FOLLIES OPENING NIGHT

Wow, y’all!!! It was fantastic. What a night! The orchestra sounded great and the cast was on fire. The audience was so on board and cheering after numbers. It was like being at a musical theatre version of a rock concert. Gabrielle Jones and Goldie Semple literally stopped the show with their numbers “Broadway Baby” and “I’m Still Here”. Yes, these are arguably two of the most well-known numbers from the show but they both sang/acted the shit out of them. It’s always thrilling when a high-calibre performer really knocks a song out of the park. And Glynis Ranney also knocked them out with “Losing My Mind”.

Now don’t for a minute think that the rest of the numbers didn’t sparkle. Every number had it’s followers and fans. I have to say that I really enjoyed my buddy George Masswohl in particular. He played Ben and the songs felt like they were written for him. He and Glynis singing “Too Many Mornings” was a particular hightlight – for me and for the audience. And I had a great time singing my number – “Beautiful Girls” – that nod to the emcee/tenors of days gone by. We barely got started on the reprise/finale of Beautiful Girls and they were on their feet cheering. I was a great night. Hopefully we’ll have the same response for the rest of the 3 performances.

For those of you who are coming but don’t have tickets, get on it y’all. Sept. 12, Sept. 27, and Oct.

Published in: on August 31, 2008 at 3:04 pm  Comments (1)  

FOLLIES SITZPROBE

For those of who don’t know what a sitzprobe is, it’s the day, in a musical, when you sing through the songs with the orchestra for the first time.  We had ours today.  It was unbelievable.  26 pieces everyone.  26-PIECE ORCHESTRA!!!   It was truly one of the most thrilling moments I’ve had here at the Shaw . . . and I’ve had a great time here.  We have a harp, y’all – A HARP!!!    hahaahahaaha  it was amazing.  Such sound, such detail of instrumentation.  It made me realize how criminal it is to have to ever downsize an original orchestration – although I know that at, this point, more or less every theatre in Canada has to do just that.  For those of you who will be lucky enough to see Follies here at Shaw, you are in for a rare treat.  Truly.   Get your tickets before they sell out.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

HERE IT IS FOLKS – GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS

Okay you’ve all waited patiently – okay . . . well, I guess those of you who’ve been reading have waited patiently. . . .the rest of you didn’t know there was news coming. But I love you all for reading this now and here it is.

The bad news is I will no longer be playing Fred/Petrucchio in the concert version of Kiss Me, Kate for Talk Is Free this November. I’m so, so saddened by that. It’s a part I wanted very much to do and to work for Arkady Spivak, the artistic director, who has been such a supporter of my work. So it breaks my heart to bow out of this production. But I also know there are many incredible men who would kill to play Fred and who would be awesome so I have no delusions that I am not totally replaceable. . . . well, maybe not totally replaceable (I hope), but replaceable. 😉

Okay, now the good news is I’m not able to do Kiss Me, Kate because I’ll be doing Aldolpho in the first all-Canadian production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Vancouver Playhouse this Christmas – Nov. 22-Dec. 27. Woohoo. It’s a part I’ve wanted to do since I heard the recording a few years ago. For those of you who don’t know the show:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drowsy_Chaperone

I’m so excited. I think a bunch of friends are doing it too but I don’t think they’ve signed on yet so I can’t say who they are. It’s a great show, it will be a great cast, it’ll be over Christmas, and all the fresh fish I can eat. What??!!!! Come on!!!! Here is the link to the theatre:

http://www.vancouverplayhouse.com/

Now I said I had lots of news. Well I do have more but I can’t officially say yet so you’ll just have to keep reading. heehee. I’m not purposely doling it out little by little. I just can’t say until I have an official offer.

So stay tuned.

Published in: on August 12, 2008 at 5:09 pm  Comments (6)  

SHARE THE STAGE

Oh my word, y’all. There is quite a furor happening within the artistic community but it is an issue that goes way beyond just people in the business. A blog page and facebook group has been started by the wonderful Andrew Moodie – playwright and actor. Great, thoughtful guy. He is a ‘person of colour’ and his issue is with the hiring practices of the SHAW FESTIVAL . . . . gasp, yes the theatre I’m working at right now. The issue is with the Shaw’s history of hiring (or not hiring) of people of colour – period. . . and more specifically in lead roles. The complaint is that in the year 2008, there has rarely been an AOC (Actor of Colour) in a lead other than a role that called for an AOC.

Now the interesting part for me is I’m an AOC playing a lead this year. So there is a change. But as to my blog from weeks ago about respect for musical theatre, that doesn’t seem to get mentioned a lot – ie. that doesn’t count. I’m not going to get into that as the argument is bigger than that. They are talking about the plays of Shaw and his contemporaries – which is the mandate of the festival.

Another issue raised by the new group is the fact that the mandate is to produce works written by George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries or set in the time, yet there has never been a play by a black, chinese, hispanic, etc. author telling those stories performed at the Festival. So there is a lot being put forward by Mr. Moodie.

It’s been fascinating reading the issues put forth and the passion. Andrew started the facebook group about a week ago, if even, and there are already 586 members. He is urging people (white, black, asian – anyone who wants to see diversity on their stages) to write to Jackie Maxwell (Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival) and tell her (respectfully) that they want to see diversity on those stages. It’s interesting to see where people stand on the issue. It’s making me ask myself a lot of questions.

Both groups (his blog page and the facebook page) are called: SHARE THE STAGE

Here is the blog page.

http://sharethestage.wordpress.com/about-share-the-stage/

Take a look. If you can find the facebook page, go to it. Some awesome discussions. Very strong emotions in some cases as you can imagine.

As for myself, I have several opinions about the subject which I won’t share right now. I want you all to look for yourself and evaluate your own conscience about it.

Live it and love it, my friends.

Published in: on August 12, 2008 at 1:42 am  Comments (3)  

GREAT QUOTE

From FOLLIES:

“Success is being good at doing what you want to do.”

Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

FOLLIES READ/SING-THROUGH

Oh my God, y’all.  We had the read/sing-through of Follies yesterday.  It was fantastic.  Everyone was so good.  It was already so great, it would have been worth paying for.  But with costumes and orchestra, and a little more rehearsal.  It really is going to be thrilling.  For those of you who don’t know Sondheim, it’s such an amazing introduction to his work.  So many songs, it’s a little overwhelming.  For those of you who know Sondheim’s work, you are going to s#*t your pants.  Perhaps literally!!  But tickets are going to sell out as it’s only four performances starting Aug. 29.  Get on it.

There is still news coming as I said in the last blog but nothing is confirmed yet so I can’t say.  It’ll be soon, I promise.  Keep checking back.

Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

SOON TO COME – NEWS

This is just a heads up, y’all. I will have some news very soon of some future work that is very exciting. So stay tuned. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some info in the next couple of weeks – possibly days.

Published in: on August 1, 2008 at 5:10 am  Leave a Comment