Posts Tagged ‘musicals’

01-the-greatest-showman-hugh-jackman-vogue-september-issue-2017

Vanity Fair September issue

‘Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s gonna take
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make

 

HELLO Gentle Reader!!!

Christmas time always brings around one of two things.. 1. A Star Wars movie or 2. a feel-good movie. I skipped 1 and went directly to 2. And I don’t regret it.

To say The Greatest Showman is a fantastic movie is barely doing the film justice in my opinion.

The idea of bringing yourself and others up from being held under by circumstances like class or appearance or race weaves a moving story of the start P.T. Barnum’s (Hugh Jackman) career, a dreamer with the belief that he can create a life for his family that is the complete opposite of his childhood. However, focusing on trying to fight your past can create other issues with your present.
Jackman’s performance is spectacular in all facets; the acting was clear and strong, the dancing was amazing (his clarity of movement and lines were mesmerizing), but for me, his singing was the clincher. If you were to listen to his performances in Oklahoma or Les Miserables or Boy From Oz, you know his “sound.” He’s a belter.  Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I want to hear a little variety in a voice. The Showman music has allowed him to show more of his voice in a way that I feel hasn’t been featured much, if at all. I was expecting it for Bring Him Home in Les Mis but never got it. Hearing him use this lower register more was like being given the most wonderfully unexpected surprise. This role could not have been played by anyone else that I can think of with the same power.
The major theme of acceptance runs throughout the film. From Barnum wanting to  elevate his status in society, to the performers in his circus wanting to just be a part of society not just its freak show as well as self acceptance, to Barnum’s wife, Charity (wonderfully played by Michelle Williams) who just wants a simple life with her family, to Zac Efron’s socialite producer, Phillip Carlyle, who is too afraid to lose status in society to find something that makes him happy.  The entire ensemble was fantastic. I was so happy to hear how talented all the actors were.
The script was written by Jenny Bicks (Emmy winner for Sex and the City)  and Bill Condon (Oscar winner for Chicago and Dreamgirls). It is no wonder why this movie feels so polished in its storytelling.
The beautiful and uplifting songs were written by the team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, A Christmas Story and the incredible Dear Evan Hansen) and are easily something that can be recorded into a pop song and played on the radio.  I am a wee bit surprised that “This Is Me” “Never Enough” or “Rewrite the Stars” haven’t had that treatment yet. LOL. I found the music energetic and catchy and haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack since.
Visually, it was a crazy spectacle of color and flash during the circus scenes interspersed with stunningly clear regular life. Some of the shots were just gorgeous. Two that pop in mind right away is during the number “Rewrite the Stars” there is a shot of Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) on the trapeze singing beautifully clear while the rest of the shot spins around her.  Then, in “This is Me” there is a moment where Lettie (Keala Settle) turns around and then everything else around slows down. There are so many great shots but there is also one really bad one. LOL. It happens toward the end of the movie during “From Now On.” With so much great imagery, there is one that is just so jarringly out of place I wanted to flip a table. GRRRRR!!! When you see the movie, I am sure you will see it. Still, director Michael Gracey has made a very well done film.
I was really excited to see this movie and am so glad that I enjoyed it so much. This is like a little love letter to the dreamers.  The people that want to be something more.
Like us.
Gentle reader, I’ve missed you.
I’ll talk to you this weekend.
j.

The Love Of Money

HI Gentle Reader!

Can you believe this is the first post of 2016? Would you believe it if I told you I am working on completing 4 different shows in the next 5 months?  It’s true.  I will get to some of that in a second.

Going back to the question at hand… are they paying you?

I have had a number of people ask me this question in regards to my next project.  My current project is just a little dance number in “She Loves Me” at Foothill Musical Theatre, which is playing its last weekend beginning Thursday.  The next project in the works requires that I commute to Hollister which is about an hour outside of the San Jose area, if the traffic is not too bad.  I don’t mind the drive at all. I enjoy any car ride as long as I have something to shamelessly sing to/with.  Currently, it is a toss up between Hamilton and Something Rotten.

While I do need to take some time away from the survival jobs to make it to rehearsals on time and pay for plenty of fuel, it isn’t an unreasonable question to ask. When I tell them the answer is no, I am given the “oh damn!” look.  You know the one.  It looks kind of like a combination of smelling something bad and sucking on a lemon.

I am glad my friends are looking out for me, but I do have my reasons on this project.

I call this a “gotta do it” project. Think of it like facing your fear.  My next project is with the San Benito Stage Company’s Sidecar production.  It is a cabaret style show in a quaint little bar in a building called The Vault. The show itself is called “The Subject is Love.”

I have always loved to sing, dance, and act. My preferences of the three disciplines are in the exact opposite order than what I just listed them.  For some reason that I didn’t understand, I would always get in the most trouble for singing.

Both my parents were big popular music lovers. So of course, I grew up listening and loving the radio’s top 40.  Once I was introduced to musicals (Thanks, Tawni!), my interest in the regular music that the rest of the people around me listened to waned. I began to collect as many cast recordings as I could get my hands on via the local libraries.  I loved to sing along with these magnificent songs that held so much story and emotion.  I didn’t just sing though, I belted out these songs.  I was constantly told by my family to shut up. I was a terrible singer.  I could never do something like that (be in a musical).

This negativity was around me every day for years, because I couldn’t help it that I loved these songs so much.  Subconsciously, it made me believe that I couldn’t sing and that I would never get to be a part of something so incredible. Now I could be bitter at this mental block I have been given by my family, but I realized, oddly from watching America’s Funniest Videos*, that it wasn’t because I was bad at it.  It was because I was maybe a tad loud, but mostly because it wasn’t the style of music that my family was used to. Since they weren’t, they believed it was terrible music and wouldn’t stop to really listen to it.

To this day, I have this anxiety of singing in front of others, especially at auditions.  It is one thing to be in a role and embodying a character as one sings, but it is a whole different show when it is just you as yourself singing a song for a group of strangers.  ‘But there’s the whole karaoke thing, you can’t forget that!’ one dear reader exclaims. I reply, “Yes, but there’s the whole alcohol thing , you can’t forget about that.”  I think somewhere in the back of my mind there is that cluster of voices from long ago echoing those negative phrases still. For those that have known me a long time, they could mention Smokey Joe’s Cafe, but even then our director created a story arc for the show which gave way to creating characters.

Yet, I have this crazy idea that I would love to perform a solo cabaret show sprinkled with a couple of friends  and with this mental block I don’t see how I can make that a reality. I have had the opening number all staged for the last 5 years.  Maybe it is 6. By facing down this insecurity of mine, maybe I will finally scale this seemingly insurmountable wall that I put up when it comes to singing and get my ass in gear to complete this goal.  And who knows, maybe my other auditions will level up! Let’s keep our collective fingers crossed. Until then, I shall continue to sing with whichever great cast recordings I have on the road with me.

Do you have any favorite songs that you like to sing along to when you are driving down the road?  If you were only allowed to belt out one really good number, what would you choose? Let me know! Maybe we can post videos of us doing just that.

Take care, Gentle Reader.

*I tried to find the video but finally gave up. In it, there is a young boy singing a show tune.  I can’t remember if it is from Cats or Annie but his older sister is screaming for him to be quiet.  The boy was actually on pitch and singing pretty well.  So the video brought back a lot of memories.

Clutch the pearls!

I probably would have a lot of people complain about this, and I think there may be some hurt feelings…

BUT

I do not like the musicals of yore.

Music Man, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Kiss Me Kate, Showboat, Camelot and Finian’s Rainbow are just some of the musicals that I don’t need to ever hear again. I understand the importance that some had on society and on the Art Form itself. I am not sure what it is about them, but I just don’t connect with those shows.  I tried, TRUST, I tried.   I have even performed in some of those show and STILL those songs and stories just bore me to death.

Once upon a time, Guys and Dolls was on that list.

However, I am actually working on this show for the second time.  The first time was as a production assistant. I really enjoyed working on that show because the cast was so fun.  Now, it didn’t mean that I wanted to hear those tunes on my free time, but I had a good experience.

This time around is a bit different.  This time around, I actually CANNOT wait for people to come and check out this show!  I had a brief conversation with our amazing choreographer, Lee Ann Payne, in which I pretty much gushed about how much fun I am having.  I adore the numbers in this show.  Our vocal director, Diana Torres Koss, has been brilliant in breaking down the songs.  I feel a sense of joy while I am doing these dances and I love the challenge of these harmonies.  I like building a character that has a vice, gambling, and a story of his own that the audience knows nothing about.  That is what makes it so much more fulfilling. I have a brilliant partner to dance with and great people to share the stage with, thanks to the vision of our fearless leader, Linda Piccone.

Yes, these rehearsals have kicked. my. ass!

Yes, I love every single minute of it.

And even more yes, this is an old show that I would probably do again BUT it would have a lot to live up to.

Come and see Jewel Theater’s Guys And Dolls opening on November 13!!!!

Get your tickets here!!!  Or use this shortcut

Word of advice, Jewel Theater has a history of selling out their shows, so…   

Book of Mormon leads the nominations with 14!!

Okay everyone, this is one of the events that I wait for every year!  Here is the full list of the nominees.  If you just want a breakdown of how many each show got, just scroll to the end of the post.

The Tony Awards will be aired on June 12 @ 8:00 PM from their new home in the Beacon Theatre. Drumroll please….

Best Play

Good People
Author: David Lindsay-Abaire

Jerusalem
Author: Jez Butterworth

The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Author: Stephen Adly Guirgis

War Horse
Author: Nick Stafford

Best Musical

The Book of Mormon
Catch Me If You Can
The Scottsboro Boys
Sister Act

Best Book of a Musical

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Alex Timbers

The Book of Mormon
Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone

The Scottsboro Boys
David Thompson

Sister Act
Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

The Book of Mormon
Music & Lyrics: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone

The Scottsboro Boys
Music & Lyrics: John Kander and Fred Ebb

Sister Act
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Glenn Slater

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

Best Revival of a Play

Arcadia
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Merchant of Venice
The Normal Heart

Best Revival of a Musical

Anything Goes
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Brian Bedford, The Importance of Being Earnest
Bobby Cannavale, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Al Pacino, The Merchant of Venice
Mark Rylance, Jerusalem

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nina Arianda, Born Yesterday
Frances McDormand, Good People
Lily Rabe, The Merchant of Venice
Vanessa Redgrave, Driving Miss Daisy
Hannah Yelland, Brief Encounter

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon
Joshua Henry, The Scottsboro Boys
Andrew Rannells, The Book of Mormon
Tony Sheldon, Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
Beth Leavel, Baby It’s You!
Patina Miller, Sister Act
Donna Murphy, The People in the Picture

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Mackenzie Crook, Jerusalem
Billy Crudup, Arcadia
John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
Arian Moayed, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Yul Vázquez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart
Edie Falco, The House of Blue Leaves
Judith Light, Lombardi
Joanna Lumley, La Bête
Elizabeth Rodriguez, The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Colman Domingo, The Scottsboro Boys
Adam Godley, Anything Goes
John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Forrest McClendon, The Scottsboro Boys
Rory O’Malley, The Book of Mormon

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Laura Benanti, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tammy Blanchard, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Victoria Clark, Sister Act
Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
Patti LuPone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Todd Rosenthal, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Rae Smith, War Horse
Ultz, Jerusalem
Mark Wendland, The Merchant of Venice

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Beowulf Boritt, The Scottsboro Boys
Derek McLane, Anything Goes
Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon
Donyale Werle, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jess Goldstein, The Merchant of Venice
Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest
Mark Thompson, La Bête
Catherine Zuber, Born Yesterday

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Martin Pakledinaz, Anything Goes
Ann Roth, The Book of Mormon
Catherine Zuber, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, War Horse
David Lander, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Kenneth Posner, The Merchant of Venice
Mimi Jordan Sherin, Jerusalem

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington, The Scottsboro Boys
Howell Binkley, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Peter Kaczorowski, Anything Goes
Brian MacDevitt, The Book of Mormon

Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners & Cricket S. Myers, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Simon Baker, Brief Encounter
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, Jerusalem
Christopher Shutt, War Horse

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, The Scottsboro Boys
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Catch Me If You Can
Brian Ronan, Anything Goes
Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart
Anna D. Shapiro, The Motherf**ker with the Hat
Daniel Sullivan, The Merchant of Venice

Best Direction of a Musical
Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon
Susan Stroman, The Scottsboro Boys

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Larry Hochman, The Scottsboro Boys
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon
Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank, Catch Me If You Can
Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Athol Fugard
Philip J. Smith

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.)

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Eve Ensler

Special Tony Award
Handspring Puppet Company

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
William Berloni
The Drama Book Shop
Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts

Tony Nominations by Production
The Book of Mormon – 14
The Scottsboro Boys – 12
Anything Goes – 9
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – 8
The Merchant of Venice – 7
Jerusalem – 6
The Motherf**ker with the Hat – 6
The Normal Heart – 5
Sister Act – 5
War Horse – 5
Catch Me If You Can – 4
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo – 3
The Importance of Being Earnest – 3
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – 3
Arcadia – 2
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – 2
Born Yesterday – 2
Brief Encounter – 2
Good People – 2
La Bête – 2
Priscilla Queen of the Desert – 2
Baby It’s You! – 1
Driving Miss Daisy – 1
The House of Blue Leaves – 1
Lombardi – 1
The People in the Picture – 1

 Did any of these shock you?  Were you surprised that anyone wasn’t on this list?  Were you surprised they were?  Let me hear ya!