Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh No

No. Sweet Jesus no. Come on Ragtime, you can do it. Next to Normal is still running, you can do it too. Beautiful little show, I have faith in you. You can do better than this. Keep going. I believe in you. Most people do. Give the nay-sayers a kick in their smug little faces and win that Tony. Bye Bye Birdie has nothing on you. Just keep running. You can make it to the Tonys. Sit tight, beautiful Ragtime. I promise I'll be there to see you within the month.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ripley: A Tribute

Alice Ripley, you are barking mad and I want to be just like you when I grow up. Lots and lots of love from this corner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Top 25 Greatest Musical Characters - The Ladies

As you all know, I am just over the moon for lists. The title of this one says it all, don't you think? Here's a list for the ladies who lunch - the 25 greatest female musical theatre characters. They're in descending order, with the my first pick being the greatest.

25. Eva Peron - Evita
24. Tracy Turnblad - Hairspray
23. Mimi - Rent
22. Jeanie - Hair
21. Mother - Ragtime
20. Maria - West Side Story
19. Roxie and Velma - Chicago
18. Amy - Company
17. Big Edie - Grey Gardens
16. Little Edie - Grey Gardens
15. Sheila - Hair
14. Joanne - Company
13. Desiree - A Little Night Music
12. Louise - Gypsy
11. Eponine - Les Miz
10. Diana - Next to Normal
9. Dot - Sunday in the Park
8. Dolly - Hello, Dolly
7. Fanny Brice - Funny Girl
6. Anita - West Side Story
5. Maria - The Sound of Music
4. Adelaide - Guys and Dolls
3. Mrs. Lovett - Sweeney Todd
2. Rose - Gypsy
1. Sally Bowles - Cabaret

Okay, so maybe Rose should have gotten the top slot. She's every girl's dream role. But as for Sally - there's just so much there. All Rose has to do is be domineering and then have a nervous breakdown. Sally's gotta show that slow cracking, the seams splitting, all the while acting like a little girl. And her breakdown has to be terrifying for both her and the audience. Rose just has to scream and scare the hell out of the audience. And that's why Sally gets the top slot. Suck on that, Arthur Laurents.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I almost got tickets to see a show tonight. And I didn't, because I live in a mean, nasty, repressive Republican town. I'm not even making that up. Okay, so maybe it's not the Republicans fault that I'm not seeing a show tonight, but this is a predominately Conservative area, and I'm god-damned sick of it. One of my Facebook friends is one of the terrifying militaristic uber-conservatives that think Obama is the anti-Christ. I'm not even kidding. He actually thinks that, and he's told me I better switch parties soon or risk getting pitched into the fiery lake of hell. I think I'll take my chances. So here's what I think - yeah, I do get a little overzealous when it comes to demonizing the Republicans. Truth: My own dear mamma is a Republican, and I love her to death. I am fully capable of having elephantine friends. Look, folks, I'm not saying we Democrats are a perfect party. Jesus, we've got Fred Phelps. I mean, look at this. God hates fags? Really? You're sure? I mean, 'cause it sorta looks to me like you're the one doing the hating. When I die, I'm going to specifically request for whatever's left of the Westboro Baptish Church to come and picket my funeral. Because they just look like such a fun bunch of folks. Seriously, friends. Sometimes I think the fact that these people live right in the middle of Tornado Alley is just natural selection at its finest.
This week, I attended my very first opera. Lenora and I were stuck way, way up in the second (or possibly third?) balcony of the Metropolitan Opera House. Either way, trust me: we were really damn high up. Thankfully, I had my mother's priceless opera glasses, and when I used them I could almost see facial expressions. Still, Turandot was lovely. Very lavish and visual. Like Wicked, except this didn't suck.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Big News

Oh, my darlings. I had so much fun in Boston this weekend, and I know that's the place I belong. But we'll get to that.

I already told you all that I've been commissioned to review the school's production of Once Upon a Mattress. They told me I'm only allowed to say nice things. Damn it, folks, where's the fun in that, I ask you? Anyway, before I get to my writing my first draft, here it is: What I Really Thought.

Queen: You're a talentless hack. There is no hope that you will ever change.
Winnifred: Of course you're talented, and you apparently know that. Watch your vibrato. Yes, we all know you're pretty. There is no need to turn to face the audience to say every single line. Subtlety, child.
Dauntless: You did your best with a crappy character.
King: You were actually very good. I would hope this has nothing to do with the fact that you did not have to speak until the very end.
Minstrel: It was a little high for you, but you're very talented.
Larken: Dear Lenora, please understand that you don't have to throw your voice to play a character well. You're not Kacie Sheik. Also, watch your diction. I was very impressed by your delivery of your very first line. It felt really genuine.
Chorus: Each and every one of you needs to stop vying so desperately for attention. You're in the chorus for a reason.
Everybody: You guys had a horrible director. I thought you pulled it off. Moderately.

See? I can be vaguely positive. So I went to Boston this weekend, to check out Emerson College. And I love it there. I am not going anywhere else, because there are some things you just know. My parents are pushing me to look at other colleges. I will do it to humor them, but here's what I think - What difference does that make? In the end, I can only go to one. I actually ended up seeing Fiddler while I was there, and it was very good. But Emerson is a place where parties consist of beer and pizza on the floor of the black box while you run scenes. It's a place where the kids argue over whether their cabaret tribute to Alice Ripley should be more SIDE SHOW or Next to Normal centric. (I swear to God. At the moment I heard that, the decision was made.) When I went to their bookstore to get The Glass Menagerie, the guy behind the counter told me to skip it because Streetcar was better. I think I almost had a seizure. I love you, Emerson bookstore dude. I'll look you up once I get there. Wait for me in all your Williamsian glory. I also walked into a dorm only to be thrust into the middle of two girls having a heated argument over the potential of August: Osage County to become a classic. How did I get so God-damned lucky? I mean, this school fits me so well it's scary.

So, my darlings, it's today. Ragtime's opening night. I wish them all the luck, love and long-runningness in the world. Still, I am not blind to the fact that Phantom 2 is looking at the Neil Simon. I say Phantom 2 can suck it, cause ain't nobody gonna top my beautiful Ragtime.

Forgot to add that I got a teddy bear up in Boston. I named him Bean. Bean is the name of a cat in the story I'm working on. I don't particularly like writing about animals. I think in my entire writing career several characters have had: a cat named Bean, a French bulldog named Mousseline, a Bichon Frise named Katy, a bird named Beaky, a bunny named Arizona, a Lhasa Apso named Claire, fish named Jeannie and Amber, two dogs named Texas (short for Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Mangler, and a horse named Punch. I'm sure there's more, but their respective stories were never finished. Oh, well. Off to bed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Tech Week!

This week coming up is gonna be a biggie for me. Lenora's play is going up on Thursday. I'm leaving for Boston Friday afternoon. Ragtime is opening on Sunday. Isn't it all so perfectly marvelous?

Lenora's playing Lady Larken in Once Upon a Mattress. Until this morning, I really wasn't that familiar with that one. I think by now I can call myself a fan of musical drama, and saying I don't like comedy all that much would be a fair assumption. I'm not gonna dress this up pretty. After watching the 2005 movie version on Youtube, I have no especially high opinion of the show. In all honesty, this is what I think - it's trite, empty, and foolish with a score that nobody will remember as a lost gem of the theatre. But is it really what I think that matters? After all, that's no reflection on Lenora, she didn't write the show. But it does seem to me that it's going to take an awful lot of effort on the part of 25 lowly highschoolers to make this thing work. The book is exceptionally weak and brimming with pratfalls. Anyone not willing to make a fool of themselves need not apply.

BUT. I did like Lady Larken quite a bit. True, she's a bit one dimensional, but this is Once Upon a Mattress. If I wanted fully developed characters I'd look to something by Williams or Ibsen. Of course, she's a stock character, the token "cute friend." Between you and me, that's always been my favorite archetype. Think about it. Some of the world's greatest characters have been sidekicks- Melanie Wilkes, Beth March, Stella Kowalski, etc. etc. etc. And anyway, everyone in this show is based upon some kind of archetype, right down to the evil queen and the dumbass, weak-willed prince.

I just wish the damn school could put on a play that's vaguely substantial next year.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Public Announcement

There are worse things than never being able to see another Broadway show.

Happy Halloween, You Son of a Bitch

I have a problem. It's a big problem, bigger than my addiction to Gatorade, bigger than the fact that I think Dolly Parton is awesome. (Given the chance, I would have seen 9 to 5. I regret it now.) So here's my issue: I say son of a bitch. A lot. Probably more than anyone else I know. Seriously. My ratio of son of a bitches per hour is probably one of the highest in the world. It is my stock phrase whenever something goes wrong, so if I drop my phone in the driveway or keep messing up the intro to Maybe This Time, it's the first thing out of my mouth.

It's not like I actually direct this phrase at anyone. It's more of an expression of frustration, and a constant source of irritation to Lenora and my poor, harried mother. But the phrase is rooted in our national culture. It is Violet's first line in August: Osage County. Roxie Hart says it after she shoots Fred Casely. Jenny says it multiple times in Company. I'm pretty sure Mary Lincoln was thinking it that night at Ford's Theatre.

It's not exactly like I've got a mouth like a Second Avenue hooker. (Though that works on two levels, doesn't it?) Aside from the occasional damn it and the more than occasional son of a bitch, I am strictly after school special.

So last night was Halloween. After a day spent in Jersey with my cousin, I trekked back home. I've spent every Halloween of my life with Maisie, and I had no intention of breaking the chain. Lenora, don't be insulted. You can't buck tradition. She was a pirate and I was a very adorable clown. The two of us decided to take our chances and ventured out to a haunted house/the cornmaze from hell. Maisie, her mother, and I were linked like a human chain as we stepped into the cornmaze. And it was AWFUL. It was raining, we kept getting lost, it was dark, and things were popping out at us around every bend. By this time I was making the horrible, guttural sounds of a wounded animal, and saying things that made me grateful my mother wasn't with me. It was worse once we got into the house. Literally, it was like walking into a nightmare, with creepy clowns contorting themselves at the end of a polka dotted hallway. I started crying and screaming about how much I hated clowns. The irony did not strike me until Maisie pointed it out. True, I was a shivering wreck, from my tiny hat right down to my flowery galoshes.

So here's what I've learned: I am young. I will do many things in my lifetime. But I will never, ever, do that again.