Monday, November 10, 2008

A Long Overdue Update

First off, I must apologize for the fact that it's been almost two weeks since I wrote here. No excuse is terribly good, but I guess that at least I can offer the turmoil of the election (Ohmygodwediditwedidit!) and some developments in my own life (Short version: things in my theatrical career are looking very promising. Things in my "job to pay the bills" career, rather dire. Anyone have leads for seasonal or long-term employment?) as a partial explanation.

But a wide variety of things have been happening in theatre, here and elsewhere, and I figured it was time to roll up my sleeves and comment away.

First off, I wanted to use this space to thank Deanna Boyd. She plays the title role in Bohemian Theatre Ensemble's Bernarda Alba which I reviewed here. Though my review was mixed, she still complimented me on my analysis--one with which she agreed in many points. She even called it the best-written review that the show had received. I appreciated this greatly, as it is rare for a critic to hear anything positive from an actor in a production--especially in response to a mixed review! Unfortunately, she did not include an email address--otherwise, I would have responded to her directly. Deanna, if you happen to be reading this and want me to respond, please get your email address to me, either on these comments or through my page at Centerstage. I'd love to discuss this more with you!

Did anyone see Charles Isherwood's profile of Chicago director David Cromer in yesterday's Sunday New York Times? I have not gotten the chance to see some of Cromer's productions--either his totally sold out Our Town or his Writers' Theatre Picnic--but I was a big fan of his current production of Itamar Moses' Celebrity Row at American Theatre Company. He certainly seems to have earned his reputation as a director always worth checking out. But did anyone notice the odd tone of this article? The main focus was on the question of why Cromer hasn't yet moved to New York. Why is it so difficult to imagine that someone might choose to live in Chicago? That they might find the New York lifestyle unappealing? Chicago is chosen as a home base by many nationally known directors--Frank Galati, Robert Falls, Mary Zimmerman, and Anna D. Shapiro, to name only a few--and many directors who may not have received national recognition but still produce reliably strong work--such as Jessica Thebus, Charles Newell, and Sean Graney. I'm sure other cities have their own world-class directors in residence. Perhaps it's simply snobbishness from someone used to assuming that he lives at the center of the cultural universe, but its still perplexing.

Last weekend I got to see Forbidden Broadway at the Royal George, just in advance of its closing the following day. At points, the show demonstrated why it is such a treasure, but I wish the entire show had lived up to the best moment. Numbers spoofing Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins and Young Frankenstein, Patti LuPone and Kristen Chenoweth, and of course the evergreen Les Mis and Lion King parodies had me almost crying from laughter. But the Little Mermaid parody was pretty lame. And where were the numbers about August: Osage County and Spring Awakening? It still has more laughs per moment than most shows, but I was left wanting more.

That's all for now, but I hope to be blogging a lot more frequently in the future! 


Mr. K said...

Yeah, that Cromer article was weird. He's done work in NYC and at regional theatres. However, he likes Chicago, where he's got professional ties and can work frequently. Would he get to do anywhere near as much work if he was based out of NYC?

Zev Valancy said...

I'm also curious as to the allusions to his being on the outs with several theatres. Anyone wanna share the dirt with me of who the fights were with, and why?