Saturday, January 29, 2005

New Bernadette interview complete with obligatory Sondheim gushing

Thanks to for the link to this interview with my idol, Bernadette Peters.

Now that "Gypsy" is closed, she's kicking off a concert tour. Looks like the closest she's coming to us is Palm Desert in march.

I have to say her web site sucks for blogging purposes. it's all full of Flash and frames, and no separate links are available to get to specific sub-sections of the site, like the Calendar, or the Palm Desert concert info.

Enough techie talk.

She has seen the recent Broadway production of Sondheim's Pacific Overtures (featuring several cast members from the recent TheatreWorks production. She raves. She also implies that the only thing worth doing after tackling a "role of a lifetime" like Mama Rose, is another Sondheim show. If there isn't one, she reasons, she can just sing Sondheim in her concert.

Hmmm. I wonder what Bernadette would be like as Mrs. Lovett?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

have you seen the new Great Performances version of "Candide"?

Cross-posted on 42nd St. Moon's blog.

Great Performances recently aired a staged concert version of Leonard Bernstein's "Candide", starring Kristen Chenoweth as Cunegonde.

I'm wondering what other folks thought.

I thought they went a bit too far into schtick. So much so that it was hard to be very emotionally invested in any of it.

"Candide" reminds me of "Into the Woods." These are essentially fairy tale characters to whom some very real, tragic things happen. There are many humorous songs, there are also some songs of yearning and lamentation.

when I saw the original Broadway cast of "Into the Woods" they captured something that really noproductio since has done as well: they played their characters absolutely real. No mugging. No schtick. Not to say these were low-key performances, but they were committed, real performances. So, in the second act when all the bad things started really felt it. It makes the second act. If you don't feel for these characters as real people in the first act, the second act seems interminable and whiny.

"Candide" is somewhat the same.

Kristen Chenoweth continues to impress. She manages to play huge, yet (most of the time) real. Patti LuPone as The Old Lady can pull of that delicate combination pretty well too.

The opera singers? No way. They do sing absolutely beautifully, but their attempts to act seemed almost painful to me.

And they certainly weren't helped by the direction. Exactly what does it serve to have Candide packing up a roller-suitcase during his Lament? It's just a cheap joke. As is the Donald Trump caricature and other modern references that just don't help.

Of course, I have a thing about that, as I mentioned in my recent review of "Once Upon a Mattress."

So, am I just a cranky purist, or did anyone else feel that the material was not served by the adaptation and direction?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sweeney details at Foothill web site

If you want all the nuts & bolts show information for "Sweeney", check out the Foothill Musicals web site.

You can also check out some publicity photos, including this one, which is my favorite:

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

How are actors like bloggers?

I waxed philosophical about this topic over at the blog I keep for my business, Worker Bees.

Check it out.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Get Your Brigadoon Discount Here

Welcome online users, we have a special price available when ordering online for Foothill Music Theatre's production of the Lerner & Loewe classic, Brigadoon.

Get $3 off every ticket for every performance*

Use the promotion code "SEA" when ordering online at TicketWeb here.

Show Details:

Foothill Music Theatre presents Lerner & Loewe's classic, Brigadoon
Opens Friday July 22nd and runs through Sunday August 14th

Thursdays at 8PM
Fridays at 8PM
Saturdays at 8PM
Sundays at 2PM

Foothill Music Theatre
Smithwick Theatre
Los Altos Hills, CA

Regular prices $18-24
Discount is $3 off per ticket

*All children are $10, no discount available

Again, discount available by ordering online here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


I have figured out that Jay must have chosen this year's FMT shows to commemorate the year 1979 for me.

I saw the original production of "Sweeney" on Broadway in December '79. I was a teenager, and I still can't think of a theatrical experience to top this one. The show was huge, dramatic, a musical tragedy...and I probably hadn't seen too many at that point. I was completely swept away, and devastated. I really hadn't figured out any of the ending ahead of time, so it was extremely moving.

I still remember Len Cariou's performance as scary, thrilling, tragic...and perhaps strangely to some of you, sexy. There was a sexiness in his portrayal that helped you understand why Mrs. Lovett might have pined for him all those years. Speaking of, not much to say about Angela Lansbury. You may have seen her on video in the role...brilliant. The only original cast member who was gone was Victor Garber as Anthony. Instead we had Cris Gronendaal. I'm not sure why Gronenedaal had a journeyman Broadway career, rather than becoming a real star. Yes, I know he has a resume most actors would kill for, but he never really became the leading man. This teenager in the balcony thought he was to die for, though.

So, I saw "Sweeney" in late '79, and I had been in a production of "Brigadoon" in the summer of '79.

So, just think of 2205 as the year Foothill paid tribute to the year that 1979 was...for Elisa. I'm flattered. Really.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Guess I didn't have a scoop for long

So FMT artistic director Jay Manley told me the scoop on the summer show was "publishable."

And then proceeded to send a mass email announcing it. Although I'm sure it only went to a few hundred of his closest colleagues, I still think my sharing of this info won't be news to many of our readers here.


So, the summer show will be "Brigadoon" by Lerner & Loewe.

Here's what Jay has to say about it:

"I wanted you to know that Lerner and Loewe's "Brigadoon" will be our summer 2005 presentation in the Smithwick Theatre. We've been working on the show and plan to give it a tight and fresh interpretation. "Brigadoon" possesses one of the truly great musical scores from Broadway's "Golden Age." There are many opportunities for leading and supporting players, and a need for a very active ensemble that sings a lot and can sing really well. AND, as one of the early creations of Agnes DeMille, it is a show with lots of great dance, so we'll be looking for wonderful dancers, as well. For our production, Brandon Adams will be music director, Tyler Risk choreographer, and my trusted associate Mary Welty-Dapkus as my strong right arm. Joe Ragey, Janis Bergmann and Kurt Landisman will be lending their considerable talents to set, costume and lighting design to give this "Brigadoon" an exciting new look.

Auditions for "Brigadoon" will be held on Saturday, March 12 and 14, with callbacks the following weekend. Rehearsals will begin in late May or early June, with performances scheduled between July 22 and August 14. Auditions will be publicized with a mailed flier, as well as through Callboard and other audition channels.

We hope many of you will join us for this exciting new project. And please don't miss "Sweeney Todd," in our intimate Playhouse, opening February 18.

I did this show, gulp, 25 years ago...and I will dredge up some recollections to share with you soon.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I know a secret!

Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

I just found out what the summer show is! (And they only started rehearsing the Winter show yesterday...this is a first!)

I don't think I'm allowed to share yet, but I'm checking. If I get the go-ahead, it's going here first.

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