Friday, July 29, 2005

Sweeney returning to Broadway!

And starring Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris.

Can I be the only politically incorrect person who thinks there's a somewhat glaring age difference between the two of them?

Anyway, I remember how much Jay raved about this version of Sweeney when he came back from London after seeing it. it's a very small cast, and they play all the instruments too. Sounds crazy, no?

Anyway, I'm off to BlogHer for the next 2 days.

What's that you say? Well, it's a conference that I'm actually co-organizing focused on women and blogging. It's beena ton of work (far more than I ever imagined.) But it's going to be totally cool.

So I'm out for the next 2 days. Don't miss me too much.

And hopefully when I'll return I'll have some reports from Weekend #2 of the Brigadoon run.

That's right: there's this weekend and then only two more.

So don't forget to buy your tickets (and don't forget to get your discount.)


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Another great review rolls in

This time from the Metro.

Key excerpts:

"In the Foothill Music Theatre production of Brigadoon, the town frozen in time throbs with the spirit of bygone days. A stage crammed with knotted and gnarled forest trees, or pushcarts sporting market goods, or the home of the young lass Jean MacLaren (Lisa Schwebke) on her wedding day, are all created by the versatile scrims, panels and mobile set pieces of scenic designer Joe Ragey."

"As the popular hometown boy and Jean's bridegroom, Charlie Dalrymple, Hutchens displays outstanding song-and-dance chops."

"Karen DeHart does a nice frisky-and-warm take on the town's loose-woman Meg Brockie. "

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Did I say our first rave review?

I actually meant our second. The first came from Foothill President (and theatre booster) Dr. Bernadine Fong.

There was a big gala on Sunday for Foothill Music Theatre supporters, and Dr. Fong wrote Jay after the event and the show to tell him of the gala attendees ecstatic response to the show:

"Well, another spectacular success. Please pass this note on to Joe and Tyler and the other directors, as well as the cast. The production was superb and everyone at our Gala event was raving about it. [snip] Again, thank you to all for such a wonderful job."

And Bill Ereñata wrote to tell me the reaction of some of the audience members he spoke to was similar to Dr. Fong's:

"For those of you who have already attended Brigadoon, and for those who are slated to see it before it closes, I thought that I would pass Dr. Fong's comment along to you. Her comment came out of this afternoon's gala, which was connected with today's matinee. A group of about 300 were treated to a pre-show discussion of Brigadoon by the director, Jay Manley, and joined the filled house to enjoy the performance. Then they were led to a special glen on campus for a wonderful catered dinner.

But these comments were similarly echoed by those attending the free, final dress rehearsal, and those attending the opening night performance and Saturday night's performance. I certainly hope that those of you who have been thinking about calling for tickets will now be prompted to definitely call. It is a show, not to be missed!

My own private experiences. Some folks attending Saturday night's performance told me that they were so taken that they were coming again on Sunday and bringing their grandchildren and others. Sure enough they were there yesterday.

I appreciate the reviews from the "regular" what about you/ Seen it yet? Post your review in the comments here.

Our first rave review!

They're loving the Brigadoon over at Inside Bay Area.

Key excerpts (I feel just like I'm writing a newspaper ad...only honest!):

"...the show that opened last weekend at the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills is another Jay Manley winner."

"There is excellent singing in this show. As the two lovers, Johnston has a beautifully lyrical musical theater voice that is very well matched by a powerful Reynolds. And DeHart is impossibly cute as irrepressible Meg Brockie."

"We may some day be saying, "We knew him when..." (About Matthew Brandon Hutchens) [Note: Please note corrected professional name for Matthew.]

""Brigadoon" doesn't come around too often, so this is your chance to catch it while you can."

That last part's true you know.

So don't forget to get your $3 discount per ticket and come see the show in its last three weekends!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Every now and then we like to help Foothill alums plug stuff they're doing outside of Foothill. Yes, we can share the wealth.

So Gregory Tittle, who played Father in Ragtime has a couple of projects over the next few months:

First, he'll be co-starring in the production of the Gondoliers with Lamplighters Music Theatre opening this weekend, playing Marco Palmieri, one of the two title characters.

Gregory describes it as "a perfect summer evening event. The hilarity and light-heart fun in this show tops that of most Gilbert and Sullivan shows."

But after The Gondoliers, Gregory will be reprising his role of Father for Broadway by the Bay's production of Ragtime. Sounds like about half a dozen other Foothill Ragtimers are in it too. Andrew is reprising his role of Little Boy; Kieleil is playing Coalhouse, and Cyril, Jillian and DaRon are in it too.

The Gondoliers is playing in two different locations:

San Francisco: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street, at Third Street
Box Office: 415-978-2787

Friday 22-Jul-05 8 PM
Saturday 23-Jul-05 8 PM
Sunday 24-Jul-05 2 PM

Thursday 28-Jul-05 8 PM*
*Pay What You Can Night*
Any remaining tickets go on sale @ 7 PM at the box office for whatever you can pay. First come, first served. No advance purchase.

Friday 29-Jul-05 8 PM

Saturday 30-Jul-05 2 PM*
*Special Student Matinee*
LMT Resident Music Director Baker Peeples will give a talk one hour prior to the show at 1 PM.
Admission to the talk is free with proof of paid ticket to the performance.

Saturday 30-Jul-05 8 PM
Sunday 31-Jul-05 2 PM

Walnut Creek: Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Drive
Box Office 925-943-7469

Thursday 4-Aug-05 8 PM
Friday 5-Aug-05 8 PM

Saturday 6-Aug-05 2 PM*
*Special Student Matinee*
LMT Resident Music Director Baker Peeples will give a talk one hour prior to the show at 1 PM. Admission to the talk is free with proof of paid ticket to the performance.

Saturday 6-Aug-05 8 PM

More getting our Scottish on

Like I said before, I loves me the sound of the bagpipe. So thought if you're like me and funny that way, you'd like to see how well the bagpipers clean up too, check them out:

That's, from Left to right: Jay Tuttle, Wes Webber, Phil Lenihan and Burr Nisses

They're all from The Los Gatos - Monte Sereno Police Pipes and Drums.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

The last of the Clans in Costume

I fell a little behind on this...probably should have gotten in up before the show opened, no?

Anyway, here are the rest of the Clans:

The Douglas Clan before:

The Douglas Clan in Costume:

The MacLarens before:

The MacLarens in costume:

And the MacPhersons before:

The MacPhersons in Costume:

First reports

So, have you heard the one about the bad final dress rehearsal?

Yeah, it's an old theatre adage: if you have a crappy final dress rehearsal, than your Opening Night will be great! I, of course, suspect that this adage is really only trotted out when you actually have a terrible dress rehearsal.

I mean, you don't hear people say, "Wow, that was a great dress rehearsal, Opening Night is going to be AWFUL."

So, I asked the Brigadoon cast what they felt about this old adage and how it applied to their show, and here's my very first report back from the field:

"Bad dress rehearsal, great opening night...definitely.

OK, maybe not a bad dress rehearsal, but it definitely had its moments. For example, each of us had a different tempo for the Sword Dance (and none of them were Brandon's tempo) and we went very flat on the final "Brigadoon." Most of the performance was pretty darn good, but there were certainly times when we were glad it was a friendly audience (who
hadn't paid.)

Opening night, though, everything just clicked. I think all of us felt that the performance was really good, and were very pleased. And we all managed to keep Brandon's tempo for the Sword Dance, which is a miracle in itself.

All the audience members I spoke to really enjoyed the show, and will spread the word.

Was anyone there Thursday night? And if so, did you even notice the things my little Briga-bird is sharing/ because it's pretty par for the course for the cast to be far more aware of little mistakes and out-of-synch moments than the audience.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Clans in Costume

I know it's Opening Night, but while I'm waiting for the notices to arrive, check out some more of the Clans:

Remember the Anderson's before:

Here they are in costume:

Beatons before:

And After:

Dalrymples Before:

And After:

They all clean up pretty well, huh?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Meet the Clans: In Costume

Wow, this show looks gorgeous!

Here are some before and after shots:

If you recall, here are the Gordons before:

Check out the Gordons now:

Here's another Before & After (yes it's the Scottish version of "The Swan")

The MacGuffies before:

Check 'em out now:

Don't they all look pleased in their tartans... they're glowing with Clannish Pride.

Some things just look funny out of context...

LIke this shot of Karen.

Anyone care to fill us in on why she yanking on her own, um, assets?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Tyler to the men: How to wear a skirt

Last night was the first night that most men in the cast had ever had to wear a skirt...especially for an extended period of time while performing a variety of physical activities. We chicas are well versed on how to avoid embarrassing ourselves when bending down to pick something up, but men might need a bit of coaching. So that is exactly what choreographer Tyler Risk did:

MEN - welcome to the wonderful world of wearing a skirt. As many of you found out, it can be comfortable, relaxing, and quite revealing. There are ways to sit in a relaxed manner without having to clutch your kilt to your knees like a school girl... I swear, there are!! Angle your body, keep one leg lower than the other so the fabric drapes, stretch your legs straight
and cross them at the ankles... experiment BEFORE you get on stage with ways that will be comfortable and look good! :-)

I'm sorry but I now have a mental image of a bunch of manly Briga-dudes clutching their skirts and giggling like school girls.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Rehearsals vs. Hell Weekend

During rehearsals you actually get to run through things, like the beautiful dancing below:

During Hell Weekend you get goofing off, like this:

(Nice extension, Tim!)

During rehearsals, you get shiny, happy staff members:

During Hell Weekend, you get a cranky staff member:

But for every moment you get during Hell Weekend like this:

(I hear Tim is always teasing Michele that sopranos like Michele are always limelight-hogging divas...but it looks like Tim's the guy hogging the spotlight in that shot huh?)

You get a moment like this, which looks just lovely:

Point is, it's a process. You gotta go through the pain to get to the pleasure.

Meet the Last Two Clans: The Douglas and MacLaren Clans

Here is the Douglas Clan, a friendly looking bunch:

That would be: L to R: Ian Teter (standing, glasses); James Thompson, Sean O’Connor (sitting in front; curly blond hair); Jillian Mitchell, Jaime Chew, and Esther Selk (sitting, l to right).

And here is the MacLaren Clan. It was hard to get them all sitting still at one time for the picture. Lisa was always off dancing about as Bonnie Jean and Michele was always off mooning about for Tim in song:

That would be: Standing, L to R: Patrisha Dwyer, John Gaunt, Reggie Reynolds; Sitting, L to R: Ted Hatrak (Patriach of the clan & Mr. MacLaren), Michele Johnston (Fiona) and Lisa Schwebke (Jean).

So now you've seen all the clans "before."

Before getting their tartans on. Should be a colorful (and large) bunch of folks on stage when they're all together for the OPening and the Wedding and the other group scenes!

Tech Weekend, more commonly known as Hell Weekend

You know, if I'm telling the honest truth and all!

So those of you who aren't theatre folk there is a tradition for most theatres called Hell Week. You see you've spent all this time rehearsing until you feel like everything has fallen into place and you've got a handle on it.

...In your street clothes without having to move sets, deal with "finding your light" onstage, costume changes and all the rest.

But at some point you have to be broken back down to nothing and start over...this time with lights, sets, costumes etc.

And it never goes smoothly right from the start...never!

Foothill's tradition is to kick off Hell Week with Hell Weekend. Now maybe the production staff doesn't find it so hellish because for the one time during the entire rehearsal and run of a show, it's all about them! And not, definitely not, about the actors.

They have to check every lighting cue and make adjustments to it. And they need the actors to stand there while they do it. You cannot imagine the hours of tedium...relieved only by making up dirty lyrics to the show songs, trying to crack each other up, but quietly enough that you don't get yelled at, and sometimes by pure disassociative daydreaming.

Pictures are coming...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Small world connections and obscure associations

In my other life I've been heavily immersed in co-organizing a conference, BlogHer.

My BlogHer co-founder is Lisa Stone, who I actually met via Foothill alum Mike Early.

I've know for some time that Lisa has two sisters who both live in L.A. and pursue acting, and I knew that at least one of them had lived in NYC at some point. But given that they're both younger than me, and that I haven't lived in NYC for about 15 years, I didn't give it much thought.

Through a chain of events to trivial to explain I ended up checking out the web site of one sister, Anna. In so doing I looked at her resume and realized that she has been directed in a show by a guy that I acted in a show with in New York...16 or 17 years ago.

Small world. But that's not even why I'm blogging about it.

I'm blogging about it because she came and checked out this blog, because apparently she loves her some Brigadoon. And she pointed out to me that Byron Nysen (found in the middle of the MacPherson clan here):

...looks remarkably like a Precious Moments figurine. Yes, you heard me right. Now, not only did Anna tell me this, she went and found a picture of a specific Precious Moments figurine that proved her point:

Could you die?

I suspect that one of our intrepid cast photographers, in this case Dee, might have gone a li'l crazy with the red-eye removal button, thus giving Byron, on second look, some rather Precious Moment eyes, it's true.

That, or the eyes of a Keane painting.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Meet the (Partial) Clan: The MacLarens

Here are a few members of the MacLaren Clan:

That's Reggie Reynolds on left, Patrisha Dwyer and John Gaunt.

Meet the Clans: The Andersons

The Andersons in happier time:

That's Alicia Teeter (aka Maggie), Beverly (the Matriarch), John Palmer (the Patriarch), and Bill Ereñeta is sitting in front.

If you want to see the Anderson's in not-so-happier times, here's a pic of Maggie in mourning (hope that's not too much of a spoiler?)

Meet the Clans: Speaking of the Beatons

Here's Harry and the rest of his male-dominated Clan! (They better get themselves some wives soon or the Beaton name will die out too!.)

That's Steve (as Harry) in front, along with Patriarch Archie, played by TJ Kuster, and Scott Bang.

Our own Steve Edlund in the Merc again!

Steve: who is your P.R. agent?

Check out Steve (aka Harry Beaton) in a little San Jose Mercury profile here. [Reg. required, sorry.]

I hope we can keep the papparazzi away, you know?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Meet the poor solo Clans: The Brockie and the Lundie

Poor Meg and Mr. Lundie.

They are clans unto themselves. Must make for boring family reunions. And given Meg's a single lass and Mr. Lundie is an old codger, It seems likely that their names are going to die out with them.

That would be Karen DeHart and John Musgrave.

Meet the Clans: The Dalrymples

The Dalrymples are another large clan, and of course it is their golden boy Charlie who is set to marry Bonnie Jean...and this romance isn't without its ramifications. not that I want to give anything away, but let's just say Charlie has a rival. I guess Bonnie Jean is mroe impressed by the dulcet tones of an Irish tenor, than the muscular flair of a primo sword dancer.

Here are the Dalrymples:

That's from left to right: Peggy Lynch the Matriarch (in front); Chris Hutchens (in back); Robyn Winslow (pony tail), Terry Hayes the Patriarch (back), Matt Hutchens (fist in mouth). Matt is playing Charlie.

I'm not sure what's up with the whole fist thing. If they're trying to look all pumped up and threatening, the they should work on the sweet expressions accompanying the fists. They're the most benign looking Clan we've got!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Our fearless leaders

Most pictures I see of Director Jay Manley or Musical Director Brandon Adams are very serious. Whether focusing intensely on the goings on on stage, or focusing intensely while conferring with other staff members, they are, well, focusing intensely.

Jay, in fact, focuses so intensely that he actually will end up memorizing entire shows by the time you get to the last couple weeks of rehearsal. You can see him watching the action, stroking his chin and mouthing the words along with every single character on stage, male or female, singing or speaking.

BUT, Dee Baily (no 'e') managed to cathc both Jay and Brandon in rare non-serious in case you've never seen a picture of them's your chance. (Oh, and I don't mean those nice, polite smiles you get in formal posed shots...I mean big old friendly smiles!)

Here's Brandon:

And here's Jay:

Meet the Clans: The MacPhersons

Another of the larger clans, the MacPhersons

Left to right that's Cyril Cooper, Annette Boyenga, Byron Nysen, Gabrielle McColgan, Sheila Donovan.

Donya Hedayati and Jasmine Flake are the two littler MacPhersons in front.

Funny how the women of the MacPherson Clan look pretty happy and satisfied with life, while the men look very very serious. I think they feel outnumbered!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Scottish authenticity

Foothill director Jay Manley is big into authenticity. Even when he tackles these "old-fashioned" musicals, he really likes to root them in real life...or how real life would have been at that time. (You know, in a village that goes to sleep for 100 years.)

So, how do you bring authenticity to Brigadoon?

Well, how about making it sound right?

You can start with the Scottish dialect (which isn't easy.) So we've got dialect coach, Tom Gough (here, working with Karen DeHart)

But best of all we have our very own authentic Bagpiper!

I know it's not quite everyone's cup of tea, but I have always loved me some bagpipes!!

Meet the Clans: The MacGuffies

Yes it's the multi-culti Clan we know and love, the MacGuffies.

As Mike Rhone shared with us last month, this is the Clan that takes in orphans. And Clan adoptee Sean agrees: "by far the best...because we're all international and stuff. We may be Scottish, but we also have an Australian patriarch and two adopted kids from Asia (Kimberly and me.) How could any other clan possibly beat that?"

That's Norman Luce, Shane Olbourne (the Patriarch, Angus...doesn't he look young to be a Patriarch?) on floor (note "Angus" on his barrel) Kimberly Wong, Sean Fenton (in back), Michael Rhone (who is Sandy, the candy seller), and Liz Hodge (the matriarch)

Meet the Clans: The Gordons

We decided it would be fun to do some "Before and After" shots of the Clans. You can meet them now in their rehearsal clothes...probably sans make-up and sweaty, and then the magic transformation of theatre happens and we'll show you them again, in full costume and make-up, getting their Scottish on.

Mucho thanks to Dee Baily (no 'e') for taking all of the great pictures you'll see.

We'll start with one of the biggest Clans, the Gordons:

From left to right: Gavin Tanner (the Patriarch); Lauren Mack, Brett Carlson (in front), David Wiesen (in back) and Dee Baily (the matriarch).

The kids clearly inherited their smile from their mother, huh? Dad looks just a bit morose.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Where's Ah-nold when you need him?

I hear that most of the women had a costume fitting yesterday, and that the dancers have so many layers (petticoats under at least one or 2 other layers) that it's adding some serious weight to their slight dancer frames. Imagine when they start sweating!

They're going to start wearing the petticoats to rehearsals, because they're so heavy that they need to practice in them.

More than that, the men might need to start lifting weights to handle all the lifts Tyler has incorporated into the choreography.

What a buff bunch they'll be by Closing Night!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Some rehearsal candid shots

The best shots are when you catch someone unaware, but you couldn't beat it with a posed shot:

Like Karen (our Meg) here:

Or Steve (our Harry) here:

Or Robyn, waiting patiently here:

Thanks to Ray for the shots.

Keep your eyes open for...

...a dance move inspired by a cast member.

You know most directors and choreographers are open to a teeny bit of input from the cast. Usually the input is more along the lines of "I can't sing that long, high note while I'm running back and forth across stage...sorry."

Actually I think I used those very words with Brigadoon choreographer Tyler when we did Kiss Me Kate almost 10 years ago (yikes!)

But occasionally, cast creativity takes a more front seat role, as it apparently has for a wonderful moment in the Bonnie Jean dance break. According to a little dancing bird:

"Patrisha, one of the dancers, has tons of ideas...she got so excited the other night about a "swoop" that she jumped up and down clapping her hands, and convinced Tyler to put the swoop into a dance. So, watch for "The Swoop" at the end of Bonnie comes right after 5 couples do a fan kick lift. The women then get "swooped" by the men."

OK, not being a real dancer that was pretty much Greek to me. I'm picturing that move they do in pairs figure skating when it looks like the guy is going to drop the gal right on her head? I'm betting that's not it though!

This reminds me of one more choreographer story. Back when I was 18 I did a production of Pippin. The choreographer was a modern-dancer type, not a theatre type, and she didn't seem to give steps by beats in the bar. Instead she would make all sorts of sound effects. "First, you pow-pow, then you whoop, then eeeeeee---ahhh."

Can you imagine?

I got assigned to actually keep track of the actual beats because her cast of tees and young adults were completely flummoxed!

But she never told us to "swoop"!

Friday, July 08, 2005

You may have noticed... liberal use of the term "Briga-dude" to describe Sean in the previous post.

Well, apparently it's all Briga- all the time at the Smithwick Theatre.

According to one little bird:

"Briga- is now a prefix. It works for so many things - Instead of Briga-doon, Briga-don't. If someone does something particularly well, that is Briga-brilliant. I have a new one to share with the cast tonight - Briga-dance. And this morning my husband called to tell me he figured out what he is: A Briga-widow, since we're never home together anymore."

Briga-widow? That's Briga-brilliant!

Foothill alums performing at the SF Theatre Festival

There are numerous Foothill alums (and even a currentBriga-dude) performing at the San Francisco Theatre Festival.

A large number are performing in Earn Your Wings, a new musical theatre composition by Reynaldi Lolong on Sunday July 24th at 11:15 AM in the Yerba Buena Gardens. Lolong actually designed the Sweeney Todd poster for Foothill so, unlike me, he is creative in more than one way obviously!

Reynaldi tells me that Briga-dude Sean Patrick O'Connor agreed to perform even though it meant jetting out of the city ASAP to make it down to Foothill for the matinee that that's a dedicated performer!

Other Foothill alums in the show are Greg Tittle (Ragtime) and Carly Ozard (SIX(!) summer shows at Foothill!)

I do have to bitch a little that the event is only about 2 weeks away, and they still have not published the festival schedule. Totally loser move SF Theatre Festival!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

While the G8 meets in Scotland, the bombs go off in London

Today doesn't seem like the day to post cute stories about Brigadoon. Our regular programming will resume tomorrow.

Until then, I'll say this: The trouble in a 24 hour news cycle is that they keep struggling for different stuff to say. Some bloggers think their blogs have to be always-on too. But I propose this: let's give London at least a day before we politicize their pain or make competitive comparisons to the scale and scope of 9/11.

To play off what Tony Blair said 4 years ago: we are all Brits today...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Meet Bonnie Jean: Lisa Schwebke

Lisa plays the sweet little sister of leading lady Fiona and bride of the stalwart (and much-teased) Charlie Dalrymple, Jeannie.

In an odd little twist of fate Lisa was most familiar with Brigadoon because her mentor while a Vocal Performance major at NYU is Meg Bussert, the Tony-nominated Fiona from the 80s revival of Brigadoon. In a random side note, Bussert's co-star in Brigadoon, Martin Vidnovic, was recently in San Francisco, playing the mysterious grizzled bartender in Bebe Neuwirth's star vehicle, Here Lies Jenny.

Anyway, when Lisa told her teacher she was auditioning for Brigadoon while home this summer, Bussert got very excited and surprised Lisa with a stealthily recorded video tape that her brother had taken of the Broadway revival! (Shhhh....don't tell.)

Lisa watched the tape and knew Jeannie was the role for her...and apparently the production team agreed!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

As if to prove the point...'s a picture of Dee in the production of Lucia she mentioned.

What is she doing?

Yes, she's drinking!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Brigadoon cast seems fixated on ale

First Dee emails me to let me know that Brigadoon is her second chance to be an 18th century Scottish lass in the same year! Dee was also a member of the Lammermoor court in Donizetti's opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, in the West Bay Opera production at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto this past February.

Dee notes that while one role was as a well-heeled and sedate member of the Scottish upper classes, in Brigadoon she is a simple villager in Brigadoon. Yet she seem quite happy to note that in both productions as a member of either class, she has gotten "the opportunity to DRINK!"

Then I hear from Jillian the backstory that she and Sean have come up with about their characters:

"We decided one day that our characters are married, because we sell ale together and we also are in the same clan. This story started simple but soon thereafter progressed. So here it day I decided to come to Brigadoon's Fair to sell my ale. It so happens that Sean (a resident of Brigadoon) was also there selling his ale. As I wheeled though the fair, our ale carts bumped into each other by accident and all of my product for that day's sale spilled! Sean then graciouly offered that we could sell his ale together and share the earnings. With his charisma and my, well, let's say huge "ale jugs" (lets keep it clean) we sold a lot more ale as a team. As time progressed, and we wed and merged our ale shops, and I became a Douglas. I then moved to Brigadoon. And we live happily ever after. We have now been wed for 205 years if you count the years we were "asleep".

That's quite a romantic story, but again...all about the drinking.

Does the village of Brigadoon have a rampant alcoholism problem, I wonder?

Appreciating the "hill" in Foothill

So I always joke when talking to a new person in a Foothill show, "What made you want to climb the hill to work at Foothill."

For those of you who haven't been to Foothill, there are basically two ways to get to the theatre.

You certainly can drive around to the back of campus, park and walk a further distance, but one that involves slight rolling hills, not steep staircases. But the most common method, and the most direct is to climb what seems like a fairly endless series of steps up a pretty steep hill.

It's very amusing to climb the hill, huffing and puffing and then try to sing musical warm-ups. But it's also gratifying to notice by the end of the run that the steps hardly affect you at all!

I just checked the Foothill web site looking for a picture of the steps and what a surprise, most pictures of the campus don't highlight the cardio workout you get every time you come to school!

At least two Brigadoon cast members appreciate the work out.

Peggy Lynch, who is in Brigadoon but also a member of the Foothill Conservatory, likes the hike up the hill, calling it "good exercise!" (Of course, she was just a little more motivated to audition for Brigadoon by her recent trip to Scotland and her admiration of the last three musicals Foothill performed than by the hope of a little daily exercise...I guess the climb is just one of the "perks.")

Liz Hodge, the matriarch of the MacGuffie clan also said this was her first musical at Foothill, and she doesn't mind the climb because she "needs the exercise." Liz actually hadn't performed in quite some years, and was inspired to take it up again by watching her daughter start to get into theatre.

Truth be told, my sister got into theatre before I did when we were kids, but I stuck with it more!

So remember, you do have choices: you can park around back and avoid the infamous hill. On Sundays they usually even provide a shuttle bus for senior audience members, so they can avoid the hill. Or, you can skip the gym and take the hill twice...just to give your heart a little work-out.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bill's not-so-excellent adventure

If you're a long-time reader of this blog you've met ensemble member Bill Ereñata before...whether during Candide, Ragtime or now Brigadoon!

Bill had a scary time a couple of weeks ago, and he's such a good story teller it reads like a suspense novel. I'm just going to ruin things and tell you there's a happy ending, but check out what can happen when you're a a really deep sleeper!

As Bill tells it:

"I awoke Saturday morning with a left arm which was not working. Thought I had slept wrong, and that it would soon return to normal. As it hadn't by the time I was ready to leave for the day's rehearsals, I called our trusty stage manager, Karen, to let her know that I suspected that I might have had a stroke during the night, and was instead pointing my car in the direction of Good Sam Hospital. Of course not knowing what might happen, and knowing that they would be interested in the prescriptions I was taking, I grabbed a plastic bag and filled it with all of the bottles from the medicine cabinet (I sure wasn't going to sit down and try to make a list of everything); stuffed it into my tote. Then, as I knew that if they kept me there, I would have to take out my contacts, I found my pair of glasses; that too went into the tote. Of course, if they didn't keep me, I needed my music and dancing shoes; they too went into the tote. Hospitals like to get paid, so I had to ensure that the tote also contained my Medicare and supplemental cards. Finally, ready to go.

Oops, there was the "Brigadoon" VHS tape I had rented from Hollywood Videos; due by midnight on Sunday. Should I risk it? No, better drop it off on my way. So, it too went into the tote. Ready to go at last.

[Ed.: OK, at this point I was already completely amazed that the guy thinks he's had a stroke, and he's got the presence of mind to remember all this stuff, the optimism to bring his rehearsal clothes...and returning the video? That blew my mind! But let's get back to Bill.]

"Lugged the tote to my car and then the fun began. I have a low-riding Honda Civic Del Sol, so usually sit down, swing my legs into place, grab the door with my left hand, close it, reach back and grab my seat belt (again with my left hand) and I am on my way. It wasn't working that way and I had to find innovative ways to get those things done."

[Ed.: My S.O. has a Civic del Sol, and they are damn hard to get in and out of.]

"Finally, I was on the road. Midway was Hollywood Video. Stopped, dropped off the video, and then had to repeat the innovative antics to make myself ready to drive again. I arrived at the hospital and dragging my tote, made it into the emergency desk and told the triage nurse that I thought that I may have had a stroke. She calmly listened to me (no slurring of speech), had me smile big time (so sagging of one side of the face), and of course, asked what prescriptions I was taking. Digging into my tote, at the bottom I found the plastic bag and handed it to her. She smiled, took down the data, and then ushered me into the emergency area.

"Disrobe down to your undershorts, put on the hospital gown, and get onto the guerney, and the doctor will be right in."

Depositing the laden tote on a vacant chair, I attempted to comply with the orders. Under normal circumstances a hospital gown is a challenge; in this case it was an impossibility. I somehow managed to try to maintain my modesty, and then the next challenge was to get onto the gurney. Didn't realize how much my left arm had served me in the past; without it to help, I had to make jumping up and roll maneuver to get on. Of course then the untied hospital gown was then no longer
doing much to maintain my modesty. At least I was now in place, trying to relax. Then it was many many tests.

Finally, the doctor comes in and says that all of the tests did not show any indication of stroke, but ... unwilling to just let me go, they were having my doctor called to come in and sign my release. Finally got release about 4:30; no food or coffee ever offered; no bed pans offered, and I had to twist and squirm to get to the call button, and to find a pencil in my tote to poke at the drapes so that I could open them enough to get someone's attention to disconnect me so that I could get ready to leave. It was not the way I would have chosen to spend 9 hours of my life!!

So, it is now Tuesday, and I can now raise my left arm up and touch my head; still can't raise my hand into the air, but it is getting there. The probable culprit; sleeping on my side I had most likely pinched a nerve and caused the surrounding tissue to become inflamed, which would eventually cure itself.

Phew. I know this will never happen to me because I never sleep in one position long enough to pinch a nerve. All I can say is that I'm thoroughly amazed by how calm Bill stayed throughout. Returning the video is the part of the story that really kills me! Oh, and I think I skipped the part where he called Karen mid-way through the day to tell her he definitely wouldn't be able to make it to rehearsal. Ya think?!

Glad you're OK Bill, thanks for sharing your story.

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