Sunday, October 11, 2009

AMERICAN IDIOT at Berkeley Rep

There's several ways I could open this entry on Berkeley Rep's American Idiot but I'm having a hard time choosing. So let's try it this way: Tony Vincent wore glitter eyeshadow, Matt Caplan flew through the air and John Gallagher Jr. wore a plaid shirt. I say: home run. On a less campy note, Green Day's rock opera, which opened in September and has been extended until November 15th, is an extraordinary piece of theatre.

Following a group of friends, Johnny (Gallagher), Tunny (Caplan) and Will (Michael Esper), the young boys of American want to leave Jingletown for an adventure, away from their listlessly mundane lives. Johnny and Tunny leave without Will, whose girlfriend has found out she's expecting, and proceed to go out on their "Holiday". Tunny is persuaded to join the army after viewing a visually stunning advertisement ("Favorite Son"), while Johnny meets his savior in drugs, St. Jimmy (Tony Vincent). When he meets Whatshername (at this performance it was Morgan Weed), he dives deeper into the the realm of drugs. While St. Jimmy provides this newest escape for Johnny and Whatshername, Tunny is sent off to war, injured and meets his "extraordinary girl". This song, provides one of the most exciting staging of the play, both Caplan and Christina Sajous, are suspended in the air, maneuvering high above the Roda Theatre while singing the song. After a coming of senses, and a homecoming of sorts, the three boys of Jingletown come back from their extraordinary adventure.

Almost completely a sing-through style of musical, American Idiot, proves that the rock opera is not dead. The 90 minute show, without an intermission, with direction by Spring Awakening director Michael Mayer, was 90 minutes of captivating direction, choreography, musical direction and arrangement, and a thrilling set design.

Taking in my surrounding of Berkeley Rep, I was in awe of how beautiful their facility was. With an annual budget of 11 million (according to TCG), they utilize and take great pride in their property. The courtyard off to the side of the theatre provided a great gathering place for patrons to enjoy a pre-show drink (with heated tables) and a post-show conversation ground with fellow audience members and the cast.

Now let's talk audience: two different types at Friday's evening performance. The older, who seemed to be subscribers, were seen either bobbing their heads along or showing extreme quizzical expressions as to what was happening on stage. While, the music is over powering some times, it can be hard to hear the lyrics, I was surprised by how many of the older audience members seemed to be enjoying the performance. Now, the younger crowd seemed to be there in support of Green Day (many wore the band's t-shirt) and the cast. The responses from this generation were extremely vocal throughout the performance, some even raising their arms in the air in favor of what they were seeing on stage.

So what's next. With Berkeley Rep extending the run twice, where is life after California? Will this show have an audience on Broadway. I think most definitely yes but what is most important is will this show have a theatre to call it home. With the onslaught of new shows opening this fall, will there be a theatre open in the spring and will that theatre want American Idiot to occupy it?

If this cast transfers, along with every ounce of this production, it should settle in nicely on the east coast. With reminiscence of Hair, Spring Awakening and Rent, American Idiot has the opportunity to become the latest Broadway smash.

Tony Vincent and me post-show. So good to see him on stage again!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Run This Tour

While in my Entertainment Law class, I stumbled on Facebook (what, like you've never done that before?) and found the latest into the Usnavi YouTube video series. And oh boy, ladies and gentlemen is a hot one.

I think we all know my excitement for this tour and to see the new cast along with Lin, Robin and Karen passing the torch to the new community - hot hot. No other words. Watch.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ROOMS - cast recording release party

This is me excited.

Finally, the Off-Broadway show that I fell for last spring will have its cast recording released! The question is when will it be released. As for now, it's still TBA but there will be a listening party next week. Makes me wish I was still in the city to attend. Anyway, here the details for anyone who wants to attend.

Join us at:
Sweet Caroline's
322 West 45th Street
(between 8th and 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10036

Wednesday, Oct 14th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Go to to purchase tickets

$15.00 + one drink minimum

This special event is presented by the New York Musical Theatre Festival and Van Hill Entertainment.
Cast album coming soon on Time Life Records.

ps - I really dig the album art.

source: my email

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

AFTERMATH at New York Theatre Workshop

Now playing at New York Theatre Workshop is the docu-drama Aftermath, which tells the story of Iraqi refugees who have relocated to Jordan after they experience the American occupation in their homeland. With each character taking turns to tell their story, the audience is is taken through a journey to which we try to comprehend what we are hearing.

It's one thing to hear media reports on the progress of the war in Iraq, which began in 2003 but to then hear the actual stories of real individuals, is another thing. Playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, traveled to Jordan and interviewed over 30 individuals. These interviews all seemed to have a similar story. They all love their country and are proud to be an Iraqi but with the tragedies that surrounded them, in one way or another, they were forced to leave, and in some cases flee, to take refuge outside Iraq.

A dermatologist, an imam, a pharmacist, a painter, a theatre director, a mother and her newborn, and a wife and husband tell their individual stories about how the American occupation changed their lives. With the translator, Shahid, some of these stories are so heartbreaking and seemingly unreal, it's hard not to want to tune out and look away. But you can't. With minimal staging and the set only occupied by six chairs and several benches, these actors are speaking directly to the audience. We are the ones they want to hear their stories.

With the outstanding actors speaking directly to us, it was no wonder that at several moments throughout the play, not a sound could be heard from the audience. Every word spoken throughout this play was taken in by the ears of the audience who leaned forward in their seats as if that could help try to comprehend these traumatic stories.

Towards the end, Fadilah, the painter and wife of the theatre director says, "Truth is always threatened." What New York Theatre Workshop and the playwrights presented with Aftermath, is a tale unwarrantably true. At the post performance discussion, a public program presented by NYTW, patrons stayed to discuss their feelings on what they just saw. Several wanted to know how they can do more to help the refugees. Moderator Mark Crispin Miller, suggested donating to the IRC and getting as many people as possible to see this play. To be aware, word of mouth. I once again, was one of the youngest people in the audience and I hope my generation isn't lost to this. Awareness of the global community is poignant when striving for what is best for each other. So with this, I urge anyone reading this, you, you and you, to head down to New York Theatre Workshop, to see this play. If you're a student and price is a factor, be aware that for $20 you can get a ticket. Aftermath plays until October 18th.

For more information go to NYTW's website at
To read another review go to

The Orphans' Home Cycle Part 2: The Story of a Marriage

Horace finally gets some love!

I was able to see Part 2 of Hartford Stage's World Premiere Theatrical Event The Orphan's Home Cycle last week with my friend Jared Weber. After the development of Horace's life in Part 1, I was more than ready to see Horace Robedaux, the central character who we see grow from a young boy into an adult, have something go his way. Part 2, The Story of a Marriage, shows Horace forming an attachment with a widowed mother of two but as Horace's luck would have it, his love is not reciprocated.

Then he meets Elizabeth. And finally, something goes his way. Sort of. Her father disapproves of the match but the young couple move out on their own. The struggle for Horace is not only to find approval from Elizabeth's dad but to be able to show support for his young bride and their child-to-be. Act 3 brings a pivotal scene in which Horace tells Elizabeth how he has always felt like an orphan his whole life and finally, with her, he finally feels a part of a family. Bill Heck, portrays Horace with an urgency to portray this brokenhearted character but with an ease that is so overwhelming, you can't help but only hope for the best.

What I love most about this production, beside the story and acting, is the music that walks hand in hand with the play. Each act opens with the glorious original music by John Gromada, that creates a real environment, as if we stepped right off the train into the heart of these characters.

Here's an excerpt I found online of a music session from the play. Enjoy.

I look forward to see the last Part of this event. Oh Horace, I only wish you the best.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In The Heights tour - Wepa!

The carnaval is moving out of the barrio.

The cast of the IN THE HEIGHTS tour was announced this week, with some familiar names along with many new faces. Kyle Beltran will play Usnavi, the narrator of the Washington Heights musical. Along with him will be Daniel Bolero (Kevin), Rogelio Douglas Jr. (Benny), Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer (Vanessa), Arielle Jacobs (Nina), Jose-Luis Lopez (Graffiti Pete), Genny Lis Padilla (Carla), Isabel Santiago (Daniela), Elise Santora (Abuela Claudia), Shaun Taylor-Corbett (Sonny) and Natalie Toro (Camila).

The tour will start October 27th at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and will tour the nation for the next year. This includes a stop at my beloved Gammage Auditorium in June 2010. Let me be the first to say welcome to Tempe ITH and how I hope audiences in my hometown will embrace this show as much as I have my family has over the past year and a half. Also: how snazzy is the ammage website looking lately? Nice. (

I'm really enjoying how interactive they are making this tour, in terms of their website. They have a map of the U.S. with the tour stops listed and when the tour starts, fans can upload their photos to the map at the appropriate stop, to create a mega fan gallery.

Did I mention how I excited I am for this tour and how I can not wait for it to become even more loved and embraced across the nation.

Showtime & Spielberg team up for a Scripted Broadway series

The cable network Showtime and Hollywood director and producer Steven Spielberg are teaming up to create a scripted series that will follow the life of a Broadway show. It will start in the infancy phases all the way through its opening night. Well known composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, known for their Broadway hit Hairspray are in negotiations to work on the project. According to the article on, Spielberg has been developing this series for years and finds that Showtime would be the ideal fit for the show, considering one of the executive directors, Robert Greenblatt, was a recent producer of the Broadway musical 9 to 5.

The show will include every aspect of developing a new show on Broadway, which includes following the actors’ lives who are in the show as well as recruiting investors and creating the songs. The creative team hopes for several seasons of this untitled project to air but this causes some concern because it can be deemed as overambitious. But with the recent success of the Fox network’s show Glee, I don’t believe it should have any trouble gaining viewers. With Glee currently ruling Wednesday nights, I think people are hungry for more scripted performance based shows, especially if they include humor and have some heart.

My hope is that this show will include realistic depictions of the hard work that goes into mounting a Broadway show which are truthful to its audience. Hopefully this will be the case and with that the audience will learn that Broadway is more than just the performance they see on a Saturday evening.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm sorry, what?

Normally, I would gloss over any news about another stage adaption of a popular movie but this one caught my eye - not because of what movie it is but because who is involved.

I remember having a good time when I saw the movie "Bring It On" back in 2000 when I was a freshman in high school, almost ten years later, it is being turned into a musical with a lot of big names attached.

My nerdy Latin love (did you guys see him on House??) Lin-Manuel Miranda will be writing the score with Tom Kitt (Broadway's other 'it' boy), with lyrics by "High Fidelity"'s Amanda Green. My favorite curly haired In The Heights orchestrator Alex Lacamoire will serve as music supervisor and arranger. Oh, and also to perfect the Heights trifecta, Andy Blankenbuehler will direct and choreograph.

The press release states :
In a statement Blankenbuehler said, "The explosive world of cheerleading heightens so naturally to the stage. I can't imagine a more perfect team to bring this musical to life on stage. Jeff Whitty has come up with an enticing original story, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, two of Broadway's most talented composers, are joining their amazing creative forces to write the score. With Amanda Green collaborating on lyrics and musical supervision by Alex Lacamoire, this team is a director and choreographer's dream."
The explosive world of cheerleading? I'm sorry, I guess I was too busy sitting on the bleachers to care too much about the explosive world of cheerleading. But I digress, this movie is a huge fixture in pop culture (but not as big as "Mean Girls" - oh hey, there's an idea for a musical I'd be willing to see! Can you imagine a fierce, oh sorry I mean, fetch solo by Gretchen Wieners about how she can't wear the silver hoops she received from her parents?? Pure art!) Anyway, what is the need for this musical in the theatre world? What need do we as theatre lovers, audience members have for this type of show? Surely there will be some who think this could be exciting to see a version of the movie on stage ("Legally Blonde", anyone?), but why? What is the need? What is the creative need to bring "Bring It On: The Musical" to life when there are certainly more important stories to be told? Or are cheerleaders getting the short end of the spirit stick in this debate.

Also according to the press release, this will not immediately, or at all come to Broadway but will first be a regional production and then tour.

Now excuse me, while I sip on my glass of Haterade.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Welcome Home Orphan Child!

I had the great pleasure of seeing the first part of the world premiere theatrical event of Horton Foote's THE ORPHAN'S HOME CYCLE at Hartford Stage.

Part 1 titled "The Story of a Childhood introduces us to Horace, a young boy who's father has just passed and his mother and younger sister move to Houston without him. Within Part 1, there are three acts, each with its own story to tell (each act lasts around an hour) while following the story of Horace.

Horace, throughout his life, has been neglected by his own family and struggles to make amends with the family he so desperately wants to be a part of. While this play in its first part was almost three hours long, I never strayed away from the material but with enthusiasm as I couldn't wait to see what happened next. As Part 1 concluded I couldn't help but wish I was at the marathon showing (where they perform all 3 parts - all 9 acts!). The pacing is really well done, as is the costumes and the use of the set (fascinating revolving panels that hide and then exchange young to older Horace in the beginning of the play).

The last two Parts will be presented at Hartford Stage in the coming weeks and after that, it will make it's way to Signature Theatre in NYC this November. I for one, can't wait to see the rest of the cycle - a big thanks to Jared Weber for letting me tag along.

For more information:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Finally! Casting announced on American Idiot

Tony Award-winning actor John Gallagher, Jr., will reunite with his Tony-winning director from Spring Awakening to star in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's world premiere of American Idiot, the musical drawn from the Grammy Award-winning neo-punk album by Green Day.

Casting for the project, co-conceived by Mayer and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, was announced by Berkeley Rep in California, where the show will start previews Sept. 4 for a run to Oct. 11.

Gallagher (who won a Best Featured Actor Tony for his work as Moritz in Spring Awakening) will play Johnny, leading an ensemble of 19 young performers that also features Matt Caplan as Tunny, Michael Esper as Will, and Tony Vincent as St. Jimmy with Mary Faber as Heather, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername, and Christina Sajous as Extraordinary Girl.
Why yes - I will be attending. I wouldn't miss this for the whole. Some of my favorite performers in the same show, I'm hoping for the best.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My parents came to town...

And we saw two shows WEST SIDE STORY and THE FANTASTICKS. WSS, oh WSS, I really wanted to like you. I tried but it ended up not being mutually. Unfortunately, my parents felt the same way and noticed how lacking it felt. Although, my dad did enjoy the Spanish translations, and when I told him Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote them he said, "He did a nice job." Which in my dad way of speaking meant "grand slam".

We decided to see THE FANTASTICKS on a whim and due to a great discount from, we secured 3rd row center seats for our Sunday evening performance. I had never seen a production of this show, so I was absolutely thrilled to finally see it and hear "Try To Remember" in the context of the show.

So if I were to rate it, thumbs up THE FANTASTICS, thumbs down WEST SIDE STORY.

oh, he was my favorite part of the show too. and he's a mute.

Spring Awakening Tour

After the morning madness that was HAIR, my lovely friend Meredith and I headed to Philadelphia where we caught the Friday evening performance of the SPRING AWAKENING tour.

Since saying adios to it back in January, it was very odd to revisit this old friend. This tour is by no means terrible. It had some really really great moments, Jake Epstein went on for the first time as Melchior, and he had some really fantastic choices, especially during the scene where he writes in his diary. I had never heard a Melchior say those lines actually as if they were writing it down. It was very very good.

But unfortunately, it seemed as if this tour has turned into a comedy routine, where the Thea goes for the radical laugh more drastically, the beating scene gets a big lulz, and I could care less about what happens at the end.

So fortunately for me, I have amazing memories of the Broadway productions to occupy my thoughts. Oh also, who ever the musical director was, he was my favorite thing about the night. Just sayin'.

Happy July!

There was nothing more thrilling than waking up at 5am to attend the Good Morning America taping for HAIR. And by all means, it was so so worth it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Epicness on 46th Street

Everyone's favorite dance Jon Rua graced the Richard Rogers stage this past week twice as the lead Usnavi in IN THE HEIGHTS. I was devastated when I found out he went on Tuesday and did not know about it until Wednesday. Luckily, and I really have no idea how this happened but I was able to do the lotto on Thursday with my friend Meredith and we won! And to my utmost delight, Jon was on again as Usnavi.

It was such a fresh performance of this character in the show. I really have no other way to explain it but the youthfulness of his Usnavi and the small mannerisms between him and Robin de Jesus who plays Sonny, was so great and funny. And all Heights fans know he can dance, so to see him dance in the, how should I put this, Usnavi way, was hilarious. My favorite part of the show was during the "Finale" when he started the line, "Yeah, I'm a street light...". He attacked it like I had never heard anyone do before.

Marcus was on as Benny, and I am delighted to say that I've seen his Collins in RENT multiple times, so I'm a huge fan of his and can say his "Benny's Dispatch" was so fun, so fun. The talent of the ensemble is always so steller and I think that's why I enjoy this show so much. Every time I see it, I see something different that I hadn't caught before. It's definitely a show thats climbing higher and higher on my favorite list. And I'll keep attending.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fourth Arts Block - FAB

Since beginning my internship at NYTW, I've discovered a nook in NYC's cultural landscape. 4th street between 2nd avenue and Bowery boosts some of the most innovative and fascinating art. The Fourth Arts Blocks, aka FAB, is a non-profit organization that was established to advance the East 4th street cultural district.

Walking down this street you will notice a plethora of arts organizations who make up this vibrant street.

"FAB is working with our members to create a permanent home for the arts and to preserve the unique cultural nature of East 4th Street, which has fostered creative diversity and experimentation for more than 30 years. FAB advocates for the cultural district, its members and our neighborhood; leads centralized projects that benefit our members and provides a model for sustainable development; creates opportunities for cultural expansion; directs marketing and promotion efforts; and supports the development and capacity of our members."

and look how cute their bag is!

The site is keep up to date correlating with events being taken place on 4th street. Check it out!

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 20 matinee - Mary Stuart

it's even raining in the theatre...

New York City has been struck with a recent downpour of rain as of late. I think I heard on the news this morning it's been something like 18 out of 22 days we've had rain. Well 8 times a week it rains inside the Broadhurst Theatre where Mary Stuart is performing.

The play centers around two queens, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, and Queen Elizabeth of England. Now I'm not the biggest history buff so I was exuberantly thankful for the small historical background in the Playbill and even more in-depth on the play's website.

Deciding to take up a discount offer, the play lasted almost three hours of non stop drama. Both queens Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer were the two driving forces of the storyline pushing and twisting until the very end. Oh yeah and there's lots of rain, which makes for events look even more dramatic. I adored the fact that Janet was in one of my favorite movies Sense & Sensibility, so to see her on stage, was a thrill. Harriet was also, let's say, amazingly fierce.

So, let me tell you about the guy who decided to snore in the second to last row in the mezzanine. It was so loud I thought for sure someone from the house management would approach but thankfully after awhile it stopped. I know the play was rather straightforwarded and lack for better word, dry but all out snoring? Crazy talk!

Also, I loved the direction of the play. The actual spacing of the characters and how it looked from up above was pretty fantastic.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Very Cool Idea

Nina Rosario, a character of In The Heights, is the first in her family to go to college, across the country no less. With her move to California and the financial strain on her and her parents, she is forced to drop out of Stanford. Even with her scholarship, she still has to take two jobs to pay for the endless things college students need.

With the Graduate To New Heights scholarship, the Broadway musical In The Heights and Clear Channel NY are offering this thrilling scholarship to a deserving student. Not only is the Heights family donating $2500 to the scholarship but they are also offering some very exciting packages, where the money from the highest bid will be included in the scholarship.

Some prizes include dinner with creator and Tony-Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, dance lessons with Luis Salgado and even a walk-on role.

I'm hoping people will open their hearts and wallets and bid on these prizes, so that a deserving individual who is in need of the money can further their educational career.

So cheers to Heights, Lin (and I can't believe I'm saying this but) Clear Channel.

If you have someone in mind to nominate a student, starting August 27, visit any Clear Channel NY website and write in 100 words or less, why this person deserves the award. Cheers!

A Be-In!

After the Tuesday 7pm performance HAIR will have a "be-in" of sorts to celebrate the release of the new cast recording. The cast will sign the CDs on stage, where audience members from that night's performance will have priority in the line. Others may begin to line up at 7pm.

This sounds like a great idea; totally in keeping with the feeling of HAIR. How odd would it be to have it at something like a Barnes & Noble (who recently hosted the WEST SIDE STORY cast). This is a perfect fit for the adamant fans of the show, many of whom have danced on stage at the end of the show (ahem, me included). Don't think I'll be able to make it though, but have fun to those who are!

August: Osage County to End Broadway Run June 28

somebody's peeved...

After reading this wonderful play last summer, I made a note of seeing the production as soon as possible. Well as soon as possible came last Friday, where I finally had the opportunity to see the show at the Music Box with Phylicia Rashad and Tony-Winner for her role in August, Amy Morton.

Grabbing a discounted seat in the second to the last row in the Mezz, I made my journey into this odd, twisted world of August. I remembered most of the plot but couldn't help but being suprised by (one of) the twists at the end. I thought Phylicia did an amazing job in her role as Violet - completely in her own world, which is necessary for that character. And Amy Morton, had her voice flying through the air, which her role requires.

Finally making the visit to August was an extremely pleasing (if a play of that subject can be) experience, so I'm saddened (but not suprised) of the news of its closure. If you're in the area and need 3 hours of good family drama, catch August.

Hey Utopia!

So, if you've read any earlier blogs of mine, you'll note a story I wrote about a junior year English class project, of creating what you feel is your utopia. Short story: I created a wooden board and drew a (accurate for 2003) map of the Broadway theatre district. I was wondering if there were any up to date pictures of this online and I found one!

Behold the Utopia:

Click on the link below to see the number with what theatre it is and what show is playing.

Courtesy of

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tony Award Post

So it already seems like a million years ago but I have to document it on here.

Yes I am in NYC for the summer, so that means I should be doing ultra cool stuff like going to museums, seeing a ton of shows, going to the Tonys....and not falling asleep at 9:30pm on a Wednesday night? Ok, wrong....but things are looking up!

Sunday night, I desperately did not want to watch the awards (aka Christmas) here in my (lovely) apartment. I wanted some sort of excitement around me, after all I was in the city that it was happenning. And because I am not a billionaire (or dating one) and do not have those connections I could not attend the event. But I did leisurely stroll by Radio City (which is always a mistake because Anthropologie is right by). The crowd was building across the street and the excitement was in the air to see NYC's Broadway stars - and I was excited because I was able to be a part of an audience to view the awards.

Not quite my time yet to see the awards handed out live, I did get to become a community with others right in the middle of Times Square for the first ever live broadcast of the creative and prime time awards! I was surprised that this was the first year they had ever been broadcast this way since, midtown is the heart of Broadway. I was surprised to find actual organization in this event, where they had set up nice (one step up from the lawn chairs now strewn across Broadway street) folding chairs. They had several speakers set up, which broadcast loud and clear, on the big CNN screen facing east, for all of Times Square to view.

It was such a beautiful night out, I really couldn't have asked for a better situation.

Well, I guess I would have changed some of the winners around but I can't be a chooser (not a Tony voter yet -- lucky Colleen Jennings-Roggensack , executive director of ASU's Gammage is Arizona's only Tony voter -- but that will change in time). I am happy with the production as a whole for this broadcast. I think Neil Patrick Harris did a great job as host and was estatic by the crackhouse that was the opening number.

Christmas '09 has come and gone but that only means a new season is starting on Broadway. I'm trying to see as many shows as possible (and re-seeing some favorites along the way), and I'm also trying to vary the types of art I see. So cheers to a great summer.

see the rest of the pictures at:

confession time:

My last two posting have dealt with New York Theatre Workshop's current production of THINGS OF DRY HOURS. While I've never done promoting of a show, mainly reviews and current obsessions, I'm happy to say for this summer, I am an intern for NYTW.

That being said, I've had the chance to see the production twice, and I have to be honest and say that I really do enjoy it. And I'll be the first person to tell you that I can't (usually) sit down and just watch a straight play (straight play meaning, no music, etc). It's hard for me -- but taking Modern Drama classes and trying to expose myself to more of this type of theatre has been a great experience. So with TODH, it's a unique experience because it really is the best of both world. The dialogue in this show presents itself in a lyrical/poetic fashion that has a great force, especially when spoken by such actors as Roslyn Ruff and Delroy Lindo.

In the other post about the show, I copied a description of the show, so I won't go there again but what I do have to say is that this show opens up a new part of American history I had never known about and it makes me curious about more not well known events.

So am I biased in saying you (whoever you may be) should see THINGS OF DRY HOURS just because of my association with NYTW? Sure, but as a theatre go-er and lover, this should be seen to be appreciated.

Promotional Video for THINGS OF DRY HOURS

THINGS OF DRY HOURS - New York Theatre Workshop

Text - Naomi Wallace
Direction - Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Scenic Design - Richard Hoover
Costume Design - Karen Perry
Lighting Design - Marcus Doshi
Sound Design and Original Music - David Van Tieghem
Fight Direction and Effects Design - David Leong
Composer - Bill Sims, Jr.
Additional Music - Derek Wieland

Description: Naomi Wallace's Things of Dry Hours marks the return tothe New York stage of famed stage and screen star Delroy Lindo, who received Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations for his last Broadway appearance in the original Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Lindo is joined on stage by OBIE Award-winner Roslyn Ruff, who just earned rave reviews for her performance in Athol Fugard's Coming Home at Long Wharf and Garret Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men). Set in Depression-era Alabama, Things of Dry Hours tells the story of Tice Hogan (Lindo), an African American out-of-work Sunday school teacher and member of the Communist Party, and his daughter Cali (Ruff) whose lives get turned upside down when they take in a mysterious white factory worker (Dillahunt) on the run. Tony Award-winning actor/writer/producer Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues, Seven Guitars) directs.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

shows seen recently


with sherie rene scott

yes, 4 times now

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Next To Normal"

Diana's head must look like what my apartment kitchen looks like right now. Piles of dishes, a mess of a refrigerator, and sticky floors - all of which are not her fault. And not my fault either.

"Next To Normal" centers around a suburban family with issues. Not "August" issues but interesting ones none the less. The character Diana, the incendiary Alice Ripley, has mental problems. Her husband, Henry, played by J. Robert Spencer, tries to help his wife get the best medical attention (and pills) she needs. Their children are Natalie (Spring Awakening alum Jennifer Damiano) and Aaron Tveit, plays Gabe. Everything that goes on in Diana's head effects everyone around.

The show starts with a great song "Just Another Day" which shows the audience just how typical of an American family they are...until Diana starts to place bread slices on the floor, one after the other and tries to explain that she's just making sandwiches but in reality, her mental illness is shown to the audience.

She sees Dr. Madden, who prescribes her more than several pills that should help her but Diana decides in the song "I Miss the Mountains" that she wants to try living life without the medicine.

Her daughter Natalie starts seeing, Henry, a pot smoker who suddenly becomes the good influence on her, when she starts to abuse her mothers pills.

Gabe, is Diana's 17 year old son, who died when he was a baby. Yes, in her mind, she sees her song, who is not really there. In the first song, it seems like he's actually there but later in the first act, it's realized that he is just a figment of her illness. He has a great song, "I'm Alive", where he protests that he will not leave his mother's side. It's a bizarre relationship but it's the core reason why Diana acts like she does. In a chilling moment she said that when her son died, the doctor said she would be fine after 4 months but really, only 4 months is normal to get over the death of a child? And if the patient isn't fine, then pills are the next step? What kind of "guidelines" are these?

The show is not a fluffy musical being paraded by Disney. With music by Tom Kitt (High Fidelity) and lyrics and book by Brian Yorkey, this is definitely a show you do not want to miss. It's moving, thrilling, and makes you think. Go run to the Booth Theatre, Alice Ripley (your Tony nom is in the bag), will have you standing on your feet at the end.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"A Miracle Would Happen/When You Come Home"

I wish I could post lyrics and video to every song from the Last Five Year's score. But I won't. Even though every song is amazing, the character Jamie gets his say on marriage and Norbert Leo Butz doesn't fail to deliver.

Everyone tells you that the minute you get married
Every other woman in the world
Suddenly finds you attractive
Well, that's not true
It only affects the kind of women
You always wanted to sleeep with
But they wouldn't give you the time of day before
And now they're banging down your door
And falling to their knees
At least that's what it feels like because you
In fact, you can't even look at them
Close your eyes, close your eyes, close your eyes
Except you're sitting there
Eating your corned beef sandwich
And all of a sudden, this pair of breasts walks by
And smiles at you
And you're like "That's not fair!"

And in a perfect world
A miracle would happen
And every other girl would fly away
And it'd be me and Cathy,
And nothing else would matter
But it's fine, it's fine, it's fine
I mean, I'm happy
And I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine
It's not a problem
It's just a challenge
It's a challenge to resist

And I have to say that
What exacerbates the problem
Is I'm at these parties
I'm the center of attention
I'm the grand fromage
And here she comes:
"Let's get a cup of coffee.
Will you look at my manuscript?"
And I'm showing her my left hand
I'm gesticulating with my left hand
And then WHOOMP! There's Cathy!
'Cause she knows
(They always know)
And there's that really awkward moment
Where I try to show I wasn't encouraging this
(Though of course I sort of was)
And I don't want to look whipped in front of this woman
Which is dumb - I shouldn't care what she thinks
Since I can't fuck her anyway!

And in a perfect world
A miracle would happen
And every girl would look like Mister Ed
And it'd be me and Cathy
And nothing else would matter
But it's fine, it's fine, it's fine
You know I love her
And it's fine, it's fine, it's fine
It's what I wanted
And I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine!
It's not a problem
It's just a challenge
It's a challenge to resist

When you come home to me
I'll wear a sweeter smile
And hope that, for a while, you'll stay
When you come home to me
Your hand will touch my face
And banish any trace of gray
Soon, a love will rise anew
Even greater than the joy I felt
Just missing you
And once again, I'll be
So proud to call you "mine"
When you finally come home
To me

I'll be there soon, Cathy
I'll finish up this chapter and be out the door
I swear I'll be there soon, Cathy
Don't give up on me yet
I am so proud of you, baby
You're doing what you never got to do before
And I will be there, ripe and crawling
If fuckin' Random House stops calling
Don't lose faith
Don't get down
Don't despair
I'll be there

And in a perfect world
A miracle would happen
And that day would finally be here
And it'd be me and you
Riding it together
And the things we do
Goin' like we planned
We're gonna make it through
And nothing else will matter
We'll be fine, we're fine
We're fine, we're fine, we're fine
I'll be there soon, Cathy...
I swear I will

"I Can Do Better Than That" - I'm Obsessed.

My best friend had a little situation
At the end of our senior year
And like a shot, she and Mitchell got married that summer
Carolann getting bigger every minute
Thinking, "What am I doing here?"
While Mitchell's out every night
Being a heavy-metal drummer
They got a little cute house on a little cute street
With a crucifix on the door
Mitchell got a job at the record store in the mall
Just the typical facts of a typical life in a town on the Eastern Shore
I thought about what I wanted
It wasn't like that at all
Made Carolann a cute baby sweater
Thinking "I can do better than that"

In a year or so, I moved to the city
Thinking "What have I got to lose?"
Got a room, got a cat, and got twenty pounds thinner
Met a guy in a class I was taking who you might say
Looked like Tom Cruise
He wouldn't leave me alone 'less I went with him to dinner
And I guess he was cute
And I guess he was sweet
ANd I guess he was good in bed
I gave up my life for a better part of a year
And so I'm starting to think that this maybe might work
And the second it entered my head
He needed to take some time off
Focus on his "career"
He blew me off with a heartfelt letter
I thought "I can do better than that"

You don't have to get a haircut
You don't have to change your shoes
You don't have to like Duran Duran
Just love me

You don't have to put the seat down
You don't have to watch the news
You dont' have to learn to tango
You don't have to eat prosciutto
You don't have to change a thing
Just stay with me

I want you and you and nothing but you
Miles and piles of you
Finally I'll have something worthwhile
To think about each morning

You and you and nothing but you
No substitution will do
Nothing but fresh, undiluted and pure
Top of the line and totally mine!

I don't need any lifetime commitments
I don't need to get hitched tonight
I don't want to throw up your walls and defenses
I don't mean to put on any pressure
But I know what a thing is right
And I spend every day reconfiguring my sense
When we get to my house, take a look at that town
Take a look at how far I've gone

I will never go back
Never look back anymore
And it feels like my life led right to your side
And will keep me there from now on
Think about what you wanted
Think about what could be
Think about how I love you
Say you'll move in with me
Think of what's great about me and you
Think of the bullshit we've both been through
Think of what's past because we can do better!
We can do better!
We can do better than that!
We can do better than that!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Beauty That Is "The Last 5 Years"

Stephen Sondheim knew how to write innovative musicals. Meat pies, whistling towns, Bobby, and Maria and Tony. What is stifling new works in today's musical theatre industry? Why does writing "Generic Musical Title: A New Musical" appear to be the kiss of death on Broadway? What is it that makes theatre goers, mostly casual, not want to try out new theatre? Perhaps it's because they paid top dollar to see a beloved revival of West Side Story and they know the story already, so they figured they'd have a better time? Do audiences not want to watch challenging and compelling new works?

I guess that is why Off-Broadway is so vital to this industry. It does give opportunities for new plays and musicals to be grown both on stage and with its audiences. That leads me to the masterpiece, yes masterpiece, that is "The Last 5 Years", lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown.

This is a show that I bought online back in the early 2000s and did not know a whole lot about it. But I guess that means I'm the type of person who loves to explore new music. When I went to Scottsdale Community College, I presented a project on Stephen Sondheim and his Broadway legacy and I touched based on how without him, works like The Last 5 Years, would probably not be possible. I believe that JRB has such a prolific voice in this industry and his ability to tell a story through his lyrics is only comparable to that of Sondheim.

So, the story of L5Y is of Cathy and Jamie, a young couple, she an actress from a small town who moves to NYC and he, a writer who makes the big time.

Simple story right?

What makes it so damn compelling is that it's told from both their perspectives, without ever communicating with eachother (except once). Also, Cathy starts her story at the end of the relationship and Jamie starts with the beginning, when he meets Cathy. Each characters take their turn telling their stories through songs, as each story progresses (degresses in Cathy's instance), we learn how the story unravels and how these two fell in and out of love. The only scene where they actually are in the same "moment" is during their wedding; the incredible song "The Next Ten Minutes."

No, that one's Jerry Seinfeld
That one's John Lennon there
No, the Dakota
The San Remo is up a few blocks
Have you been inside the Museum?
We should go
Meet the dinosaurs


Will you share your life with me
For the next ten minutes?
For the next ten minutes
We can handle that
We could watch the waves
We could watch the sky
Or just sit and wait
As the time ticks by
And if we make it till then
Can I ask you again
For another ten?

And if you in turn agree
To the next ten minutes
And the next ten minutes
Till the morning comes
Then just holding you
Might compel me to
Ask you for more
There are so many lives I want to share with you
I will never be complete until I do

I'm not always on time
Please don't expect that from me
I will be late
But if you can just wait
I will make it eventually

Not like it's in my control
Not like I'm proud of the fact
But anything other than being exactly on time
I can do

I don't know why people run
I don't know why things fall through
I don't know how anybody survives in this life
Without someone like you
I could protect and preserve
I could say no and goodbye
But why, Jamie, why?

I want to be your wife
I want to bear your child
I want to die
Knowing I
Had a long, full life in your arms
That I can do
Forever, with you

Will you share your life with me


For the next ten lifetimes?

Forever, Jamie

For a million summers

Till the world explodes
Till there's no one left
Who has ever known us apart

There are so many dreams
I need to see with you...

There are so many years
I need to be with you...

I will never be complete

I will never be alive

I will never change the world
Until I do

I do

I do

I do

I do...

Is that one John Lennon?
That's the San Remo
Isn't that the Museum?
Can we go see the dinosaurs?

The amazing Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott

While I've never seen a full production of this show, I know that this is one that is making the regional rounds, so, if you hear of a production in your area: go, go, go! It's art that makes you think, challenge your belief in marriage and relationships and experience life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Never Fear

I am seeing two shows this up-coming weekend, two shows I've never seen before.

Next To Normal
April 25, 2009 2pm

April 25, 2009 8pm

So excited to see both, so I will be back soon with a detailed review of both.

And I may make a stop at HAIR too =]

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ken Davenport Has An Idea: Independent Theater Bloggers Unite

Broadway and Off-Broadway producer and savvy blogger has invited all internet bloggers who specifically write about theatre to a social at Planet Hollywood in NYC.

The details are:


Thursday, April 23rd.
6 PM - 8 PM
Planet Hollywood
Broadway at 45th St.

To RSVP, comment to Ken's blog with your name and the URL of your blog. Confirmation and final details will be emailed to you. Oh, and to qualify as a "Theater Blogger", you should:

  • Have a blog devoted primarily to theater
  • Post regularly
  • Be an independent blogger (not sponsored/paid to blog by any organization)
Not 100% sure what I'll be up to that weekend but I know attending Ken's last social in December that it will be a good time.

Also, he (or someone) has launched this suspicious looking website. Can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Opening HAIR!

Some of my favorite pics of last night's opening of the current revival of HAIR.

Broadway Marquee
I adore the expression Kacie's face (far left). So much love.
Will Swenson as Berger

Gavin Creel as Claude
Gavin Creel
Kacie Sheik * You're a Broadway star!
Kacie & Allison Case
Tony Award Winner John Gallagher Jr.
photos taken from

Monday, March 30, 2009

Raul Esparza and Norbert Leo Butz sing Last 5 Years - Together

It's like a dream.

Somebody put them in a musical together stat!

Hi: I saw Adam Pascal in RENT

March 19, 2009 at 7:30pm mountain standard time a dream finally came true. Yes, Natalie finally saw Adam Pascal in RENT. You see, for I, unsuccessfully tried to see him October 2007 but yet, he was out the matinee I went.

Adam has been this figure high in the air whom I fell for his voice and my 14 year old self loved. That sentence made no sense and I apologize but the thing is, this was an epic night. And I'm so glad I was able to share it with ... my mom and brother. Yes that's right. Anyway, it was so odd and wonderful to see RENT again, especially at my beloved Gammage. I know in a previous post I wrote about my history with this show but to see it again (esp. after the magical last on Broadway), it never fails to bring a tear to my eyes. I think it's because it means so much to me that to finally see Adam in this role, I just couldn't believe it. It was happening in the place where it all started.

The show itself is always full of life - especially since many of my favorites were in this cast. Caren Lyn Manuel, or now she is Caren Tackett (so much love), Justin Johnson as Angel and Anthony Rapp back as Mark. I closed my eyes when Adam sang One Song Glory and it was exactly how I imagined the song to be sung. Or should I say, how perfectly the song can be sung. Pure beauty.

The only negative thing about this cast is the Maureen. I was crossing my fingers for an understudy because, I'm sorry Nicolette Hart, I'm just not a fan. I also wish I could have seen Benny alums Karmine Alers or Joshua Kobak go on as something. And major props to Andy Senor for being, Andy Senor.

Overall I'm so happy to have finally seen Adam. 9 years later and I'm still so grateful for this show.

American Idot put on stage

n Day's concept album "American Idiot" will be represented on the stage with Michael Mayer as director.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California confirmed on March 30 that a new Michael Mayer-directed stage musical based on rock band Green Day's "American Idiot" album will premiere there this fall. American Idiot will run Sept. 4- Oct. 11, opening Berkeley Rep’s 2009-10 season in the Roda Theatre. A limited number of seats go on sale March 30 at

is intriguing to me because although I haven't heard the whole album but just the singles. But from what I heard their songs sound a lot like songs that are currently to what Spring Awakening and In The Heights are doing in their shows. Creating songs that can be heard on the radio or blasting from a car. So this is an exciting venture for both Green Day and Michael Mayer. I hope this opens up people's eyes to see that theatre is another great way of expressing yourself. And on the flip side this may get a lot of theatre people interested in Green Day. So I think it's a win-win situation.

Now how should they go about casting John Gallagher Jr.
-- just kidding.

Hair revival set for spring release!!

I can't get the music, feeling, love out of my mind. I am so excited to hear that the revival of Hair will be recorded for all to hear on Ghostlight Records.

Much love to the entire cast and crew when it opens on Broadway tomorrow!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I saw the first matinee of the current Broadway run of the musical HAIR on March 7. Going in, knowing the story and some music, I was thoroughly excited to see my first production of the 1960s musical.

When you first walk in the mood is automatically created. It wasn't just another, walk into theatre, sit down and wait for the show to start. There was a buzz in the air, with the curtain hung up on the stage in this beautiful purplish array of colors, and with handprint lights on the walls of the theatre - it was really unique and different. It really felt like we were already introduced and absorbed into their story before the show even began. Oh, and a member of the hippie tribe does some unusual yoga/streching before the show in front of the audience - another great way to begin the performance.

The show itself was fantastic - this being my first time - I didn't realize the whole cast (tribe) was on stage for almost every song. It really felt like they were this big (dysfunctional) family, who cared about each other. Berger, played by Prince himself, Will Swenson. I say Prince because I saw him mulitple times in We Will Rock You Las Vegas. He completely engages the audience from the get go and despite one technical program with a mic during his song "Going Down" (had to use a mic instead of his head set but handled it like a pro), he was amazing. I hear talk of a possible Tony nom. Good for him, well deserved.

Oh Gavin Creel, how I have come to adore you since watching you in Thoroughly Modern Millie in a grainy bootleg VHS. I was so excited to see him and I can say without a doubt, he was fabulous. Gavin has this voice - yes a voice - that is so powerful and so full of life and emotion that captues his audience. As Claude, I really felt how he could feel so conflicted about burning his draft card, about his relationship with his parents - so when it comes to the end of the play - it's so heartbreaking (more on that in a minute).

Sheila, played by Cassie Levy, was adorable - given the role is a little underwritten - does the best she can. She has a great number, "Easy To be Hard", and she rips through it like a force.

Jeanie, played by Kacie Sheik, was an ensemble member who completely stood out - maybe it's her incredible hair (yes, I am jealous). The pregnant character, who is in love with Claude, is the totally encompassment of the hippie tribe. So much love to Miss. Scaramouche.

The final scene, where the cast sings "Flesh Failures/Let The Sun Shine In" was one of the most profound pieces of imagary that I can recall seeing in the theatre. The entire house was still, but full of emotion as the cast sang the final song and moved its way through the audience, to where the song ended in a fading echo, with Claude left on stage. So incredibly moving.

The bows included a reprise of "Let The Sun Shine In", where the tribe invited audience members to come on stage and dance with them. Now - if I hadn't been a poor college student, who purchased the cheapest tickets in the last row - I would have been up there with them. But you know - there's always next time. And I attend to see it, again and again and again.'

I also want to mention how cool their marketing and advertising has been. Their signs are bright and vibrant and completely welcoming. Also, on their website, instead of regular bios, they have "tribe videos" which are really really cool (in my book). Also, they have a Twitter and several other social programs. Totally cool.