Thursday, February 03, 2005

Speaking of's one for TheatreWorks...which reminds me of a story

Saw the TheatreWorks production of Ken Ludwig's "Shakespeare in Hollywood" last weekend. Here's my review.

The production features Foothill Conservatory alumni Noel Wood among others. It also features local star Gerry Hiken in a pivotal role.

Just to prove that the world is very connected I'm going to tell a little story:

25 years ago I went with a high school group to New York and had an incredible theatre week, including the original production of "Sweeney" as I've already discussed, the original production of "Evita" and others.

Of course there were also a couple of other shows we saw that we were perhaps not mature enough to really get (or, who knows, maybe they were just not that good.)

One was Lillian Hellman's "Watch on the Rhine", starring Madge the dishwashing liquid lady. Unbeknownst to many Jan Miner was actually a respected theatre actress while she was busy raking in the residuals as Madge. But we found it deadly dull.

Then there was "Strider." Now in today's world of "The Lion King" perhaps "Strider" would not seem like such an anomaly. A bunch of grown people walking around pretending to be horses would be no big deal. I guess "Equus" had already opened 2 years prior. But I certainly hadn't seen that (mature content and all.) So suffice to say we high school students couldn't quite get past the horsey sounds (which we had great fun making for the rest of our trip.)

"Strider" starred Gerry Hiken. He got a Tony Award nomination for it even. And it's one of only a handful of shows he mentions in his bio.

So, 1979...I saw "Sweeney" and saw local actor Hiken.

But that's not all: 10 years ago Foothill did "Assassins." "Assassins" is a controversial show and one that some think requires "bravery" to put on. I'd agree if we had done it in the big 1000-seat theatre. Doing it in the studio theatre meant we could fill it up with Sondheim freaks alone!

But who should write a letter to Jay praising the show? Gerry Hiken. I remember Jay reading it to us!

Yes, we should sing Kumbayah now, because we are truly all connected in mysterious ways.

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