QUIET TIMES

Hey guys.  I know I haven’t been blogging a lot lately but its been sort of quiet.   I wrote about going to the Shaw Festival which was a great time.  Now I’m just getting my cabaret together.  God help me.  It’s a bit tight but I think it’s going to be good.  Well, I hope it’s going to be good.  I love the two themes.  I’ve always been a fan of Jerry Herman and the walk through black Broadway musicals allows some fun.  And I’m trying to find a good mix of known and not so known tunes.  Hopefully people will come.  It’s right in the middle of – what is supposed to be summer (cue eye roll) – and it’s a Friday so people are working or going out of town.  Eep!!!  As long as enough people show up to allow me to have someone to play to.

I’ve been rehearsing with Diane Leah and she is so incredible.  I can make a suggestion to her about a style or combination of styles and she just interprets that into something extraordinary.  “Diane, I’m thinking  . . . . Sondheim meets Reggae” and suddenly Sweeney Todd is riding the ganja train to Tune Town.  It’s stupid fun.  So we’ll also hopefully have some interesting new versions of songs too.

I’ll also be singing at Metropolitan United Church this Sunday as well at the 9:00 and 11:00 services.  It’s great to be able to keep singing.  It’s amazing how fast the voice slackens when you don’t use it.  There is no mercy.  LOL

Other than that, I’m trying to catch up with friends and get to the gym which has gotten slack since I have been downed with bronchitis twice in the last little over a month and a summer cold.  A SUMMER COLD!!!  What am I – 12?   It was evil.  So I didn’t have a lot of energy to get to the gym.   But now it’s all gone, my energy is back to almost 100 percent and I’m ready to get back in shape for The Drowsy Chaperone.  Which I can’t believe starts in four weeks from today.  Woohoo.  It’s going to be weird to do a remount.  I’ve never done a remount.  I’m really excited.  I loved that show and that cast.  We have about 7 new cast members out of about 16/17.  So that’s a cool thing.  We get a fresh take on scenes and characters.  It will feel fresh yet familiar.  Woohoo.

On another front.  Been thinking alot about musical theatre in Canada.  And having a lot of discussions about it.   The pretty much across-the-board consensus is we really don’t have a wealth of great or even good directors of musicals in this country.  Not that there aren’t good or even great directors here but they are few and far between.  (I won’t name names either way as I make it a point not to slag individuals in my blogs.  Ungenerous and unnecessary)  I’ve gotten tired of seeing mediocre productions of great shows.   A good friend once said (and I’m grossly paraphrasing here so I shan’t include her name – that’s right, I wrote shan’t and I’m not sorry) “Musicals are the one art form that you can really do a mediocre job and still have an entertaining show – because of the music”  That is unfortunately true so its harder to weed out the mediocre directors.  And those of us who do musicals (and even those who do straight plays) have all had the experience commonly known as “SAVE YOUR OWN ASS THEATRE”.  There is a misconception in Canada (though I know it happens in the States too but less so because they love, revere, understand, respect and basically created the musical form) that if you can direct a play and you “like” musicals, you can direct them.  Now I don’t mean that as an across the board slag.  There are some directors who do that cross over, understand it, and get it right.  But in a many cases, they feel like they are going to “fix” the form.  WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The form doesn’t need your help.

What I find myself most disappointed in the lack of knowledge of how to prepare to direct a musical.  Basic things like knowing the script inside/out as much as you can, how the music informs the songs (in well-written musicals, the music is the subtext), how the song and the scene work together  (like a song and dance team in the pre-50’s musicals and as story partners in the 50’s and beyond musicals).  It’s an art form and if you don’t love it; not “like it” or “enjoy it” or “gee, wouldn’t it be fun to do one – it” —-LOVE IT then you should probably not be doing it.

This all leads me to an idea.  It may be time to put my money where my mouth is so to speak.  I always knew that  would direct eventually.  But maybe the time is nearer than I thought.  Not that I intend to stop performing.  But it may be time to start direct some things.  Try my wings.  As my mother always says, “Anything any other idiot can do, I can do”.  And what she means is the worst I can be is as bad as what I’m seeing them do.  So what have I got to lose?  The one thing I know I do have on my side is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE musicals.  I love what they can do to people, I love how they can tell stories,cast spells, I love people who do musicals, I love orchestras, I love watching an audience react to a great song being sung with thrilling skill, depth and emotion.

Whew.  That was a might soap-boxy, y’all but you know what, I don’t care.  I’m excited a bit.

I like the things that are going on with me right now.  I’m looking forward to my cabaret, I’m thrilled about The Drowsy Chaperone being around the corner.  There are some other things possible on the horizon.   Things are good.

I hope you’re all enjoying summer . . . well, summer-light.  And I try to get on here a little more.

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Published in: on July 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Hi Thom,
    I don’t know you, you don’t know me… but its like you have been in the living room when my husband and I go on rants. HE and I are both performers and passionate about MT. And we basically feel the same way you do about many (not all) of the Musical productions that we see. I’m glad that you feel it to. Best wishes in the Drowsy Chaperone.
    Tia


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