Enjoy the Parade

January 23, 2009

This is the show that I’m in now, the original Broadway cast, that is.  We finally got to hear this song with our cast last night.  i personally think that this is one of the best musical theatre songs ever written. Beautiful.

I was telling AJ, our Leo, how I remember seeing this on the Rosie ODonnell Show and falling in love with it.  He said,  “Oh I go watch it on YouTube all the time. ” So I thought I’d spread the wealth. 

Erin is a Broadway nerd

January 13, 2009

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You get a golden star and certification as a fellow nerd if you get the joke about Jeremy Piven.  If you are not a Broadway nerd all will be revealed in the comments. NPH rocks my socks.

Last Night’s RENT

September 26, 2008

I was in middle school in 1996 when RENT opened on Broadway. I was singing with the children’s chorus at the time and the high school group did this whole Broadway medley that included “Seasons of Love.” Which I of course thought was awesome.  But by the time I was in drama in high school the craze and phenomenon was over.  It was just another show that was on and we were more excited about the new shows like Jekyll and Hyde and Ragtime and Titanic.  When I was in college the tour came by Tampa and a bunch of the theatre folks went in a group together, but I missed out on that.  So the first time I saw the songs in context was the 2005 movie.  Then the tour came to Tallahassee about a year and a half ago and my friend and I went see it.  It was in the civic center and we were defiantly in the cheap seats.  We were farrrrrrr from that stage.  I am such a Broadway fan when I heard about the showing of the final Broadway cast and performance was a opportunity I could not miss.  It’s such a rare thing to have access to a recording of a Broadway show.

So what did I think of “the Rent movie that doesn’t suck” as one blogger says.  First this is something that producers defiantly need to do again.  I hope they made enough money to justify it.  Tallahassee was a little sparsely attended.  The performances of course are sublime and sounding so much like the original cast by the way.  The crowd noise was fun too as they cheered all the actor’s entrances and most of the songs.  And getting to see the production at the Nerderlander, that’s priceless.  But I hope that they’ll learn from some of the mistakes.

Almost from the beginning it was clear that the camera was right there on the stage because of the extreme close-ups and I later found that this was actually a composite of footage from an earlier performance with the closing night footage.  Well I don’t feel so bad for the live audience, but I then felt a little duped.  I found the camera work frantic at times and the editing to be suspect.  Even in duets the camera would flip back and forth between the actors.  There were these odd close-ups of Rodger and Mimi’s backsides during “Light my Candle.”  I think the one song that I appreciated the in-your-face-ness was “One Song Glory,” a monologue song in spotlight.  But even that was unfortunate for Will Chase the actor playing Roger who is 38 years old.  Not that he’s bad looking he’s just obviously older than his cast mates and is playing a 23 year old(ish) character.  And “Contact” looks like a music video with all of the cuts.

At the end of the show many of the original cast members came on stage for an encore of “Seasons of Love” minus Adam Pascal, Idina Mendzel and Taye Diggs.  Too bad, but we can see Taye on Private Practice every week and Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp will be touring with the show in 2009.  Another thing that I appreciated was the great! sound quality.  It really showed me how much the civic center eats the mix.  You have to turn the sound so high that you miss the subtle things, especially in the songs with counterpoint.  I love actually being able to tell what everyone was saying all of the time.

Over all this reminded me why everyone loves RENT.  I think that lots of people can write a heart breaking song or two, but to have 10 couched in between recitative that actually sounds like words people might say, is emotionally deep, and has a lovely melody.  That takes a special author.  Jonathan Larson was a genius.  Granted there are moments that don’t feel period enough yet to not be a bit clique, but I think that will fade with time.  Man, I got out of the theatre thinking how much I’d like to direct it.  Now I’ll be able to.

It’s not too late to see it; the last showings are Saturday and Sunday at noon.

Here’s to RENT, we were the lucky ones!

They showed this on the “Live from Lincoln Center” series on PBS in 2006. I recorded it. And when I went to play it it had no sound. That’s not good, particularly for a Broadway musical. And they never played it again or released it on DVD. But today I found it. Enjoy… “The Light in the Piazza.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I think this marked the beginning of the slow self destruct of my DVD recorder. Which only recently stopped recording DVDs all together. It took two years to die by increments. It still plays DVDs but who knows when that’s going to quit. But today I’m a little less mad at it because I can watch this show.

So I was reading a post about “Secret Garden” the musical, and I remembered the 2001 reality show that I liked, “The IT Factor.” It followed a group of eight new and/or struggling actors as they auditioned for jobs in NYC and LA. The twist is that they all had to go through a rigorous audition process to be on the show, they had do have the “it” factor, get it. One of the people they featured was Daisy Eagan, who won a Tony for her role as Mary in “Secret Garden” but hadn’t had much success as an adult actor. So I went to look the people who had been on the show on IMDB to see if the show was right if these people really did have the “it” factor. Of the 16 actors over two seasons, three have reached some sort of star quality LisaRaye was one of the stars of the CW show that was created and produced by Will Smith. Godfrey became the “7up” guy right after the show and has success as an actor, stand-up comic, and on the “I love…” shows on Vh1. And one of the other girls has a supporting role on the show “Bones.” I think five of the actors show no more than two credits other than the reality show. The rest all appear to have steady work as guest stars on all sorts of shows and movies (which in the scheme of things it is pretty good to be able to support yourself as an actor.)

The weird coincidence… the episode of “House” that was on today guest stars one of the “it” factor actors as a drug addicted rock star. It’s a small world.

Today I experiment with posting a video… I think it worked. And yes, I know this will have limited appeal but it’s fun for me and hey it’s my blog. Those of you who will not enjoy a hour long interview with Ashley Brown, Jonathan Groff, that guy from Jersey Boys (dang can’t remember his name), and another girl need not hit play. But I do, so there.

PS. I think Jonathan Groff is great, he laughs at everything, and looks like he’s about 16, he’s like too charming for words. I think he’s still in Spring Awakening last thing I heard. Wonder what he’ll be up to next.

So here’s the American Theatre Wing’s November 2007 Episode of “Working in Theatre”… The Next Generation

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Update: When I took the time to look it up I found out that Jonathan Groff left the cast of “Spring Awakening” on May 18 of 2008 and will be starring in a revival of “Hair” which opens on July 22.