14 January 2011

Move On.

I can't imagine many people will read this, as it's been over 6 months since I updated, but I suppose all writing-for-the-internet is done with the understanding the anyone could read it, but no one might.

Long story short, I have more or less abandoned "formal" blogging because a string of Stage Management gigs occupied the time and brainspace I would have otherwise devoted to this endeavor.  There was also a growing discomfort on my end with writing about theater while also working in the industry (even if at its outer perimeters).  Though I don't consider myself "important" enough either as a blogger or a theater professional  to be able to cite a true conflict of interest, I nonetheless don't really feel comfortable "publishing" my typically snarky thoughts about people who could conceivably become my peers/colleagues.  I had thought a solution would be to focus on the obscure/arcane, shows gone by, etc., but the time required to properly research that type of writing (at least to my own standards) just doesn't exist in my typical day, or, at least I don't want to make it exist.

I have set up a tumblr:


this is where i will share obscure showtune related videos I come accross, etc. and perhaps do some light opinion prose writing, though not necessarily--in fact, most likely not--devoted to theater. 

Thanks for reading, whoever you are.


15 June 2010

Post-Tonys Thoughts

It is posts like these that earn this little bloggitty-blog the name Me2ism.  But here's what I thought of this years Tony Awards.

(a Hirschfeld drawing for a Angie-hosted ceremony in '96)

A friend of mine referred to the day of the Tony Awards as "Holy Day", and more than ever I found this to be true.  Though Michael Reidel will no doubt spend the rest of his days at the Post bemoaning the awards' lack of integrity, for me the awards are best at presenting an opportunity for the theater community--and let's be real here, the musical theater community--to geek out.  The spend hours repeating each other as we talk about the nominees, who could win, who should have been nominated, what they will perform, what they should have performed, ways in which CBS kills theater by not allowing design and writing awards on the telecast, etc. etc. etc.  The awards give a sense of structure to the season, an opportunity to reflect and to pass some sort of judgement. 

The telecast itself makes a much more effective yearbook than it does a barometer of what was truly excellent or fine art--which is fine.  Before I moved to NYC, the Tony Awards (and perhaps a few appearances on Rosie) were my primary source of information about what the hell happened on Broadway that season--and I was the type of nerd who read every article on theatermania.com, etc.  And regardless of what I think about who won what, I feel like someone watching this year would ultimately walk away with a fairly accurate sense of how things went down this season.  FELA! was artsy and not really for everyone.  MEMPHIS was vapid but full of energy and toothy-grinned dance steps, and features a catchy--if derivative--tune.  And even though trying to present the nominated plays is always tricky, I felt like, over the course of the evening, I had a vague sense of what was going on with each of those as well (though I think a 60-90sec "trailer" for each play would be marvelously effective, if a logistical problem for nominated shows that have already closed). 

And how hot was Matthew Morrison singing "All I Need Now is the Girl", which is, in my mind, the sexiest (male) song in the theater cannon?

I spent the following Monday exactly as I would like to spend every post-Tony Monday--hungover, satisfied (with a hint of cynical despair), and relieved to have the head-space back to think about the projects on my plate, instead of this ridiculous notion of the "road block". 

Next year at Radio City.

09 June 2010

Patti LuPone at Les Mouches

I was never a Patti person.  I never hated her, but I never worshiped her.  And her obnoxious behavior during GYPSY--the way she acted so victimized that she only won 1 Tony or something--weakened my feeling about her.  But after winning a copy of the recording of "Patti LuPone at Les Mouches"--thanks to Adam Rothenberg at Adaumbelle's Quest--my thoughts are changing.  Obviously, I always loved her Evita and, even more, The Baker's Wife.  And I would give my left nut to go back in time to see her as Rosamund in The Robber Bridegroom (opposite then boyfriend Kevin Kline).  But her Les Mouches act--an act she did on 11th Ave on Saturday evenings, after finishing Evita for the week--is astounding.  She is, clearly, in good voice, and at that critical level of musical excellence and borderline indulgence, without crossing hte line, as I feel she has a tendency to do nowadays.  I may not be a full, card carrying, member of the Church of Patti, but I wish the Gideons would leave a copy of this CD room in hotel room nightstands.  Somehow there exists some video footage of the act on youtube--filmed.  Please watch, and/or KeepVid, while you can.  Embedding seems to be disabled, but click on the song titles for wonderful renditions of "Meadowlark", "Rainbow High", "Don't Cry for Me Argentina"--renditions good enough to merit hearing these songs again, even if you think you can't--followed by "Look to the Rainbow" leading into "Superman"

Watch, enjoy, then get the CD

08 June 2010

"Final" Pre-Tony thoughts/predictions 2010

i don't really want to change my initial, post-nomination hunches, and in the past have not even done a follow up post like this.  But this year has been so interesting with so many white middle aged men being absolutely, without a doubt, positive that their conflicting choices in any given category will win.  Of course, even though the night promises surprises, come Monday morning we'll probably be talking about how boring and mundane they were.

On 4-May I said "It’s between Red and Next FallNext Fall is a “New American Play” and that alone could get it the win, as could the orgasmic reviews it got.  However, people I know who saw it HATED it, and Red is probably the better work."
And Now... Well, I wrote that before seeing either Red or Next Fall.  And, to be honest, I had issues with both.  As I posted earlier, I thought Next Fall had a lot going for it, but had a major dogmatic crater at what should have been the center of the play.  Red was exquisitely executed, and I suppose makes people feel smart, but I thought it was tedious and centered on philosophy just as sophomoric as Next Fall's.  But British plays (even though Red was written by an American) have a clear advantage in this category, so Red will take it.

On 4-May I said "I’m pretty sure it’s going to be American Idiot, even if no one is really all that excited about it...  Fela! has it’s supporters, but most people thought it was--though stunning--confusing, long, and ultimately boring...Million Dollar Quartet is a crowd pleaser, but not a serious contender.  Memphis could actually take home top honors, simply by virtue of its pure intentions..."
And Now... Though just yesterday I listened to a podcast where many of the panelists insisted Idiot is going to win, I just don't see that as an option.  It's playing to half full houses and the only people who like it are stodgy, snooty, middle-aged white men who think Green Day remained relevant even after Gloria Reuben sang "I Hope You Have the Time of Your Life" on ER.  (They did not.)  It's between Fela! and Memphis, and I'm going to put my money on Fela!, because I HAVE to believe, as long as I can, that the theater community has at least the semblance of taste.

On 4-May I said " It kinda has to be Memphis, doesn’t it.  Though a win for Everyday Rapture is not out of the question, because everyone loves Sherie." 
And Now... I'm going to call it for Everyday Rapture.  And not just because everyone loves Sherie (and because she won't win Best Actress), but because, upon seeing it again, I realized it actually has the best writing.  Novel conceit I know. 

On 4-May I said "Memphis [will win]  for showing up." 
And Now... Sigh, we have to give it to 'em.  

On 4-May I said "A View from the Bridge or Fences
And Now... At the time of the nominations, Bridge had recently ended its acclaimed run, and felt like more of a contender.  Now, everything's coming up Fences.

On 4-May I said " La Cage.  It was fresh, felt contemporary, and elevated the source material.  It is what a revival should be."
And Now... What can I say?  When I'm right, I'm right.

On 4-May I said "It’s probably between Liev and Denzel.  Alfred Molina will win."
And Now... In the month that's passed, Denzel has emerged as a definitive leader in the category, even if Molina has an attache case of lesser awards.

On 4-May I said "Jan Maxwell.  At least, she should.  Otherwise, she’ll keep getting nominated for everything she’s in until she does.  It’s called the Susan Sarandon factor.  Remember when she was nominated for The Client?  But Maxwell could win in featured, in which case, Lavin will win."
And Now... Okay, I was wrong.  It will be Viola Davis.    
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said "It’s between Hodge—who was fantastic in La Cage—and Ngaujah.  If I had a vote, I would go with Hodge, but I think Ngaujah could walk away with it." 
And Now... If the tide is really going to turn Fela!'s way--as I believe it must--then Ngaujah has to win.  On the other hand, Hodge's performance is WHY La Cage will win best revival--for the first time, Zaza is a credible drag performer around whom an entire night club could exist.  I'm going to give it to Hodge.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said "Sherie.  Not only is she wonderful and he show poignant and honest, but she basically threw it on Broadway in 2 weeks after Megan Mullaly pulled out of Lips Together, Teeth Apart.  Kate Baldwin was the darling of the fall, and might win if Tony voters want to reward her for, you know, acting, which Sherie doesn’t exactly do, as she is playing herself." 
And Now... Again, I was wrong, and it seems to be a toss up between Montego and CZJ.  I'll give it to Montego who has a "local girl made good" vibe going for her, took fewer vacations in a show that has run longer, and isn't leaving the show a week after the ceremony.  Besides, people are already more excited about Bernadette stepping in than they ever were about CZJ, who over sang "Send in the Clowns", even though it was specifically written to make that more or less impossible.

On 4-May I said "The guy from Red won shit in London, but doesn’t this award always have to go to someone in a revival of an August Wilson play?"
And Now... Redmayne is a cutie-patoodie, but, seriously, you can't beat someone in an August Wilson play in this category.  British Plays win top honors, August Wilson gets featured awards, Matthew Murray hates everything.  These are constants.  Stephen McKinley Henderson, FTW.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAYOn 4-May I said "Jessica Hecht.  Unless Jan Maxwell wins this instead of Leading Actress.  Really, she should win both."
And Now... This is tough.  It's rare for an actor to be nominated twice in an evening and go home empty handed, but to give Maxwell a Tony for her hilarious but brief performance in a silly production doesn't seem to do justice to one of our greatest living actors.  I've also been hearing a lot of hubub about Scar Jo.  And, though Fences has taken the away most of its thunder, people do think fondly of the Bridge revival, and this may be the chance to recognize it.  But I'm actually going to call it for Hecht. 
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said " I personally think it should be Christopher Fitzgerald, but I actually think it will be Bobby Steggert."
And Now... I have a feeling this will be the chance to throw a bone to MDQ and honor their best impersonator actor, Levi Kreis. Fitzgerald and Steggert are both dark horses though--Fitzgerald had a role that wins awards (and was fantastic), Steggert has been working non-stop since Ragtime closed, keeping him (if not his performance) fresh in everyone's mind.  But he'll lose to Kreis.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICALOn 4-May I said "Angela should have the edge, because she is acting and Babs is just singing songs we’ve heard her sing before.  But Angie won last year, and Babs hasn’t been up for nomination since She Loves Me or something.  But Katie Finneran could walk away with the award, like the originator of her role, for providing some merciful humor in Promises, Promises."
And Now... Katie Finneran seems unstoppable.  

On 4-May I said It looks like I forgot to say anything....oooops.

And Now... I'm going with Kenny Leon on this.  He's done a number of artistically and fiscally successful productions in recent years, seemingly selflessly.  This is the year for him to put away the bridesmaid's dress and walk down the aisle in Vera Wang.

On 4-May I said "Terry Johnson."
And Now... Bill T. Jones has the edge for creating the entire Fela! experience.  Maybe the producers will let Terry keep La Cage's "Best Revival" Tony at his house.
On 4-May I said "Bill T Jones.  I mean, he has to."
And Now... Some people are saying Twyla will win.  She won't.  No one likes her show, a lot of which is lifted verbatim from a Sinatra Suite she did years before.  Bill T.


05 June 2010

"Sing Happy" on YouTube

My FLORA kick continues, and since its too hot to move (even though I NEED to go to Trader Joe's STAT), I have found a bunch of other people singing "Sing Happy" (though I still prefer Ms. Bilkenstaff's, especially when she goes up on "give me a hallelujah and get up and shout"--side note, I would LOVE to see her do NEXT TO NORMAL).

Amy Wolk--she's quite engaging, and doesn't indulge at the top, which I appreciate.

A nice "Manhattan Transfer-esque" (I'm sure these groups HATE being compared to Manhattan Transfer, just as puppeteers hate being compared to Julie Taymor) ensemble at Signature in VA. 

Here's a tween known only as Maggie.  You know, because of all that heartache and stuff.  Her voice cracks around 2m40s.  It's endearing.

Kiara Sasso, from a Rio de Janeiro production of "The World Goes 'Round", in what I presume to be Portugese

A boy!  With a great name (Sterns Matthews).  I love the tone of his voice, and he goes up on "give me a hallelujah and get up and shout"!!!

And a bootleg recording from a very, how shall i put this, enthusiastic and ardent fan on Eden Espinosa, from when Eden did it at reprise.  I guess she started the whole, going up on "give me a hallelujah and get up and shout" thing.  She also added some questionable-for-the-periord-but-it-doesn't-matter-because-it's-a-concert-and-we-all-know-theater-in-LA-is-fake-anyway riffing.  The video itself--which is a still of the fan and Eden plus some commentary--is amazing in its own right.  Warning, the sound quality is not that great.

If you've watched all of these, I'm most impressed.  I really thought I'd only have 3 or maaaaaybe 4.  And there are actually videos I watched and didn't post. 

04 June 2010


A bit of NEWSIES choreo set to "Bad Romance".  This essentially reminds me that Kenny Ortega is the man and that the IN THE HEIGHTS movie could be kick-ass.  And also that I am gaaaaaaaaaay.

If the embedded video doesn't work, click here

more FLORA

Here is a clip from a 1997 Kander/Ebb documentary about the creation of FLORA.  It is most notable for featuring clips of Liza singing "All I Need is One Big Break" and "Sing Happy" via the Ed Sullivan Show.  (These clips used to be online via bluegobo.com, but some damned lawyer got his undies in a twist and had all Ed Sullivan clips taken down.  I would understand if these clips were available for purchase, and would gladly pay to see them, but they're not so now, basically, no one can see them.  Ass hole.)  They recount what could be an interesting anecdote about working with Mr. Abbott, but, unfortunately, I can't understand the key phrase of the anecdote.  It sounds something like "We were out of town [yada yada] and Fred had this idea the none of it cottonted(?!?!), and he believed in it."  Whatever that means.  Anyway, watch for the clips of young Liza.  She's 19.