Thursday, June 30, 2005

Meet ensemble member Dee Baily, no 'e' please!

Being someone whose name is bastardized often...Eliza, Alicia, Alyssa, I could go on...I can appreciate that poor Dee Baily goes through life wearily explaining, "no, there is no 'e' in Baily."

But that's not really the important part of Dee's Brigadoon story. The important thing is that Brigadoon was the first musical that Dee ever saw live and on stage.

"Being in this production is nostalgic for me, because Brigadoon was the first LIVE Broadway musical I ever saw. I'd seen plenty of movie musicals:they were still making those when I grew up (I was amused at the younger set's reaction to the movie musical Chicago, as if movie musicals were a whole new thing!). I'd also seen live opera and ballet, but for some reason, we did not get or go to as many live musicals (I grew up in Detroit).

So when a local community group performed Brigadoon en plein aire (outdoors) at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, when I was home during the summer from college, I went. I was absolutely entranced by it! It was quite a good
production by community theatre standards. I especially loved 'Come to me, bend to me,' and all the dancing.

And...I particularly appreciated the fact that it didn't rain (it does rain in other parts of the world in the summertime!). A while after that experience, I saw the movie; and while I love Gene Kelley and Cyd Charisse, it just isn't the same production (a lot
of music is omitted, and major characters get short shrift in the movie version.)

When I was playing the Brigadoon CD in preparation for this production, my husband was surprised to learn that Brigadoon is where 'My mother's wedding day' came from! Turns out that this was a favorite family song in his house
when he was growing up (along with Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado, which he can sing from memory). His father was a great pianist and organist, and they'd sing this song around the organ, as well as play it on the stereo!

What a cultured pair Dee and her hubby you think there are still families that sit around the piano and play and sing together?

Anybody out there do that, or know a family that does?

The Real Brigadoon

Courtesy of cast member Ian Teter, we have some info on the real Brigadoon.

The REAL Brigadoon
No, there is no real enchanted village which appears every hundred years, but there is a real place in Scotland which bears the name of Brigadoon. Lerner is said to have adapted the name of his fictitious locale from the Brig O’ Doon (Bridge of Doon) in Alloway, Scotland. This bridge is featured in the famous poem Tam O’ Shanter by Robert Burns.

Also of interest is the following story:
"After the New York opening and a flood of love letters from the critics, there was a small controversy. Critic George Jean Nathan accused Lerner of stealing his story from a German legend called “Germelshausen”, the tale of a similar hamlet which awoke once a century. Lerner reported in his memoirs that Nathan was in love with the leading lady Marion Bell, and when he found out that she was already engaged to Lerner, he struck back at his rival with a charge of plagiarism." –from David Sheward’s It’s A Hit!

So, drum roll please, here's a picture of the real Bridge of Doon (Why do I read Bridge of Doom every time I see that?)

Thanks Ian!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Every cast has one...

...the cast member they love to tease.

Theatre people seem more akin to children, who tease the people they like, than to teenagers, who tease people to be mean.

In this show, the teasee is clearly our own Matt, AKA Johnny from the Karate Kid.

Now a little bird tells me that Matt is taking so long to lean in and kiss Jeannie during their onstage wedding, savoring the moment as it were, that the scene should have some dramatic, swelling, film musical underscoring to fill in the space.

We kid because we love Matt.

Monday, June 27, 2005

But the MacGuffie clan takes in orphans!

Or that's the story Michael Rhone and the rest of his clan have concocted.

Let me back up and introduce you to Mike.

Mike is an ensemble soloist and was only vaguely familiar with Brigadoon before he got cast in the show. He was familiar with a couple of the ballads from the show, having learned them with his voice teacher. MIke even uses "There But For You Go I" for auditions.

It really didn't matter what show Foothill did this summer, Mike was going to audition. It was just bonus that he already knew and loved some of the music. Mike is another one who was motivated to audition after being an audience member for several years.

Anyway, back to the kindly, charitable MacGuffie clan. Here's how Mike and his clan have figured it:

"I'm in the MacGuffie clan. Angus, our patriarch, is roughly the same age as me, so clearly he's not my father. Plus, a solo I have in "Down on MacConnachy Square" identifies my character as Sandy Dean (not MacGuffie). So we decided that my mother was a MacGuffie, Angus's older sister. Tragically, both my parents died years ago, and the MacGuffie clan took me in. They're kind that way."

Sounds liek the MacGuffie clan deserves and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition doesn't it? (Am I the only one that watches that with tears in my eyes every week?)

Meet our Fiona: Michele Johnson

You remember Michele from this lovely photo, right?

Anyway, this is Michele's second go-round with Brigadoon and after hearing her story about the last production, I'm hoping this one goes a lot smoother.

Michele understudied both Fiona and Jeannie in Saratoga Drama Group's production a few years ago. Now she got to be Fiona at every Thursday night show.

But according to Michele it was every understudy's dream show because there were so many mishaps! I remember talking to our Tonny, Tim Reynods, and he mentioned this same production because he got to go on as Charlie one weekend and as Tommy another weekend! And apparently one night their Harry got into a car accident and a cast member had to jump in with no notice at all.

According to Michele there was only one performance where the entire actual cast was on stage all on the same night! Scary.

That's perhaps a little too much "keeping it fresh"-ness for my taste.

The only show I was ever in at Foothill that had some similar issues was Little Night Music. First the tenor in our Quintet had an accident and hurt his ankle, so intrepid musical director, the dear Philip Garay, stepped in for the run. The on Closing Day yet another Quintet member fell ill before the show and had to go to the hospital. The Quintet became a Quartet for the final performance.

But I digress.

Michele is back to playing one of her favorite roles, Fiona, and I hope for all our sakes that she and Tim didn't bring SDG's "luck' with them from their last production of Brigadoon

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Douglas Clan

Well, ensemble member Jillian Mitchell is winning the race for most spirited clan member. She is the first to send me her own research into her clan's crest.

She is part of the Douglas clan:

You'll note their motto is "Jamais Arriere", or "Never Behind." Interesting how their motto is in French, huh?

Jillian is first to get her clan crest up on the blog, so she is "never behind" indeed.

A Foothill veteran has another shot at Brigadoon

John Musgrave has been around the Foothill scene for a long time. Brigadoon is his 7th musical at Foothill, a run he kicked off in 1993 playing Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady.

His last Foothill performance was as Arvide in 2003's Guys & Dolls...and ironically Jay came up with the idea of having Arvide be Scottish, so John has a little practice at the accent.

According to John his memories of liking Brigadoon date back a bit further than most of the cast members:

"Since I am an "older" cast member my Brigadoon phonograph experience is from my own record collection and not my parents'. Back in the 5os I bought an LP recording of selections from Brigadoon sung by Robert Merrill, Jan Peerce and Jane Powell and I immediately fell in love with the music. Although I enjoyed the MGM movie, it has too many changes from the stage play and is much inferior to the original."

16 years ago John was in the ensemble of another production of Brigadoon, this time around he's playing Mr. Lundie. HIs goal is "to make Mr. Lundie an interesting and entertaining character and not the boring old geezer that one usually sees. With the help of Jay and a very talented group of colleagues, I hope I can pull it off."

Since I remember his past performances at Foothill, I'm betting he can!

Ray has WAY too much time on his hands

...and obviously an inappropriate affection for Photoshop.

Hence, this from Ray:

"Here's a photo I found with Matt and the actual Karate kid!"

I don't know how Matt can stand this abuse!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Meet dancer Esther Selk

Esther wasn't familiar with Brigadoon at all when she got cast, but within just a few days the movie was showing on TCM. Quite the coinky-dink.

(Oh, and did everyone hear that Hillbarn is doing Brigadoon in their upcoming season?! When it rains Scottish Villages it pours I guess.)

Anyway, Esther tried out for Brigadoon in the first place because she heard they were seeking dancers, and she considers herself far more of a dancer than singer. To be honest, Esther says, "Well, I enjoy singing, but others may not enjoy hearing me sing!" But she is learning a lot about music, harmony and listening.

Esther considers herself the "name guru." You may think what's the big deal about learning everyone's name, but when there are around 50 cast members it does take a while.

I was watching a portion of a video of a show I did at Foothill in 1994 the other day. No, I don't sit around and watch myself on video to pass the time. I saw Bebe Neuwirth's Kurt Weill song, and she sang a song that they added for me when we did Threepenny Opera, but Neuwirth sang a different lyric than I remembered, so I watched it to remember what lyric I sang.

Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is that I saw myself up there with people on stage, and I was very bumeed to realize I no longer remembered everyone's name. It is both the joy and tragedy of doing Esther puts it: "My favorite part of the whole experience is the PEOPLE, they are talented, fun, interesting, entertaining, yet also professional. I am truly enjoying getting to know everyone." But on the other side of the coin, the show closes; folks move on, and 11 years later you're feeling old because you can't remember all the names.


Friday, June 24, 2005

OMG. The cheesiest picture of "Johnny" from the K-Kid I could find

Hide your eyes, this is really cheesy.

Matt: If I were you I'd be afraid, very afraid:

Wax on; Wax off

According to the cast Matt Hutchens who plays Charlie Dalrymple bears an uncanny resemblance to "Johnny" from the movie The Karate Kid. I decided to research this little fact.

Here's Matt:

Here's the guy who plays least I think so. I've never actually seen the movie all the way through. (I know, gasp! shock! Hey, I've never seen Titanic either)

Why does it matter, because the cast has already constructed their own ritual around the fact that Matt looks like this guy. According to my little cast informant:

"At the very end of the movie, Johnny is about to go into the Karate ring with Ralph Machio, and one of the bad guy Cobras says, 'Put him in a body bag, Johnny.' So, in Brigadoon, when Matt, as Charlie, is about to duke it out with Steve, as Harry, there have been whispers of, 'Put him in a body bag, Johnny.' It has become so prevalent during rehearsals, that Cyril brought a special gift for Matt last night - his very own Karate Kid style head band, which Matt wore throughout rehearsal last night. If you listen carefully, you can hear the strains of the Karate Kid theme song being sung..."

OK, cast...someone needs to get me a picture of Matt in that headband!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2005's the utilikilt

OK, if you're not reading comments, you're missing out.

In fact if you're not posting comments you're also kind of missing out, but I digress.

Ray mentioned in one of his comments actually seeing a dude at Safeway in his utilikilt, and Ray was kind enough to provide a link to what the hell he was talking about.

I am kind enough to post a picture:

For reals!

Speaking of Kimberly, let's meet her!

Kimberly auditioned for Brigadoon to help her prepare and broad her horizons before a big step this Fall.

This isn't Kimberly's first show or musical, but it is her first show outside school and children's programs. And she auditioned because she's going to go to NYU next year to study drama, and wanted to have the experience of a show outside of school at least once before moving on to (hopefully) bigger things in New York. (NYU...pretty impressive!)

Kimberly has been getting training at her current school which really emphasizes "professionalism." So it's gratifying for her to see that rehearsals so far of Brigadoon are pretty much what she expected.

One surprise, though, is the discovery that "professionalism" co-exists with extreme niceness! As Kimberly says:

"There's not this competitive spirit you get sometimes (especially in conservatory programs) and everyone is just so... nice! People are helpful and friendly and they always jump up and offer to help if you ever need it--it's great. We really watch out for each other. For example, when I had to miss rehearsal, I had two people offer to watch my track for me and teach it to me when I got back... everyone's so nice!"

[Editor's ramblings: Actually my experience is that professionalism almost always goes hand-in-hand with, at the very least, graciousness. Especially in the somewhat insecure and unpredictable world of theatre people tend to feel pretty lucky once they actually are in a show...and feeling lucky makes people pretty nice.

Of course there are two exceptions...I agree that sometimes people aren't the nicest in the audition/call-back period. That's when competitiveness rears its ugly head. (And I can see how being in a conservatory setting would feel like you were constantly auditioning or being judged against your peers.) I'm not sure it's really meanness, as much as being stressed out...which makes people less empathetic to others.

Also, I think it's hard to be in a show if you didn't get what you want and felt really strongly that you should have. Few people can resist the urge to be catty and judgmental in that situation.

Here's a little secret: I often don't even go to see a show if someone I know that I'm not too impressed with is playing a role I have played or would like to play...whether I auditioned or not. I figure there's plenty of opportunities in life to be catty and mean...why increase the odds I'll behave that way!!! End Editor's ramblings.]

The Clans exhibit competitive spirit

I guess the competition is on to prove each Clan is the best. (No, I'm not clear on the criteria either.)

Anyway, ensemble member Sean Fenton makes the case for the MacGuffie Clan.

They are, in his words, "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?"

I don't know, that sounds like a challenge to me! Let's hear from the other clans.

(And yes, non-theatre'y people do get all into this kind of stuff...keeps it fun and interesting even when you're in hour 3 of rehearsing a tedious group scene, and your director is putting 50 people in stage pictures, and adjusting it inches at at time!)

A little bird tells me...

OK, a little male bird tells me that the cast has been instructed on what, specifically, should go underneath the kilts.

So, for all you people hoping for Scottish authenticity...and looking forward to the energetic leaping in the sword dance...I am the one who is going to disappoint you.

Too impatient to click through to see? Well, I am nothing if not it is:

After all some of us think a little mystery is even more sexy!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Men in kilts in Campbell!

Man, why don't I remember to carry around my digital camera at all times? And no, don't tell me to use my crappy cellphone camera. If I ever take a shot that actually comes out and displays something recognizable that'll be the day!

Anyway, I was innocently driving home from getting my hair done on Saturday ( got some nice red highlights to look more Scottish, don't you know) and what should I see walking down Hamilton Avenue? Men in kilts. A bunch of them

Why, you may ask?

Or maybe not, maybe you are already aware that last weekend was the Campbell Highland Games.

And their home page is full of Brigadoon rferences. No, not our show, even though we were an advertiser at the Games. Just the concept of Brigadoon

And in a little bit of small world coincidence, the Chieftain of these games is someone who I went to college with some (cough, cough) 20 years ago! Yikes! See, she was a fellow theatre major...which explains the Brigadoon references I guess.

So, did any one out there go to the Games?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Knowing Brigadoon since childhood!

Turns out two different ensemble members have known about Brigadoon since childhood, but this is their first opportunity to be in the show.

Sean Patrick O'Connor played Tobias in Sweeney Todd earlier this year and had such an amazing experience that I knew he wanted to get back to Foothill and fast.

According to Sean, "just working with such a talented artistic team made me want to be a part of this show."

But even if Sean's Sweeney would have been enough, turns out he first heard about Brigadoon when he was but 8 years old appearing in his first ever show, a Center Rep production of Macbeth. [How's that for a first theatre experience...and for an 8-year old!]

Perhaps executing some very night and day Scottish theme, a production of Brigadoon was being performed in the same building at the same time. So he got to know their cast too and hear all about the show. His favorite part about actually doing Brigadoon? "The score is beautiful. They don't write 'em like this anymore!"

Then there's Kimberly Wong, who has seen the movie because her aunt is a big fan of it. This is Kimberly's first experience with the stage version (and you know how different 40s/50s movie musicals were from their Broadway counterparts.)

But as long as the stage version only provides more beautiful Lerner & Loewe music and more dancing than the movie...then no one's going to complain!

Friday, June 17, 2005

The ensemble consensus on favorite Brigadoon songs to sing

I've been asking cast members what their favorite song in the show is.

Not surprisingly the votes seem split between the two first numbers in the show, which both heavily feature the ensemble.

The Prologue Once in the Highlands is a lovely, slightly haunting ballad featuring very nice, rich harmonies.

The next song is the bright uptempo Down on MacConnachy Square, which is somewhat like that number in Oliver where are the vendors are selling their wares and such. (The name of the Oliver song is escaping me amazingly.)

Cast members are picking these same two songs as their two favorites, from Ian Teter, who had never heard anything from Brigadoon until he got cast in this show to Sean Patrick O'Connor who first heard of the show when he was 8 years old!

You can click on the links above and hear clips from the original Broadway cast's recording of the show.

Love the internet!

Sweeney returning to Broadway!

BlogwayBaby alerts me to the return of Sweeney Todd to the Broadway stage, this time in the acclaimed London version that featured a cast of nine who played all the instruments themselves!

I know Foothill Artistic Director Jay Manley saw this production in London and loved it.

Of course the Broadway version has a couple of Broadway stars at the helm: Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovett and Michael Cerveris as Sweeney. Having seen them both in Passion on TV recently I can say that LuPone as Lovett should be fantastic...she is still a powerhouse. I'm having a teensy bit of trouble seeing Cerveris as Sweeney myself. That may be because the only time I've seen him live on stage he was playing Tommy in Tommy 12 years ago.

I wonder if the Lovett & Sweeney actually played instruments in the London version?

And if so, I wonder if LuPone and Cerveris will...or if the remaining 7 cast members will be carrying even more of the orchestral load!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Online Discount for Brigadoon is Ready!

We are good to go for online ordering of tickets with a special blog reader discount of $3 off per ticket (General, Senior and Student.)

Considering that those regular price tickets run from $18-24 the discount comes in at around 15%.

How do you get it?

Go to TicketWeb and remember to use the promotion code ONLINE after you pick a date.

Now, they are going to show you the entire menu of price options even after you enter a promotion code, so remember to pick the GENERAL-PROMO or SENIOR-PROMO or STUDENT-PROMO code...not the regular priced one right next to it in the pull-down menu. (Yes, I'm trying to get them to remove the other options once you've entered a promo code, but who knows when that will happen?)

Also, you should probably bear this in mind:

The show runs from Friday July 22nd to Sunday August 14th (4 weekends in total)

Thurs./Fri./Sat. are at 8PM
Sundays are at 2PM

Sundays sell really quickly on these summer shows. So if you prefer Sundays, I'd get moving.

Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Meet ensemble member: Lauren Mack

Lauren has a unique connection to Brigadoon, because it was the first musical her mother ever choreographed! 25 years ago at Wright State in Ohio, Lauren's mom choreographed the show and had to deal with college pranksters who did things like leave a real, dead chicken in Jennie's trunk for the ensemble women to find while dancing the number Jeannie's Packin' Up.

Pretty sure Lauren's hoping that experiences like that don't run in families!

Lauren hopes to attend Foothill's Theatre Conservatory next year, so she decided to a "good experience." Well, sorry Lauren, you got cast, and now you're commuting from Marin to do the show!

And what inspired Lauren to pick Foothill?

"I saw Ragtime and the only thing I could think of was that I had to be a part of that. I'd never seen anything like that in community theater. It just blew me away."

Actually it was something similar for me. I had just moved back from NYC and saw Foothill's 1991 production of Sunday in the Park with George. I, too, was completely blown away...and auditioned for their summer shows that year.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anyone else out there motivated to audition by seeing a great show at Foothill?

Man without a Clan: Ray Renati

Ray Renati, a Foothill regular, is playing the man without a clan, Jeff...romantic lead Tommy's sardonic sidekick from New York.

Or, as Ray puts it: "my clan is the McDrunk Clan of New York...I'm the only surviving member!"

Must be a genetic predisposition for cirrhosis of the liver that killed 'em think? Anyway, nice to see Ray is so easily able to slip right into character.

Oh, and don't forget...Ray has his own blog, so you can find out more about our man McDrunk in his own words there!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Getting your tartan on

I went to rehearsal last Thursday night to meet the cast and to introduce the Foothill newbies to the blog.

I noticed that a couple of the folks were wearing tartan accessories, someone had on a tam, for example. This is about week 2 of rehearsals, and their plans for the night were to work on learning the music, so I took it as a sign of early enthusiasm!

Jay mentioned that they were going to divide the entire cast into their clans at yesterday's rehearsal. I did the show when I was 15, and my younger sister was in the show too. What a surprise we were in the same clan :)

So, pretty soon we're going to start introducing you to the clans of Foothill Music Theatre's Brigadoon!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Take a look at "Brigadoon"

Here's a first look at some key Brigadoon elements:

The star-crossed lovers:

The comic relief:

And of course, how could I deprive you of your first look at Men in Kilts???!!!

You can see the whole collection of publicity shots here.

Monday, June 06, 2005

If you needed more incentive to see the New Works Festival...

...then Foothill Fave Diane Milo delivers it:

"I have been cast in one of the more dramatic pieces, which is a fun change-of-pace for me after spending a good part of the beginning of the year smiling through The Taffetas and Smokey Joe's Cafe!"

True enough...I can't remember the last time I saw Diane on stage without a smile!

Remember, Ray Renati has all the deets.

My take on the Tony Awards last night.

No, no...not the awards and who won them and whether that was good or bad.

As I've already said, I haven't seen a single nominated show this year.

No, this is my take on the quality of the Awards show itself...over at my Personal Blog.

Ray decries my "false advertising" claim!

So, I accused our Jeff, Ray Renati, of false advertising when he promsed a look at him in a kilt to people who come see Brigadoon.

(His character is American, and I don't recall that he ever dons a kilt in the show.)

Ah, but Ray swears it is not false advertising in an email to me:

"The Kilt was not false advertising! I will be happy to model one for anyone who requests it after the show. :)"

I believe this is a worthy opportunity for a blog swarm!

Anyone who sees the show and reads this blog should definitely ask for their kilt modeling as advertised!!

Am I just being mean now?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Foothill New Works Festival

Ray has all the deets on his site, including a special 50% off offer for tomorrow night! (eek, sorry I didn't notice this before guys.)

Here it is.

Oh yeah, "Brigadoon" is ON, baby!

Rehearsals started this week for Brigadoon.

They brought the cast of 40 together to start learning all the music and, thank the Lord, to start getting Scottish dialect coaching.

I say "thank the Lord" because I really, really don't need to see another show featuring Lucky Charms leprechaun voices...whetehr the show is set in Ireland, Scotland or Wales!

(No, I actually have never seen a show set in Wales, but you get my point, right?)

Anyway, I'm going to go visit rehearsal next week and coerce the cast into giving up all their little tidbits for the blog, so it's going to get juicy around here.

I'll also be introducing you to the various cast and staff members, so you can feel like part of the clan.

Ouch, that hurt even me!

Ray Renati is selling his body for "Brigadoon"

Well, OK, only part of his body...the legs to be precise.

As I point out to Ray in his comments, though, I don't think his American character actually ever has to don kilt in the show.

So, this may be a bit of false advertising!

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