We had our first "open rehearsal" for The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged last night. Since this was our first and therefore (hopefully) roughest run, we invited some folks who we know know the show and/or Shakespeare really well to solicit comments and ideas for how to make it better. Everyone who came was amazingly helpful, supportive, and had great, constructive comments.

...but all this reminds me: I never made a big thing about exactly *why* we're practicing and re-working the show. Well, put it this way: I've always wanted to perform Shakespeare in London. And failing that, I'm ok with making fun of Shakespeare in London instead.
TL;DR: HOLY CRAP WE'RE TAKING OUR LITTLE NERDY VERSION OF COMPLETE WORKS TO THE WORLD SCIFI CONVENTION IN LONDON!

http://loncon3.org/events-theatre-compleat-shkspr.php
Man, there's so much I would love to write about this production. I continue to be proud of our show, and amazed by our cast, crew, and especially the wonderful reception we've had from audiences. Thank you to everyone who's come so far!

If you're local to Davis Square, our last three performances are:

Thursday, 8pm (TONIGHT!)
Friday, 8pm
Saturday, 2pm 8pm (sorry, got the time wrong!)

Tickets are available at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/440809

Hopefully I'll get one of those not-just-advertising posts about the process, or anything else that's been going on with me lately, when I have a moment to breathe. Until then... :)
The last time I mentioned Twelfth Night, some of y'all asked me to mention it again closer to the date. Opening night is now just two weeks away(!!), so here is your reminder! Mark your calendars and reserve your tickets!

I'm really excited about this production, which has had some really excellent cast and crew working very hard on it. I hope to see everybody there! :)
For those local to the Boston area, I've been cast as Malvolio in Theater@First's upcoming production of Twelfth Night. Huzzah!

Details are here. Performances are...
Thursday	 	Sept. 19	 	8 pm
Friday	 	        Sept. 20	 	8 pm
Saturday	 	Sept. 21	 	2 pm (matinee)
Thursday	 	Sept. 26	 	8 pm
Friday	 	        Sept. 27	 	8 pm
Saturday	 	Sept. 28	 	8 pm


This role is significant to me for a few reasons, not least of which being that I'm taking over partway through the rehearsal process for Ron Lacey, who had to withdraw for personal reasons. I say without exaggeration that there are few actors in our local scene whom I admire more than Ron, so these would be intimidatingly large shoes to step into even if I hadn't missed the first couple of weeks of rehearsal. And yet, I'm feeling pretty good about things overall.

First, there's nothing like a little extra pressure to get me to work my butt off on being ready in time, but there's another reason I'm feeling motivated here: Whenever I tell people I'm doing Twelfth Night, the typical response seems to be "Oh, you're playing Feste, right?". As much as I appreciate being assumed to be the fool (no, really!) :), Malvolio is, or at least can be, a character with a bit of a different flavor than my usual pure comic relief. I think this role is going to be a really fun way to stretch a bit, because our director (the excellent Ari Herbstman) wants to focus on the sympathetic side of Malvolio's story.

At first I was taken aback at the idea of not poncing around for an easy laugh; in most of the productions I've seen he's played as a sort of elizabethan Arnold Rimmer, which works really well, but obscures the fact that when you come down to it, he's really tragically bullied and abused in a way he doesn't deserve, however much Shakespeare's subtext seems to want you to think he does. He's the only person in Olivia's house who gives a crap about doing his job well as a matter of principle, and for his troubles he's literally tied up, locked in a shed, and gaslighted until he's almost completely broken.

I can actually kinda relate to Malvolio. Not the abuse part, thankfully, but in college I was that guy who looked down his nose at the drunken party people who were "wasting their education", and would storm upstairs to the dorm room with the loud music playing at zomg o'clock and shout "Geez, /some/ of us are trying to STUDY and/or SLEEP, fercryinoutloud!". This didn't exactly make me the most popular guy on campus, but like Malvolio I had this very strong sense of... propriety, and I took it personally when I thought people around me were acting improperly. To be honest, I don't think I've mellowed since then so much as surrounded myself with more compatible people (college friends who are reading this excepted, of course) ;).

So anyway, the approach we're taking is to try to portray Malvolio as that guy; less a comic buffoon, and more someone who has strict but not wholly unreasonable notions of what Right Living is, and little tolerance for people who don't. He hopes that enduring the mockery of his peers will result in him being recognized and rewarded, because in a just world Right Living is recognized and rewarded, but this is ultimately used against him and brings him low.

There's still plenty of room to make Malvolio funny, but I'm looking forward to seeing how human we can make him, too.
Yesterday we did the first performance of the Summer Mini-Tour for "2010: Our Hideous Future, The Musical" in Providence, RI.



It was also my first performance as a member of the cast (except for one previous workshop performance).

For the uninitiated, 2010 is a nerdy, cyber-dystopian, queer-friendly musical romantic comedy. If that doesn't intrigue you, I don't know why we're friends.

The purpose of this post is twofold:

Purpose the First is to pitch the remaining dates of the tour, particularly Salem MA on 7/21, which is both the closest to my friends in the Boston area and the one where I think we have the fewest local connections with which to draw an audience.

Dates and tickets for Salem and NYC are here. We've also just confirmed that we will be performing at PiCon 8/17-19 in Enfield, CT (exact day/time TBA).

Purpose the Second is to talk a bit about my personal history with the show, and specifically about this most recent revision.

I was in the audience when 2010 debuted (guess what year it was), and I've been at every major performance since then. This probably makes me sound like a massive fanboy of the show, but it's actually more complicated than that. When I first saw it I thought 2010 was... a decent first musical; I left with a net-positive impression, but it was more of a cool, and ambitious thing that my friends had done than a great musical in its own right.

Actually, no, even that description is too simple. I think my main impression was that the show was inconsistent. It wasn't that it was an ok-to-good show throughout, rather the pendulum of quality swung between some pretty low lows and some remarkably high highs. And yet when I got Andy and Carl, the authors, to autograph my program and said "I suspect these may be worth something some day" I wasn't just flattering them. From the beginning I saw a lot of potential in the show; some genuine bits of diamond poking through the coal.

For example, from the moment I first saw Kamela Dolinova and Emily Taradash sing "I Don't Do Love" their characters, Kate and Dehnise, have been one of my favorite on-stage romances. Even listening to that song and that scene for the umpteenth time last night, now from backstage, I still got a little something in my remaining organic eye at the end.

Since that debut, Andy and Carl have revised the show repeatedly, and I think each time the show has gotten better. Most recently they even went so far as to hold a private read/sing through with a specially-invited audience of local writing, music, and theater types, complete with feedback forms. This resulted in the biggest rewrite yet, which is what we're currently touring.

What this all boils down to is a realization I had while listening to the show backstage at Providence. I think 2010 has now moved from diamonds in coal to being a genuinely great show. There are still things I would change or trim if it was me in charge, but in this revision the good parts got better and much of the stuff that dragged before has been revised or removed altogether, and the fact is that the audience, even people who weren't our friends, really seemed to universally dig the show. Especially if you haven't seen 2010 since its debut or the performance at Arisia'11, I think you'll see a real difference.

Of course, it's also possible that I was just in a good mood because I look pretty fab in my costume. :)



Plus, some of the folks involved in the wonderful MIT original musical Hack, Punt, Tool (sidebar: how cool is it that I have two separate groups of friends who have written and produced their own musicals??) not only drove out to Providence, but cosplayed (and lo, there was much squeeing in the dressing room during intermission)!



There was even a Narrator cosplayer! (she looks different because her costume is based on that of the original actor to play the role):

That's what it says in The Metro, at least.

Then again, the reviewer also talks about Fantine's stirring rendition of "On My Own" (think about that for a sec), so either the show's been re-worked a helluva lot or the reviewer doesn't know what he's talking about. *apprehension* or *headdesk*, respectively.

Seeing it on Friday, though! M will be seeing it for her first time, and now I'm more conflicted than ever re whether to make her watch the 10th Anniversary Concert first...

In the mean-time I'll just keep playing this on repeat to cheer me up.

One of my costumes for The Big Broadcast of 1954. I wish it showed the pants too. Fun fact: apparently I look pretty great in those floofly breeches that lace up at the ankle. The more you know!



/ego

We open tonight, with performances W-F this week, and Th-Sat next week. Note that we're not at our usual place in the Somerville Theater this time around. Instead, we're at the lovely Regent Theater in Arlington. There's a huge public parking lot a block away, and if you're not driving, it's a short hop down the 77 bus line from Porter Square.

CMS recs?

Jun. 21st, 2011 09:46 am
The A.S.S. (the company behind the recent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in which I played, about which I really will do a longer post asap) is talking about putting together a website, and I've volunteered to help.

My instinct is to design and code the thing from scratch, like I did for the Second Shift site, but I'm beginning to think that that's old fashioned (or is it?). For a site that doesn't need to do anything special, just text, photos, and videos, should I just deploy a CMS and be done with it? If so, which one? I kind of like the Stranger Ways site, which [livejournal.com profile] natbudin put seemed to put together practically overnight with WordPress, though my ideal would be extensible using Python instead of PHP (though that's just a preference-- can do PHP fine).

Anyway, suggestions?
...and while I'm binging on posting about local theater stuff, there are a couple of local groups that are hosting auditions in the coming weeks.

First, apologies for the late notice, but this Tues and Weds, the MIT Musical Theater Guild is holding auditions for Assassins. Unfortunately I'll be out of town for one of the performance weekends, so I won't be able to audition, but if you're looking for a local group that's open to non-MIT people, they're a lot of fun to work with.

Second, next Mon and Tues, Theater@First is holding auditions for As You Like It, to be performed outside in Davis Square. You have to follow that link and fill out the audition form to reserve a slot if you want to audition.
So, I'm thinking of trying to put together some mobs for local theater events soon.

First off, I've slacked on getting people together for Comedy of Errors, and plan to go on Weds (would also love to see Richard III, but I'm just not free any of the nights before the 19th when both shows close). Tix are $25 for people under 35! I'll probably buy by Tues noonish, so let me know asap if you want in!

edit: Tix have been bought for CoE, but if you use this link at GoldStar (many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hahathor for pointing me there, btw! Great theater discounts!!), to buy tix, you will be seated with the rest of us (currently me, [livejournal.com profile] zapf, [livejournal.com profile] sandrylene, and [livejournal.com profile] hahathor).

Second, Theater@First is doing Equus. I haven't seen the show before, but I hear it's a feel-good story about a boy who wants a pony. Aaaanyway, my plan is to go see the 3pm matinee on Saturday before Midsummer.

Lemme know if anyone wants to go together.
As many of you may have heard, I have had the great fortune to be cast in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and we open this Friday! As in tomorrow! As in eeeep!

I am playing, of all things, Lysander in this production. I know, I wouldn't have cast me in that role either. ;) But this production is a little different, and I think the interpretation ends up playing to my strengths.

To be honest, I've been a little hesitant to make much noise about this because I wasn't so sure I was up to the task. I haven't done anything that wasn't either improvised or script-in-hand (eg audio theater) for about a decade, and I have a hard enough time remembering to take the trash out, let alone memorizing a nontrivial Shakespearean role, but I've made it through our last two dress rehearsals without a flub, and I'm feeling pretty good about it!

...so now that I've totally jinxed myself, you get to come see me crash and burn! Hurrah!

In all seriousness, I really do think we've got a good production on our hands. We do some fun things with it (1960s setting = lots of pretty colors! Also, go go boots!), my fellow actors are great, and I think we do a good job of getting across the central theme of the play: the Fae, even when well meaning, will seriously mess your mortal ass up, yo. ;)

What we really need now is publicity. If you know folks in the area who might be interested, please invite them to our Facebook event, or spread the word in whatever way is most convenient for you!

Details follow:

IMPORTANT: In keeping with the setting, some of the seating will be chairs, and some will be cushions on the floor, hippie style. If you are not capable (as opposed to just having a preference) of sitting on the floor, let me know when you plan on attending and we can reserve a seat for you. If you prefer a chair, show up early!

The show will be at The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn Street. It's a short walk from the Harvard Square T stop, next door to the Daedalus bar.

Performances will be at 8 pm on June 10, 11, 17, and 18, and at 3 pm on June 12 and 19.

Edit Oh! I forgot to mention that all performances are FREE!

Thanks, and I hope to see y'all there!
I'm going to buy a chunk of tickets for The Blue Flower at the ART this Friday. If you've been on the fence, now's the time to speak up. Cheapest tix available are $50, but everyone I know who has seen it says it's pretty amazing.
Via the MITMTG mailing list:

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One more audition day left for Jekyll and Hyde :

Tuesday, December 7th in Public Dining Rooms 1 and 2, 7:00pm - 9:30pm.


Please come with a few bars of a song prepared to sing and bring sheet music if you can :)

For tips about auditioning, check out our auditioner's guide at:http://mit.edu/mtg/www/Audition-Guide.html and check below all messages for a brief plot summary.


Performance dates are January 28th - 30th and February 3rd - 5th.


Questions? Email jekyll-dir@mit.edu

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Want to be a part of the production team of Jekyll and Hyde ? Email jekyll-dir@mit.edu with your name for the following positions before December 8th, 10:22pm :

Technical Director
Set Designer
Master Carpenter
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Publicity Designer
Publicity Manager
Costume Designer
Prop Manager

More information about each of these positions is available at http://web.mit.edu/mtg/www/ProdStaff-Desc.html.

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Show summary:

Jekyll, a tortured, soon-to-be-married scientist striving to test his new unction on human subjects is prohibited from using inmates at a mental hospital to perform his experiments, and instead tests on himself, accidentally extracting and animating his darker side, Hyde. Jekyll's fiance (Emma), her father (Danvers), and Jekyll's friend (Utterson) notice the change within their acquaintance, as Hyde sneaks out at night at commits heinous crimes as the city of London slumbers. As Hyde consumes Jekyll, Jekyll finds his life entangled with murders, a stripper (Lucy), and lots of angst.
Next week I'm teaching a class in Manhattan. I love teaching in NYC because it means every evening, when I finish work... I'm in NYC! :D

I already have plans for the following:

The Handsome Little Devils, a nifty-looking vadevillian circus from Boulder that's doing a stint in NY, and about which I posted earlier thanks to [livejournal.com profile] taerowyn.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, about which I have also ZOMGWTF'd before.

NPR had a piece on Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which sounded neat, though I need to do more research.

Similarly considering American Idiot, but not sure. Depends on ticket prices.

What else should I do? Tips on cheap ticket places? There's lots of big spectacle, but I remember fondly the last time I was there, when I went on a whim to a crazy, obscure thing called Evil Dead The Musical and, well, y'all know how that worked out. :)
Saw MIT G&S's production of Patience tonight with [livejournal.com profile] preraphaelite. I am going to make this quick because I need to go to bed, but I wanted to be sure I signal boosted it before I forget. I saw Patience when I was in high school and adored it. Seeing it again I loved it even more. It's a sendup of pop culture idolitry, hipsterism, and perceptions of the meaning of love that works for a modern audience despite having been written a century ago. Well worth seeing if you like G&S or musical theater in general.

Remaining shows are Fri at 8pm and Sat at 2pm.
X-Posting from another journal, if anyone in the Somerville area is interested in getting involved with a fun group of community theater folks (closely related to the people that do the Big Broadcast/Tomes of Terror staged radio shows), here's the audition blurb for their latest show:

Calling all actors! Sign up now to audition for Theatre@First's next main stage production, "The Lady's Not For Burning," a comedy in verse by Christopher Fry and directed by Renée Johnson. With a strong emphasis on the music and culture of Appalachia, our production brings this topsy-turvy day-in-the-life a little closer to home. Fry's themes of love and war, hope and despair, ignorance and intellect are universal, and this glimpse into the search for life's meaning is timeless.

Auditions will be held at Unity Church in Somerville on Nov 29, Dec 1 & 2.
Performances are February 10-26, 2011.

For more information and to sign up visit our website:
http://www.theatreatfirst.org/auditions.shtml
I'm really sad that I'm probably going to miss this on account of a rehearsal, but it looks like a very interesting project, so I want to signal-boost. Here's their blurb:

------------------------------------------------------------------

The MIT Muslim Student's Association invites you to:

The Hijabi Monologues
Friday October 22 ~ Little Kresge Theatre ~ Doors open at 7:00 pm ~ FREE Admission

"The Hijabi Monologues is about the power of storytelling. It is about creating a space for American Muslim women to share experiences; a space to breathe as they are; a space that does not claim to tell every story and speak for every voice. Through sharing stories, strangers touch and connect. Through stories, we are challenged. Through stories, we are humanized."
- Sahar Ullah (Hijabi Monologues Founder)

Have you ever been intrigued by the hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women? The Hijabi Monologues is an attempt to dispel misconceptions about the women who wear hijab and to humanize the women beneath the headscarves.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Wow, the ART is doing a lot of new musicals in coming months!

Starting in December there's The Blue Flower, which looks neat, and I rather like this song.

After that there's "Death and the Powers", which looks to be the a very visually pretty, high tech opera. Conceptual overview here. Example song here (which is pretty, but doesn't grab me as much as some of the background stuff in the first video).

And after that there's Prometheus Bound. Adaptation of a greek tragedy with book by the guy who did Spring Awakening and music composed by Serj from System of a Down? SO MUCH YESPLZ.

Exciting stuff! Then in the non-musical vein they've got productions of Ajax, which looks neat, and a play about Buckminster Fuller.

If you're interested in in one or more of these, let me know and I'll try and remember to reference this post when I start organizing mobs (tix aren't available for any of these yet). For now, just getting it out there so's y'all know!
I "love" how in one day I can go from a free day on Monday to being potentially booked from noonish to zomgoclock, but in addition to the afore-mentioned Scott Pilgrim outing (12:30pm lunch at Ball Square cafe, followed by the 2:15 showing at the Somerville-- lemme know if you want in on the planning) there's a friend's birthday party at 4, and then I find out about THIS at 8.

"Beowoulf: 1000 Years of Baggage: Digging into the roots of the original epic poem, this club-style SongPlay hearkens back to the raw and rowdy style of storytelling in the old Scandinavian mead halls- with a passion for fierce poetry and a pint of thick beer.

Monsters and professors collide in blood-soaked Scandinavia as this hefty poem is rescued from 1,000 years of analysis and transformed in a defiantly raucous dissertation on art and violence. With a 7-piece band including dueling trombones, bass clarinet, accordion and saw, Beowulf combines Weillian cabaret, 40's jazz harmony, indie rock, punk, electronica and Romantic lieder into a cacophonous swirl."


Especially at $15 per ticket, I don't think I'm allowed to not go see this. Anyone else interested?

In other news, I think Club Oberon may be becoming my favorite local theater.
...have I mentioned that I love living here?

The inimitable [livejournal.com profile] hahathor will be starring in a dark comedy called "As Bees In Honey Drown" at the Arsenal center, right around the corner from BCOS. The only day I can make it is Friday, 8/20 at 8pm, which is, sadly, conflicting with PiCon (*sigh*-- as [livejournal.com profile] faerieboots observed earlier today, I expand to fill the free time).

Also! Next Friday, 8/13. Scott Friggin Pilgrim. I am THERE. Are you?

Y'all know the drill. If you want to go together, maybe do the food thing beforehand, lemme know and I'll re-ping people closer to the date.

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