Tuesday, September 29, 2009

*High School Musical 2*

presented by Spokane Children's Theater, with performances at Spokane Community College, from Oct. 9-25

Book by David Simpatico
Music adapted, arranged and produced by Bryan Louiselle

Directed by Kimberly J. Roberts

Fridays, Oct. 9 and 16, at 7 pm
Saturdays, Oct. 10 and 17, at 1 pm and 4 pm; Saturday, Oct. 24, at 10 am and 1 pm (signed performances)
Sundays, Oct. 11 and 18 and 25, at 1 pm and 4 pm

Tickets: $10; $8, kids
Visit ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.

SCC Lair, Mission Ave. and Greene St., Bldg. 6


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*The Pirates of Penzance*

through Oct. 25 at Spokane Civic Theater
Michael J. Muzatko as the Pirate King
Andrea Dawson as Mabel, Russell Seaton as Frederic, with the Major-General (Doug Dawson) and his bevy of beautiful daughter in the background
Darnelle Preston as Ruth

Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan; book and lyrics by William S. Gilbert; directed by Yvonne A.K. Johnson; music direction by Trudy Harris; choreography by Troy Nickerson and Jillian Wylie

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Site-specific shows

A Brooklyn-based troupe is going to stage The Tempest on the beach and boardwalk at Coney Island.
As the following snip suggests, gimmickry is a trap here. But why not more of such site-specific shows around here? Or even shows that start outside and then conclude inside a theater?

From the New York Times:
Uncommon though it is, there is an international tradition of putting on plays in what are known as site-specific locations, said Elizabeth Bradley, chairwoman of the drama department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She told of a small New York company that performed Orwell’s 1984 in front of surveillance cameras to show people how ubiquitous eavesdropping is.
“People have responded to individual theatrical texts by connecting them to natural and found environments for many, many years,” she said, adding, “The trap of these things is whether it’s simply a gimmick.”

Some of Bobo's most vivid theatrical memories involve site-specific shows: Tamara in the '80s next to the Hollywood Bowl, a long-running show that took place in and around a former VFW hall, with '20s flappers and gangsters running up and down stairwells, hopping into limousines, having shootouts by the pool, then slamming doors in your face so that you had to detour and start following other pairs of characters. A production of Jean Genet's The Balcony at the old Odyssey Theater Ensemble in West L.A. in which, during the fictional revolution that was taking place "outside" the "brothel," the entire effing wall of the theater behind me suddenly collapsed, and soldiers with rifles and a jeep started driving under and around the bleachers we were seated on. Or Derrick Lee Weeden in Tony Taccone's Coriolanus at Ashland, rock-climbing in and out and over the Elizabethan Theater's vine-covered walls, and soldiers in combat fatigues screaming slogans, right behind our seats. (Not quite the same as environmental theater, but you get the point.)

So, readers, any ideas on how we could do the same here? K2 in wintertime at Minnehaha? The Importance of Being Earnest in some South Hill mansion's Victorian parlor and garden? Cubbyholes in the Masonic Center used for some kind of audience-participation murder mystery? I realize that smaller troupes and CenterStage attempted similar concepts -- but what if the Civic, Interplayers, Lake City or CdA Summer lent their organizational prestige to such an attempt? Any ideas out there matching scripts or ideas (we could write the scripts!) to match particular locations or buildings around here? It'd be a gimmick, sure, but one that might revitalize interest from lukewarm theatergoers.

[painting: by the actual Tamara de Lempicka, Polish artist, 1898-1980; from peaceaware.com]

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From savannah to Smithsonian

With The Lion King showing up in Spokane in six weeks' time (Nov. 11-Dec. 6), this news seems timely: A couple of Julie Taymor's costumes have been donated to the Smithsonian's American History branch.

But why just bits and pieces from just two characters? Having toured LK's backstage area, Bobo can attest that they've got WAY more costumes than just that.
[ photo: Rafiki the mandrill, from uktickets.co.uk ]

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first-draft review of *The Pirates of Penzance*

at Spokane Civic Theater through Oct. 25

Inspired Lunacy

Director Yvonne A.K. Johnson's production of The Pirates of Penzance is virtually flawless. You have to be in the mood for silliness -- but unless you're the sneering kind of snob who's never pleased with anything, this playful trifle of operatic down-the-rabbit-hole lunacy won't fail at cracking your lips into a smile. And then a guffaw, by Jove. And then the kind of open-mouthed admiration that only a capital production can elicit. It was indeed, all in all, a bully show, simply bully.
David Baker's set design -- first glimpsed as an entire working pirate ship swings into view, backlit behind a scrim and looking a bit fearsome -- sets the tone for a production that meets very high standards in nearly all departments. Once the buccaneer chorus has established itself with its swashes, buckles and songs, you start to feel as if you've blundered into a new version of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride -- veddy British, less threatening, and a whole lot more tuneful. Michael J. Muzatko's Pirate King swings in on a rope, setting the tone for a pirate crew that dropped in from Neverland and is about as threatening as the Lost Boys.
Baker's second-act ruined chapel -- creepy and beautiful in just the right measure -- typifies the entire show in its artful attention to detail: marble-like vines and crypts with pop-out doors match the earlier delights of the shadowy skull imposed on the drop curtain's enormous map and the pirate sloop's French name, "The Tender Heart" (suitable for the growly milquetoasts that man this particular frigate).
The costumes, by Jan Wanless and her team, get their moment when the Major-General's daughters first appear, twirling their gossamer parasols and descending a stairwell. One by one they appear, and the moment amounts to a costume parade that's particularly impressive. Wanless et al. have particularized each of the half-dozen eligible young ladies with muslins and prints, bustles and cutaway, layered fabrics that contrast lavender with sea-foam green and plaids with solids while melding the entire fluttery composition into a pleasing array that shone particularly well under Baker's lighting scheme. From the creased black crush of the Pirate King's trousers to the bright spats of the Keystone Cops who arrive in Act Two behind their walrus mustaches, the Penzance costumes alone are worth gaping at.
The choreography, by Troy Nickerson and Jillian Wylie, typifies this production's attention to detail by individualizing dancers, giving them something expressive to do and adding visual appeal to what could otherwise be repetitive choruses. The daughters perform an initial ballet with their parasols for "Climbing Over Rocky Mountain" that combines conventional movements seamlessly so that the parts meld into a larger, balletic whole. When the daughters are imperiled, they form a defensive circle like Roman soldiers, their umbrellas sticking out ludicrously as weapons. Side-step sashaying with locked arms unites the choruses of pirates and lasses.
Johnson's direction repeatedly finds the comedy inside the romance: Coloratura flourishes and trills become self-mocking. Quick allusions to 20th-century movie musicals, pop stars and cheerleading routines update the 19th-century operetta, finding a more recent way to earn the same parody-laughs that G&S sought 130 years ago, just by different means.
All the leads in the Civic's Penzance are exceptional -- both in their self-mocking delivery and their impressive singing -- led by Doug Dawson's Major General, all knock-kneed and almost unrecognizable under layers of makeup, a pith helmet and enormous facial hair. Dawson -- so skinny he's wraith-like -- goes the opposite route from the barrel-chested pomposity of so many modern (and model) major-generals. The high-pitched voice, general state of fluster, pauses to recollect himself, sinking sense of defeat at having so many daughters to account for -- even a widdle tiny teddy bear for to keep him comfy during the very scary crypt episodes -- they're all there, along with the crisp diction needed for the hyper-speed patter song near the end of Act One. With his gawky, praying-mantis movements, Dawson's General is the ultimate comic-book caricature in a show that's full of them.
As Frederic, the apprentice pirate, Russell Seaton widens his eyes in surprise at all the moral reversals around him. He leans forward from the waist to express just how earnest he is about all the lovely ideals (and lovely ladies) that he finds swirling around him. Seaton has the kind of puppy-dog expressions -- and powerful voice - that suit Frederic perfectly: earnestness taken to a comic extreme.
Andrea Dawson, as Mabel, is the show's operatic centerpiece. She hits the high notes even while leaning backwards to ogle Frederic's backside. The character's comedy works well because Dawson is so accomplished at the technical requirements of singing: Coached by Johnson, she makes the vocal pyrotechnics both beautiful and comic at the same time.
Darnelle Preston clarified poor old middle-aged Ruth's relationship to our hero (and the consonants and diction in "When Fred'ric Was a Little Lad") as well as I have ever heard. Watch for her sword-handling in the second-act "Pirates' Lair" series of songs.
As I said, virtually flawless. A raspy voice from time to time, some sound wobbles, rough-housing among the pirates at the outset that was too self-conscious, some occasionally tinny attacks by music director Trudy Harris' nine-piece orchestra, some lagging pace in the first four numbers of Act Two ... but that was about it. And Harris led some startlingly good harmonizing in the Act One finale, "Oh, Men of Dark and Dismal Fate," and the slower pace soon after intermission probably only felt slow by comparison with all the frantic fun before and after it.
And not to get too heavy with a light-comic operetta, but ... the thought occurred, as Seaton was pressing fist to chest for the umpteenth time in a show of his devotion to duty, that G&S spoofed those who were slaves to duty so thoroughly in this show because their own society was so fixated on it. Duty and sexual propriety, even at the cost of common-sensical and natural human urges -- Sullivan was making fun of those who allowed codes of conduct to overwhelm their human urges.
But consider how our own society is just the reverse: With porn everywhere, a glimpse of a world where girls are embarrassed to reveal so much as their ankles is almost like a trip to another planet. And those who keep promises even when it disadvantages them? What suckers.
Johnson's production of this silly little operetta is so good that it elevates Penzance into something more than mere silliness. When we laugh, hum along, tap our toes and are startled into realizations (we could do with a bit more sexual modesty, we ought to admire those who keep their word, if only because theyv'e demonstrated a higher kind of life worth living), then we've spent an enriching and utterly enjoyable two hours at the theater. The Civic's Pirates of Penzance is not to be missed.

[ photo: Jim Broadbent as W.S. Gilbert and Allan Corduner as Sir Arthur Sullivan in Mike Leigh's 1999 film, *Topsy-Turvy,* from offoffoff.com ]

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spielberg musical; Enron play

Steven Spielberg is partnering with the team that created *Hairspray* and helped him create *Catch Me If You Can* (both the movie and the new musical, now playing in Seattle) for a Showtime TV series about the making of an actual new musical, followed by the actual production of that musical on Broadway, Variety reports.

*The Guardian* took five non-theatrical financiers to a performance of Lucy Prebble's *Enron,* which recounts the 2001-02 scandal, to get their reactions to this financial piece of theater. It's all the rage over there, and it's intriguing how video, puppets, ventriloquists, etc., are apparently used to depict the likes of Jeff Skiling and Ken Lay.
[ photo: Lucy Prebble's *Enron* at Chichester Festival Theatre, July 2008 ]

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

*A Little Night Music* on B'way in Dec.

Trevor Nunn's production of Stephen Sondheim's 1973 musical about three mismatched couples spending a week in the country will open with a couple of women you may have heard of: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury.
(Bobo includes such tidbits because, given a few years' lag time, the influence of New York productions just might lead to the same shows being produced here.
Lansbury and Zeta-Jones, however -- I'm gonna go out on a limb here -- will not be appearing in Spokane anytime soon.)
[cast album: from uulyrics.com]


Half-price tickets; musicals in development; musicals in Britain

Two theaters in Denver are experimenting with a restricted number of half-price tickets: less than a quarter of the house is sold that way, with or without $10 student rush tickets. Note the cap quote, re: theater expansion during the Great Recession: "Flat is the new up."
Possible strategies for our local theaters?

(Note also that opening at Denver Center Theater Company this weekend is The Voysey Inheritance, which Bobo just reread for the sheer pleasure of it -- David Mamet's thorough revision (I went back and checked the 1905 original) of Harley Granville-Barker's play about a family that has been running a Ponzi scheme for generations. Talk about relevant, in the wake of Bernie Madoff! (They didn't anticipate that for all the 2005 centennial revivals.) But it's got a dozen roles, many of them small, so more suited to college and community theaters than to organizations which pay actors' salaries and housing....).

New musicals based on Little Miss Sunshine and Like Water for Chocolate will go into development later this year, based on the L.A. Times' arts blog.

Kat Brown at The Guardian's theater blog reports on recent British musicals -- note in particular the comments on Only the Brave, a D-Day love story musical, and the wonderfully titled Austentatious, a musical about a regional production of Pride and Prejudice.

[ poster: austentatiousthemusical.co.uk ]

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*The Northwest Has Talent*

Lake City Playhouse Sponsors the first annual “The Northwest Has Talent Contest”: a fund-raiser at Lake City Playhouse that just might get your act sent to Seattle or Portland for a Season 5 regional audition for *America's Got Talent.*

Deadline: Thursday, Oct. 1
Cost: $30
Preliminaries and semifinals at Lake City Playhouse: Oct. 9-11 (times TBD) and on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 7 pm
Tickets: $5
Finals at the CdA Inn: Saturday, Oct. 24, with 5:30 pm social hour, 6 pm dinner and showtime at 7 pm
Tickets: $25

Calling all singers, dancers, jugglers, musicians, actors, comedians, magicians, etc.!
Local celebrities will serve as judges.
Call (208) 667-1323 on Mon-Thurs from 9 am-3 pm or Fri from 9 am-1 pm
You could just attend the regional auditions at your own expense -- or you could win "NW Has Talent" and have Lake City pay for your airfare, accommodations and food.
Lake City artistic director Brian Doig notes that proceeds will help the theater, and that runners-up will receive "industry-related prizes" such as acting lessons from Nike Imoru, voice lessons from Bill Rhodes, headshots, etc.
[ logo: oskaya.com ]

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A rant about "Mature Language"

There are posters all over the Interplayers lobby warning of impending doom and global destruction, all because Terrence McNally's script for *Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune* is R-rated.
These are two adults having a one-night stand and all-night-long debate about whether they're going to make anything more of it than just sex. So while the conversation can get philosophical and even poetic, it also includes references to particular body parts and sex acts, along with fart jokes and f-bombs.
This is objectionable?
Two people have just fucked each other silly, and now they're supposed to revert to prudish standards of decorum? So why this need for "mature language" warnings plastered all over the Interplayers lobby?

How many people ever attend a play without having asked anyone ANYTHING about its content? (That is, in a world filled with electronic media, advertising and word-of-mouth, it'd be awfully difficult not to know the basic premise of this or any other stage play, if you're actually attending it.)
If you're looking for a G rating, you don't show up at a one-night-stand play in the first place. And if you're curious about how humans behave in their most intimate, vulnerable, needy moments, you're probably expecting that the language might get spicy like jalapenos.
Shouted profanity can be discomforting, yes, because audience members need to continue sitting there in the dark, more or less quiet -- and more or less lending consent to all the dirty talk by the fact of their remaining silent about it.
But when it comes to sex, love, companionship, and the pursuit of happiness, a little squirming around in our seats may not be such a bad thing. You won't change your mind about anything if you don't get a little uncomfortable first.

The point being: Why is Spokane posting R-rated warnings that would have been appropriate 40 years ago but which now seem superfluous and quaint? When people fuck and then discuss it afterwards, they tend (surprise, surprise) to use the word "fuck."

The 1991 movie with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino sanitized most of that out. It was intended for a general audience, and the suits took out whatever they deemed objectionable. (They got an R rating.)

But in the theater, we need to feel that we're nearly in the room with these two. And a couple engaged in all all-night boinking session are not about to shy away from colorful terms.
Every single person in the Interplayers auditorium had to know that they were about to witness a play about fornicators -- a one-night stand, working-class characters, emotions laid bare, a very frank discussion. So why are we making such a big deal here about the dirty talk?
Reed McColm told Bobo that he had to soft-sell the script to the Interplayers board, downplaying all the off-color language that McNally's characters use.
For some, prolific profanity is a deal-breaker: If a play has it, they're not going. And that's their right.
What I'm objecting to is the notion that profanity-laced plays are somehow a) unrealistic or b) ipso facto immoral.
But they'll miss out on the play's ultimately hopeful message. The Christian message of salvation -- we are all sinners, God's grace has redeemed us, we must endure, we must choose to live generously -- is actually validated by a play like Frankie and Johnny.
It isn't a bleak or immoral play; it's an honest and hopeful one. I just wish it were being given a better production than it currently is at Interplayers.
[ spoof R-rating from panelsonpages.com ]

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*The Orphans' Home Cycle* and more

Horton Foote's nine-hour, nine-play cycle is being produced at Hartford Stage and Signature Theater Company. With a cast of 22, it (or portions of it?) might be good, eventually, for community and college productions. The *New York Times* has a good synopsis.
And check out the Photoshopped gathering of playwrights that the Signature has produced in past years.
The Guardian's obit of Foote is here.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Patty will be in town

In his curtain speech for the opening of Interplayers' 29th season, new artistic director Reed McColm announced that that the previously announced *Actors Studio*-style interview of Patty Duke, intended as a fund-raiser for IPT, will take place after Duke has concluded her run as Madame Morrible in *Wicked* -- that is, sometime after February.
[photo: Patty Duke as Madame Morrible, from the San Francisco Sentinel]

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Friday, September 18, 2009

review of *Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune*

performed at Interplayers Professional Theater through Oct. 3

An apartment. Very dim light. Loud, guttural yelps of orgasmic delight. Laughter. "I wish I still smoked," she says.
Well, they're certainly having a good time tonight.
Too bad the mood isn't maintained in Interplayers' production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (through Oct. 3).
The problem's in the acting. For most of the first act, line-deliveries didn't match emotions described in the script; beats were lost, significant moments rushed through and undervalued.
As Johnny -- the short-order cook who's lonely and curious, but determined to improve his emotional lot in life -- John Henry Whitaker portrays a motormouth who doesn't speak quickly. He's a passionate guy who displays no passion.
Whitaker doesn't enact lines, he recites them. He's supposed to stare at Frankie (Karen Kalensky) intently and doesn't; he's supposed to be playful (during a close-your-eyes-and-sit-on-the-floor game) and isn't. Later, when he's supposed to express shock at witnessing an act of violence over in another apartment, he's about as surprised as when you find something that was supposed to be filed under M filed instead under N.
A carpe diem outburst, delivered while kneeling, seems more creepy than full of any lust for life. The "open your robe" sequence -- Johnny just wants to admire her naked body, just for 15 seconds -- doesn't work as well as in the movie, in which Al Pacino expresses puppy-dog appreciation while Michelle Pfeiffer chatters about this and that, nervously. Here it's more like a gynecological examination with an irritated patient.
Kalensky's character, meanwhile, is insecure and lacking in self-confidence: She's not so sure she wants this fancy-talkin' fella making goo-goo eyes at her, coming on way too strong. But Kalensky's manner is more festive (let's party!) and frantic (who is this guy who I've invited into my bedroom?!) than insecure. Again and again, she pulls her robe around herself, indicating her defensiveness. But Frankie's tattered self-esteem doesn't become evident until much later, and by then it's too late.

For much of the second act, Frankie and Johnny (played in this production by real-life spouses) act like a long-married couple, negotiating just how much they can tolerate in the other. They've lost out on their dreams; they have plenty of regrets; they're feeling older.
Director Jonn Jorgensen doesn't coax much passion out of Whitaker. In a couple of moments calling for tenderness and physical intimacy, Jorgensen has Whitaker planted over by the kitchen counter, all the way across the stage from Kalensky. (A promise never to hit a woman is more credible if you're actually within range of hitting her when you say it.)
The first-act misinterpretations are unfortunate, because Terrence McNally's script has many good observations and touching moments, and because the acting becomes simpler and more heartfelt in both of the hopeful act-ending sequences.
Kalensky has a wonderful monologue when Frankie recalls her high school prom -- illuminated by the sunrise just outside her window, her face glows with pleasing nostalgia.
And Kalensky doesn't make a big deal of Frankie's having the munchies: Her literal hunger implies her emotional hunger and loneliness, but Kalensky suggests the point simply, without indicating her character's neediness.
A lovely final sequence, rendered simply both in the acting and the directing, has Frankie and Johnny bathed in soft light and Debussy's music, yet with the romance undercut -- realistically, amusingly -- by some playful bickering.
So the evening's not a total loss. But McNally's script is much better than the performance it's receiving here.
[photos: playwright Terrence McNally, from the La Jolla Playhouse; Kalensky and Whitaker watching TV, from the Interplayers production; by Young Kwak]

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*A Grand Night for Singing*

Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7 pm
a fund-raiser for Lake City Playhouse
featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, including selections from Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, Carousel, The King and I, and more
Performers include Bill Rhodes, Julie Powell, Aaron Baldwin, Marina Kalani, Kent Kimball and others
Tickets: $20
Call: (208) 667-1323
1320 E. Garden Ave., Coeur d'Alene
[photo: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, from the Library of Congress]


Green Day gets green light for Broadway?

Green Day has followed up this year's *21st-Century Breakdown* with a musical based on their 2004 release, *American Idiot,* overseen by the creative team of *Spring Awakening.* Tony Taccone and the Berkeley Rep have already sent *Passing Strange* over to the East Coast, so the story of "three aimless" youths (Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool?) doing sex, drugs and the military, fitted out with 21 songs from the album, may have a good chance of showing up on what *Variety* calls the Rialto. (Imagine a blend of the Ramones and Stephen Sondheim?)

[album cover: Green Day's *American Idiot,* 2004, from Wikipedia]

added on Oct. 9: a review of the Berkeley Rep production

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*Catastrophe* / *Mistake*

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of communisim in Europe, some London actors just produced a double bill of Samuel Beckett's *Catastrophe* and Vaclav Havel's *Mistake* -- written in response to one another, and both about a mute prisoner's defiance of a totalitarian regime that has imprisoned them. *Catastrophe* (1982) is available on the Beckett on Film series produced by the BBC in 2001-02; directed by David Mamet, the seven-minute film stars Harold Pinter and Rebecca Pidgeon (Mamet's wife) as the fascist types and an elderly, wordless John Gielgud as the Prisoner.
[photo: from a Sept. 2008 production of *Catastrophe* at Colorado State University]

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

*Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune*

by Terrence McNally
at Interplayers Professional Theater, Sept. 17-Oct. 3 (artistic director: Reed McColm)
directed by Jonn Jorgensen
starring Karen Kalensky and her real-life husband, John Henry Whitaker
The cook has a crush on the waitress. Can they turn a one-night stand into something more?
1987 play starred Kathy Bates, who wanted the movie role, which went instead to Michelle Pfeiffer (with Al Pacino, Nathan Lane, and Kate Nelligan)
McNally will turn 70 on Nov. 3.

[photos by Young Kwak for The Inlander]

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cast list for *String of Pearls*

directed by Susan Hardie
Oct. 23-Nov. 15 at the Civic's downstairs Studio Theater
Ensemble: Katie Carey, Sarah Denison, Jean Hardie, Tami Rotchford, Kate Vita

[photo: Michele Lowe, from Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota]

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Neil Berg's Got Talent!

And Spokane's got talent too! With composer and lyricist Neil Berg at the piano, a quintet of singers will croon show tunes from Fiddler, Phantom, Les Miz, Jekyll & Hyde, Cats and more on Monday, Oct. 12 at the Fox. And you can join them! Just record a two-minute video of yourself singing a Broadway song, then upload it to Facebook, MySpace or YouTube, and maybe you'll be among the "two winners and up to ten runners-up selected by the show's panel of industry experts."
Winners sing solos; runners-up will form an ensemble; all video submitters get 15 percent off the $22-$37 tickets. Deadline: Friday, Oct. 2, at 5 pm. Visit singingwiththebroadwaystars.com or call 624-1200. Show 'em how much talent there is that you've got — along with the rest of America, which also has got talent. Very much talent in America. (We have Idols in America too, which we worship.)

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Grab some news

Some news you might be able to use (of the recent and theatrical variety):

At that Southern California high school where the clueless principal cancelled a production of *Rent* and then reversed herself, even as cast members were being threatened, they've owned up to the fact that a little sensitivity training (to help prevent harrassment and discrimination) might be in order.

You know that replica of an Elizabethan theater that they constructed for *Shakespeare in Love* 11 years ago? They're going to reassemble it in some as-yet-to-be-determined northern-England city, and Sir Ben Kingsley's British Shakespeare Company is going to perform plays in it.

Tyler Perry is going to film Ntozake Shange's most famous play in Nov.-Dec. in Atlanta and then release it under the Lionsgate label sometime next year.
"for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf" (1975) is a black feminist "choreopoem" in which, for example, "Lady in Blue" decides to have an abortion, "Lady in Red" recounts a story of domestic violence, etc. (Bobo enjoyed the Onyx Theater Company production at the East Central Community Center in, he's guessing, the late '90s.)

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Friday, September 11, 2009

audition for *Schoolhouse Rock Live!* on Sept. 18

Christian Youth Theater - Spokane
Friday, Sept. 18, from 3-7 pm
6205 E. Mansfield Ave.
Directed by Jillian Wylie
Callbacks: Sat., Sept. 19
Visit: cytspokane.com
Call: 487-6540
The musical based on the '70s Saturday-morning TV show will teach kids all about adjectives, conjunctions, and how to do their calculations.
[ photo: zazzle.com ]

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audition for *A Little Princess* in CdA, Oct. 5-6

Auditions for Lake City Playhouse’s *A Little Princess* will be held on Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 5-6, from 4-8 pm at the Harding Family Center, 411 N. 15th St.
Directors: Laura Little and Emily Bayne
Prepare a one-minute song; bring sheet music or a backtrack.
Callbacks: Wednesday, Oct. 7
Call: (208) 667-1323
In Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel, Sara Crewe struggles to survive in a London boarding school during World War II. (It's kind of like "Annie," only a decade later and across the pond. Sara has to say goodbye to her father, a captain in the Royal Air Force, and the leader of Miss Minchin's school turns out to be a bit like Miss Hannigan.)
[ book cover: from Michigan's Allendale Civic Theater ]

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

*The School for Scandal,* Oct. 16-25

The Sage Players, a performing arts organization for senior citizens, will present Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 18th-century comedy of manners, *The School for Scandal,* on Oct. 16-18 and Oct. 23-25 (Fridays-Saturdays at 7 pm, Sundays at 2 pm) at Manito United Methodist Church, 3220 S. Grand Blvd.
Tickets: $10; $8, seniors, military and students; $5, children 12 and younger
Call: 276-2775
Come see Lady Sneerwell and her henchman, Snake, along with Sir Benjamin Backbite, Lady Teazle and others fill their time with gossip and slander.
Proceeds to Manito UMC and to SFCC's IEL.
This will be Sage's second production, after *Our Town* in 11/08 and 2/09.
[ photo: EMI recording from esounds.com ]

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

audition for *Dracula*

at Lake City Playhouse, 1320 E. Garden Ave. in CdA, tonight from 6-9 pm
and on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the same time
the Steven Dietz script (a faithful and scary adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel) will be directed by Rebecca McNeill
Cold readings.
Callbacks on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Five women (ages 18-30) and seven men (ages 18-60) needed.
Performances: Oct. 29-Nov. 8.
Call (208) 667-1323.
[ photo: Bram Stoker, from 21stcenturyabe.org ]

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Out-of-town actors ... in Seattle

In the Aug. 30 Seattle Times, Misha Berson reports on the 400 or so AEA actors in the Seattle region feeling squeezed out by theaters' decisions to import actors and entire casts from out of the area.
But note the final four grafs: donors sponsoring individual actors; young actors banding together to fund-raise and do a quality production (apparently) about once a year -- instead of indulging in lamentation, doing something positive by creating more opportunities for them to act and create
And while Bobo doesn't have time to engage just now, the comments on Misha's article raise several interesting issues.

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most-produced plays

TCG has compiled its annual list of most-produced plays at professional theaters in the U.S. (excluding Shakespeare and A Christmas Carol). Here they are for 2008-09:

Doubt by John Patrick Shanley (14 productions nationally)
The Santaland Diaries adapted by Joe Mantello from David Sedaris (14)
Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire (13)
The Seafarer by Conor McPherson (12)
Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl (11)
To Kill a Mockingbird adapted by Christopher Sergel from Harper Lee (10)
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams (9)
Souvenir by Stephen Temperley (9)
Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck (9)
Noises Off by Michael Frayn (8)
Radio Golf by August Wilson (8)

Doubt is coming up at Interplayers. Rabbit Hole, Souvenir and Noises Off all done in the last 2-3 years at Actors Rep (now defunct) and at the Civic. How long ago was Glass Menagerie done at the Civic? About nine years ago, but I'd have to check.
I saw Eurydice in Portland. The NEA's Big Read, in its Spokane manifestation, will concentrate on To Kill a Mockingbird in February. Not too bad a record; we probably wouldn't want to hit ALL the most popular productions, anyway: It's good to innovate with new programs.
This 2008-09 list of TCG productions was published a year ago, as a preview; the 2009-10 preview will be out in next month's American Theatre magazine.
For further analysis, and a pic of an L.A. production (at the Ahmanson) of Shanley's Doubt, go here.