I met up with my friend Patrick and we went to the Met, where we caught the Robert Rauschenberg: Combines exhibit (he was a big influence on me in College) and Hatshepsut the Pharoah exhibit, which was fascinating because she was one of the few (if not only) women who ever became Pharoah and as such, she had to be depicted as a man in Egyptian artwork. The tour brought back all the memories from being in college and being obsessed with all things Egyptian- very beautiful work, indeed. It never continues to impress me how these peices have survived through the ages.

After the museum, we tried to go to Serendipity 3 for an early dinner, but the wait was over an hour long, so we ended up at Outback Steakhouse and then I booked it over to BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to see The Sydney Theatre Company Production of "Hedda Gabler" with Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. The LOTR geek in me was in heaven. The theatre was covered in teethmarks from Ms. Blanchett's scene-chewing performance. Her Hedda was frantic, bored, manipulative, cruel and lonely. She also had some of the most gorgeous 19th century outfits to wear. Mr. Weaving's Judge had much presence and truly captivated especially when his motives were revealed at the end. It was at least 8 years since I'd seen a production of this play, and all I remember from that was Hedda burning a manuscript. The distance, I think, provided a fresh perspective for me to soak in this enduring piece of literature. I totally forgot how ultimately tragic the show is.

I mentioned my friend Sean who's in "Lestat" and we hooked up Thursday night after Sweeney for a drinkie-poo with Joe Dellgar (From our production of Follies), who's in Lestat as well, and a few other cast members from the show and it was very interesting hearing how the whole rehearsal procees has been for this show since it's changed so much from the workshop in San Francisco.

Sean was kind enough to let me stay with him and his GF in Astoria Friday night, so I met up with him after Hedda Gabler, we had a couple drinks and Taxi'd over to his place and talked until 3 AM. I had such a great time catching up with him and just spending quality time with him and Lesley. The next morning, I took them both in to work in Manhattan and then I stopped, got a bite to eat and then headed home. I actually had to drink a Red Bull to stay awake- eek (& I thought of Stephen Gregory the whole time I drank it). I was able to take a nap before heading to the Cabaret at my theatre.

A Retread

While trying to keep this blog & my activites up to date, I totally realised that I forgot a wonderful fun day the chez StephenGregory's where we watched "The Women" and "All About Eve."

Two films I have never seen before and feel somewhat ashamed to admit about, since I've been aware of these movies for decades it seems. At least I don't have to turn in my gay card now. *grin*

Now, StephenGregory summarised it wonderfully, I'd like to put in my $.02 about the movies themselves:

Both were impeccably well-written, also such a product of their times. I don't think that the likes of this sort of talent will be seen on celluloid ever again, with such wit and bite. Rosalind Russell, mother of us all, tears up a storm with her mile-a-minute delivery as Sylvia Fowler. Joan Crawford is so sly as Crystal and I actually felt pity towards Norma Shearer's Mary Haines. And Bette Davis just plows through "All About Eve" as Margo Channing but also Celeste Holm I think is incredibly understated in her role as Margo's best friend and also betrayer, Karen Richards.

StephenGregory and I were mulling over what to do next, and hopefully it'll be a Liza With A Z night htis Saturday... Does it still sound like a plan, SGS?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

So, I think I might have mentioned that my office was moving in a previous post. Well, come Monday morning (that's last monday morning- I know it's been a while) I drive into our new garage outside of Old Town near Rt. 95 and start unpacking my stuff. The picture shows my new space (or veal-fattening pen as my friend Bill calls them) once I had unpacked all my storage crates. The Orange poster is our Hedwig and other tchotchkes abound, although nothing to decipherable in this shot. It's definitely a new experience working in a new building, something that I'll be getting used to again when the theatre moves to our new space this summer.

"No, it can't end that way..."

Those were the precise words that A. said to me as we left Studio Theatre after the matinee performance of "Fat Pig," which was just extended for the 100th time (it seems). As for the play itself, I quite liked it. Neil Labute is, IMO, such a strong voice in the theatre of today. No-one else seems to approach the topics or even says what he does, even though I get the feeling that people think them. While not as brutal as "The Shape of Things," "Fat Pig" is set in a more romantic comedy vein and this is why the play came up a little short with me. Not that Mr. Labute didn't follow through with his honesty and probably because the subject matter dictated the need for more gentleness, but, for me, this doesn't quite reach the theatrical heights that "Shape of Things" did. Not to say that this was a bad play at all, it was sort of a kinder side of Labute peeking out. And the cast was quite good starting with the girl playing Helen, the subject of the play. She gets it right as do the other 3 players. If I were to grade it, Fat Pig would get a B+.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Try to Remember the 5th of November

This past weekend has been such a blur. First of all, at work we're preparing for a move to a new building so they sent us home at 11:30 once the movers were ready for our stuff, so I go home watched a little TiVo and then proceeded to take a much-needed nap. I then went into the District to meet my friend, A., for a little bit of Pho and some V For Vendetta at the Uptown. I had completely forgotten that it was St. Patrick's Day and that all the bars around the Uptown were pubs (or they seemed to be that night), so when I got to the area, I found it to be super-crowded. Luckily, Debbe the Parking Buddha was with me and I found a primo spot right off of Connecticut Ave. It was great catching up with A. and as for the movie, I found it to be quite good. While I knew the motivation of Alan Moore for writing the original comic was his reaction to Thatcherism (is that a word?), the story speaks for this tops-turvy political climate as well. Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving gave great performances (esp. Hugo who had to act while wearing mask the whole time- wow) and it was neat to see Stephen Fry and that guy from BBCAmerica's "Coupling" in some small, though pivotal roles.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Catching Up

I just realised that I haven't mentioned any of the films I've seen yet this year or any of the plays or musicals either... Here's a list of what movies I've seen so far:

Theatrical Films Watched in 2006:

3/5- Gay Sex In The 70s - B-
3/9- Thank You For Smoking - B
3/10- Eight Below - B (one of the most surprising- in a good way- movies I've seen recently. Very moving, engaging and, if you can stand the fact that not all of the dogs survive, realistic.)
3/9- 16 Blocks - B (another surprise. I went to this mainly because the reviews were so good and I'm such a sucker for a little Bruce Willis action. Richard Donner really is a master behind the camera and the suspense here really works well, even though Mos Def makes some quirky choices for his character.)

2/4- Memoirs of a Geisha - B-
2/17- Match Point - B

1/3- Wolf Creek- B
1/4- Narnia: Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe- B+
1/15- Brokeback Mountain (2nd time) - A
1/21- Walk The Line - B

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

Phoebe Cates as Superhero
It's Phoebe Cates!

Quite possibly the funniest sting operation report I have read (not that I read about sting operations often). It's also pretty clever on how the stolen goods were recovered and there's even a cameo by Stephen Sondheim...

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Shoutout...

To Stephen Gregory Smith for adding me onto his links! We're going to do our film marathon soon, I promise. Hopefully next week?


Oh, and to the always lover-ly Donna Mig for listing me as well. As always, I eagerly await our time together. :o)

A Clarification

The below post may made the reader think that I have seen (& liked) "Urban Cowboy- The Musical. I have to say that I have never seen said musical nor think that I will ever see it, not to ddenigrate anyone who has seen it and enjoys the subject. While the Musical flop queen in me wants to know all about it (and secretly wishes he had seen it- plus that Matt Cavanaugh is H-O-T hot), I was more excited about hearing the songs taht Jason Robert Brown wrote expressly for the show. Having him perform some selections from it at Blues Alley last summer (and the fun way he dishes about the production) made me want to hear more...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lookin' For Love In All The...

So, I'm doing a little surfing today, checking out all the news/media update/blog sites I read and suddenly remember that composer Jason Robert Brown launched his new site recently. So, I went there and, sure enough, came to discover the he will be posting monthly MP3s of rare material (like a song from the short-lived "Urban Cowboy"). It's a nice little find!

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Thursday, March 09, 2006


So this past Sunday was the final performance of the Signature Theatre cast of "Nevermore." It was a very bitterswet night- a wonderful performance by everyone involved, including powerhouse vocals for Jaqui's understudy, Jenny Soto Benson, and a fun party afterwards. I've got feelings that this show will go on on other places and still be phenominal, but it won't have that same spark as the initial production here in our space. Of course being at the final show meant that I wasn't able to watch (most of) the Oscars in real-time. Thank G-D for TiVo®! I managed to squeeze in all 3+ hours (I'm so glad I padded the recording time) into approximately 2 hours of commercial-and-tribute-and-speech-free viewing. Boy do I love me some Jon Stewart though. I thought he was a very good host, overall. Sure, he was feeling out his audience for the first hour but he never failed to amuse. Thankfully, there were no "Uma, Oprah" misses and the montages he (and his team- no man works in a vacuum) came up with were hysterical, most especially the gay cowboy montage below:

Good stuff, eh?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Great Scott!

So, last night at my theatre, Scott Bakula and director Jeff Calhoun (of "Big River" fame) stopped by to see the show and I had a chance to talk to them afterwards. They're in town because Scott is starring in a production of "Shenandoah- The Musical" at Ford's Theatre that Jeff is directing. Both were very down-to-earth and very inquisitive about our space and the new space being built and also v.v. excited about what they had just seen. On the plus side, Mr. Bakula is still as handsome as ever. It'll be interesting to see him in Civil War regalia at Ford's though- yummy. ;o)