Thursday, August 28, 2008

What? Rufus was going to write an opera for the Met, and now he's not!?

If you are a theatre person. but not familiar with pop start Rufus Wainwright, you probably should be. He is the purveyor of a brand of expansive, theatrical pop music that should appeal to actual theatre aficianados.

I learned this morning (via the NY Times) that Rufus is working on an opera, and that it was origianally intended to debut at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. But it won't.

Why? Because they're idiots! Seriously. Rufus was raised in Montreal and was writing the opera with a French libretto. The Met insisted it should be presented in English. He didn't feel like complying.

Isn't this the same Met where they've featured operas in about 10 different languages? It's not the City Opera we're talking about here? And isn't this the same Met that has featured supertitles with English translations for decades?

What's the BFD?

Oh, because he's a pop star you hope he'll bring in "the yoots", and they might not come if it's not in English? I can only imagine that must be the Met's thinking, but my thinking would be that Rufus probably has a fairly sophisticated fan base who could handle the Frenchiness.

So, now he's taking it to some Festival in England for its debut nextyear instead.

Boo! Silly Met!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

I might actually get to the theatre next month!

I've been head down, focused on my company (BlogHer) for a few months now, and I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a movie in the theatre or stepped out to the live theatre itself. (It was probably when I was in NYC and saw SUnday in the Park.)

But next month I may actually hit the local theatre scene three times! What's on my agenda?

1. We were given a mini-subscription to the San Jose Rep as a wedding present last year, and we decided to renew. It's really very convenient, and having a built-in excuse for a date-night several times a year is a good thing in our (or at least my) workaholic world. Their season opener is The Foreigner by Larry Shue (who also wrote The Nerd). Back when I did summer stock during the summers of 1985 and 1986, we did The Foreigner. I wasn't in it, so instead i got to see it as an audience member. I remember it being quite charming and amusing, but I'm wondering how it will hold up some 25 years after its initial debut. I'll find out, I guess.

Side note: San Jose Rep honestly needs some help on their web presence. The show, and therefore their season, opens in a week and there is still no link to more information about the play, just the little blurb on the home page. Plus they have a link to their "new blogs:, which still features a "blog" by their now-gone Artistic Director, and another "blog" by the Managing Director...whose actual goal is only to post once per month (and he doesn't always achieve that.) I mean I know I'm a bad blogger too, but this ain't a marketing tool for a business here, you know? End side note.

2. Having never seen it, I'm a bit intrigues to see San Jose Stage Company's Altar Boyz. I've heard the show is fun and funny a la Forever Plaid or Nunsense. It stars friend CJ Blankenship, who I haven't seen perform in quite some time.

Anybody out there seen Altar Boyz and can vouch for it as a fine evening's entertainment?

3. It's a no-brainer that I'm going to see Broadway By the Bay's Into the Woods. One of my favorite shows, and starring some of my favorite performers, including buddy Paul Araquistain in one of his dream roles he has yet to play, the Baker.

Those are my September theatre choices. What are yours?

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Sondheim's "Bounce" gets new life as "Road Trip"

Well, I had no idea at all that Stephen Sondheim was attempting to revive his last (and ill-received) work, formerly known as Bounce.

Playbill Online has the story here: Sondheim Explains Evolution from 'Bounce' to 'Road Show'

I am not a huge fan of the Bounce CD, so I'm curious to see if this is worth reviving. Foothill's Jay Manley tells me I'm wrong, plain wrong about not liking Bounce, and I think he actually saw it, so he may indeed be right.

What I found much more exciting about the article, though, was that it talked about Sondheim working on both another new musical and a annotated lyrics project:

Now, Sondheim and Weidman are faced with the problem of what to ponder other than how to musicalize the Mizners. Happily, they're already "discussing" another show to fill that void.

"But I'm spending most of my time writing a book," said Sondheim, meaning his tome of annotated lyrics. "It's going to be long. I'm not, by nature, a prose writer, but I'm literate, and I have a couple of people who are vetting it for me, whom I trust, who are excellent prose writers."

Now, those projects I can get excited about!


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Equity shutting down SF office

I'm the least active Actors' Equity member ever, so my commentary isn't exactly going to be influential, but I do think it's a shame that Actor's Equity is shutting down their San Francisco member office this September. They're consolidating West Coast operations to LA and hoping that "modern technology advances" will make it easy to support the Bay Area theatre scene without actually being here. We all know that technology is great, but physical proximity does matter. Face-to-face relationships do matter.

Not that I'm sure the SF office was always that helpful. I've heard lots of my friends who are on the management side of small theatres say that they felt Equity was more hindrance than help when it came to finding ways to employ Equity actors. And that's probably pretty consistent across regions.

Then you hear that the SF office has had 5 different people in charge in as many years, and you wonder how on Earth it could be that hard to get someone to stay leading an Equity office in one of the country's most beloved cities? What the heck were they doing to that poor person?

I haven't even done a show/contract since 1999, and I don't think I've EVER interacted with the SF Equity office, so like I said: I'm just yammering. I just pay my dues and resist giving up my membership as a weird matter of pride and denial.

Why don't some of you who are actually currently active in the local Equity scene comment: What do you think?

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