Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Everything The Traffic Will Allow - A New York Experience!

Wow! What an experience. Managing Director Lauren Hewitt and I have spent the past week in New York at a Marketing and Development conference for nerdy art administrators (it was more fun than it sounds) and it has been quite a time. There wasn’t been a lot of time for shows, but Lauren and I did get a chance to see our favorite “Madam,” Klea Blackhurst, at the Snapple Theater doing Everything the Traffic Will Allow: the Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman and I’m here to tell you, she blew the doors off the joint! 

First off, we came to NY just in time for some of the worst weather they’ve seen in years, it was cold, rainy, and the wind… oh the wind…  I lost two umbrellas in two days!  Anyway, the point is, as cold and rainy as it was, there was nothing but sunshine coming from that stage. 

The Snapple Theater is a tiny shoebox; in fact, it’s the home of the Fantasticks.  This turned out to be a good thing, because the sound went out just before the show started and Klea had to perform the entire evening un mic’d .  For most performers this would be disaster!  “What no mic?  I can’t go on. They won’t be able to hear me!  How will I hit those Webber high notes?  Nope, can’t be done, send everyone home.”

Not Klea.

Strode on the stage without a care in the world and launched into her first number. 

OH MY GOD, what an absolute delight! 

Just like our own shows, nothing but purity of voice and clarity of emotion.  Don’t worry Mama Rose—I mean Ethel—she sang out!

I’m not going to review the show song by song, I want all of you to be surprised when you come see her April 21 thru April 25.  But I did get a chance to talk to Klea after the show and she had a little message for all of you!

So come check it out for yourself.  Klea Blackhurst returns to the Eureka Theater for a one-week direct from broadway engagement of Everything the Traffic Will Allow: the Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman.  April 21-25, all shows start at 8pm, except Sunday April 25 starts at 3pm. Click here for tickets, or call (415) 255-8207.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lady, Be Good! In Context

With the exception of a few very notable shows, most of the names of the Gershwins’ musicals have become forgotten to the vast majority of Americans, but the songs that came from these shows are as ingrained in our collective knowledge as the advertising slogans “Just Do It” or “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” Take our current offering, Lady, Be Good! I have to admit, I wasn’t familiar with the title before we started to produce it… but “Fascinating Rhythm”?  Well, I have 13 versions of it on my i-Pod. 

This is what I love more about Moon than anything else.  I don’t just have the opportunity to listen to “Fascinating Rhythm”, but I get the chance to understand WHY it was written.  This was made ever so clear during our run of Call Me Madam.  Watching Klea Blackhurst and Charlie Levy complete the entire scene that included “You're Just In Love” brought a meaning to that song I never had before: the original intention.

With each new production here at Moon, I look forward to understanding the original emotions and motivations behind some of my favorite songs.  That is not to say that I won’t still enjoy my Ella Fitzgerald Songbook, on the contrary, I’ll enjoy them even more.

Are you sure you really understand “Fascinating Rhythm”?  If not, come see 42nd Street Moon’s Lady, Be Good! at the Eureka Theater.  Previews start March 31, for tickets call (415) 255-8207 or click here to buy online and avoid a box office fee. 

– Update March 31st is SOLD OUT.  There are a few seats remaing April 1 - 4, but best seating is available April 7-17.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

WILDCAT was nominated for 6 Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards!


Wildcat was nominated for 6 Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards! 

Artistic Director, Greg MacKellan stated, “As always, we're happy to be honored with nominations from the Bay Area Critics' Circle.  Wildcat was a terrific show, and we're thrilled that the cast and director Kalon Thibodeaux and choreographer Tom Segal have been selected for this recognition.”

I asked those nominated for their reactions:
It's really wonderful to be nominated - particularly for such a challenging role. And I'm very thankful to everyone at 42nd Street Moon for entrusting me with it. I think I'm most excited for the Awards Ceremony - it's a great chance to see friends and meet many of the people whose work I've admired over the years.”

Rob Hatzenbeller (This is Rob’s second nomination, having previously won for supporting male in a musical for Wonderful Town): “

 Richard Pardini (This is Richard’s second nomination, first for best supporting actor. Richard was part of the 1994 winning production of Closer Than Ever): “The nomination is exciting and a total surprise.  I found out when a friend texted to congratulate me and I was like, ‘Huh??’" 

Maureen McVerry (This is Maureen’s tenth (or so) nomination, She has won 5 times previously, including a win for Moon’s production of Pardon My English): “… just being nominated is fun.  Really - this time I was nominated due to my co-stars - the hot Rob and the fantastic Richard - they made me look gooooooooood.”

Unfortunately Kalon Thibodeaux (nominated Best Director) and Tom Segal (nominated Best Choreographer) were not able to get back to me before the printing of this blog.

I’m so proud of everyone involved with Wildcat and can’t wait to find out who wins!  We’ll find out on May 3, 2010 when the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle presents their 34th Annual Awards Ceremony.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's the Last Midnight...

Ok, I don’t usually write JUST about buy tickets or subscriptions, so I’m gonna make this one REALLY short.  If you aren’t already a subscriber, than you probably don’t know that you can subscribe for next season already.  Well, my lucky Bloggees, as a special treat for you, for following me… you can subscribe online RIGHT NOW and get our special Early Bird prices that are usually reserved for current subscribers.

So whatcha waiting for, with a season of Sondheim (Happy Birthday!), Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and our first ever NEW WORK!  Get it at the lowest possible price and receive all those killer benefits like no box office fees, retaining your favorite seats year after year, and most important the knowledge that you are supporting 42nd Street Moon.  The deadline is tomorrow March 25th, 2010 at, yup, you guest it... Midnight!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Dawn, a New Day, A New Moon - 42nd Street Moon's 2010-2011 Season

While the first of our spring 2010 shows, Lady, Be Good!, is already rehearsing at MoonSpace, the 2010-11 Moon season, “Lovers, Liars and Clowns!” is also officially “off and running.” The Early Bird subscription campaign for our eighteenth season has moved into high gear, and the press announcement has found its way into the San Francisco Chronicle and several New York theatre websites.

Interestingly, the plans Stephanie and I had for next season took several twists and turns before we arrived at A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Murder for Two, Babes in Arms, Strike Up the Band, and Silk Stockings.

Remember the ballot from last spring? Sure you do. Our intent was to include two of the top vote-getting shows in 2010 -11, Gigi and Forum, but alas, the rights to Gigi were unavailable (a major revival is in the works for the show). Gigi, then, gave way to Cole Porter’s Silk Stockings – probably my favorite “underrated” Cole Porter show, and one I’m so glad to have a chance to revisit.

Our complete reconstruction of the Kern-Hammerstein Three Sisters (which has absolutely nothing to do with Chekhov’s same-titled play!) is delayed till the fall of 2011, so Rodgers and Hart have moved into that slot although our Jerome Kern celebration continues with the Jerome Kern Salon in October.

Strike Up the Band was always targeted for Moon’s Ira Gershwin multi-year salute, but we moved it up to 2010-11 because George S. Kaufman’s deft anti-war satire seems particularly timely.

The first two shows of the season are perhaps the most unusual for Moon. Since we focus on “uncommon musicals,” we normally wouldn’t do a show as widely seen as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Forum, however, is consistently one of the most-requested shows from our audiences (you!), which won it a place on the ballot last season.

This is Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday year, so this is the year that Forum will land on the Moon!

Taking our cue from the 1996 revival, in which Whoopi Goldberg followed Nathan Lane in the role of Pseudolus, we decided we could give the show a fresh twist with Megan Cavanagh taking on the role. If you’ve seen Megan’s comic turns in Out of This World, High Spirits, or Jubilee, you know what a treat we’re all in for.

When we founded 42nd Street Moon in 1993, Stephanie and I did not necessarily see it as a home for new musicals. Our productions were strictly bare bones, script-in-hand concerts at the time. It seemed to us that new work deserved a shot at a full production before going the “concert route.”

Seventeen years later, the theatrical climate has evolved dramatically, as have our shows.

Murder for Two represents a first for 42nd Street Moon – a brand new musical which will be making its West Coast debut on the Eureka Stage, following a summer run in Glens Falls, New York. [Bonus points to anyone who can name the musical – which Moon has done! – that takes place in Glens Falls.]

Two dynamically talented young writers, Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, have written this spoof of the Agatha Christie murder mystery genre: a murder in an old house, a group of eccentric and enigmatic suspects, and a body count that keeps rising. The book is so funny and the score is so fresh – as if Jerry Herman and Cole Porter had given birth to a score midwifed by Stephen Sondheim – that we couldn’t resist giving our Moon audiences the chance to enjoy this before it gets snapped up for a major production.

Is it a dramatically different turn for us? Not really – it’s certainly an “uncommon” musical, just not a “vintage” musical. (It does share many qualities with the great old musicals of the Golden Age). Although we have focused heavily on 1920s through 1970s musicals, we’ve never had a strict “time frame.” Murder for Two is the precursor to a dazzling surprise we have in store for our 20th season in 2012-13 – but rest assured that Porter, Gershwin, Kern, Berlin, Rodgers, Hart, and Hammerstein will always be on the bill at 42nd Street Moon.

Thank You to Guest Blogger Artistic Director Greg MacKellan.

If you'd like to take advantage of the Early Bird Pricing for your subscription, click here.  Hurry, offer ends March 25, 2010.