Saturday, September 26, 2009

Headlines ...

So, the blog is back—resurrected after an all-too-long hiatus, and for that I apologize. At the beginning of September, I celebrated my birthday in Disney World and then started classes at Columbia the day after I got back. It was a tough transition, for sure—traipsing around the Magic Kingdom with a tiara in hand, to sitting in my History of Journalism course at 9 AM. Oy.

Since then I’ve just been trying to get my bearing. Here are a few headlines about shows I’ve seen, or ones I’m interested in seeing as soon as I get a free moment.

Nemo vs. Mermaid

What vacation wouldn’t be complete without a musical or two? I still need to get my fill of shows, relaxing or not. So, while in Disney, we saw Finding Nemo: The Musical at the Animal Kingdom. All I’ve got to say is that whoever designed the Nemo set did a much better job at creating a visually appealing underwater paradise than the Broadway crew that brought you the iridescently fabulous scenic design in The Little Mermaid. That plastic playground of a set looked as though the local Michael’s might have made a killing off its sale of glitter to the Mermaid creative team. The interesting thing to consider here, though, is that both shows are represented by the mouse. Curious indeed.

Let Me Down Easy

Time to plug a health-related play! No really, I’m quite excited to see Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman show about our healthcare system. Here’s an interactive website launched by Second Stage Theatre on behalf of Let Me Down Easy. Happy posting!

Opening Night: A Boy and His Soul

A Boy and His Soul opened Thursday night at the Vineyard Theatre. Earlier this week I had the privilege of speaking with Colman Domingo, the writer and performer of this one-man show. His experience of growing up on soul music in Philadelphia inspired Domingo to pen A Boy and His Soul. And as he was grappling with his parents’ ailing health and the burden of selling his childhood home, writing was a way to cope. The show now features music from Aretha, Marvin, and Earth Wind and Fire, as an energetic Domingo plays 11 different characters. I won’t say anymore, but you can read my full story next month in the Philadelphia Inquirer. (It’s my first byline in a major daily!)

Talk-Backs during Oleanna Previews

I got a press release the other day about a “Take A Side: The Oleanna Talk-Back Series,” which will occur after each preview of the Mamet revival. (Previews begin Sept. 29 and run through Oct. 10.) Oleanna concerns the power struggle between a college student and her professor, and will star Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman. I’m not quite sure why I’m excited to see this show … maybe it’s my proximity to the college experience. Or perhaps it’s because I saw two Mamet plays last season (Speed the Plow and American Buffalo), liked one but loathed the other, and now I’m curious to see where I’ll land here. Regardless, the panel for the talk back series will include notable public figures in entertainment, media, law, education and politics. Here’s a list of a few that have been confirmed:
- David Dinkins, former New York City mayor
- Dennis Walcott, NYC Deputy Mayor of Education and Community Development
- Lis Wiehl, FOX news Channel legal analyst
- Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts
- Kathleen M. McKenna, Legal Partner of Proskauer Rose LLP

Either Judith Kaye, JD (Juris Doctor from Harvard and President of Judith Kaye Training & Consulting) or Cynthia Tornquist (President of Tornquist Productions LLC and former CNN correspondent) will moderate the series.

My guess is that you’ll be able to go on the website and see who’ll be on the panel each night. There’s no news there yet, though.

Bye Bye Birdie: Stamos and Middle School

This one’s just for fun, but I may be going to see Bye Bye Birdie tomorrow because my Mom wants to see John Stamos live, onstage. If my family ends up going, I will be sure to let you know what’s what. The show opens on Oct. 15, so in good taste, I’ll hold my full review until then. In middle school we did Birdie, and I played various ensemble roles: a screaming teen, a Happy Face girl, etc. I remember everyone having a crush on the boy (at the time he was 13!) who played Albert, and as a braces clad 11-year-old I proudly sang “Kids” in a Limited Too bathrobe. Oh, the awkward years …

PHOTO: Colman Domingo in A Boy and His Soul / courtesy of Carol Rosegg

One last thing I’d like to say. A friend of mine from high school, easily the smartest guy I’ve ever known, passed away last weekend after falling from a third floor fire escape in Boston. It’s a phenomenal loss for both those that knew him and the medical community. Babur Khalique was in his third year of the MD/PhD program at Boston University; and I swear to you, this boy had more glial cells than the average bear. (Einstein's brain was rumored to have had more glial cells—or cells which support neurons and aid in communication and integration—than a normal brain.)

Everyday I remember the good times that we shared, how he was always there to listen and laugh. He always wanted me to read Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, but I never found the time. It was only after I had heard the news of his death that I finally got my hands on a copy.

So Babur, wherever you are, I hope you know that I’m reading your favorite play … and that I miss you.

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