Sunday, March 30, 2008

My review of San Jose Rep's Souvenir

Is online at my personal blog.

Oh, and just to warn you. I totally give away the ending. This is a big, fat spoiler alert.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Local theatres facing the wrecking ball?

Coincidentally I received two notices about two small, but vibrant theatres in the Los Altos/Mountain View area both facing uncertain futures. In one case community input might help. In the other case, I'm not so sure.

1. Bus Barn Theatre in Los Altos

Here's the scoop from artistic director Barbara Cannon:
The City of Los Altos is considering a plan to rebuild the community center and it's surroundings and is now soliciting input from citizens regarding the use of certain facilities here. Bus Barn Stage Company has been asked to present itself to the City Council and basically explain why a theater should be included in the city plan. If we are included, we will gain a new performing arts space with increased seating capacity (hopefully) and modern amenities (indoor plumbing!!). If we are not included, it seems likely that Bus Barn Theater will be demolished in the renovation and will not be replaced. The current City Council members are not supporters of the arts generally and theater specifically, so we figure they will need some convincing.

If you have the time and are so inclined, we can use some testimonials specifically geared towards the importance of Bus Barn to our community and to the community-at-large. It can be an email or attachment that we can print out, or a letter. Our very brief presentation is scheduled for May 9. I would love to lay a pile of testimonials on their desk after we make our presentation. If you live in the Palo Alto/Mountain View/Los Altos area, your input is especially important.

Emails can be sent to me, Letters can be sent to PO Box 151, Los Altos CA 94023.

I wonder if that May 9th meeting is open to the public...or at least Los Alto residents? It must be, right?

2. Pear Theatre in Mountain View

Ray Renati sent me this link to his blog which contains this link to an article from the Mountain View Voice.

Sounds like Google and Microsoft are playing a life-size game of Monopoly with office space in MV.

Here's the crux of the matter for the Pear:
What will happen to The Pear is uncertain. Its lease expires this October.

"We assume that at some point there is a good chance Google will want to do something with that space," said Diane Tasca, artistic director of The Pear. "They also bought the building next to us."

The 15,000-square-foot building has several other tenants, including a photo studio, a glass shop and a Pilates studio, some of which have longer leases than The Pear, Tasca said. The longest lease runs until July 2009.

Zoning administrator Peter Gilli said in an e-mail that Google would have to rezone the site to build office space there.

After talking to someone close to the deal, Tasca speculated that Google bought the building in a "strategic" move -- in order to keep Microsoft "in check."

Tasca said she was planning to meet with Google representatives to find out how long The Pear would be able to stay.

We really know how to value the arts, huh?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

ACT announces next season

The story is here.

The official announcement is here.

And the exciting stuff is pretty obvious:

- A West Coast premier for a new Tom Stoppard play, Rock & Roll

- A new play starring actors Laurie Metcalf, JoBeth Williams and Dennis Boutsikaris

-A John Guare play

-Broadway Diva Judy Kate in Souvenir (which I'm supposed to go see at SJ Rep this weekend)

- Finally, the West Coast Premier of Edward Albee's Zoo Story prequel, Peter and Jerry

Now that I live in San Jose (well, as I have for the last 7 years) I find I go to SF less and less often. The distance and hassle isn't offset by what I could do there. If I lived just a little further North I might be enticed by this season, though.

How far would you drive for this season?


Monday, March 24, 2008

This show comes with a very clever actor and his very entertaining "shameless plug"

My friend Will Giammona does a lot of shows, and I guess he has figure out that if you're going to invite your friends to a lot of shows, your invitations better be entertaining in their own right. Hence the following "shameless plug." Even in my current homebody, barely-leave-the-house, uninspired-by-most-theatre state I'm feeling the itch to go see this.

Check out why:

Greetings Theatergoers!

The third and final installment in my Child Abuse trilogy of roles is finally here! (see previous emails on The Diviners and The Secret Garden) I'm playing Richard in Thrill Me a new two-person show based on the real life killers/lovers Nathan Leopold & Richard Loeb who murdered little Bobby Franks in Chicago in 1924. And yes, it's a musical.

Because I know it's a new show and most of you have never heard of it, I thought I would help you out a bit by comparing my role of Richard to a role that everyone is familiar with: Curly from Oklahoma. The two roles are surprisingly similar. Let me show you what I mean:

In Oklahoma, Curly sings…
…about the joy he feels at watching the light from the morning sun rise over the cornfields.

In Thrill Me, Richard sings…
…about the joy he feels at watching the light from a gasoline fire he started burn warehouse to the ground.

In Oklahoma, Curly sings…
…to lure Laurie into a surrey to take her to the box social.

In Thrill Me, Richard sings…
…to lure a boy into his car to bludgeon him to death with a chisel.

In Oklahoma, Curly sings…
…that he and Laurie should not be bothered by what other people think because they're in love.

In Thrill Me, Richard sings…
…that he and Nathan should not be bothered by other what other people think because they are the epitome of Nietzsche's Ubermensch philosophy.

In Oklahoma, Curly sings…
…to show Judd how nice things will be at his funeral would be when he dies.

In Thrill Me, Richard sings…
… to show Nathan how nice things will be after they kill his brother John.

In Oklahoma, Curly sings…
… about his future within the state of Oklahoma for the rest of his life.

In Thrill Me, Richard sings…
…about his future within the state penitentiary of Joliet prison for the rest of his life plus 99 years.

As you can see, the comparison is staggering--it's basically Oklahoma, except that Laurie is an oversexed man with masochistic tendencies and Judd is a fourteen year old boy. Ok, maybe not. It's a little more like Sweeney Todd meets I Do, I Do with a gay twist. Despite how dark it sounds, it's not a graphic show as neither the violence nor sex is shown in any detail. But boy is it dark!

The show is really coming together and we're ready for an audience. Some of you may know others involved with the show:
Nathan is played by the extremely talented Ricardo Rust (most recently in the Willow's Jesus Christ Superstar), the show is directed by Dennis Lickteig, and the musical direction and piano accompaniment is by Tim Hanson.

For tickets and more information about the New Conservatory Theatre (on Van Ness in San Francisco), check out: The show starts previews on March 28th and officially opens on April 5th and runs until the beginning of May.

Hope to see you there!


But what's next for our child-abusing baritone? Can't we do a happy musical next time? Yes! Up next is the role of Tommy Albright, the New Yorker who finds love and escape in the mystical village of Brigadoon for DLOC in conjunction with the Diablo Symphony.

PS-In his email he had those nice Curly/Richard comparisons laid out in an easy to read table, but my html skillz are not that organic that I remembered exactly how to do that, and I gotta get ready for work in a few minutes. Hope you get the gist, though.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Finally: My review of FMT's My Fair Lady

Is up at my personal blog.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Avenue Q is NOT a cynical show

Happy to see the Merc's entertainment blog tout the arrival of Avenue Q in S an Jose next year at AMT.

Think Karen D'Souza misses the mark a bit, though, when she says: "This is musical theater for the Jon Stewart generation. Cynicism is in. Sequins, out."

I found Avenue Q to be anything but cynical. In the end I loved this show as much as I did because I actually cared more for the hopes and dream of these puppets than I did about a lot of the characters I do in other big Broadway musical productions.

When Kate Monster sings "It's a Fine, Fine Line" to end Act 1, she's speaking for every one of us who has been in that "Is/he or isn't s/he interested in me?"'s a modern and spot-on take on unrequited like.

I agree this is not your typical musical, and that it's a musical for people who think they ahte musicals, but I would never tell you that it doesn't have a big, big heart. because I think it does.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Fair Lady at Foothill

I saw My Fair Lady, the inaugural production in the new Lohmann Theatre at Foothill, last weekend. It's a lovely, intimate production that packs a surprising wallop.

I still need to write my full review, but in the meantime, you can read the review at the Metro.

I totally agree with the reviewer talking about the lack of real believable dirtiness on the part of Eliza and her Covent Garden cohorts...they were a shiny sparkly bunch with a few artfully placed and quite evenly distributed smudges of dirt. I'm not sure My Fair Lady needs to get the nitty-gritty naturalistic treatment, though, so I was pretty OK despite that little quibble.

I've always had a little trouble with the interplay between an incredibly arrogant and verbally abusive Higgins and Doolittle, and especially with her coming back in the end (and the whole giving him his slippers thing...ugh!) This production doesn't necessarily eliminate that discomfort, but it certainly plays up her feistiness and transformation into not just a "lady", but a woman who has self-regard.

And no handing him slippers. Thankfully.

Have you seen it? I hear it's totally sold out at this point! except maybe on Thursday evenings.

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